French Kitchen Design

Get all the info you need on French kitchen design, and prepare to add an elegant and comfortable design to your kitchen space.
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By: Sean McEvoy

French kitchen design often combines a casually elegant pairing of high-end, quality materials and welcoming, comfortable design.

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Commonly inspired by the cooking and entertaining-focused French country kitchens, these spaces conjure thoughts of long, luxurious brunches filled with great conversation and culinary delights.

French kitchen design often features an open, airy kitchen space. L-shaped, one-wall or U-shaped-with-peninsula designs are common, and many French kitchens often feature a kitchen island for extra storage and food preparation space, as well. Classic farm-style sinks, great for food preparation or cleanup after large meals, are also a stylish element often featured in French kitchens. Furniture is often antique or antique-looking, to match the casual but still Old-World feel.

Countertops, floor, cabinets and furniture are almost always constructed from natural materials. High-quality woods like oak, cherry and maple are common for cabinets and furniture, which are most often painted in white or light colors but may also be left in their natural wood state or stained to bring out a deeper hue. Cabinets often feature intricate woodworking or cutouts, paired with simple, sturdy hardware in silver, bronze or iron. Furniture and flooring often has a lived-in, weathered look. Floors may feature large planks, and ceilings may feature exposed wood beams for an elegant but countrified look. Farm-style tables commonly feature large planks and sturdy, intricately carved legs.

Countertops also most often feature natural materials, like granite or stone in high-gloss or matte styles. Paired with light cabinets, a darker countertop is often seen in black or dark grey, for a bold contrast.

Artwork and accessories can be an important aspect of French kitchen design. Simple frames containing botanical sketches, pastoral scenes or other natural subjects, flora and fauna are common. Kitchen implements, large utensils and antiques, farm equipment or artifacts and other curiosities are often displayed on walls to add further interest to the design.

Simple wicker or wire baskets, cabinet designs that eschew doors, and open shelving are common storage elements in a French kitchen design. All of these options allow the kitchen to "breathe" and create a welcoming space that can be both convenient for cooks and appealing for guests.

Tile work can be an important feature of French kitchen design, as well. Classic white subway tiles pair well with the simple, elegant design of a French kitchen; they can be especially effective if a color scheme contrasting lights and darks is employed.

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