Cottage Design Home Decor

The French Cottage

June 3, 2016

I am returning to my Cottage series about the many ways of styling your home (aka cottage). Here are the links to my previous posts:

The Modern Cottage

The Colorful Cottage

The Black and White Cottage

The White Cottage

The Pink Cottage

Today, we look at The French Cottage. Be it a cozy farmhouse setting in the countryside, or a chic pied-a-terre in the city, The French Cottage is always in style.

In 1996, my husband and I took the kids to France and stayed in this oh-so-quaint Farmhouse:


That’s me and my daughter Julia (then age 3) peeking out through our bedroom window. The inside was typically French:  dark beams, florals, rich colors and very low ceilings in the shower (if you’ve ever showered abroad you’ll relate to this!)


The inside of our cottage resembled this:  Lots of beams, textures and very soft sofas!



Our kitchen was small and quaint and resembled this:



A more modern approach to The French Cottage is to add black upholstry:

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Black mixed with this all white apartment (above)  adds a touch of young, modern elegance – especially when paired with the antique chandelier.  Look hard and you can see the very old decorative mouldings near the ceiling line.


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Modern artwork and a classic Chesterfield Sofa in a rich black velvet adds a modern touch.  You can see how the hard edges are paired down in the background with the soft beige drapes. I am not 100% sure about that chandelier though!


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Classic details such as the floral mouldings, original hardwoods and tall French doors add drama to this French apartment.


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Again, the floor-to-ceiling French doors, vintage chandelier and lighter furnishings add a touch of elegance to this Paris apartment. (The kitties are cute, too!)


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A French cottage in the country with dark beams and rock walls.  This look is softened with the lighter upholstery and pink drapery.



One of my favorite French cottages in the country – the inside resembles an old fashioned apartment in Paris.  They kept the brick floors for contrast with the white accessories.


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Above, a classic French bedroom with antique lighting, shutters on the windows, wardrobe tucked into an alcove, and fireplace.

The French Cottage of today is more decorative, with more accessories, more colors, and often with a bit of “country” thrown in.  A more modern French Cottage has mixes of blacks and whites with added touches of gold or chrome, and pops of colors used on dining chairs, art and accessories.

If you are interested in reading about the French Cottage look, check out my friend Cindy Blackenburg’s home which I wrote about in my column “Details” in the April 2016 Issue of Romantic Homes magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Cindy and her great style. You can read her blog here.  Also, check out my friend Victoria Hayden’s Instagram, The French Made Home (@the.frenchmade.home).  She has amazing taste and will be featured in my column in an upcoming issue.


All images via Pinterest.




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  • Reply Cindy June 4, 2016 at 11:58 am

    What lovely inspiration Gay!

  • Reply Victoria Hayden June 4, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    What a nice surprise to be reading your post and see my name…I am honored my sweet friend!! Thank you!! This has such great perspective on the French cottage style, just do wonderful! I am off to read the rest of your new series…love this!! XO

  • Reply Our French Oasis June 6, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    I came over here thanks to Victoria and her IG page about you. Very happy to find you! Living in France of course I loved reading this. I am guessing by the first photo that when you visited France you were in either Brittany or Normandy, it looks most like a Brittany cottage to me. Last year we finished renovating our 200+ year old farmhouse in the South West of France. The ceilings in one of the bathrooms was indeed just under 6 feet high! Of course it all had to be changed, nowadays that’s not even legal, even in France! We have renovated with a juxtaposition of ancient and modern. Keeping much of the charm but adding modern touches for 21st century living with a large family!

    • Reply GayVanBeek June 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      I would love to see photos of your renovated cottage! I love the old cottages, but I also love modern touches like you.

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