French Country style homes (or French Provincial, as they are also sometimes referred to) come in a wide variety of styles. There is no one exact look these homes have. They can take on forms ranging from a cute, simple farmhouse to a stately chateau. That is a huge jump. However, there are still common features that help define these distintive style homes. They are symmetrical, have large hipped roofs (or gables in the more Americanized versions), arched entryways, extensive use of stone or brick with iron accents, tall and narrow second floor windows, and beautifully designed eye-catching exteriors.
French Country style homes have an elegant, warm, rustic feel, similar to the gorgeous manors that can be found in the spacious countryside of southern France (hence the name). High on style, these homes prefer soft curved lines to the simple, more linear, designs of some other home plans. Though there is great variety in their range of sizes, they lend themselves well to larger, upscale homes and are more costly than many others because of their size and attention to detail. French Country and Tudor styles are often spoken of as being similar.
Though these style homes have an elegant, somewhat feminine feel, the mouldings are not as elaborate as you might imagine. Because the doorways and windows are often arched, the mouldings are kept rather simple, so as not to distract from the beauty of the soft, curved lines. Intricate case and base moulding detailing would compete with the French Country archways and detract from the overall old world feel of the home. They would also compete with the shutters that are often found on these style homes. (Many of the older, more authentic, homes have actual swinging shutters, but the newer adaptations are often just for show.)
Aged or textured walls contribute to the warm feelings of French Country homes. Yellows, golds, and rusts are very popular colors, particularly in the kitchen areas. French Country kitchens can often be found in home magazines because of their beauty and their popularity in home design and décor. Cabinetry is often painted a fresh, airy white or left with a beautiful wood grain showing. Both looks help to create a natural, clean, countryside feel. As with anything else with an old, rustic appeal, French Country style homes tend to favor natural materials and accents. Wood, iron, brick, and stone are all popular choices.