9 ways to create the French look in your home

Create the romantic French country look in your home with an elegant blend of historic antiques, artisan pieces and gilt touches…


Stripped walls revealing bare plaster and remnants of paint shades from decorating jaunts gone by create the perfect environment for a sense of faded French chic. Add instant old-world glamour with an elegant Louis XVI chair and gilt stand.

Louis XVI Revival jardinière, £1,250; Louis XVI armchair, £1,275 a pair, both Lorfords. Aubusson cushion, £95, Chloe Antiques. Book, from a selection, Lorfords. Candle and plant, stylist’s own.

Swap traditional pictures for large-scale verdure tapestries for an eye-catching display and clear focal point in your room. The gently curved commode topped with an ormolu clock ensures the look is refined.

Aubusson 18th-century verdure tapestry, £7,000, Julia Boston Antiques. French 18th-century serpentine commode, £3,950, Brownrigg. Antique French Empire ormolu mantel clock, £11,250, Gavin Douglas Fine Antiques. Pair of Empire-style lamps, £850, Lorfords. Honey and black silk saree lampshades by Samarkand Design, £130 each, Lorfords. Books, from a selection, Lorfords.

The French look works best when it is undiluted by other pieces. Arrange your favourite ceramics by theme and colour on a dresser or open shelves to show them off to their best advantage.

Pair of French ormolu mounted Sèvres lidded urns c1860, £2,150; antique Sèvres porcelain cobalt blue plate c1880, £380, all Regent Antiques. Three plates and a lidded tureen from a 17-piece Paris porcelain dessert service by Honoré, £7,500 for the set, Mayfair Gallery. Sèvres teapot c1765, £3,650, Adrian Sassoon.

Create an elegant reading corner by a window – all that’s required is an upholstered chair with delicate detailing, bolstered by a cushion, and a low table for balancing your book and restorative cup of tea.

Late 19th-century French chair, £695, Chloe Antiques. Cream-painted and parcel-gilt French occasional table, £1,350 for two, Brownrigg. Late 18th-century French oil portrait, £495, Chloe Antiques. Rug, location’s own. Vase, £35, Focus on the Past. Cushion, location’s own. Book, from a selection, Lorfords. 18th-century Sèvres porcelain cup and saucer, £6,500, Adrian Sassoon.

The kitchen is the heart of any home and, happily, French antiques transfer beautifully into a 21st-century cuisine. Confit pots in bright green or yellow glazes, linen tablecloths, plenty of rustic wooden boards and, of course, strings of garlic, recreate the country look with aplomb.

Fench oak trestle table, £1,150, Lorfords. Crate with artichokes, stylist’s own. French pottery boards, £10 each; wooden butter pat, £10, all Old Albion. Green Malicorne jug, £150, Anne Fowler. Wire egg basket, £30, Brocante Living. Dark wood chopping boards, £20-£40 each, Focus on the Past. Félix Potin confit pot, £55; café au lait bowl, £32, both Brocante Living. Green confit pot, £180, Anne Fowler. Cloths, £12 each, Chloe Antiques. Large 19th-century French glazed bowl, £180, Lorfords. Copper pans, find similar at The Kitchen Man. Game hook, £85, Focus on the Past.

If the room allows it, a beautiful carved serving table gives your dining table breathing space. Add decorative elements with a scrolling urn filled with seasonal produce or flowers, and heavy glassware that’s a joy to use and behold.

Late 19th-century French oak centre table, £2,400; 19th-century dining chairs, £3,500 for eight, all Lorfords. Oval creamware dish, £180, Anne Fowler. Decanter, £25, Focus on the Past. Absinthe glasses, £180, Lorfords. Round creamware plates with pretty edges, £200, Anne Fowler. One of a pair of 19th-century French cast-iron urns, £695; cloths, £12 each, all Chloe Antiques. Early 20th-century fine French linen sheets with drawn threadwork border, £180 for a pair, Lorfords. Mid 18th-century Diana and her Bow Aubusson tapestry fragment, £3,200, Julia Boston Antiques. Carved column standard lamp, £750; ochre Liberty coloured pleated silk saree lampshade by Samarkand Design, £195, both Lorfords.

Somewhere refined to sit and brush your hair or apply make-up is an everyday luxury. Fit a small and daintily carved table snugly into an empty corner for a practical as well as an attractive addition to your bedroom.

Giltwood mirror, £2,400, Regent Antiques. Painting, find similar at Vinterior. Dress hanger, stylist’s own. 1950s silk prom dress, £45, Clifton Vintage. Pink porcelain casket, £625, Regent Antiques. Painted French dressing table, £650, Lorfords. Pink dressing table set, find similar at Malvern Flea & Collectors Fair. French ormolu mounted glass vase, £7,500 for a pair, Mayfair Gallery. Opera glasses c1880, £650, Regent Antiques. Candlesticks and silver tray, location’s own. Necklaces, £8 each, Clifton Vintage. Antique French toilette mirror, £5,500, Mayfair Gallery. Louis XVI armchair, £1,275 for a pair, Lorfords. Shawl c1900, £45, Clifton Vintage. Rug, location’s own.

To ensure the bedroom isn’t too overtly feminine, keep the furniture bold and sturdy. Layering the bed with quilts will guarantee a good night’s sleep, while also being an easy way to keep the room looking tidy during the day.

Wallpaper, for similar try Stylised Rose by Albany. Bed, location’s own. Pale pink vintage French quilt, £280, Rebecca’s Aix Home. Vintage French Provençal quilt, £220, Salvage Style. Pillowcase, location’s own. Painting, for similar try The Hoarde. Late 19th-century Louis XVI-style chevet, £895, French Farmhouse Furniture. Books, from a selection, Lorfords. Gilt bronze candlestick c1880, £850 for a pair, Brownrigg. French 19th-century urn, £165, Anne Fowler.

From coffee and croissants, to a pre-supper drink, a simple bistro table and chairs positioned to catch the sunlight at the crucial times of day is key to capturing the French vibe at home. Fill borders or pots with lavender to guarantee a fragrant aroma that transports you to Provence every day.

Black urn, location’s own. Basket, stylist’s own. Vachon bistro chairs, £1,200 (for two chairs and matching table), Violet Grey. 19th-century Arras table, £480, Anne Fowler. Terracotta pots, £8 each, Rag & Bone Bristol. Wooden trug, £25, Focus on the Past. Scissors, find similar at Baileys Home. Watering can, £28, Focus on the Past. Cast-iron 18th-century Medici urn, £1,700 for a pair, Violet Grey.