Top 10 Essential Design Elements for a French Country Style Kitchen

Transform your kitchen into a beautiful French country style space with our Top 10 Essential Design Elements for a French Country Style Kitchen.

French country style kitchens have become increasingly popular in America in recent years. This design style is characterized by a warm and inviting aesthetic that emphasizes rustic charm and natural elements.

French country kitchens typically feature a combination of vintage and modern elements that work together to create a timeless and elegant look.

If you’re interested in designing your own French country style kitchen, it’s important to consider the key design elements that define this style.  

In this post, we’re going to dive into the top 10 essential design elements to consider when designing a French country style kitchen.

Whether you’re planning a full renovation or just looking to add some French country flair to your current space, these design tips will help you create the kitchen of your dreams.

From rustic materials and textures to vintage lighting fixtures, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create a beautiful and functional French country style kitchen.

So let’s get started!

Top 10 Essential Design Elements for a French Country Style Kitchen

Top 10 Essential Design Elements for a French Country Style KitchenImage Credit

But first, let’s address some common questions:

What is the difference between a French Country and a Farmhouse Style Kitchen?

While both styles have similar rustic elements and are rooted in tradition, there are some key differences.

French Country style is often associated with a more refined and elegant aesthetic, featuring ornate details, warm color palettes, and vintage accents. Farmhouse style, on the other hand, tends to be more casual and rustic, with simpler lines, distressed finishes, and a neutral color palette.

What about French Country vs French Farmhouse Style, you asked?

French Farmhouse style is a subset of French Country style that emphasizes practicality and function. This style often incorporates elements like exposed wooden beams, vintage lighting fixtures, and butcher block countertops, which reflect the practicality of traditional French farmhouses, while French Country style typically features distressed finishes and antique or vintage elements.

The key difference between French farmhouse and French country style is that French farmhouse style typically incorporates more rustic, utilitarian elements and has a simpler and more functional design.

Now that we’ve addressed those common questions, let’s dive into the top 10 essential design elements for a French country style kitchen.

Bring Nature Indoors with Rustic Materials and Textures

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One of the most important design elements in a French country style kitchen is the use of natural materials and textures.

Incorporating materials such as stone, wood, and brick into the design can add depth and character to the space, giving it a warm and inviting feel. The use of natural materials is also key to creating a cohesive look that reflects the rustic charm of French country style.

When designing your French country style kitchen, consider incorporating rustic elements such as exposed wooden beams, natural stone flooring, and brick backsplashes. These features can help create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere while also adding visual interest to the space.

Exposed wooden beams are a common element in French country style kitchens. They add a sense of warmth and character to the space, while also providing structural support. If your kitchen doesn’t have exposed wooden beams, consider adding faux beams to create a similar effect.

Natural stone flooring is another key element to consider when designing your French country style kitchen. Stone flooring adds a timeless and elegant look to the space, while also providing durability and longevity.

If stone flooring isn’t practical or within your budget, consider using stone tiles or vinyl flooring that mimics the look of natural stone.

Finally, consider incorporating a brick backsplash into your French country style kitchen design. A brick backsplash adds texture and visual interest to the space, while also providing a practical surface that’s easy to clean.

You can also use reclaimed bricks to create a more authentic and rustic look.

Creating a Cozy Ambience with Warm and Neutral Color Palette

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French country style kitchens are known for their warm and inviting color palettes.

Typically, these kitchens feature a combination of warm and neutral colors, such as creams, whites, and beige. The use of these colors helps create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, while also reflecting the natural elements and rustic charm of French country style.

When designing your own French country style kitchen, it’s important to balance warm and neutral colors with pops of vibrant hues. This can be achieved through the use of accent pieces, such as rugs, curtains, and decorative accessories, or through the use of colored cabinets or countertops.

Blues, greens, and reds are all popular accent colors in French country style kitchens. These colors can be used to add visual interest and depth to the space, while also creating a sense of balance and harmony. Consider incorporating these colors through the use of patterned fabrics, such as floral or toile prints, or through the use of colorful kitchen accessories, such as plates, bowls, and mugs.

Another way to incorporate color into your French country style kitchen is through the use of natural elements. Consider using fresh flowers, fruit, or herbs as decorative accents, or incorporate a statement piece, such as a brightly colored vintage stove or refrigerator.

By using a combination of warm and neutral colors, along with colorful accents and natural elements, you can create a cozy and inviting space that reflects the rustic charm and natural beauty of French country style.

