Truly timeless, French country kitchen ideas are loved the world over for their versatility and enduring elegance. Channeling soft styling and practical elements mixed with organic materials like wood and stone, French country kitchens are characterized by their classic appearance while still being able to embrace new trends and tastes.
Like all the best kitchen ideas, French country kitchens are designed with family in mind – a space for you to spend time with your loved ones, enjoying good food and company. However, the French flair is seen in the use of a more muted palette, with a rustic edge, accentuated by French vintage finds and antiques.
‘To create a French country feel in a kitchen, we would typically use a color palette made up of easy whites punctuated with gentle pastels. Rustic elements like rough plastered walls, wooden furniture, and wooden floors boards also feature heavily, often arranged in a way that feels like it has evolved over time,’ says Louise Wicksteed, design director for Sims Hilditch interior design.
French country kitchen ideas
The ethos of French country design is not too dissimilar from English country kitchen ideas: a huge farmhouse table for gathering around, an armoire for housing china and glassware, open shelves displaying stoneware and canisters in neat rows, and shining copper pans hung above a stove are all quintessential elements of both looks.
‘A typical French country kitchen is rustic but always chic. Using a mixture of organic materials, old and new furniture, and exposed stone, creates a convivial and warm feeling. A perfect place for preparing typical French cuisine,’ says Tom Howley, design director at Tom Howley.
1. Prioritize natural materials
Natural materials are the cornerstone of French country kitchens, especially when it comes to kitchen countertops. Positioned at the point where the eye would rest, countertops have a significant impact on the visual appearance of the space.
In this kitchen designed by Plain English, reclaimed wood has been used to bring both warmth and tactility to the space. To maintain their rustic appearance, wipe wooden countertops daily with a small amount of soap and water, and oil regularly to build up resistance to the inevitable spills and stains. The same applies if using wood as an island countertop material, too.
2. Use decor to get the look without renovating
Giving your kitchen a French country-inspired makeover doesn’t need to present a significant investment, you can still create a cozy French country kitchen even if you’re on a budget.
‘If a renovation is not part of the equation right now, get the look with decorative kitchen ideas and small furniture swaps. Adding a colorful vintage Turkish rug or runner in the center of the space or in front of the sink. Spills often just blend in with the pattern and these rugs can often be washed with soap and water and dried in the sun on a warm day,' says Ariella Duker of Ariella Duker Interiors. When browsing kitchen rug ideas, be sure to select a durable material that is suitable for use in high-traffic areas. Outdoor rugs are a useful option, too.
'Search for various shapes and sizes of wooden bread and cake boards. These are my favorite accessories in the kitchen because they are also functional. Layer them against a wall to add some natural wood elements,’ explains Ariella Duker.
3. Embrace original features
Original features are one of the many beautiful elements of older homes and it is important to protect and preserve them wherever possible. Not only will they add to the charm of your home but original features such as fireplaces, coving and flooring can also bring a unique dimension to your French country kitchen ideas.
This French-inspired kitchen, designed by deVol, has retained the original fireplace and created the perfect home for their range cooker. Paired with a rustic mantelpiece, it provides a practical cooking spot.
4. Incorporate a bespoke pantry
French country kitchen ideas aren't complete without a pantry. ‘Bespoke pantries and larder cupboards are fantastic for storing food and provisions out of sight, helping to keep everything close at hand whilst also ensuring the kitchen remains clutter free,’ explains experts from Martin Moore.
Opting for a bespoke pantry will help you to make the most of your available space rather than hoping that an off-the-shelf model will work. If the space is large enough, consider using it to house your fridge-freezer allowing you to maintain your kitchen’s aesthetic.
5. Opt for natural limestone underfoot
Choosing the right kitchen flooring ideas is far from straightforward. Your kitchen flooring must be highly durable and aesthetically pleasing all while falling within your budget.
For French country kitchen ideas, you can't go wrong the beautiful aesthetic of brushed limestone flooring. Injecting both color and texture into the space, it is also highly durable making it one of the best stone flooring types for the kitchen.
With warm honey tones, these Tuscany limestone tiles from Quorn Stone, instantly bring warmth to the kitchen and have a tumbled finish which creates subtle variation between each tile, bringing texture and movement to the space.
To keep them looking their best, however, you need to know how to clean stone floors and ensure that you seal them when required.
6. Add decorative flair with wallpaper
Incorporating decorative elements into your French country kitchen ideas will instantly make your kitchen feel more warm and welcoming, and soften the harder elements of the room. In this kitchen, an area of open shelving has been backed with decorative wallpaper to make a subtle statement.
Wallpaper ideas definitely have a place in the kitchen – in a well-ventilated space and away from the hardworking areas, traditional wallpaper can work well. However, if you are concerned about moisture levels, instead opt for vinyl kitchen wallpaper ideas or coat traditional wallpaper with a decorator’s varnish to ensure its longevity. For added French country charm, pair country kitchen wallpaper ideas with a decorative skirt – or other valance ideas for kitchens – in the same pattern, to tie the look together.
