European styles in the interior arrangement become increasingly popular. A special place in this set of stylistic directions is occupied by the warm, cozy and home-like interior style – Provence. It is also frequently named the French country.
Key features of Provence
- Abundance of light, achieved through the space of premises with the large windows or skillfully arranged local artificial light sources;
- Light color palette for finishing and furniture, use of pastel colors as if burnt out by the sun;
- The use of ancient furniture or new models with the intentionally aged surfaces, patina, abrasions;
- The hand-made elements are actively used, such as woodcarving, dishes painted by hand, lace napkins and table clothes, woven baskets;
- The abundance of live plants – garden plants in the vases, room plants on the windowsills and other surfaces;
- Open shelves with the favorite kitchen items publicly displayed – beautiful dishes, hand-made items, collection items;
- The Provencal interior is always a little archaic – there are no clear rules in the furniture placement, appliance placement, décor (therefore, many housewives, loving to cook and gather the whole family at the dinner table, prefer arranging their kitchen in the French country style).
Obviously, not all these motives of Provence will suit the small kitchen. But key principles, among which, the use of light palette and aged furniture, are applicable for creating the cozy interior with its unique charm. Only at first sight, it might seem that with such approach of furniture arrangement, it is impossible to use the high-technology kitchen appliances. Modern technology in the retro-style incredibly harmonizes with the unique atmosphere of the French country kitchen.
Color palette – a visiting card of the style
Many of you, when mentioning “kitchen in the Provencal style”, will imagine absolutely light premises. But it would be mistaken to think that only white color may indicate the French country style. The palette of colors used is quite wide. But it is noteworthy that for creating the authentic interior la French coastal houses, you should use the colors as if burnt-out by the hot southern sun. Pastel colors would be an ideal choice.
Not only all shades of white, but also blue, sandy, olive, beige, mint, cream and gray – each of these colors may be used both as basic one and for a supportive color solution. Not diluted, pure colors may be used as an accent. There are no absolute taboos in the Provence interior formation for modern kitchens.
All shades of white occupy a special place in the concept of Provence style. The white color gives a lightness and purity to the interior, visually extending the premises, facilitating the maximization of the sunlight. For the kitchen, located northward, with a lack of natural light or for the small kitchen, the light colors will become a basis of the interior arrangement. But do not overuse the white color, using it for all surfaces when finishing and arranging the furniture. Otherwise, instead of light and cozy room you may receive a clear association with the hospital ward. The natural coloring of the flooring, bright ceramics on the splash back and even scanty but colorful décor will become a salvation.
The light-yellow, sandy, ochre shades involuntarily remind us of grass burnt-out by the hot southern sun. In the Provence kitchen, such shades will be relevant as the color solutions of the kitchen facades. Against the light background, such furniture will look incredible. Similar solutions are also suitable for the small kitchen interiors.
The pistachio, mint and olive shades in the pastel variations will become a perfect color solution for the finishing of walls or set of furniture. The pistachio color perfectly matches the snow-white finishing of ceiling and walls, wooden flooring.
The blue color and its shades are frequently used in the arrangement of Provence kitchens. The light-blue shade is used both as a color solution of facades and for the local vertical surfaces finishing. Symbolizing the southern sky, this color perfectly matches the other natural shades – white, brown, sandy. In the blue color, the coolness of the sea-breeze and peacefulness of sky are viewed, but this color as well should be used reasonably. If your kitchen is located in the northern part of the building, you’d better leave the blue colors for the dishes and kitchen appliances.
Marsala color with the addition of white, ripe grape and plum – all these natural colors may be used as supportive color along with the neutral basic shades- white, light-beige, sandy. Most frequently, the colors of such palette are used for the furniture, located in the lower part of the premise. Such technique, apart from everything else, allows increasing the room height visually (on condition that the upper part of the premise is light).
Finishing for the Provence kitchen
Despite the absence of strict canons when arranging the kitchen a la French country, there are several recommendations which you should follow if you want to have the interior identical to the South-French design:
- For the walls finishing wallpapers are used quite rarely (except for the local dining area), the painted walls will look much more natural;
- Ordinary or decorative plastering with the following painting – ideal option for the Provence kitchen. The walls texture will depend upon the kitchen size and its location. In the city apartment, it would be better to choose the smooth variants, while for the detached house, especially country house – you may use any texture;
- For finishing the walls the intentionally aged boards (wall plates of the corresponding style), ceramic tiles, stone and even brick – most frequently these types of finishing materials are used as an accent, locally;
- For arranging the splash back the ceramic tiles will be ideal (abundance of the variants of monotonic material or items with print)
- The flooring may be performed of ceramic or stone tiles and with the use of wooden boards (Provence welcomes the use of exclusively natural materials, therefore no linoleum or laminate).
