Soft French Country Color Palette

green, blue, drab color palette

French country style can look totally different depending on which French Country colors you are drawn to.

This post is about a soft French Country color palette of greens, blues, and khakis. Before we get into that, let’s examine the many interpretations of “French Country.”

French country colors could be warm, cool, muted, bright, or soft. They could be a delicious range of cool light blues or a gorgeous array of warm, deep reds.

Or just the reverse – deep warm blues, light cool reds. A French country interior could have layers of bright colors, or soft, muted whites and creams. French country colors are not restricted to a single side of the color wheel.

French Country Farmhouse

French country design and French country décor, can mean rustic elegance, with bright French blue, red gingham checks, and scrubbed, unfinished pinewood.

blue teapot, yellow bowl
blue door, red flowers
Photo by Michael Kroul on Unsplash

French Country House / Paris Country

Country French style could also mean shabby chic, with variegated light greys, whites, and creams, subtly distressed paintwork, toile fabrics in white or light blue or grey.

grey toile, silver bowl
Delicate crystal and toile is one interpretation of French Country style.
grey stone building
Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

French Provencal

French country could mean the South of France, evoking the French countryside with the colors of lavender, ocher, terra cotta, and olive, heavily distressed paintwork for a rustic patina, traditional Provencal indiennes cotton calico fabrics sprigged with flowers or cicadas, the symbol of Provence.

stone street
Photo by gerti gjuzi on Unsplash
lavender field
Photo by Thomas Despeyroux on Unsplash
red plaster wall
Photo by Clémence Taillez on Unsplash
green shutters
Photo by Chantal Garnier on Unsplash
blue shutters
Photo by Auriane Clément on Unsplash
outdoor fabric market
Charly Pn on Unsplash
blue flowered fabric
Provence Fabric Tradition Navy
blue cicada print fabric
French Blue Cicada Fabric
Vence Gold and Blue Allover Fabric

There’s so many different ways to take French Country style, so many places to find inspiration, including gorgeous works of fine art.

French Farmhouse/French Provencal Colors

I developed this soft French country color palette from this beautiful painting, “The Balcony” by French artist Edouard Manet. I think it’s a bit of mix of rustic French farmhouse style and French Provencal style . I’m just riffing off of the many beautiful French country styles. I think it’s important to be inspired by, but not slavishly imitate, the beautiful French styles.

three people on balcony
The Balcony, Edouard Manet

This palette could be used in a French country bedroom. I think it would be a beautiful palette for a French country kitchen, or maybe even a French country living room or dining room.

In my case, I was simply looking for an interesting paint color, or preferably many French country colors. I’m trying to create a French country home for my family. At the moment I am focusing on bringing French country style into our home by painting furniture. I think painting furniture is the quickest, and most fun, way to add a certain French je ne sais quois to your home.

Here is the video I made about creating this color palette and how to use paint to get an effect like the one on this dresser. If you prefer to read, the transcript follows just below the video.

Please check out my post, How to Paint Furniture French Country Style, for a more in-depth explanation of the wax resist technique I mention in this video.

Here is a supply list for the project, too.

You Will Need:

Dropcloth https://bit.ly/3yoIFGc

Paint Brush: https://low.es/37cXqQd

Painters’ Rags: https://bit.ly/3yjWUMn

Wax Candles: https://bit.ly/3yivBlw

Minwax Paste Finishing Wax: https://low.es/3yoJwqo

Wax Resist Tutorial: https://youtu.be/qunRqgDkrek

Sherwin-Williams Paint Palette:

Cocoon: https://bit.ly/3xibuT5

Cyberspace: https://bit.ly/3BWIT9s

Ionian: https://bit.ly/3BWJ1Wu

Grandview: https://bit.ly/3ihmyMc

Patience: https://bit.ly/2Vfz0TL

Farrow and Ball Paint Palette:

Salon Drab: https://bit.ly/3yhDgk3

Railings: https://bit.ly/3ifmX1n

Verdigris: https://bit.ly/3ig5aHy

De Nimes: https://bit.ly/3xhbtig

Matchstick: https://bit.ly/3A4cH2p

Transcript

My jumping off point for this dresser was the painting “The Balcony” by Edouard Manet. I always like to find a piece of art as an inspiration for how I’m going to paint something and in this case it was the balcony i love the different blues and greens and whites and how they all come together in this painting.

three people on balcony
The Balcony, Edouard Manet

Soft French Country Color Palette

I just eyeballed the colors in the Edouard Manet balcony painting and I used what I had on hand, because it was a way to use up odds and ends of paint. If you would like to recreate something like this, I am going to give you a proper – properly color matched color palette for this balcony painting in Farrow and Ball colors and also Sherwin-Williams. But these are the ones I used. I had some Valspar in Sea Swell. I had Pure White from Sherwin-Williams. Cocoon from Sherwin-Williams. Lounge Green from Sherwin-Williams. Parisian Patina from Sherwin-Williams. And a little bit of Downpipe from my beloved Farrow and Ball.

Thinking Outside the (Paint)box

I read online that Manet was criticized for this painting, because the colors clashed and didn’t match and didn’t work together. And then, when you look at it, of course, um, it’s just gorgeous. It’s all these blue greens and then there’s these blacks and charcoals and a little bit of white and even some khaki. And it’s just – it is a really unusual and interesting combo of colors, and i think it’s just beautiful. So I had a lot of odds and ends of paint that I wanted to use up, and I liked the idea that it might not all work and it might get criticized at the Paris Salon for, you know, not being quite right, color-wise.

Wax Resist is Perfect for Soft French Country Color Palette

For this dresser I used the same wax resist method that I talk about a lot in the “Ballerinas in Pink” dresser video. I just would paint a color and then go over it with my wax puck, and then paint another color, and then go over with the wax puck, and then paint another and go over, and so on and so on and so on.

Experiment with Joy

I just had a lot of fun experimenting. I wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to turn out, and there were definitely a few moments where I decided it was hideous and I was sorry i had even started. But that is very common when I think you’re doing any DIY there’s always a moment, I think I read that first in Miss Mustard Seed’s book; there’s always a moment with a project where you just want to throw the whole thing in the garbage and you’re convinced it’s hideously ugly.

But just push past that moment, the best is yet – is yet to come. And I’m actually, you know I-I like how it turned out a lot and I i hope you do, too.

Farrow and Ball Soft French Country Color Palette

green, blue, tan color palette
Farrow and Ball Color Palette

Here is a palette in Farrow and Ball colors color matched to The Balcony by Edouard Manet. Farrow and Ball Salon Drab, Railings, Verdigris, Des Nimes, and Matchstick.

Sherwin-Williams Soft French Country Color Palette

green, blue, drab color palette
Sherwin-Williams Color Palette

And here is a color palette in Sherwin-Williams paints color matched from the Edouard Manet painting “The Balcony.” Sherwin-Williams Cocoon, Cyberspace, Ionian, Grandview, and Patience.

Other Posts You’ll Enjoy

If you like French Country Style furniture, check out my other posts on painted furniture. The full wax resist tutorial is with my post, How to Paint Furniture French Country Style. You might also like French Country Style: Give Your Furniture Parisian Patina.

If you like creating lots of interest with layers of paints, you’ll enjoy my post, Painting Highlights and Lowlights With Chalk Paint.

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