French Country Color Palette : 2024 Beginner’s Guide

This is my beginner’s guide to the French country color palette.

Today, I’ll show you:

Colors are the foundation of your home.

If you don’t choose the right ones, your home will never get the French country style you’re dreaming of.

I have provided a direct affiliate link wherever possible so that you can easily shop and decorate #paidlink.

Let’s get started!

I. French country color palette

1. Neutral French country color scheme

As you may already know, the French country style is characterized by its neutral color scheme

But which neutral colors to choose and why?

Let’s dive in.

There are multiple reasons to choose neutral colors:

  • They are timeless, elegant and relaxing

  • They match all colors, so it left more possibilities when choosing paint colors for the furniture

  • They allow your vintage and antique items to stand out

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2. What neutral colors to choose?

The first neutral to choose is white. You’ll never go wrong with an ecru or ivory white!

Then, choose 2 or 3 neutral colors among these:

neutral colors

Favor light versions of these neutral colors. They’ll make your room seem brighter and larger. Plus, they’ll guide your attention more on the furniture and accent pieces than on the walls.

Also, pay attention to your floor and your unchangeable furniture.

  • Do you have a dark wooden floor? Or dark kitchen cabinets you can’t repaint? Then choose colors that will brighten up the rest of your room.

  • Is your floor made of colored tiles? Choose a light neutral for your walls and furniture.

If you loooove color, you may be on the verge of leaving this too neutral post…

But wait, stay with me! Your favorite part is coming…

3. Faded colors

You should now have chosen one white, and 2 or 3 other basic neutral colors.

Here’s the best part: you can finally choose colors!

But not just any one.

Below are some of my favorite French country colors:

my favorite french country colors

In a French country home decor, colors are mostly faded and kind of chalk.

They are unsaturated with colors. Very subtle and soft shades.

They remind us of nature: the sky, the wood, the minerals, the earth or the sand.

Should you choose cool or warm colors?

Warm colors – such as reds and yellows remind us of sunlight and heat (in bref: South of France!). They are used to making large rooms seem cozier. They make the room feel more inviting and comforting.
Cool colors – such as blues and greens remind us of the water, the sky and the grass. They are great for small rooms to make them seem larger. They make the room calm and relaxing.

How to choose colors that work well together?

To choose color combinations that look beautiful together, I advise using a color wheel.

interior design color wheel

Interior design color wheel by Amazon

What’s a color wheel? It’s a handy tool to help visualize which colors will work nicely together.

Simply turn the wheel so that your favorite color is located at the top, and you’ll see the colors that work well with it. Magic, isn’t it?

You can find this color wheel on Amazon. I think it’s the best one.

4. French blue color

I wanted to write a part specifically on French country blue, because my readers often ask me questions about this color.

So what exactly is French blue? French blue color is a very light and soft blue, that looks fresh and timeless. It’s a color that works very well on a section of wall or on furniture.

Actually, there isn’t ONE French blue but several.

The common point between these blues is their soft and pale tone.

As a picture is worth 1000 words, here are some examples of french blue paint colors from 5★ brands to make it even clearer for you:

II. Which country French paint colors to choose? (+ how to use it)

1. French country paint colors

Now that you know which French country colors to choose for your home, it’s time to buy the paint.

Easier said than done, isn’t it?

It’s often a real headache.

  • there are too many paint colors out there

  • they are not always easy to apply

  • Once on the wall, you’re not sure if it really suits the room

So yes, finding the right paint can be overwhelming.

But don’t worry anymore…

I’m here to help!

And my one secret is a few scrolls away.

 

A. French country wall colors

  • Paint samples

Have you ever bought paint in the store thinking it would fit perfectly on your wall, but once applied, it didn’t look right at all?

I did.

And I know it’s frustrating.

 

That’s mainly because of the undertones and because the light in the store may be different from the light in your home.

So now, I recommend my readers to buy some samples before.

But not just any…

Peel and stick paint samples.

 

Because you won’t need to paint anything. Samplize makes some very good ones (made with 2 coats of real paint), easy to use and affordable (only $5.95). And the samples come right to your door in 1-3 business days.

They have Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore and Farrow & Ball paint samples.

 

But the best part?

You can move them from wall to wall and room to room.

A real time and money saver!

 

And to help you save even more time, here’s my selection of paint colors for a French country home (+ what it looks like in real spaces).

 
  • French country paint colors Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams has a wide selection of paint colors but these ones are really good.

I gathered all the best French country paint colors to use here.

 

For the walls, I like to use very neutral colors with light shades, like “Extra White”, “Repose gray”, “Rock Candy”:

extra white and repose gray sherwin williams rock candy sherwin williams

You can also use some subtle colors but as I explained earlier, sparingly.

Stardew or Queen Anne Lilac could be great on a wall section or a door for example.

stardew sherwin williams queen anne lilac sherwin williams

Evergreen fog may be the perfect paint color for your french country kitchen.

evergreen fog sherwin williams
  • French country paint colors Benjamin Moore

Here are a few French country paint colors you could choose from Benjamin Moore.

chantilly lace benjamin moore collingwood benjamin moore fieldstone benjamin moore

You can check for Chantilly Lace, Collingwood, and Fieldstone paint samples on the Samplize website.

