Wednesday, July 18, 2007

French Country Kitchen

My friend, Linda, is redecorating her kitchen with the French Country look. Imagine vibrant yellows and blues, toile, sunflowers, painted furniture, beautiful tea towels, and sprigs of fresh lavender, of course! We've been discussing ideas for her kitchen and I shared with her a segment from a book I enjoy called Kitchens, Imaginative Tips & Sensible Advice for Decorating, Equipping & Enjoying by Pat Ross. The section I shared with her, and now with you, is called French Country Kitchen Ideas.

Enjoy, be inspired, and have a beautiful day!

1. The bright yellow of the sun in the south of France and the vibrant blue of Mediterranean waters --- these are the two perfect colors to establish a French country theme in the kitchen. Apply to walls and cabinets; coordinate with fabric and related accessories.

2. Paint an old kitchen chair blue; place a galvanized tin of strawflowers next to the chair. A sweet child's chair will take on new life when repainted in white and stenciled with a trailing ivy design.

3. Give a bare wall new life by adding brickwork, reminiscent of hearths in rustic dwellings. There are do-it-yourself brick kits on the market that can help you accomplish this.

4. Extend a thick wooden pole or dowel across a counter, then hook on a wonderful assortment of baskets. They'll come in handy for serving everything from baguettes to brie.

5. Plant pots of mums and other seasonal flowering plants in wooden buckets and place several close to the door for a warm welcome.

6. Add a clever touch with a pleasant ceramic pig who wears a chef's outfit and holds the evening's menu on a small blackboard. Look for this amusing fellow in kitchen speciality stores and catalogs.

7. Seek out kitchenware made of weathered iron-pot racks and baker's racks are especially homey - to set a country French mood and provide useful storage at the same time.

8. What would a French kitchen be without garlic? Add strings of garlic to the pot rack and hang it next to the door. A garlic wreath is pretty, useful, and easily made.

9. There's never enough copper in the French country kitchen. Hang pots and pans and line up plates along a counter.

10. Fill a tin pitcher with wooden spoons and scoops.

11. Look for unusual French bistro glasses and store them in plain view.

12. Use pretty cotton tea towels to make cafe' curtains --- stripes, florals, or checks all look charming.

13. Wish you had more open shelving? Consider removing the doors from an old cupboard. Or remove doors and rehinge in an open reverse position with the door fronts showing.

14. Stack terra cotta or other colorful plates on open shelves for easy access and attractive display.

15. Keep yellowware bowls filled with fresh pairs and apples.

16. A shiny brass bar cries out for a line-up of fresh tea towels in bright, cheerful provincial patterns.

17. Freshly laundered tea towels stacked on an island or counter are a welcome sight - and a subtle hint.

18. Table linens in toiles and checks are de rigueur for this look.

19. Sheer fabric shirred and hung behind glass cabinets doors establishes a French country tone --- so does cotton lace.

20. Decorative tiles that speak of things French can stand at the back of the counter, ready to serve as trivets under hot pots and plates.

21. Don't forget table linens - napkins, tablecloths, and placemats - in cheerful patterns. Sunflower yellows and cornflower blues go with practically everything.

22. Place a wine rack in full view (be sure to keep it away from heat) [Fill it with sparkling pear and grape and apple juices]

23. Large pot racks are popular in many regional decors, but especially well suited to French country.

24. An old weathered cabinet can be given a second life with a quick stripping and color wash. Then tack pieces of chicken wire behind the glass doors. Or replace the glass panes entirely using chicken wire, plain or painted.

25. Faux-finish your walls to give them a timeworn feeling. A ragged or sponged design can be accomplished easily by the beginner. This is a case where neatness doesn't count --- the irregularity is part of the charm.

26. Vintage kitchen utensils -- mortars, pestles, rolling pins, choppers --- can still be found for reasonable prices. Hang them in a line along the wall or used them as accents.

27. A country stepback cupboard that looks at least a hundred years old is always a perfect touch! No one need know it was picked up at a flea market and lovingly refinished by you.

28. Cover your young plants with hothouse bells, or cloches, for an authentic French garden look in the kitchen.

29. Add a high shelf to display the objects you'll collect for your French country kitchen, such as pretty plates and small copper collectibles. Consider stain-painting the shelf white or soft green.

30. Plate racks come in many sizes and have a variety of wonderful uses --- from strong iron racks that sit on the floor near the table to pine racks that are often a large enough to act as room dividers. If you have pretty dinnerware, it's a shame to keep it hidden behind cabinet doors.

Thank you to Paula and Terri of Elm Street Antiques for allowing me to take photos as I browsed. You have a lovely shop and I wish you much success on your new business venture.


  1. Oh wow, what a pretty long and inspiring list! I really adore that French country kitchen style! In fact, I LOVE everything FRENCH! The language (I do speak more or less fluently French), the country (I have been to France many many times, I even call Paris my second home town)... I even work in a French company (in Germany) and have a French boss... ;-))

    Happy decorating!

    Best wishes, Anita

  2. Thanks for the imaginative thought provoking post :)
    I want to go to Tuscany now and stand in a field of sunflowers. I LOVE sunflowers they are so holy!

  3. Hey Sweetie, I don't know just how or what I am to do about the award and passing it on, when I pass it on will I then receive the logo image. I cant get the code to work.

  4. oh this list sounds wonderful.....
    great job on inspiring us...

  5. What a list of great ideas!

    Just in skimming it, I thought of a couple of things I can do right away. :)

  6. That is a great list...some wonderful ideas. I plan on incorporating some of those myself. I loved the picture, too!

  7. Hi Dear Lady
    I posted my five and so I have passed the torch. Thant you for flicking the flame.

  8. Now I wish I could redo my kitchen! Maybe I could add a few touches from the French country style!

  9. Thank you for sharing these wonderful decorating ideas with all of us!

  10. Hi- visiting from For Reluctant your site!
    I'm a home school mom of two little girls, 8 and 5, and saw in your reply that you had older boys that you've home schooled.
    I'm not naturally a wonderful homemaker, however, so I will be visiting this site a lot more for ideas!

  11. Wow, truly inspiring...thanks for the great list and the nice pictures that you got from your antique shop visit.

    'Yours' is very homey-thanks for sharing your gift with us!

    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted


Thank you for commenting on my blog post. I am always happy to hear from blog readers. Your words encourage and inspire me. I am glad you stopped by to share conversation, recipes, ideas, and thoughts on creating a welcoming home.