Add Character and Age with Distressed Finishes

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Adding distressed finishes to cabinetry, furniture, and other elements is a key feature of French country style kitchens. This technique adds a sense of age and character to the space, creating the feeling of a well-loved and lived-in kitchen.

There are a variety of ways to incorporate distressed finishes into your French country style kitchen.

One popular method is to use chalk paint, which can be used to create a vintage, shabby-chic look on cabinetry, furniture, and even walls. Another method is to add distressing to existing cabinetry or furniture, using sandpaper or other tools to create a worn, weathered appearance.

When selecting finishes for your French country style kitchen, consider using natural materials such as wood, which can be easily distressed to add character and charm to the space.

Other materials such as wrought iron, copper, or brass can also be used to create a vintage look.

When incorporating distressed finishes, it’s important to strike a balance between too much and too little distressing.

While some wear and tear can add character to the space, too much distressing can make the space feel cluttered and overwhelming.

Consider working with a professional designer to help you strike the right balance of distressed finishes in your French country style kitchen.

Adding Authenticity with Antique or Vintage Elements

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Antique or vintage elements can add authenticity and character to a French country style kitchen. These elements can help create a sense of history and tradition, making the space feel warm and inviting.

When incorporating antique or vintage elements into your French country style kitchen, consider using items that have a story to tell.

For example, vintage signage, antique dishware, or a vintage range can all add charm and character to the space. Look for items with a patina or signs of wear and tear, as these elements can add to the vintage, shabby-chic feel of the space.

To add vintage elements to your French country style kitchen, consider visiting flea markets or antique shops to find unique pieces.

Alternatively, look for online marketplaces where you can find antique or vintage items from the comfort of your own home.

When incorporating antique or vintage elements into your French country style kitchen, it’s important to strike a balance between too much and too little.

Too many antique or vintage elements can make the space feel cluttered, while too few can make the space feel too modern.

Work with a professional designer to help you find the right balance of vintage elements for your space.

To sum up, adding antique or vintage elements to your French country style kitchen can add authenticity and character to the space, making it feel warm and inviting.

Whether you opt for vintage signage, antique dishware, or a vintage range, incorporating these elements can help you achieve the perfect vintage, shabby-chic feel.

Install a Farmhouse Sink to Combine Function and Style

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A farmhouse sink is a popular design element in French country style kitchens. Not only does it add a touch of charm and character to the space, but it is also a practical choice for those who love to cook and entertain.

The beauty of a farmhouse sink is in its simplicity. It is a deep, single-basin sink that typically sits flush with the countertop, with a front panel that protrudes slightly from the cabinet base. This design allows for easy access and plenty of space for washing large pots and pans.

When choosing a farmhouse sink for your French country style kitchen, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the size of the sink.

A larger sink will offer more space for washing dishes and will look more proportionate in a larger kitchen.

However, if your kitchen is on the smaller side, a smaller sink may be a better fit.

Another factor to consider is the material of the sink. While porcelain and fireclay are traditional materials for farmhouse sinks, stainless steel is also a popular option.

Consider the overall style of your kitchen and choose a sink material that will complement the other design elements in the space.

Lastly, consider the installation method.

A farmhouse sink can be installed in a variety of ways, including undermount, flush mount, or raised mount. Each installation method offers a different look and feel, so choose the one that best fits your design preferences.

Make use of Open Shelving as a Stylish and Practical Design Element

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Open shelving is a popular design element in French country style kitchens.

It not only adds a touch of charm and character to the space but is also a practical choice for those who love to cook and entertain. Open shelves offer easy access to frequently used items and can be a great way to display your favorite dishes and accessories.

One of the benefits of open shelving is its versatility.

It can be incorporated into a kitchen of any size or layout, making it an ideal choice for both large and small spaces.

Additionally, open shelving can be made from a variety of materials, including reclaimed wood, wrought iron brackets, and natural stone.

When incorporating open shelving into your French country style kitchen, consider using it to display your favorite dishes and accessories. This can be a great way to add a personal touch to the space while also keeping frequently used items within reach.

Another idea for incorporating open shelving is to mix and match different materials and textures.

For example, you can use reclaimed wood shelves with wrought iron brackets to create a rustic and charming look.

Alternatively, you can use natural stone or marble shelves with brass brackets for a more elegant and refined aesthetic.

Add Charm and Character with Vintage Lighting Fixtures

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Vintage lighting fixtures are an essential element of French country style kitchens.

