Essentials of French Kitchens
I love French Country style decorating, especially French kitchens. The kitchen is the center of a French home, and French kitchens are usually large with a dining table and pot racks hanging from the ceiling. Warm, welcoming kitchens, where you can imagine some ratatouille cooking or almost smell the tarte tatin baking.
I also love the French Shabby Chic look, with vintage white-washed furniture, and pinks and greens. For one of our kitchens, I created a look which is a little bit like the mixture of Shabby Chic and French Country style, shall we call it French Chic?
In French Country style kitchens, the floor is usually flagstone, terracotta or tile. The Shabby Chic style kitchens usually have black and white checker floors. Our house had great original wood flooring, and instead of black and white checker flooring, I only painted black checks to get a more rustic country feeling. The B&W checker floors give so much character to the kitchen that I really recommend it to add that true Shabby Chic feeling to your kitchen – if you like the French Countryside style better, tile or stone is a must.
I happened to have original open shelving, with new cabinetry on the bottom. But the kitchen was plain and all white. I painted the back wall green to make the white shelves pop even more.
Some ways to get the look without having to install open shelving:
- Take the doors off of your top white kitchen cabinets and turn the existing cabinetry to open shelving.
- Use a bookshelf instead of shelving.
- Install only a few white open shelves and use them for accents, cookware or spices.
- Take the doors off under the sink and replace them with fabric, which will still keep everything hidden but gives you a more airy and colorful look.
Curtains from Pottery Barn
When you want the French Country style, choose Provençal fabrics, linen or heavy cotton with stripes or ticking. For Shabby Chic – mix solid whites with romantic rose prints. Tea towels, tablecloths, café curtains and slip covers bring mcuh color and warmth to your French style kitchen.
You can also find inexpensive and small pot racks, like this one for under 40 bucks.
A pot rack hanging from the ceiling is a must have for any chef, and a black iron pot rack with copper pots is an essential for French kitchens. Don’t worry if you don’t have fancy pots to hang down – you can still have a pot rack and hang other items from it. Like garlic, a colander, a cheese grater, a flour sifter – you get the idea, almost anything! If you cannot add a pot rack hanging from your ceiling, there are several companies that sell pot racks that you can attach to the wall – they are easier to reach too!
ISLAND OR KITCHEN TABLE
Original French kitchens have a dining table, rather than an island, but islands are also great for prepping food and for family gatherings.
Additional items that make the French look - wicker baskets and wire wine racks or storage baskets. White dinnerware or stoneware looks great on open shelving, and dishes in solid colors work the best. Add cookware and bakeware for a look that shows the kitchen is made for cooking. Collect rolling pins, Bundt pans or copper pots and display them proudly.