If you love the idea of a French country kitchen but don't think you have the space for it, think again! With a few key design elements, you can easily transform your small kitchen into a charming and inviting space that feels like a little piece of France.
We have been adding french country farmhouse elements to our kitchen for over a year. Our kitchen is over 20 years old. The appliances were starting to trouble us, and the style looked dated. It has been a slow process to make all the changes because we didn't want to borrow money and wanted to do most of the projects ourselves.
I love the look of the beautiful kitchens in french country homes and wanted to bring that into my kitchen space. Good news – whether you have a large kitchen or small, you can bring these french country kitchen ideas to your home.
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Small French Country Kitchen
Thankfully our kitchen is finished. Here is a kitchen tour of our small french country kitchen and tips on how you can transform your kitchen with french countryside elements.
1. Kitchen Walls
One of the first places we started transforming our kitchen was the walls. We painted over the wallpaper and gave it a nice light blue color by Sherwin Williams called Rhinestone. In some light, it looks white with a hint of blue, but in other lights, it is a perfect powder blue.
Paint is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to transform a whole room. Simply by changing the wall color, you can immediately change the mood. When it comes to french country paint colors, think soft whites, warm neutrals, muted shades of blue, green, oranges, and reds.
But because this project took so long, I started to change my mind about the paint color. I painted the accent wall and cabinets in our bathroom, Repose Gray, by Sherwin Williams. I fell in love with this color and had enough paint to repaint the kitchen. So now the walls are Repose Gray.
Next is the wall behind the range. Between the cabinets, we installed subway tiles. I figured white subway tiles would be perfect if I wanted to change colors or do any other styles in the future. Plus, I had plans for a different range with no upper back.
2. Kitchen Cabinets
Our next biggest project was the cabinets. In our last home, we painted our cabinets white. Well, in this home, they were a dark stain finish. This finish was great for 20 years when we were raising our daughters, but for a french country kitchen, I wanted a bright and light kitchen again.
We first painted all the cabinets with Sherwin Williams First Star. This was a simple project but took time. In another blog post, I have all the details on how to paint cabinets without sanding. After a couple of years, they are holding up beautifully. I believe they'll stand the test of time.
Our next step was the range hood. Here is where we brought the french country vibe into the space. We went with a curved style hood and then painted it and gave it a blue rustic paint finish.
Remember me mentioning I changed the wall paint color. Well, when we painted the hood, the color of Rhinestone was too blue for the room, so this is another reason why we changed the wall color to Repose Gray.
3. Cabinet Hardware
Now that the cabinets were painted and the wall color was set, we focused on the cabinet hardware. I came across this gorgeous champagne gold pull. It was larger, so we had to fill our current holes and make new ones, but it was perfect!
Once we had the cabinet hardware in place, this is where I started planning the new appliances. I wanted appliances that fit a modern kitchen but had a vintage farmhouse french country vibe.
4. Vintage Style Appliances
I searched high and low for many different styles of modern appliances with a vintage look. There were many wonderful options, but we returned to the GE Cafe with gold finishes. However, we started with the dishwasher, which was not Cafe, because my current one died on me.
Dishwashers, in general, do not have a vintage vibe. And since the first thing you saw when you entered my house and kitchen was a dishwasher, I thought it was time to hide it. Our best option was the Bosch panel front dishwasher.
You might be wondering what a panel front dishwasher is. Well, it is a dishwasher that comes without a front. It's a great way to customize your dishwasher's appearance. So we built a cabinet front out of the cabinet doors from my master bathroom. We were so lucky they fit perfectly. See why I painted my kitchen cabinets in the middle of the kitchen renovation.
Now let's go back to talking about the GE Cafe appliances. The price point was in my budget, and when we held the cabinet hardware up to the Cafe gold, it was a perfect match. It was almost as if someone was telling me that these were the appliances meant for my kitchen.
First, we selected the range, which was easy because I currently had a gas top and oven. Since we eat at home 95% of the time and cook a lot, I wanted a range that suited me. The Cafe was perfect!
I originally wanted something hidden for the refrigerator, but I knew I needed a water filtration system, and all the hidden options required additional water filtration in a nearby cabinet. So I went with the GE Cafe french style fridge and then closed it in with my current cabinets.
