Sara Silm is an Australian stylist, cook and journalist. Sara has traveled the world for much of her life before buying Chateau Montfort in the French countryside in 2015, which she thoroughly renovated.
Filled with beautiful French country decor ideas that we can’t wait to copy, she just published a book, How to get to the French country.
Here, Sara shares her best tips for bringing Gallic charm into your home, whether you live in the Loire Valley or in Los Angeles, Nantes or New York.
1. Create an inviting patterned entrance
For anyone considering entryway ideas, think: pattern.
‘The original encaustic checkered tiles, softened with a natural jute rug, set the chic rustic tone here.’ says Sarah. ‘They were meticulously uncovered under a layer of stubborn glue and old carpet.
“The French country is all about creating a layered aesthetic that is elegant yet understated and pattern is a great tool to add these layers. This decorative wallpaper goes beautifully with the antique table with the red and gray marble top.’
2. Create a space to gather
French country is perfect for traditional dining room ideas.
‘This room is used for family meals and formal dinners and is not too casual or too expensive. The big old wooden table is the key; it was bought at a brocante (flea market) for €50 ($57), the legs are painted a chalk gray for an instant French country transformation,” says Sarah.
“The large carved fireplace is softened with a bauble of bird’s nests, ceramics and a marble bust found in the house.”
3. Choose authentic, unique batter
‘A French country kitchen deserves such a majestic sink, made from one huge, solid piece of stone. The sanitary facilities are hidden by a simple raw linen skirt – very understated French chic – hanging by a thread.
‘A neutral palette fits well in a traditional French kitchen. The wall features beveled white subway tiles and the floor is Cupa Stone tumbled travertine marble. The patina and natural color variations are very forgiving of the grime that inevitably gets walked in from the garden and the irregular surface is the perfect amount of rustic.’
4. Focus on the bed
A classic choice for a French bedroom, the centerpiece here is the grandeur of an antique bateau bed upholstered in a vibrant shade of pink. It’s offset by an elegantly patterned wallpaper — Borastapeter’s Paradise Birds — and a stylishly understated Ikea seagrass rug. Mismatched bedside tables are united with the same shade of Autentico chalk paint. The bedding is made from Couleur Chanvre organic hemp, accented with woodblock print Caï Fahrel pillows. The two botanical prints are market finds.
5. Experiment with toile in the bathroom
we, at Houses and Gardenslove bathroom wallpaper ideas, and what could be more romantic Gallic than the pastoral scenes of a classic canvas by jouy? This is Little Greene’s Stag Toile in Juniper, which is washable so well suited to the space. If you’re using wallpaper in a bathroom, don’t hang it too close to a shower area (which is to be tiled), keep it out of regular direct contact with water, and install a fan to remove steam and condensation.