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Decorating & Furniture/French Country Living Room

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Dear Jenny,

You may remember me :) I wrote some time ago about our front/"formal" living room in our 4BR colonial home. We recently put in beautiful oak hardwood floors (a medium color) and got a similar colored baby grand piano. The room is still empty except for the piano, but we FINALLY ordered furniture, and decided on a French Country look for the room. I had a few questions. The furniture we chose is Hickory "Grandma's Attic" collection - a couch, chair and chaise. The furniture has multiple fabrics that complement each other, throw pillows, etc. Color is a beige background with "garden" sort of olive green and light burgandy flowers. It's sort of romantic looking, with french design, roses, etc. The chaise has a nice skirt on the bottom, etc. Basically, it is french country. The questions I have are:

1. Can you recommend any websites/resources for French Country design where I can look at ideas, accessories, tables, etc?

2. We saw a nice tea cart that we thought would look great between the two front windows - it is off white distressed, nice curves, with some garden painting on it - is this french country? Would it fit?

3. Can we "mix" woods...? I like some of the smaller furniture accessories like the above teacart, but not sure how the lighter distressed woods would look with our piano and floors?

4. Paint - big issue :) The walls are now white and need to be painted obviously. When I hold the fabric/pillows up to a dark/deep green wall (in the store), the colors in the furniture seemed to really "pop" and were accented beautifully, although my husband has a "color fear"! However, a white or even off white/beige wall seems DRAB and the furniture has no real appeal. Can we go with a dark green or burgandy in this room? It is a big room, ALOT of natural light from the foyer and front windows. Beautiful crown molding I thought we could paint in the beige color of the furniture as an accent color. Any paint ideas for us? Also, if we do paint the dark green, do we paint the ceiling too?  Would 1/2 paint 1/2 wallpaper be an idea?

4. What are some good French Country accessory ideas? Artwork, or ANY accessories? (plants? vases?)

5. Any window treatment ideas/resources? What type of curtains are "french country?"

Thanks so much for any ideas you may have - thanks! Linda

Answer
Hi again,

Happy New Year! Thanks for writing again and for your questions.  As I was reading through your list I was immediately thinking celery or sage green for the walls, so I'll start by answering that first and foremost.  You can opt for a rich sage green rather than a hunter green, which may appease the husband's color phobia.  Painting the moldings in a rich white is also an excellent idea.  The furniture will indeed "pop" against a rich wall color.  As for the ceiling, I'd probably opt for a paler shade of the same green -- check up or down on the same color swatch and you'll get something in the same family of green.  Wall paper is an option of course, but would need to be capped with chair railing - paper below, paint above.  The style allows for either.

French Country design not only allows, but welcomes a mix of woods.  A distressed tea cart sounds totally appropriate and will accentuate the character of the room.  It will create a "juxtaposition" (a designing word that means basically that opposites attract) between the new piano and the old tea cart.  

For French Country ideas, check some of the Better Homes & Garden's Special publications, usually available in your grocery store.  They always feature in depth information about styles.  You could also visit their website at www.bhg.com.

As for curtains, French Country lends itself to simplicity rather than lots of fuss.  I'd use scarves (sheer) to "frame" my windows, allowing the moldings and new rich wall color to take center stage.  If you need privacy, choose wood blinds or shades.

Lastly, accessories tend to flow toward a more shabby chic sort of look.  Pastel roses/flowers in tin OR porceline containers, watercolor paintings, rustic antique pitchers/bowls and tea services that have seen "shinier" days.

Hope this helps you.  
Regards,
Jenny

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Jennifer Taylor Wojcik

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Visit my web site at: http://www.jennifertaylorwojcik.com Decor: I've written about it, planned it, designed it and colored it, and I've never stopped loving it. It's not what you spend, or who made it, it's how it makes you feel.

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College, advertising, public relations, marketing, free-lance writing and a plethora of creative endeavors have led me here. As an entrepreneur in decorative product design, I learned the hard way how tough it can be to be in business for yourself. A stint at a law firm taught me humility too. Some three thousand questions ago, I wondered if I could really help. Obviously, I'm still here and still taking your questions. God Bless You!

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"From Day One" and "Day After Day" available nationwide via bookstores and Amazon.com. HTTP://www.seasoned.com (HomeStyle articles beginning in 1998) Visit me at http://www.jennifertaylorwojcik.com

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BA, Psychology

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