They not only add warmth and ambiance to the space but also contribute to the overall aesthetic of the design.

When choosing vintage lighting fixtures, it’s important to consider their form and function, as well as how they will fit into the overall design of the kitchen.

Chandeliers are a popular choice for French country style kitchens, as they add elegance and sophistication to the space.

When choosing a chandelier, look for one with wrought iron or wooden elements to complement the rustic and natural materials found in French country design.

You may also consider using a chandelier with exposed bulbs, which can add a vintage touch to the space.

Lanterns are another popular option for vintage lighting fixtures in French country style kitchens. They offer a rustic and charming aesthetic and can be used in a variety of ways, such as over a kitchen island or table.

You may also consider using lanterns with glass or metal shades, which can add a touch of elegance to the space.

Sconces are a great way to add vintage lighting to French country style kitchens. They offer a practical lighting solution while also adding a touch of charm and character to the space.

You may consider using sconces with wrought iron or wooden elements to complement the overall design of the kitchen.

Incorporate Popular and Practical Butcher Block Countertops

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Butcher block countertops are a classic feature in French country style kitchens.

They are not only practical and durable but also add warmth and character to the space. Butcher block countertops are made by gluing together strips of hardwood, creating a surface that is both sturdy and versatile.

One of the benefits of butcher block countertops is their practicality.

They are perfect for food preparation, as they provide a durable and sanitary surface that can withstand cuts, scratches, and dents. Butcher block countertops can also be sanded and resealed, making them an excellent choice for homeowners who want a long-lasting and low-maintenance surface.

When choosing butcher block countertops for your French country style kitchen, it’s essential to consider the type of wood used. Hardwoods like maple, oak, and cherry are the most common choices because of their durability and resistance to scratches and stains. The wood should be properly sealed with food-safe oil to prevent damage from moisture and bacteria.

It’s also essential to maintain butcher block countertops properly.

Cleaning them with a mild soap and water and drying them immediately after use can help prevent stains and bacterial growth.

Regular oiling can also help keep the wood hydrated and looking its best.

Choose Furniture that Combine Style and Functionality

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In a French country style kitchen, furniture should not only be aesthetically pleasing but also serve a practical purpose.

Incorporating functional furniture into the space can add to the overall design while providing essential features for daily use.

One popular piece of furniture that serves a purpose in a French country style kitchen is the kitchen island.

A kitchen island can provide extra storage and counter space for cooking, baking, and preparing food. It can also double as a place for casual dining or entertaining guests.

Dining tables and chairs can also be functional furniture pieces in a French country style kitchen.

The table can be a centerpiece of the room, providing a place for family meals or gatherings with friends. Choosing chairs that are both comfortable and stylish can add to the overall design of the space.

Other furniture pieces that can serve a purpose in a French country style kitchen include hutches, buffets, and sideboards. These pieces can offer additional storage space for dishes, glassware, and other kitchen items.

When choosing furniture for a French country style kitchen, it’s essential to consider both form and function.

Look for pieces that are well-made and sturdy enough to withstand daily use while complementing the overall design aesthetic of the space.

Conclusion: Top 10 Essential Design Elements for a French Country Style Kitchen

In conclusion, French country style kitchens are popular for their timeless charm and practicality.

Incorporating the top 10 essential design elements can help create a beautiful and functional space.

From using rustic materials and textures to adding vintage elements and furniture with a purpose, each of these design elements plays an important role in creating an authentic French country style kitchen.

Remember to balance warm and neutral colors with pops of vibrant hues, incorporate distressed finishes, add an apron-front farmhouse sink, and include open shelving for style and function.

Vintage lighting fixtures and butcher block countertops are also important design elements to consider.

By incorporating these essential design elements, you can create a French country style kitchen that is both beautiful and practical.

So start planning your dream kitchen today.

Happy designing!


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2 thoughts on “Top 10 Essential Design Elements for a French Country Style Kitchen”

  1. Your article on essential design elements for a french country kitchen is filled with practical and inspiring tips that make designing a kitchen with that warm and inviting French country flair seem so achievable. The detailed explanations of the key differences between French country and farmhouse style, along with the subset of French farmhouse style, provide a solid foundation for understanding the distinct characteristics of each. Thanks for all of the inspiration.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to write us a detailed feedback Julie! We have several other posts related to French Country Style on the blog. We’ve also written extensively about a style we appreciate dearly; Farmhouse Decor. Please check them out, and share with your network what might interest and benefit them. We keep the blog active for readers like you!

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