Are you dreaming of the Loire valley, that enchanted land of rolling hills, stately châteaus, sparkling rivers, and gardens filled with fragrant blossoms? Do you want to make the most of space and light to create a home with a graceful French accent? If you love sophisticated antique interiors, mirrors and sparkling crystal, displaying cherished objects and marrying texture with rich colour, you’ll adore this chic and elegant style. The Loire look is all about luxury European elegance with an inspiring mix of antique and modern furniture and accessories. Create a French country chateau of your own with our 12 design hints.
Loire-style chateau chic is all about the collected look – a mix of different items that, when put together, create the perfect balance of charm and sophistication. The collected look in the living room is a mix of different pieces in different materials. Use warm wood pieces like a sturdy Loire coffee table alongside a metallic-framed mirror and a deeply-polished armoire. Don’t be afraid to combine new furniture with items that are showing a little age – traditional French chateau décor is marked by an eclectic look. Avoid matchy-matchy rooms containing furniture from a single set or range.
2. Find Fantastic Florals
French style makes beautiful use of florals and no interior is complete without blooms on cushions, vases, throws, or carved into picture frames. Arrange fresh flowers like poppies, sunflowers and irises in a pewter jug on the centre of the Loire dining room table. Or add curtains to the bedroom covered with dusky roses and winding stems.
Image via Renaud Camus / Flickr
3. Delve into Deep Colours
Be bold with colour – the French chateau style is not about neutrals. Whether you favour pastel shades or deeper, jewel colours, the palette in French Loire décor is warm and inviting. Think sunshine yellow, bright sky blue, regal purple, and rich red. Pick an overarching colour scheme for a room – dusky pink for the bedroom, for example – then don’t be afraid to add splashes of contrasting colours on accessories and furnishings. Use Loire oak furniture to add depth of colour through the polished, homely wood.
4. Use Decorative Items for a Purpose
Accessories in a luxe French home are not only for show – even in the grandest establishments the milk jugs will be used for breakfast servings and the silver platters for displaying fresh fruits. Use open-faced oak shelving to display items that can easily be pulled from the shelves to be used for a dinner party or a family dinner. Don’t hide your prized possessions behind glass – give them a lease of life in your French-style home.
5. Layer Luxurious Fabrics
One of the most enjoyable parts of creating your own French chateau hideaway is going crazy with the textiles. Toile is a quintessential French print – use it on cushions, curtains, bedspreads and throws. Fabrics with interesting, rough textures work well against the finesse of toile, including linens, tapestry, and casual gingham. Throw in a few items with stripes and a note or two of solid colour for a pleasing panache of texture and colour.
Image via Raphaël Labbé / Flickr
6. Decorate with Visual Depth in the Kitchen
Steer clear of shiny, stainless steel splashbacks in the kitchen or smooth, minimalist tiles. French chateau style calls for plaster walls, stone accents, or stucco. If you paint the walls use a paint that allows the natural roughness of the walls to show through. You want to create the impression of years of use, yet quality and style.
7. Go Larger than Life with Art
If you have a large living room decorated in the style of a French chateau then you need one or two standout pieces of art that draw the eye and create a regal impression. We’re talking huge impressionist art, stately portraits, or oversize landscapes. If you don’t have the budget for a Manet then choose the biggest print you can afford. Add smaller pictures and paintings onto facing walls to create a cultured look alongside your Loire living room furniture.
8. You Don’t Need to be Perfect
The Loire look is intended to reflect tradition and treasured pieces so not everything has to be new and sparkling. Instead of bright, shiny metals use burnished pewters or bronze. Rather than using all new fabrics, through in some that look like they’ve received a lot of love. You’re looking to create a home where the rooms tell a story.
9. Shop for Vintage Finds
Have fun tracking down a range of vintage pieces to set off the affluent French look in your living room, bedroom, dining room or study. Look for sparkling decanters, antique dishes, pewter jugs and chunky glasses. The mix-and-match look gives your home character so it doesn’t end up looking simply dated.
10. Pick Furniture Designed for Bringing People Together
Just because you want a luxe Loire style in your home, it doesn’t mean you can’t consider comfort. Furniture is meant to be used – even in a French chateau. Good quality oak wood furniture provides both sophistication and comfort.
Pull the room together with one perfect rug – look for a delicate floral design or a tapestry needlepoint rug to get the Loire look. The colours should be soft and the rug should provide a focal point without overpowering the room.
Image via Raphaël Labbé / Flickr
12. Set the Right Balance
It’s all about finding the right balance between affluent French design and cosy, liveable charm. Set an elegant stage for family living – combine formal drapes and rich wallpaper with comfortable family furniture like a large oak farmhouse dining table, for example. When decorating in the Loire chateau style you never want to lose sight of your aim – creating a fun, cosy home where the family can relax and entertain.
Simple yet elegant. Timeless yet contemporary, with a French twist. This style of home is a modern classic – recreate your version with the range of Loire oak living room, dining room and bedroom furniture.
Featured Image via Greenwich Accents/ Flickr