In the Bedroom
1. Add French bed linens in toile fabric that evokes the sense of the French countryside in classic tones of faded red, yellow, green, black or blue. The look is ideal for wrought-iron American country beds. According to Cottage Home Decorating, toile is the iconic fabric in French country décor. Choose a farm-themed print in keeping with American country style.
2. Combine French country bed pillows with existing American pillows casually–and don’t be concerned with perfection. The French are known to cover fabric and furniture imperfections with cushions, or a soft throw.
3. Finish bedroom walls with a French country stucco finish. Choose a soft, glowing color such as sunset gold, blushing red or deep sage green. Faux finish kits are readily available at home improvement centers.
4. Hire a contractor to install rustic beams on high ceilings for an American country construction element that brings to mind the supporting floor joists in an old log cabin.
5. Pull in French Vichy (pronounced ‘vishy’) check fabrics for creating small throw pillow covers or curtain tiebacks that speak directly to both American and French country themes.
Make a French-American
1. Hang copper pots and pans from a kitchen rack over the center of an island or kitchen sink for easy reach. Hanging racks with rustic finishes are available online as well as at design centers. According to IHouse Designs, the natural French country kitchen boasts baskets, copper pots and vases full of flowers, all of which are popular elements of the American country kitchen.
2. Glaze cabinets with a distressed off-white or light-cream finish for a French farmhouse kitchen effect. Glazing kits are also available at home improvement centers and come in a variety of colors and visual textures.
3. Place flour and sugar canisters on the countertop for a simple American country kitchen tradition. Choose canisters with pewter tops for a French country accent. According to Kathy Wilson, author of The Budget Decorator, iron and metal works are popular in French country design and they are easily found in the form of candlesticks, wire baskets and wall grilles.
4. Arrange a few iron or pewter candlesticks on an American country farm table for a warm, rustic feel. Dress up an American country kitchen table with French floral print place mats and a soft burlap runner.
5. Place a vintage fan on top of the refrigerator for the quintessential American country kitchen atmosphere. Pull a French tea towel through the handle on the refrigerator to complete the look.
Warm up the Living Room
1. Pair weathered American furniture with formal French fabrics such as the Vichy check, floral or toile fabrics in bold colors. Choose bright fabric colors for furniture such as buff, or knotty pine, and more subtle prints for contrasting dark furniture.
2. Combine opposite textures in furniture and textiles, such as distressed wood with more formal fabric prints. Create a weathered natural look for American country furniture with crackled or brushed paint finishes and cover the seats with French floral prints or toile cushions.
3. Showcase the living room with a large Aubusson rug, which is like rugs originally crafted in Aubusson France around 1870, and traditional American country furniture. Replica Aubusson rugs are available online in a variety of motifs. Look for a simple motif to underscore the rustic feel of the French American country theme.
4. Purchase or pick natural wildflowers to fill vases. Place vases on a coffee table or side table. Stagger vases by placing one on top of a small stack of books and the others on the surface of the side table. Choose rustic metal vases or clear glass with no etching or designs.