In this post: There are key elements that are essential to a modern French Country home. This ultimate guide to French Country decor will help you find the best of them.⇒
I don’t watch TV before bed.
I’m not against the idea, but when I want to relax, it’s not the thing I look to do.
No, when I want to get REALLY relaxed, my activity of choice is shopping online. True story. There’s nothing I find more relaxing than curling up on the couch with my laptop and taking an unhurried stroll down the virtual aisles of the web.
Sometimes it’s purposeful, with specific items in mind, and other times it’s completely whimsical, driven by dreams and imagination. These forays yield inspiration and generate real-life plans. They also help actualize a well appointed home.
12 French Country Decor Essentials
Like brick and mortar shopping, I have my favorite places that I frequent, and as a fan of modern French Country decor, my number one place to shop is eBay. I love that eBay offers both antiques and new items. I also turn to eBay when I’m looking for discontinued or hard-to-find items, or even when simply looking for better prices on common things.
*This post was sponsored by eBay, but all opinions and love of the products are genuine and completely my own.
When I’m looking for inspiration, I might just do a general search for “French Country decor” and then let the results take me down an unexpected path. But when looking for something more specific, I head right for the category of choice.
Today I’d like to share with you the top 12 elements I search for to help decorate a French Country home. These are the things I consider essential to modern French Country style.
Without a doubt, the one item that reads ‘modern French Country’ to me more than any other is a gorgeous gilded mirror. I love an all white room, or subtle neutrals, punctuated by a stunning framed mirror.
I have mirrors in most of my rooms and I often use them in place of artwork. I can hardly think of a room that can’t benefit from a beautiful mirror. My favorites have ornate frames with carving and acanthus leaves, but I also love a pretty trumeau or a simple chippy painted piece. Scale is important and you must be mindful of the room you’re decorating, but a lovely French mirror can span the gamut from a tiny desktop mirror to one that leans from floor to ceiling.
There are many available options from true French antiques to wonderful new reproductions. All you need is a good eye.
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2. Vintage Silver
Much easier to shop for than a large statement piece, I love collecting vintage silver. My collection began when I was traveling in Europe and it was the least complicated thing to bring home. These days when most of my shopping is done online, these petite pieces are also usually the least expensive to ship.
Silver is one of the components you’ll find in most of my rooms, as it adds an elegant glimmer to any corner. In the bathroom I love to display grooming pieces and I am tickled by the privilege of keeping Q-tips and soap in a silver holder. These pieces are widely available on eBay and the sweet little treasures are a delight to shop for.
Click here for more Vintage Silver.
This one pretty much goes hand in hand with vintage silver, as they are often components of the same piece. But even when not paired with silver, I’m crazy about anything with crystal drops, from sconces to candlestick-bobeches to girandoles and anything in between. I even have crystal drops with pretty ties that can by hung as holiday ornaments.
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Another favorite category, ornate French clocks are a pleasure to hunt for. I tend to favor gilded clocks, but that’s not the only option. Mostly I look for feminine shapes and curvy lines. This is definitely one of those items that you know it when you see it.
There are plenty of new options, but you need to be careful they don’t look garish. I’ve been known to buy something new and then tone it down with a bit of gold paint.
Of course the best selections are those with a true French pedigree and next you need to decide if you want the clock just for show or if you want a piece that works. I’ve bought both and it’s just a matter of your needs in the room.
Click here for more French Clocks.
5. Cast Iron Urns
Garden urns are definitely one of my current obsessions and I check online almost every night looking for new listings. To me they represent the essence of modern French country decor, because they offer that delicious rustic side that tempers all the gilding. A modern French look is not trying to mimic the Palace of Versailles, but instead mixes touches of the ornate with worn and aged elements.
I own both old cast iron urns and new faux pieces and I firmly believe there’s a place for both in your home.
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6. White Linens
Another recent infatuation, I’m in love with linen, and in particular, white and natural linen. The more washed and drapey the better. I love solid linen in drapery panels, ruffled in shams and chair covers, and tailored and pin-tucked in other bedding. Hemstitched? Yes, please! And of course my favorite, is with tonal embroideries. Those big yummy monograms on vintage bed and table linens completely speak to me.
Vintage linens are usually pretty inexpensive to buy, which makes them a great option for collecting.
Click here for more White Linens.
I’m not sure when or why I first started noticing candlesticks, but they’ve been part of my repertoire for a long time. One of my absolute favorite pieces is the one pictured above, which I bought in a tiny antique shop behind the Duomo in Florence. Since it’s impossible to travel to Italy every time I want to buy something, I search eBay often for altar candlesticks and the like.
Like many of the other categories, I buy new reproductions, as well, and it’s all in the balance as they peacefully coexist around the house.
Click here for more Candlesticks.
If you’re not new to my blog, you expected to see this one in the lineup, and it is certainly at the top of my list along with mirrors, in terms of importance. Like mirrors, I believe just about every room can benefit from a chandelier, even the closet! Mine often include crystal but I’m loving some of the newer alternatives with distressed and chippy paint. Whether grand and stately or tiny and charming, chandeliers have a place in any French country home.
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9. Dough Bowls
This one falls in the same category as garden urns in my book, in that dough bowls bring a similar rugged quality to the style of your home. This contrast of the rustic with the more ornate items is the essence of modern French Country style. I include in this group bread boards and wooden troughs, as well.
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10. Floral China
French bone china is actually something I’ve collected for ages and it’s probably a bit less modern than the other classes on the list, yet I’ve still included it because, used in just the right way, it still has a place in a pretty French inspired home. I’m moving away from plates on the wall and instead displaying china in more creative ways.
I also love to use my pieces in the useful way they were meant for, such as sipping tea or presenting flowers.
Click here for more Bone China.
I’ve been a fan of sconces for a while now, likely because I’m crazy for symmetry and I love how they look flanking a mirror or other wall hanging. They bring an extra note of style to a room and add a touch of complexity, too. Sconces can be electric lights wired to the wall or more candelabra style and can range from rustic and chippy to gilded and crystal. I have and enjoy both, and they come in antique and new versions in addition.
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12. Garden Statues
This one could have been paired with cast iron urns, but since used in a different way and searched for separately when shopping, I’ve given garden statues their own category. Like the urns, they add lovely patina to the home and I own both old and new reproductions here, too. I tend to favor cherubs and just pop on a crown and you’ve taken things to a whole new level.
Click here for more Garden Statues.
These French Country decor essentials may not be all you need to decorate a French Country home but they certainly go a long way to adding the style to your space. Whether you’re ready to buy now or are just browsing, I promise this is an awesome way to wind down your day and it beats watching TV every time!
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