How to Perfect French Provincial
We all love to look at other people’s homes for inspiration, but few of us get to do it for a living. Imagine our excitement when we were given the opportunity to speak with the Stylists at Brosa, Australia’s online designer furniture store, about this year’s most popular trend. French Provincial is back in a big way, although being a timeless classic, it never really went away.
Originating in rural France around the time of Louis XIV, the provincial style was a stripped back and affordable interpretation of the extravagant furnishings of the bourgeoisie in Paris. Retaining the elegance of Parisian mansions but opting for simpler, functional furniture and decor, French Provincial styling uses a muted colour palette and rustic materials common in Southern France like timber, stone, wrought iron and plaster.
So why is this trend from the 16th Century still so fashionable today? Good ideas never disappear; it’s easy to do, practical yet elegant, looks as good now as 400 years ago and best of all can be done on a budget. The Stylists at Brosa show us how with five rooms that capture the hallmarks of French country design using Brosa furniture and bluethumb art.
Even though this dining room is high up in an apartment, it’s been styled with French country touches throughout right down to the faux french door windows. If it wasn’t for the city skyline, you could imagine them opening out to a meadow of wildflowers. True provincial sticks to a restricted colour palette and like French food, doesn’t veer far from its traditions. The Stylists at Brosa describe this room as moody and graceful and matched the artwork Whisper by Artem Bryl. “The painting is the perfect complement to a sophisticated dining room. The linen texture of the grey fabric on the dining chairs is perfectly echoed in the muted tones of the artwork.”
Create this style: Chablis Trestle Dining Table, $799; 2 x Grace Dining Chair, $279; Whisper by Artem Bryl, $2500
French Provincial may give the impression of simplicity, but in reality it’s very detailed. Borrowing from French film terminology, the mise-en-scène, or “placing on stage”, is incredibly important. Like a film set this room tells a story and everything put in it has been well considered and displayed purposefully. The tea set gives life to the room, even when it’s not being used, and notice how it matches the lamp shades precisely. The Stylists at Brosa love the fresh and airy nature of the artwork Spring Affair by Vanessa May. “It’s reminiscent of 1940s Australian art. The playful texture and palette of this piece work with the relaxed Camden sofa perfectly.”
Create this style: Camden Chesterfield 3 Seater Sofa, $1,299; Camden Chesterfield Armchair, $799; Spring Affair by Vanessa May, $1,140
As you’ve no doubt already noticed, French Provincial homes have a lived in feel. They’re a far cry from minimalism and encourage you to include your beautiful collectables and family heirlooms. Homes feel comfortable because we create an emotional connection to the things that adorn them and tell our story. Look at the treasures on that shelf. They give you a sense of history, family and authenticity. The Stylists at Brosa matched the artwork Rosé by Artem Bryl with this interior. “The rosy tones and abstract nature of this piece work well with the structured look of the Florence sofa. The brass studding also picks up the yellow notes in the colour palette of the artwork, making the statement pieces compliment each other nicely.”
Create this style: Florence Velvet Chesterfield 3 Seater Sofa, $1,699; Robinson Coffee Table, $679; Rosé by Artem Bryl, $2,500
Rustic Metal Accents
The juxtaposition of wood and metal is essential in giving that farmhouse look. Rustic metals like the brass studding on these Zoe dining chairs work especially well. Wrought iron would also be used heavily outdoors in rural France and so found its way inside too. The formidable iron legs of this Nidra dining table give a nod to old farm gates and fencing. “Texture and drama are key to the ambience of this room,” say the Stylists at Brosa. “The Zoe chair has energy to its form as does the Midlands Landscape artwork.”
Create this style: Nidra Dining Table, $899; Zoe Dining Chair x 2, $399; Midlands Landscape by Glenn Miller, $545
Warm and Inviting
Cosiness is at the core of French country homes; they’re not ostentatious. You can kick up your feet, grab a good book and relax, especially on this gorgeous sofa matched beautifully with the large, textured abstract. “The warm and classic style of the Florence sofa highlights the rose tones in the artwork.”
Create this style: Florence Velvet Chesterfield 3 Seater Sofa, $1,699; Bass Coffee Table, $799; Rosé by Artem Bryl, $2,500