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If you are a fan of timeless elegance and effortless sophistication, then French Colonial style might be just what you have been looking for. Rooted in the rich history of France’s colonies, this style encapsulates the essence of classic European design with a touch of exotic charm. In this blog post, we will explore the key elements of French Colonial style and how you can bring them into your own home.
What is French Colonial style?
French Colonial style is a harmonious blend of French classical influences and the traditional aesthetics of the countries that have been colonized by France, like Vietnam, Morocco, and Algeria. This style brings together the best of all worlds, combining European elegance with the deep history of the colonies.
Unique elements of the style
Materials and colors play a vital role in capturing the essence of French Colonial style. The floors are often polished hardwood, such as mahogany or teak, which adds warmth to the space. Furniture is typically made of natural materials like rattan or bamboo, giving a nod to the tropical climates of the colonial lands. Wicker chairs and bamboo bed frames are iconic pieces of French Colonial furniture.
When it comes to wall colors, soft neutrals like beige, cream, and pale yellow create a calming ambiance. However, don’t be afraid to add pops of vibrant colors inspired by the colonies. Think deep reds, blues, and greens to infuse energy into your space.
Origins and timeline of the style
French Colonial style originated during the 16th through 19th centuries when France established colonies around the world. The style was heavily influenced by French architectural and design principles, which were adapted and merged with local craftsmanship to create a unique blend. This fusion of European and exotic elements gave birth to the French Colonial style we know today.
Popularity in the United States
French Colonial style gained popularity in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As the colonial empires expanded, wealthy Americans sought to recreate the elegance and sophistication of these lands within their own homes. The style became particularly prominent in New Orleans and the southern states, where French influence was already deeply rooted.
Exploring the style in depth
To fully embrace the French Colonial style in your home, let’s take a closer look at its application in different rooms.
Think oversized, comfortable sofas with floral upholstery, paired with a mix of French Colonial and Southeast Asian-inspired accessories. Include occasional chairs with rattan frames and tropical patterned cushions for a touch of exoticism.
Incorporate elements like open shelving to display a collection of elegant china and porcelain. Opt for a large, farmhouse-style table with a distressed finish to create a relaxed gathering space. Complete the look with pendant lights featuring intricate metalwork.
Transform your bathroom into a spa-like retreat with a clawfoot tub, complemented by porcelain fixtures and gold accents. Install a vanity with turned legs and carved details to add an air of sophistication. Accessorize with intricate mirrors and luxurious towels in vibrant colors.
Similar and contrasting styles
If you are intrigued by French Colonial style, you may also want to consider its counterparts. British Colonial style embraces a similar colonial aesthetic but incorporates more elements from the British Empire. This style is characterized by dark wood furniture, wicker details, and botanical motifs. Alternatively, if you prefer a more modern approach with hints of French influence, consider the French Eclectic style. It combines elements of French design with contemporary touches, creating a harmonious blend of old and new.
In conclusion, French Colonial style offers a perfect balance between European elegance and exotic allure. By incorporating elements such as polished hardwood floors, rattan furniture, and a soft color palette, you can bring this timeless style into your own home. Whether you choose to evoke the ambiance of colonial Vietnam or the vibrant spirit of Morocco, French Colonial style will transport you to an earlier era.