So what is French Country furniture exactly?
French Country furniture can run the gamut from ornate Louis XV armoires, to clean-lined distressed wood cupboards. Ornamentation can span from lavish gilding to nicked and chipped paint finishes. Chairs can be as simple as a rush seat ladderback to a carved wood chair with nailhead and fine upholstery. It’s the sophisticated blend of plain and fancy that makes French Country Furniture so beloved.
Below are some example of classic furniture pieces, and what makes them uniquely French.
French Country Armoires & Cupboards
Worn slightly, and loved a lot—this French Linen Cupboard proudly boasts the many of tenants of French Country. The 4-bevel paneled moldings on each door paired with a wood knobs, gives this piece a simplicity and charm found in traditional French antiques. The low wide cupboard has useful interior storage, while the exterior beauty anchors a French Country design.
The elegant setback cupboard was commonly found in French Country kitchens for storing china and dishware. The tall column moldings and see-thru glass doors and hand-forged iron pulls add to its French gravitas. The antiqued white finish combined with a dark cherry interior stain give the piece timeless appeal.
Grand wardrobes were found in bedroom of cottages and chateaus for storing clothing and linens. The raised panel, bifold doors with 4-drawers give this piece French Country styling. The scalloped base molding and raised bunn foot gives the piece of a boost of provincial styling. The walnut stain with a tea-stain glaze harkens an appearance of antiques of the past.
A tall, proud Louis XV Armoire is a staple of French Country furniture. The contoured paneled doors, “rat tail” hinges and scalloped base molding gives the piece style that replicated from the fine furnishings in the palace of Versaille. Louis XV was the arbiter of the “Golden Age” of French style. His elegant style spawned the “Age of Enlightment,” and the immergence of Louis XV style furniture (also known as Rococo).
French Country Dining Tables:
French Country tables don’t shy from ornamentation. Carved fluted legs, wood carved medallions and rustic metal edging add elegance to a classic farm table. The ornate details give the farm table an elegance found in formal French furniture of the past. It’s the blend of ornateness and rustic that makes this French Country Table sing.
A classic turned leg farm table is a French Country staple. The Round Farm Table with ball turnings on the table legs has a reclaimed old barn board top giving this farmhouse table French provenance. It’s the blend of natural materials with a distressed paint finish that welcomes you to sit and relax.
Let’s not forget the classic Trestle Table that was made popular in bistros, and cafes in France for it’s flexible seating options without the impediment of legs. The thick top trestle table has a heft, and dark walnut stain adds rustic elegance that would fit right into a chateau on the countryside.
French Country Chairs
French Country chair styles span from simple wooden ladder back chairs with woven rush seats to farmhouse “wheat back” chairs known as a symbol of abundance in the home. French Country chair are intended for use—but, expected to be tasteful.
The Paysanne Chair, a “peasant” star back chair is a staple of country french decors. The simple slat back design was an affordable, durable cottage chair found is homes across France. The simple styling, combined with the charming star cut-out make this chair uniquely French.
Boosting sophistication into European slat back chairs, the Country French Ladderback Chair showcases a tastefully scalloped, contoured back with a wood or rush seat. This dining chair is a perfect pairing with a basic farm table, giving it an injection of French style.
The wheatsheaf has long been a symbol of the harvest and abundance in the home. It’s a timeless French motif found on fabrics and furnishings. The Wheat Back Chair has the classic “wheat” symbol on the spindle back. The scalloped skirt and ball finials add refinement to the dining chair.