7. Don't overlook the sink
Even in the age of the dishwasher, kitchen sink ideas are still an invaluable addition. When it comes to your French country kitchen ideas, a butler's sink is a must. Characterized by a deep single bowl and crafted from hard-wearing fireclay, the sink offers more than enough space to wash bulky pots and pans, while also looking elegant in its own right.
'The aesthetic is simple but charming and evokes images of sculleries and butler’s pantries. Belfast sinks are large and deep, so they are perfect for washing oversized dishes and pans, and because they are made from fireclay ceramic they are very easy to keep clean. Due to the hard surface of the sink, you do have to be careful when washing delicate items, such as glassware, as it can easily chip or shatter if dropped or knocked against the sides. And for those who have babies or small dogs, a Belfast sink can become an ideal bathtub, especially if your tap has a shower attachment,' explains Simon Temprell, interior design manager at Neptune.
Use the wall above your sink to house a row of Shaker-style wooden pegs, not only is this a great space to store jugs, tea towels, and other cleaning essentials but it will also visually divide the space.
8. Decorate with nature
Proximity to the natural world is a key tenant of French country kitchen ideas. Whether it is herbs on the windowsill, crops straight from the kitchen garden or fresh flowers awaiting arrangement – all these elements add a rustic lived in touch to the kitchen.
‘Fruit and veggies make the BEST country kitchen accessories. Get some bowls on pedestals and hit the farmer's market, fill with fresh produce. It's easy: display, eat, repeat,’ says Ariella Duker of Ariella Duker Interiors.
Decorating with fresh produce will also add a seasonality to your decor – in the summer berries, fruits and herbs abound, while in fall, pumpkins, squash and colored chard make for a vibrant display.
9. Create a feature with brick
Rather than opting for sleek kitchen tile ideas, embrace rustic charm by dressing walls with exposed brick. ‘Brick offers a variety of textural qualities. However, using the technique of over-mortaring or adding a larger mortar joint than the typical 3/8 joint will further help add to that rustic country feel. The more imperfect the mortar, the more rustic your French country kitchen will look,’ advises Denise Smith from Glen-Gery.
10. Purchase vintage pieces to give your home heritage
‘The key to achieving a French country kitchen style is to ensure your décor choices emulate a “lived-in” vibe that doesn’t feel stuffy or overly precious. Oftentimes, this means sourcing décor, artwork and flatware from vintage shops, secondhand stores, or specialty artisans, since it’s difficult to achieve this look with items purchased from a chain store or online,' says Brooke Lang, Principal Designer & Owner of Brooke Lang Design.
This idea is beautifully realized in this kitchen designed by Devol.
11. Add color and character with a patchwork of tiles
Add a backsplash of colorful rustic tiles at the back of the stove or behind the sink to bring color and naive charm to the space. There are plenty of backsplash ideas for kitchens that would be perfectly suited to French country kitchen ideas.
‘French country kitchens often feature large sinks with beautiful traditional taps and encaustic tiles that add a wonderful element of color and pattern,’ says Tom Howley.
Even in neutral kitchen ideas, color still plays a significant role in bringing the character to the space. Here, an otherwise utilitarian kitchen has been brought to life with an artistically tiled backsplash. Curated from an array of hand-painted tiles in a warming green and cream color palette. Seek out designs with a hand-cut and hand-painted look for an artisan feel that enhances the rural-style setting, and accessorize with chunky chopping boards and fresh herbs tied in bunches.
12. Make a feature of a wooden kitchen island
An island dominates a kitchen’s design, and therefore it must work hard to earn its generous footprint. When designing a kitchen island also think about kitchen island seating ideas and kitchen storage ideas to maximize its usefulness.
This wooden island, expertly crafted by Rupert Bevan, makes a feature of the wood's caramel tones and is paired with a generous marble worktop for a touch of luxury. A marble divider keeps the integrated appliances from view. Behind, rows of blue and white plates and hand-painted delft tiles add provencal flair.
13. Celebrate the architecture of your home
If you are lucky enough to have stone walls and wooden beams in your kitchen, be sure to celebrate them. Leave stone walls exposed to provide a character backdrop to cabinetry and open shelving. Pair with practical and decorative elements collected at vintage fairs and brocantes to add flair to your French country kitchen ideas.
14. Choose a reclaimed dining table for heritage flair
The table is a centerpiece of a French country kitchen so ensure it is not overlooked. A workhorse used for everything from prep to serving and dining, it should be a sturdy piece that is able to withstand everything you could possibly throw at it. Opt for a reclaimed design, rich in heritage and personality, and pair it with rattan-backed chairs for added country charm.
