If you’re looking into different home decor for your kitchen remodel, you might be interested in French Country style cabinets for your kitchen. Generally speaking, French Country kitchens have quite plain and simple cabinetry because they’re designed to blend into the space while the more ornate elements shine.
You should definitely work with an interior designer if your home improvement plans revolve around the French Country style – this is a very tricky look to get right.
So, what exactly is French Country kitchen design, and how does your cabinet set fit into it? There’s a lot to discuss here, but hopefully this guide to French Country Kitchen cabinets will help!
What is a French Country Kitchen?
First things first, what is a country French kitchen anyway?
Inspired by French cottages from decades ago that still retain their charm to this day, country French kitchens are homey and inviting yet elegant and ornate. If you really want to make a big deal out of your kitchen, French Country style interior design is a great way to go.
In these kitchens, you’ll find lots of traditional Parisian ornate furniture made from natural materials like wood and rattan. You’ll also find materials like brass and wrought iron in the cabinet fittings, handles, and lighting. When it comes to lighting, scroll-style lamps with ornate curves and twirls are very typical of the style.
It’s all about being homely yet chic!
Usually, the walls in French country kitchen designs will have warm colors such as yellows or soft greens, giving the space an overall feel of warmth and friendliness that you don’t get with other styles of interior design. There will be a lot of contrasting colors and textures too.
One of the key elements of French country kitchen designs is their rustic and “aged” feel. You don’t want the kitchen to look brand new – it should feel lived-in and old. You’ll often see stone tile walls, brick floors, and aged cabinet doors designed to transport you to a 20th-century French cottage in the countryside.
When it comes to the kitchen, French Country styles will feature:
- Warm colors (dark woods, yellows, etc)
- Rustic and aged cabinetry, floors, walls etc.
- Fancy oven hoods
- Dull metal fittings like wrought iron, brass, copper pots etc.
- Natural materials like hardwood and rattan
- Elements of brick and stone
- Contrasting colors and textures
- Fancy, ornate furniture and design elements
So, as you can see, little emphasis is actually placed on French Country Kitchen cabinets themselves. Nonetheless, they still have a unique look that helps the cabinetry marry into this unique style.
What Is French Country Kitchen Cabinetry?
When you’re looking at cabinets, French country styles actually tend to be very minimalistic. There is so much ornate design in a kitchen of this style that it’s important to tone down other elements of the room.
The cabinets being one of them!
Usually you’ll find that cabinetry in these kitchens is painted a neutral color like white or taupe, usually in a matte or satin finish to not attract too much attention. They often come in the Shaker style or more traditional European wooden styles of cabinet.
You’ll commonly see cabinet fittings and handles in dull metals such as brass and iron, helping to tie the cabinets in with the old-age rustic theme of the French country kitchen style. Oftentimes the cabinets will also be aged with sandpaper to give them that authentic rustic feel too.
The key elements of a French country kitchen cabinet include:
- Muted light colors
- Matte finish
- Classic cabinet door styles
- Distressed or aged appearance
- Dull metal handles/pulls
While this style of cabinetry is not the most exciting aesthetic in the world, it allows the rest of the ornate details in the kitchen design to shine.
For most designs, you should resist the urge to make your cabinetry very ornate and fancy – it will start to make the overall kitchen look over-the-top and tacky if you’re not careful.
How to Paint French Country Cabinet Doors
If you’re looking to paint a cabinet set in the French Country style, you usually want to stick with lighter colors such as white and taupe in a matte finish.
It’s also quite common to artificially “age” the finish to make the cabinet doors look old and rustic, in keeping with the theme of the overall design.
Here’s a basic guide on how to paint rustic-looking French Country cabinet doors:
- Remove Door Handles and Fittings – remove all the fittings to make sure that you don’t get paint on them!
- Apply Primer – apply a coat of suitable primer to help your paint stick to the wood well, leaving it to dry well for over 1 hour
- Apply Your First Coat of Paint – now apply your first coat of paint, moving in the direction of the wood’s grain. You can use paintbrushes or rollers for this, depending on the type of cabinet door.
- Lightly Sand and Apply Second Coat of Paint – after the first coat is dry, lightly sand the door with 220-grit sandpaper and then apply your second coat of paint
- Age the Finish – once the second coat is dry, use a sanding block wrapped in 80-grit sandpaper to sand over the finish, purposefully taking off some of the paint to reveal the wood color underneath
- Reattach Your Fittings – reattach the handles, hinges, and any other fittings
It may seem counterintuitive to paint your cabinet doors and then sand over them, but it’s a brilliant way to get that authentic rustic aesthetic without waiting decades for the cabinetry to age! If you’re into French Country style you might also be into grey kitchen cabinets or glazed kitchen cabinets.