We simply pulled the upper cabinet forward and built a wall down the side. It worked like a charm, and it is an elegant design, having the large gold handles on the fridge on that side of the room.
5. Maintaining the Traditional Country Atmosphere
Now, if you are wondering where my microwave is, well, way back in the beginning, when we decided to vent our exhaust fan through the roof, I pulled the microwave down and created a hidden microwave inside our small pantry.
Microwaves are not a traditional feature in a typical french country kitchen. Hiding modern-looking appliances helps keep the space in the character of french farmhouse kitchens.
We have a larger closet in the hall, which I am transforming into a vintage pantry, so we didn't need this small pantry for food. It is now the perfect place for a small appliance and dish pantry. Later I added our convection oven too.
Now that we have discussed decorating your french country kitchen with modern appliances let's get to the fun part: accessories and decorations.
6. Vintage Style Faucet
Consider an antique-looking faucet when planning your vintage kitchen, whether it is french, English, or any style.
Here is a modern version faucet that looks old. Our kitchen is a modern suburban kitchen. Adding this chrome faucet helps give it that antique kitchen of France look.
7. Rugs Bring it All Together
This is truly where the french country style takes form. To start, this kitchen needed a rug with colors to pull the blue range hood, white cabinet, and wall color together. I knew this would be the rug that gets the most washing, so I went with something inexpensive.
I found this McGee & Co rug at Target and I plan to pressure wash it about twice a year. We have had it down for over six months now, and it is time to give it a washing. LOL!
8. French Country Kitchen Decorations
Next, let's talk about the decor pieces around the range. I wanted useful and practical decor in my cooking space. To the right of the stove, I added cutting boards to the wall, standing them up.
Then in front are our most used oils and a salt dish. And last, I added this adorable mini olive tree as a decoration. Items like these add sweet rustic elements. Everything around the stove has a purpose except for this little olive tree. LOL! It is just there for looks.
On the other side are two containers to hold wooden spoons, ladles, and rolling pins. The crock belonged to my husband's mother, who knows how old it is. It could have been her mother's because three generations lived in their house. And next to the crock is an old salt glaze pitcher I found at an antique shop locally. Antique shops and flea markets can be a treasure trove of vintage pieces like these.
Now over the stove, I thought this would be a great place to hang pots we use, but I wanted something pretty and useful, so I started shopping for copper pans.
The copper is hanging on an Ikea rod. When I picked it up, they didn't have copper color options, so I took some Behr spray paint in the color copper and painted it to match. It was an easy way to create the perfect french country design.
9. French Country Kitchen Accents
Our copper ladle on the dish rack by the sink is an antique piece I found locally that complements our french country decor. Since I don't plan to use it, I polished it up with Bar Keepers Friend, and it hangs as a decoration. You can find more ideas on decorating with copper accents here. And don't miss this post on how to keep your copper shiny the easy way. This brings us to more decorations.
This dish rack is the perfect spot for decor, and many items are useful too. I added my grandmother's Currier & Ives dishes to the top. Another salt glaze-type vintage pitcher to the shelf and then french country decorations underneath.
Any rack where you can hang stuff is perfect for that french country kitchen vibe. I hung one of grandma's teacups, a mini basket I use to pick herbs outside, and candles. Rustic elements are perfect in a french country-style kitchen. Accessories warm up a space and add french country flair.
Next, a wooden bowl full of fruit and some vegetables are under the dish rack. Bowls and accessories made of natural materials are a great idea to maintain the french country decor. Again, this decoration is useful. I found the Target bowl, which is also a McGee piece.
Well, that pretty much wraps up everything we did to the kitchen to give it that farmhouse french country vibe. Most of my home is a simple farmhouse style, but I love adding touches of curves and ornate decor to give a simple farmhouse french country look with a touch of rustic elegance.
If you want a video kitchen tour check out my YouTube video. I walk through the entire space and share the appliances, paint finishes, and vintage pieces belonging to family members.
Are you thinking of decorating in the french country style in your kitchen? I'd love to hear your french country kitchen ideas and how you bring European charm into your home.