French Farmhouse Elements: How To Ideas from a Real Life Momma

So here it is.

My living room. In all, it’s so-called glory. I’ve been sitting on the post for three weeks because… confession…


I’m a perfectionist.

There. I said it. As if you didn’t know. Maybe I didn’t really know. Maybe my desire to do this stupid post made it pretty darn clear to me. I’ve got “issues”. (Said in my best Christ Farley voice).

So here’s the thing: In this post, you will be exposed to the following…

  • Fuzzy photos that were taken with an iPhone that was so full it would not take high res images and I was too lazy to get out my pro camera or clear my phone
  • Horrible editing because I forgot to shove my stupid brown lamp cords up behind the bookcase
  • Junk on my white floors because it took me an hour to fluff the room as it was when I should have been folding laundry
  • Stains and holes on my white sofa because friggen IKEA is an hour away and I have six kids
  • Books askew (totally annoying)
  • The dresser the computer is on is missing a ton of hardware (you can thank my children for that)
  • If you look hard enough you could probably play a fun game of “find the Legos on the floor”
  • I forgot to straighten the piano books and there are two broken piano keys that make me nuts
  • Did I mention fuzzy photographs???

So there. All of the above have been stopping me for weeks. Not to mention, this is the age of Pinterest where gorgeous, magazine quality inspiration is at everyone’s fingertips. As a blogger who enjoys sharing her life, it’s VERY difficult to not compare, to wonder WHY would anyone want to see MY mangy, garage sale living room???

Hello everyone, my name is Parisienne Farmgirl and I like things perfect. They never are. And thus, I live a tortured existence.


Geesh, Ang, you’re thinking. All I wanted was some damn tips on French-inspired decorating. Some French Farmhouse Elements for crying out loud.

Fine. You got it, girlfriend.


So… There is a HUGE trend towards white white white and clean clean clean with the label of French Farmhouse but the über white trend seems more Swedish or Danish in influence to me.   French Farmhouse from my mind’s eye is not nearly so perfect. It’s rustic, layered, colourful…

Here are some French Farmhouse Elements that I love to incorporate:

The French Colonies.

France has colonies around the world and if you look at French décor magazines you will see the influence of those colonies. I don’t have anything like that displayed right now (because I rotate stuff) but when decorating with a “French” style it’s totally cool to have a touch, ever so lightly, of Moroccan, African or Polynesian. Just a little. Once, for me, it was a very ornamental pepper grinder that looked like I had found it at a bazaar in Marrakech.

 

Family heirlooms and books with cool titles.

Stumble upon some old oil painting of some old dude? Buy it. Hang it up. Because hey – instant history. Seriously…. display your family treasures as simple as they may be. In the photographs below you will see a quilt made by my Great Gramma draped over my china cabinet, family photos shoved here and there, Aidan’s Great Great Grandpa’s violin on display and more. And nerd alert…. I’ve got a LOT of old books about. Like some who pick wine bottles for their cool label, I pick my old books for their interesting topics. I like to pick ones that reflect my particular hobbies so I have a lot of old books on etiquette, opera, music, Marie Antoinette, etc.

 

A variety of fabrics.

Is toile outdated? Well, I’d steer clear of that typical Waverly print if I were you, but by all means. Go toile.   Toile de Jouey. A little. A lot. I love it and don’t think you can go wrong. My toile drapes from the old house are being used here to separate the living room from a little piano/book nook I made. The tie backs are from a Paris flea market. I miss them in my bedroom like the old house (here) but they are ratty and wonderful and I can’t box them away.

I love velour, velvet and silk and so I’ve got chairs and sofas covered in all three but when you look at a LOT of French homes, be they in town or a farmhouse, there is a whole lot of IKEA going on there and so to add a casualness to the room and to accommodate my crazy children, I bought a big white IKEA sofa a couple years ago. (I’ve been called nuts for going with white… but you can’t bleach beige now can you?) Providing that our living room is bigger at the next house I will be buying a matching chair and/or another sofa.

 

Textures.

I like a lot of different textures as seen in my love for baskets, barn wood, rattan, fabrics, chicken wire…

 

Mass.

I love the walls of our piano nook covered in family photos (I need to add more. That’s my winter project) and I love the stacks of books just piled up on the floor. It is what it is. We don’t have room for bookshelves and “making it work” is super French. Seriously. Whether it’s a lack of closet space or dining room tables that double as desks, they know how to make it work.

 

The unexpected.

Joel got me a butcherblock for Christmas a few years back. It’s the size of a Volkswagon and this house is the size of a conversion van. What was I going to do? Store that beautiful thing in the barn? Aw heck no. I made it an end table. Boom.

So anyways… you get it. Go rustic, go fancy, go international and mush it all together and you’ve got some serious French Farmhouse Elements. Says I.

 

Shall we proceed with the tour?

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