Neutral French Palettes
Neutral colors provide a soft, romantic French Country look. Walls painted in light greige — a blend of beige and gray — complement creamy whites and accents in pale pink, yellow, green or blue.
Warm grays on painted furniture blend with cream, light buttery yellow or earthy ocher or mustard yellow. Rooms layered in neutrals of white, ivory, cream, ecru, oatmeal, beige, brown and gray feel comfortable, yet elegant. Neutral palettes can also be accented with varying shades of green, blue, berry pink, red or yellow. Toile patterns on fabrics, wallpaper or china provide a quintessential French Country look and bring in accent colors of red, blue or green. Mix in patterns of stripes, checks or gingham in the same color. Add textural interest with accent pillows or chair seats covered in burlap and grain-sack cloth.
A Touch of Gold
Gold gilding is a signature element of French interiors and decor. Add a touch of glamour to mirror or picture frames with gold metallic paint. Detail a headboard or dresser painted in white with gold gilding or try a simple stenciled design on a wall or ceiling. Add a thin stripe of gold at chair-rail height on bedroom walls or a golden line around a door or window.
Mimic the look of lime or chalk whitewash finishes in rural French homes by applying a white or gray semi-transparent stain to untreated wood paneling. Use an opaque stain on previously treated wood. Chalk paint in antique white, blue or gray provides timeworn character to painted furniture and is used for distressed finishes.
Whitewash can be applied to brick with a 1-to-1 ratio of white latex paint to water. Apply the whitewash with a brush, and have a partner come along behind you and wipe it with a rag. Practice distressing and whitewashing techniques on scrap wood or bricks before applying to furniture, paneling and masonry.