French Château Romanticism: High End Beds, Furniture and Sheets
The French countryside is peppered with beautiful, antiquated mansions set in sprawling gardens. However, the turbulent history of the French Revolution and the subsequent fate of the landed gentry means that many have had a chequered history. Despite this, much of their pastoral, rustic charm is what gives these properties their je n’ai c’est quoi. The centre of these weathered manors is certainly the boudoir, containing exquisite carved furnishings, sumptuous fabrics and high end beds.
Whereas the French court is generally associated with the gaudy glamour and excess of seventeenth century Versailles, the contemporary country piles of Provence and the Dordogne exhibit a rather more refined take on baroque style. This article explains how to apply the distressed chic and effortless glamour of the rural French château to the modern bedroom.
The Heart of the Boudoir: High End Beds
The most important piece of furniture in the bedroom is, of course, the item from which the room takes its name – the bed. As the largest piece of furniture, it sets the tone for the rest of the interior design. This was most certainly the case in the boudoirs of the French aristocracy; the bed was always the centrepiece, piled high with pillows, sheets and elegant drapery.
In order to re-interpret this classic look for a contemporary interior, only high end beds will do. Look for high, robust frames in traditional designs using finishes such as carved wood, quilting, or gold gilt. However, avoid dark woods or anything too gaudy – the key to the inviting, rustic, yet glamorous aesthetic is to keep things light and airy. For example, this grey painted rattan bed by The French Bedroom Company is the ideal balance of ornate and lightly distressed.
Plush Fabrics: Sumptuous Duvets, Quilts and Throw Pillows
High end beds are best complemented by high end accessories. If the furnishings of the French country bedroom are elegantly distressed, then it falls to the fabrics to provide luxury and opulence. However, steer clear of primaries – the palette should be muted, sophisticated pastels. Or, you can never go wrong with layers upon layers of crisp white bed linen.
The best way to add a lavish touch to textiles is through texture. When selecting your linen, look for delicately embroidered details, ruching and ruffles. Or, to embody true French country castle style, drape a cream crochet blanket across the foot of the bed. From here, mix and match the different textures with a range of fabrics – place delicate silks next to natural muslin, and rustic linens next to fine cotton to create interest and decadent comfort on high end beds.
Rustic Accents: Elegant, Understated Antiques
To complete the French château look, accent the bedroom with hand-picked, rustic antiques. Look for dressers, drawers and bedside tables in elegantly weathered pale woods or pastel blues, greens or cream. When placed sparingly and with plenty of space, ornate carved pieces also make a tasteful, chic statement in large, airy rooms against a surface of distressed brick or white-washed wood panelling.
Be sure to fill the room with mirrors; an important part of the style is creating the feel of the bright sunshine and fresh air of southern France. Mirrors with pale gold or silver gilt frames are a stylish and timeless addition to the bedroom furniture, whether they’re dramatic floor-standing pieces or a modest accent perched on a bedside table. For a contemporary take on the classic gilt-framed mirror, Lladró create white, gold and black Baroque-style mirrors in fine porcelain.