15. Curate a display on open-shelving
Open shelving is a great way to combine storage and décor and there are lots of kitchen shelving ideas from which to choose. However, the balance between laid-back and cluttered can be hard to achieve. Be careful not to overwhelm your shelves. Start with a few pieces that you want to store; this might be a sugar bowl, some dishes or a chopping board. Then add pieces that bring colour and texture to the look. Finally finish with a bouquet of forage wildflowers, artfully displayed in repurposed vessels. If you have room, consider backing the display with a freestanding mirror to accentuate the sense of space and depth, as seen in this kitchen designed by Leanne Ford Interiors.
16. Opt for French designed appliances
The stove is a vital piece in every kitchen, not only is it essential for cooking but it also makes a prominent mark on your interior design. In French country kitchen ideas, French design is a must, especially when it comes to range cookers. Lacanche have been making their signature pieces for nearly two centuries, combining technological expertise with chic design. This eye-catching chrome range cooker is the hero of this kitchen designed by deVOL, and sings against the navy tongue and groove panelling and matching cabinetry. A hanging display of copper pans completes the country style.
17. Don't overlook wallpaper in your French country kitchen design
If you want to make a bold statement in your kitchen, but still want to honor the French country style, then let your design decisions be guided by nature. Wallpaper ideas are a great way to add color and pattern to an otherwise neutral space, and, so long as it is paired with hard-wearing backsplash ideas for kitchens can be a great addition.
‘Combining this flora and fauna-inspired wallpaper with naturally weathered oak counter stools and reclaimed parquet flooring creates a real country feel to this light and airy kitchen. The country aesthetic is further enhanced by the use of a subtle sage paint on the traditional cabinetry.’ says Jamie Watkins, co-founder of Divine Savages. ‘Our beloved Crane Fonda wallpaper features the elegantly fabulous Grey Crowned Crane strolling amongst lush palm trees reminiscent of the French Riviera.’
There are plenty of kitchen wallpaper ideas that are guaranteed to bring color and interest into your French country kitchen.
18. Hide away modern details in antique furniture
Embracing traditional kitchen ideas doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your modern luxuries. In this kitchen designed by The Refined Group, a French-inspired armoire strikes a classical silhouette against the back wall of this kitchen-diner. However, all is not what it seems as its vintage façade hides a television, wine fridge and bar storage, helping to maintain the French aesthetic.
19. Integrate antique-style brassware for added warmth
Adding warmth to the scheme, antique-style brassware brings with it a heritage charm that is perfect for a French-style country kitchen interior. Paired with wooden worktops and a white ceramic sink it sings in the sunlight.
20. Opt for delicate window dressings for a country look
It can be hard to dress a kitchen window, even with so many window treatment ideas from which to choose . Unlike other rooms of the home where privacy is a key, in a kitchen, durability and decor are more prominent factors. For a classic French look neutral linens are a popular choice. Yet on the other hand, blinds offer a canvas onto which you can inject character and personality, perfect for a country scheme.
21. Lay herringbone wooden flooring for an elegant backdrop to your scheme
When deciding on the right kitchen flooring ideas for your French country kitchen, think rustic and characterful, opting for natural materials. Warm wood kitchen flooring creates the perfect backdrop to a French country kitchen design. Laid in a herringbone pattern, it works to visually elongate the space while adding texture and contrast to the scheme.
22. Take a tip from chic cafés
‘French scroll light fixtures, cafe-style chairs at the countertops, and decor with an antique appearance can all give you the French country style that you want,’ says Indianapolis-based interiors expert, Larry Greene of Case Design/Remodeling.
‘Don't shy away from wrought iron or copper, either – they’ll add French country flair to your kitchen and give you permission to go antique shopping and go bold with drawer pulls, faucets and the range hood. Make sure, whichever finish you do choose, that it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the design.’
23. Mix your finishes
French country kitchen ideas are a chic amalgam of high-end design, complemented by raw and rustic finishes. This kitchen by interior designer Kellie Burke, for example, places ornate cabinetry within a barn-style setting.
Heavy beams are offset by a scrolled island. A lime-washed finish on the kitchen is contrasted with the faded paint on the ceiling. And antique statues are set against sleek appliances and smart fabrics.
It's an approach common in country decorating ideas, given an extra touch of French flair.
24. Make the stove the star
A gleaming range cooker is the Chanel handbag of the French country kitchen – a timeless, statement piece that elevates any look. Indeed, it's a staple of country kitchen ideas in the US, too.
‘A range that is the centerpiece of the kitchen,’ agrees Jaqueline Chavanu of The French Design Formula. ‘Alongside this, there should be lots of prep space to cook, with honed marble, quartz, or reclaimed wood countertops.
Decorative elements complete the look. ‘I look for “treasure” finds, such as antique ironstone dishes, copper pots, antique china and artwork,’ says Jaqueline.
