The colours of happiness: Decorate your home in French Provençal style

When you think of Provence and the French countryside, you imagine lavender fields and bright sunshine. While there are many elements that contribute to the French country style of decorating, the resulting look is always rustic, old-world, and welcoming. The look fits well into any country house or city home with a garden.

Colours used to decorate in the Provençal style come from the full spectrum of the color wheel. Sunny yellow, soft gold, deep red, burnt rust, bright grass green, dark hunter green, cobalt blue, and soft ocean tones, all these are found in this wonderful decorating style.

An important element used in Provence styled decorating is the use of natural materials.

Rough stained or painted plaster walls, hefty beamed ceilings and walls, delicate carved wood details, and chair seats woven of rush give texture and simplicity to the look. Natural stone floors can be covered with wool or cotton rugs.

Architectural features like stone stairs with wrought iron banisters are common in the Provençal style and are usually combined with irregular plaster walls.

New or reproduction rustic furniture gives the ambiance of curved panels, hand-carved decorations, and raw wood.

No room decorated in the Provençal style would be without an armoire to store clothing, bed or bath linens, or tableware.

A large dining table, rectangular or round, must have a dull waxed or low-sheen finish. Curved and carved details grace dining and occasional chairs. Chairs are often have vertical slats, with rush seating or are made of delicate wrought iron.

Rustic flooring is of stone, clay, or brick. Old wooden boards work well too.

The focus here is old and charming. Typical pieces contrast texture and colour, while pale plaster walls and ceilings are punctuated with dark rough wood beams.

Colorful Provencal printed fabrics are set off against light-toned natural seating. Deeply cut window sills hold tall, narrow windows, with shutters to keep the sun out in the summer and also offer an elegant outdoor finish for a home.

Prints combine shades of primary colours with greens, lavenders, and bright orange. Traditional motifs include roosters, olives, sunflowers, grapes, lavender, and beetles.

The designs are often arranged in regular intervals, bordered by a wide panel of the motifs in a different scale. This is typical for textile products such as tablecloths and curtain panels. You can also use toile, a traditional design for French country fabrics.

By incorporating some or all of the elements mentioned here, you're bound to have a wonderful French country interior in your home. Voila c'est tres bien.

Top tips for your colorful Provence interiors

Do not try to match the elements in your room. Furniture and accessories should look old and used, but not shabby.

No real French country home is complete without a stone fireplace. A heavy beam at the top of the opening can serve as a mantle. Tiles, either stone or ceramic, form the border.

Toile is often paired with coordinated colour checked fabrics in both large and small scales. Add a luxurious old-world look with tassels, cording, fringes, and other details. Textured linen, weathered leather, paisley designs, and bold stripes can be used.

Use large vintage mirrors, architectural elements (columns and corbels ), garden statuary, black wireware, clocks, hat boxes, vintage candelabra, flowers, plants, china, and delicate porcelain figurines to accessorize a Provençal room.

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