Remember, the right paint colors can take your space from “meh” to “WOW,”. But the wrong choices can leave you feeling less than thrilled… If you want to learn how to avoid the 3 most common mistakes that cost one client over $900, click here and I’ll send them to you!

B. Chalk paint

One of the best colors for french country is found in the chalk finish paint collection.

I love this paint, especially for furniture.

 

We repainted several of our furniture pieces with it, and we couldn’t be more pleased.

My mum used to hate painting. She didn’t like the fact that it had to be perfect. With no paint marks or streaks. Every painter’s nightmare.

But in a French country home?

We just don’t want it to be perfect. We want chips, scratches and damage.

And chalk finish paint is perfect for this purpose.

 
  • It’s chemical-free.

  • Very easy to use.

  • No pickling is needed.

  • No undercoating.

I really love “Jolie” paint colors that are perfect for a French Country style.

Here are my favorite paint colors from this brand:

I always advise buying the Jolie brushes and wax that are specially made to be used with this chalk paint as I don’t guarantee you’ll get great results with classical brushes you may find elsewhere.

They offer a complete kit including all you need to paint your first furniture piece (a large paint can, the wax, the two essential brushes and more). The only thing you need to decide is the color you want!

But if you’re a beginner and want to give it a try on a small item first, the best is to choose the starter kit.

 

Here is our dining room furniture before and after chalk paint.

our furniture before our furniture after

Our chairs have been painted with “Antique White”.

Our farm table and dresser with a mix of white and the equal of “Eucalyptus” color.

 

2. Distressed look

Here in France, we like to have old pieces of furniture.

Sometimes inherited from our parents or grandparents.

Sometimes found in brocantes (flea markets).

These pieces of furniture have been aged over time. They’re real family heirlooms. And they bring a rustic and traditional touch to our home.

 

So, to get a French country look, your furniture needs to be distressed.

A little for some, a lot for others.

 

They should look like they have withstood the test of time.

They should appear weathered.

distressed furniture

When you repaint a piece of furniture, don’t make it perfect.

Rather distress where wear and tear are found: around the handles and corners, surrounding the feet of the furniture…

 

There are now several paint techniques that allow furniture to be repainted while retaining its authenticity and patina.

Chalk paint is the perfect choice for someone who doesn’t know anything about painting (like me!), or who wants to renovate their furniture quickly and well.

 

III. How and where to add color in your French country home?

You chose your accent colors.

Now let’s see where to use them.

 

A. Painted door or wall section

I saw plenty of French country homes pictures with a door of another color than the rest of the room.

Here are a few examples to give you some inspiration.

blue painted door

The paint and wax you need to get a similar look

You can also paint one wall with a different color if you want to make your room seem bigger.

  • Always paint an unchanging wall (not cut by a door, a window, or cupboards).

  • Favor the wall that’s perpendicular to the daylight.

painted wall bathroom

 

Tip: In the living room, you can paint the wall against which the sofa leans. In the bedroom, the one against which the headboard leans. And it may be a good idea to paint one of the corridor’s walls to make it brighter and less narrow.

 

You can also paint a section of the wall to define a zone with a specific function. Such as the wall of the dining area in the kitchen, the office area in the bedroom, the children’s area in the living room, etc.

painted wall section

 

Tip: Be careful! If the wall is backlit, it will appear darker than it actually is (thank you optical effect).

 

B. French country wallpaper

No, don’t spread wallpaper in every room of your home.

French country style is inspired by old countryside houses. But the wallpaper everywhere? Old-fashioned!

 

Here are 4 tips to do it the right way:

  • Cover only a section of the wall with wallpaper. It will enlarge or define the space.

  • Choose a wall section that won’t be overloaded. Few furniture. Few wall art.

  • Choose a wallpaper with the main color close to one of your color palette.

  • Choose a wallpaper that will match the furniture and decor you plan to put against this wall

wallpaper bedroom wall

These wallpapers would be great for a French country look:

C. Furniture

You can paint your furniture in one of the colors you chose, especially if your furniture is very ornate and made of dark wood.

 

Remember: the keywords are elegant simplicity and brightness.

So you can have dark brown furniture. But just a few small pieces.

But light wood furniture or valuable furniture don’t always deserve to be repainted. I let you judge!

bedroom table before bedroom table after

D. Accent pieces

Your decor can also bring some color into your home, especially copper and gold accent pieces. They add brightness to a room.

  • Copper

I particularly love copper that brings so much warmth. We can find it in almost every room but especially in the kitchen.

copper kitchen

Formerly in France, copper was used to designing useful objects: pots and pans, utensils, teapots, fish poachers, molds … And they were transmitted from generation to generation.

We now find a lot of copper in the decoration. Pans and cauldrons hanging in the kitchen, planters, and vases in the living room, umbrella stand in the entrance, etc.