25. Take your French country kitchen outside
‘French provincial style has been on our radar for quite some time now, says Texas-based interiors expert,’ Stefan Bucur, from Rhythm of the Home. ‘There are some fundamental features that all French country kitchen ideas share, whether we’re talking about original rural buildings in France or revival versions in the United States.
‘Traditional French country kitchen designs include arched windows, warm color schemes and patterned designs, while the typical materials used for the facades of the homes are brick or stone. Those characteristics give French country kitchen ideas a feeling of texture both indoors and outdoors.
‘Whether we're talking about an independent outdoors summer kitchen that was built for the purpose of enjoying nature – another strong element of the French country style – or the main kitchen of the home, the style balances traditional and some rustic elements with a good dose of sophistication to make the design feel more elegant. Because there is such a strong focus on texture the colors are usually chosen carefully to be harmonious with the natural surroundings.’
26. Look to nature
It’s time to go au naturel when you’re considering your French country kitchen ideas.
‘Warmer colors rooted in nature work best for painted cabinetry,’ explains Sarah Barnard, an LA-based interior designer who has created numerous French-style kitchens. ‘For darker palettes, I prefer deep earthy tones of green or warm mushroom grays – colors you may find on a forest floor during a quiet walk. For lighter tones, milky whites and shades of dove feel bright and familiar and can soften the space.’
Sarah has an interesting take on a key kitchen feature.
‘Because range hoods are often so decorative and focal in a French country-style kitchen, I like to think of them similarly to statement jewelry. They should be beautiful and exciting in their own right, but they should also speak to other elements of the space and help bring the kitchen to life.’
Antique or patinated metals work well, either as a complete hood or as accent detailing. ‘Similarly, decorative stone and wood can be an attractive option, though I suggest avoiding anything overly ornate or austere – there should still be an approachable quality,’ Sarah says.
27. Go Gallic in a butler's pantry
This gorgeous monochrome butler's pantry exudes French charm. Taking chic white cabinetry as the starting point, the scheme features matt black café-style glass racks and a complementary pendant light.
Gleaming silverware and fresh roses upgrade this simple galley into the epitome of Gallic style.
28. Use stone as a backsplash
This stunning kitchen by Parisian design duo Alon & Betsy Kasha of Kasha Paris harnesses the original stone of this period property to create a simple rustic look.
Keeping the decor in similar tones creates a serene setting that blends contemporary style with rustic authenticity.
29. Repurpose Champagne baskets for storage
'We use traditional French baskets in our schemes to create scale and height,' explains Phoenix-based interior designer, Dana Lyon, principal designer of The Refined Group. Placing them on the top of cabinets draws the eye upwards, emphasising a high ceiling while also adding natural texture that brings refined rusticism to the scheme.
30. Decorate with plates
Don't restrict your love affair with French cuisine – or rather, crockery – to the table. Ceramics picked up from yard sales, markets and brocantes bring a delightfully informal style to your French country kitchen as well as bringing polka dots of bright color to a white decorating scheme. Our expert tips on hanging plates will help you get it right.
31. Create a freestanding feel
'Integrating antique piece as cabinetry provides a sophisticated country look,' says Dana Lyon from The Refined Group, which created this kitchen scheme.
Here, fabric panels inside the glazed cabinets shield the contents from view, simplifying any visual 'clutter'. Taken with basketry and brick flooring, the look successfully melds refinement with authentic French country style.
32. Inject a touch of Provencal blue
The color associated with the Mediterranean and the South of France brings a classic Provencal look to a country kitchen. Keep the look light by using this strong blue as an accent color in tile and accessories, or go bold and paint cabinets in the shade.
33. Aim for a chic country look
'French country is an elevated, elegant style with perfectly aged woods, curved silhouettes, and soft colors,' says Glenna Stone from Philadelphia decorators, Glenna Stone Interior Design.
'Like so much of French style, it walks the line of effortlessness without tipping into messiness. It’s the home design equivalent of a beautifully tailored coat paired with a scarf that's undone just enough to be chic but not sloppy.'
When you're translating this look to your own French country kitchen ideas, think about pairing rustic timber beams and painted wooden cabinets, with chic marble or quartz countertops.
'We designed this stunning kitchen with exposed beams, leathered quartzite countertops veined with blue, and a hand-cut glass mosaic tile backsplash that incorporates blues, grays, and hints of white,' says Fuscia.
34. Consider a limestone hood
Setting a range cooker within a chimney breast is a classic touch when you're establishing your French country kitchen ideas. But you can elevate the look further with your choice of material.
'We like to use antique limestone fireplaces as the hood surround as it adds an authenticity and an architectural element,' shares The Refined Group's Dana Lyon.
35. Add glamor with marble
In a smaller French country kitchen, refined surfaces elevate the space –