Home Decorating For Dummies
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The French country look embraces the warmth and grace of the Provence region for France. By learning how to decorate in the French country manner at your home, you can add a sense of elegance and warmth.

French country has the warmth of American country, but its furnishings tend to have a less homespun feel:

  • Earthy textures and bright calico patterns found in the fabrics make this look enduringly popular.

  • Colors are strong: mustard, rusty red, indigo, and grass green.

  • Fabrics stand up well against white plaster walls.

  • Matching patterns on the walls to those in the room makes a definite style statement.

  • Use rusted metal and wrought iron to accentuate furnishings and light fixtures.

  • Add stone, wood, and brick to add depth and warmth to the room.

  • Most walls should be white or stained plaster walls. You can get paint that is textured to look like plaster at most home centers.

  • Natural fibers and textures add an old-world feel to the space.

  • Go with traditional patterns in muted colors, such as toile.

  • Furnishings should solid and fairly rustic. Be sure to keep the polish to a low sheen

  • Use color pottery and glassware to accessorize your space.

  • Keep the flooring natural. After all, there wasn't a lot of wall-to-wall carpeting a couple of hundred years ago.

About This Article

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Katharine Kaye McMillan, former senior editor of a New York City-based national magazine, is a writer whose work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers. She is a contributing writer to internationally circulated Florida Design Magazine. She is the co-author of several books on decorating and design, including Sun Country Style, which is the basis for licensed signature collections of furniture and accessories by three leading American manufacturers and importers. A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, she holds a masters degree in psychology and is a doctoral student in psychology at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida.

Patricia Hart McMillan is a nationally known interior designer, whose interior design work for private clients, designer showcases, and corporations has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New York Times and USA Today. Known as a trend spotter and for clearly articulated views on design, she is quoted frequently and extensively in both trade and consumer publications. She a ppears on TV and talk radio. A prolific writer, she is coauthor and author of seven books on interior design and decoration, with Sun Country Style signature collections of furniture based on two books. She has taught decorating courses at several colleges and conducted numerous seminars across the U.S. She is decorating editor for Christian Woman Magazine and reports on design trends for The Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune newspaper based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She has been editor-in-chief of two publications and was head of a New York City-based public relations firm representing some of the most prestigious names in home furnishing and building products. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a minor in art history (with an emphasis in architecture), from the State University of New York (New Paltz). She was awarded a certificate from The New York School of Interior Design.

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