French Copper - Shopping list

You can find other copper beauties here.

  • Gold

House Beautiful

You can add gilded touches in your home with brass, bronze and gold painted wood.

Possibilities are endless:

  • Golden mirrors & frames

  • Brass planters

  • Lighting, in particular chandeliers and sconces

  • Bronze or brass candle holders

  • Hardware: handles, doorknobs, architectural decor

  • Bronze or brass accessories like trinket dishes, alarm clocks, or figurines

Gold Decor - Shopping list

You’ll find some great gold French pieces to shop here.

E. Prints

Prints can be a game-changer for your French country decor.

You have to be careful when you choose them, or you might end up with a messy look. That’s why I wrote a post dedicated to the French country prints to show you how to mix them.

Here are 3 of my favorite prints, but I show you more choices in my dedicated post.

And if you want to learn more about Toile de Jouy, here’s everything you need to know.

F. Flowers

Who says French country decor also says nature.

So it can’t be done without flowers.

They’ll give color to your interior but also a delicious smell.

But what if you don’t have flowers in your garden? And what about the winter season?

The answer is… Use dried flowers!

If they aren’t martyred, they can last for a long time. No need to care.

Our dried hydrangeas

Our dried hydrangeas

IV. ADDING WARMTH TO YOUR DECOR

To come to life, your home decor need some color but also a touch of warmth.

Here are 2 ways to visually warm your home:

 

1. Wood

The wood color is essential to give a little warmth to your very neutral interior.

  • Floor: parquet is a must

  • Furniture: don’t repaint every piece of furniture. If you have light furniture, leave some at is. Or keep a wooden part raw.

  • Accessories: add wooden accents to your decor such as rattan baskets, frames…

wood french country decor
 

2. Plants

Make your French country decor more lively with some plants.

Being surrounded by green and nature is also a way to feel like you’re in the French countryside.

french country planters

THE MISTAKES YOU NEED TO AVOID WHEN ADDING COLOR:

  • Don’t use bright colors. Only faded and chalked ones.

  •  Don’t use pure black. Favor anthracite and use it in moderation.

  •  Don’t use your accent color for every piece. In your bedroom, for example, don’t use yellow on bedlinen AND curtains AND walls.

  •  Avoid using a dark color in a room that’s not bright enough (north-facing room for example).


Get expert tips on avoiding costly paint color mistakes right here.

Struggling to create the French Country home of your dreams? Let me help!

I created a detailed step-by-step guide to walk you through the home you always wanted.

This French Country Design e-book will help you have a clear vision of what you want and get you prepared to pick out paint colors, furniture, decor, and patterns… so you get them right the first time.

 

Once you’ve read it, you’ll walk away knowing:

  • how to re-create your time in France each time you walk through your front door.
  • the exact furniture and decor to buy so you never make costly mistakes
  • the three main steps to put all your stuff together cohesively
  • how to add character and keep your space from looking flat
  • the right colors to use so you never go wrong with paint
  • my top tips to keep only what you need and love so you never feel embarrassed again when friends come to visit
  • the 8 French secrets to getting an authentic countryside home

Here are 3 other posts that could help:

Living room: 37 ideas for a French country style

The beginner’s guide to French country patterns

23 tips for a French country kitchen decor


 

What colors are used in French country decor?

Traditional French colors are a mix of neutral (like white, beige, gray or taupe) and subtle colors (like French blue, pale pink, light green or lavender). They are timeless and allow your decor to stand out. Wood and metal colors are also important on a French country home to add warmth and personality.

What color is French Country blue?

French country blue is a subtle and soft blue with faded shades. It is a beautiful color the French like to use on furniture, but also shutters especially on stone houses.

Is red a French country color?

Red can be part of the French country color palette, but only if used in subtle and faded shades. The French like to add red color mostly in their kitchen with red striped linen or red vintage decor.

How do I make the outside of my house look French?

Many French country houses are made of stones, brick or stucco. They often have beautiful colored wooden shutters. But materials are different according to regions. In the South of France for example, most of the house walls are limed painted in ocher shades, what cannot be found in other regions.

What are the colors for French country?

French country design has a neutral color palette including white, beige, gray and taupe. The French also like to add subtle and faded colors like light green, french blue, pale pink, or lavender. All these shades are timeless and remind of nature.
mathilde-portrait2
Bonjour! I’m Mathilde, a French girl living in the countryside near the sea. If you’re curious to learn more about me, read my full story.

6 thoughts on “French Country Color Palette : 2024 Beginner’s Guide”

  1. Very interesting ideas! Each house we have owned has been in a different style and color palette. Our latest and hopefully final home is "American French country". Painted brick, hip roofs, palladium windows and doors. It screams French to me. I have used the muted colors on walls, cabinets and a few furniture pieces. Your guides are extremely helpful. Waiting for more!

  2. Wish it would say what colors are in the pictures. Like what’s the color of the blue doors and the white walls with the blue doors?

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