“French country is what we call rustique,” says Jeanne-Aelia Desparmet-Hart of JADHny Interior Design. “It’s usually very simple.” To channel those pastoral colors, Desparmet-Hart was inspired by the fields of southern France in July. This kitchen palette makes use of a warm cream as a large swath of kitchen wall color while a cheery yellow-green evokes the sun shining through Provencal fields and gray cabinets suggest their shadows. An optional splash of burgundy on the kitchen island (see 4-color scheme) gives the room a bold focal point.
Ochre, a mineral found in abundance in the Provence region of southern France, inspired this traditional palette. While the reddish Terre d’Egypte graces the dining rooms walls in a warm tone, a bright lemony Citron keeps the kitchen light and airy. “The hillsides of southern France are laced in these two colors,” says Kit Golson of Kit Golson Design. The off-white cabinets let the eyes rest from the vibrancy of the other two colors. “These are colors that when you see them, you say, ‘That’s Provence,’” says Golson.
While French Country may bring to mind the south of France, there is another half of the country that features a landscape of different hues. This gray-based palette is inspired by the northern countryside and beaches of France. “These are cooler neutrals,” explains Desparmet-Hart. The soft green of the cabinets evokes a seafoam color while the green-gray of the dining room recalls the cool rocks along the shore. A light gray painted on the island complements these hues.
Taking a modern twist on a traditional palette, these colors use the same luminosity that defines the southern French countryside. “Orange is very fresh and new,” says Golson. “A little of that orange goes a long way.” While a pop of bright color enlivens the kitchen, Golson recommends a soothing green for the dining room. “You leave behind the orange in the vibrant kitchen and then come into a calmer space to dine,” she explains. The lighter green is also a contemporary twist on a traditional forest green often associated with the Provencal colors.