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September 18, 2022 4 min read

French Country vs. Farmhouse Style

It's easy to confuse the Farmhouse style and the French country décor style. That's because both use plenty of natural materials, antiques, neutral colors, and lightness. Yet, these two rustic styles are not the same.

Below, we draw a comparison and unearth the similarities and differences between these two popular rustic styles.

Similarities Between French Country and Farmhouse

Neutral Colors

French country and Farmhouse décor styles stick to a neutral color palette. The neutral colors include a blend of white, taupe, beige, and gray.

So the walls and main furnishings such as the bed and sofa may take up any of these neutral colors. Neutral living spaces feel soothing, inviting, and warm. They also have a clean, tidy appearance.

Antiques

You'll also notice the use of antique or vintage items in both French country and Farmhouse designs. These include:

  • Furnishings
  • Breadboards
  • Rugs
  • Vases
  • Artwork
  • Sculptures
  • Candlelight holders
  • Woven baskets
  • Wall clocks
  • Chandeliers

Natural Materials

Both decorating styles aim to incorporate aspects of nature by using materials like wood, metal, and stone. And the main furnishings like beds, chairs, and tabletop are largely wooden with metal accents. These wooden furnishings are often in neutral colors, especially white and gray.

You'll notice that most of the houses have a stone or brick facade. Wood and natural stone are the popular flooring choices in Farmhouse and French Country homes.

Let's now look at the differences between the two décor styles.

Farmhouse Style

Functionality, minimalism, and rustic charm are the mainstays of the Farmhouse style. The style was born out of necessity as early farmhouses used what was easily available, including stone, wood, and bricks, among other natural materials.

Farmhouse design leans more toward the aesthetics of countryside architecture. But it also incorporates modern comforts. As such, it embodies a look that feels inviting and tasteful.

More Casual

The Farmhouse style does not take itself overly seriously. Its decorating items lean towards the shabby chic side, and the overall vibe of the design is relaxed, allowing family and friends to assemble and have a good time.

A Mix of Old and New

The Farmhouse style is rustic yet stylish and modern yet vintage. It basically combines the best of the old and the new to create a charming and distinct style. For example, you can pair new stainless steel appliances with beat-up wood boxes.

Feels Warm and Cozy

Modern Farmhouse design invokes a sense of warmth that is not always associated with other décor styles. Despite the minimalism in the number of furniture and designs, the furnishings are often cozy, comfortable, and practical.

Additionally, the farmhouse color palettes lean towards the neutral side. Its primary colors are white and gray, along with a pop of color like blue or green.

Patterns

Farm life is full of exhausting activities. That's why the Farmhouse style incorporates easy-care fabrics with noteworthy patterns and cheerful colors.

The fabrics that embody the country character include:

  • Ticking stripes
  • Buffalo Check
  • Plaids
  • Gingham

French Country Style

 

If you step into a classic French country house, you'd be forgiven to think you're in the center of Provence. That's because the French country design draws inspiration from the French countryside, particularly Provence. It embodies a soft, airy, and balanced elegance that's never flamboyant.

Balance Between Rustic and Elegance

Most Parisian homes are super luxurious with elaborate interiors and exteriors. But French country homes adopt a more rustic design, though not entirely so.

Basically, the French country design merges the elegance of Parisian homes with a rustic, country aesthetic. What you get is a balance between splendor and comfort.

Warm Tones

The French country color scheme is described as warm. While the pillar of the color scheme is neutral, warm colors that have medium to low intensity are primarily used. Think of warm pinks, baby blues, soft yellows, and creams for your living space.

Painted Furniture

Furnishings in the French country décor feature a lighter color as the top coat and a darker base coat. Typically, the base coat and the top coat colors should contrast but complement one another.

Examples of base coat colors include deep blue, black, and brown, while top coat colors are cream, gray, tan, and light blue.

Simple Lines

French country furniture embodies neat, simple lines and strong wooden construction.

More Neutrals and Blue

More warm neutrals form the primary color palette of French country design. Muted shades of blue, green, red, and pink often contrast and complement the whites, grays, and brown tones.

Patterns

Toile is a traditional pattern printed on linen or cotton fabrics in French country homes. It features designs of landscapes and images of a specific color printed on a creamy white background. Other patterns commonly seen on French country fabrics include:

  • Stripes
  • Plaids
  • Ginghams
  • Checks
  • Sunflowers
  • Roosters
  • Borders

Accessories

French country: Weathered or distressed furniture pieces are a key accessory in French Country design. You'll also find unique furniture pieces such as:

  • Louis chairs
  • Bergere chairs
  • French armoire
  • French bistro
  • Cane bed

Farmhouse: Many repurposed items fit well in the Farmhouse style. For example, galvanized buckets or trays make great decorative accents in any Farmhouse design. Their rustic style and finish, inspired by farm life, work for everything from wall décor to storage bins to planters.

The Bottom Line

When choosing the ideal rustic aesthetic for your home, you will find that French Country and Farmhouse are the most popular design options. To the novice, both designs look similar as they feature the use of natural materials, antique items, and a neutral color scheme.

But despite sharing certain elements, they do vary accordingly. French country design, for example, combines some aspects of rustic aesthetics with elegant styles. On the other hand, the Farmhouse style uses practicality and simplicity to achieve comfort.

You should therefore review their differences keenly if you want to incorporate a more rustic look into your home.

 

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