One of the distinguishing features of ceiling finishing in any type of country style is the use of wooden ceiling beams. If the ceiling height allows, the use of such designer technique will become an ideal variant of reproducing the authentic design with a unique charm of the country house. It is difficult to imagine such finishing within the standard apartment, but in the country house in the spacious kitchen, such arrangement will be more than perfect.
The only patchy spot in the interior of the light premise may become the splash back. Bright ceramics with original ornament will stand out against the background of light, faded kitchen facades. In the case of neutrality of the general palette, you may choose any colors for an arrangement of the most sensitive surface of the kitchen space – the working area.
Kitchen furniture for the Provence kitchen
You may easily state that the color and design of the set of furniture are the distinguishing features of the Provence style among the variety of other country variants. All the more, this is stylistic where it is not necessary to use the furniture ensemble with the equal cupboard facades. The scrappy furniture, as if collected from the best models of a long family history, may create not just a harmonious union, but also become the key design element in the kitchen space.
Is it was already mentioned, in the Provence interior, there is no room for the artificial materials. Furniture made of the wood complex is an ideal variant, in the case of urgency, you may use the facades of painted MDF. No glossy surfaces, chromized furniture and décor. If it is necessary to use the metal elements, let it be the items made of bronze, copper, patina-aged alloys.
The grandmother’s cupboard or pocket-cupboard, found at the rag fair or junk markets, may not only get a new life, perfectly matching the cozy atmosphere, of Provence –kitchen, but also become its main attention-grabber. The aged surfaces (intentionally or due to the many years of usage), ancient fittings, even cracks on the wooden surfaces not only won’t become a hindrance but also will help to convey the authenticity of the interior of South-French houses.
Under conditions of the Provance city apartment with the small kitchen, it is difficult to imagine the rational use of the space, where the grandmother’s cupboard or ancient dining table will be placed. In this case, you may opt for the designer tricks on a formation of “modern” urban-type Provence. A compact set of furniture in combination with the modern “filling” with the artificially aged facades or ancient fittings with patina will become a perfect way out.
Paneling and glass insertions, carved elements, woven and beaten décor – all variants of facades are perfectly suitable for the French country. As an alternative to the upper layer of kitchen cupboards (sometimes partially) the open shelves may serve. This is where you may place your favorite dishes, spices jars and other kitchen accessories, necessary to keep at hand.
If we speak about the dinner area arrangement, it becomes really important to use the furniture made of genuine material. No plastic and chromized elements. The wooden table and chairs will be ideal. In the country houses, you may use the furniture fully made of cane or rattan or having the insertions of such materials. The cane furniture will create a special atmosphere. The atmosphere in which you don’t want to hurry up, but just enjoy your tasty food and a nice company of your family or guests – this is a visiting card of Provence.
Sometimes it is not easy to integrate the household items within the complex of intentionally aged furniture. There are many variants of stoves and ovens for sale, the design of which perfectly suits the French country, but if it is necessary to have a dishwasher or washing machine in the kitchen, you’d better hide them behind the kitchen furniture facades.
Kitchen decoration in Provence style
In the kitchen space, the Provence style gives the possibility to the housewife to show all her skills, to apply the needlework skills, room plants growing, flower arrangement and another type of decorative arts. If we speak about the textile kitchen arrangement a la Provence, we may outline a few key statements (they are not postulates under modern conditions, but act as strong recommendations for the creation of the authentic interior):
- Natural bright cloth with the use of flower (vegetation) print, also the “checked” pattern may be used of colorful tablecloth of cotton or linen which will become a decoration of not only the dining area but also the whole kitchen;
- With the help of lace, knitted napkins, tablecloths and splash-backs you may “domesticate” any interior (but do not overuse the textile, especially at the small kitchen in the city apartment);
- You may also use the chairs with the cushioned seats and backs (cloth with the flower pattern is preferable) or place (bind) hush cloth covers on the ordinary wooden stools;
- The window decoration with the help of textile will depend upon the premise illumination level, location with regard to the compass points and size of the premise (you may use the half-transparent curtain lace, cotton or linen blinds with the patchy print for decoration).
As to the decorative accessories, it is not necessary to use the images or statuettes of cock everywhere (symbol of France) for a creation of authentic interior. It would be enough to place the flower vase in the middle of the dinner table or in the other areas of the kitchen. If there is a wide windowsill you may place the room plants in bright ceramic or clay pots. You may also use the metal cachepot and small tin cans or buckets, woven baskets where the solid jars and bottles are placed.
Kitchen of the Provence style is the place to place the glasses with the sprouted onion or long pot with greenery which may be served to the table. The bunches of onion and garlic, beautiful bottles with the olive oil, tin spices jars will not be unnecessary. The Provence kitchen is a premise for the housewives who love cooking, are hospitable and love family gatherings and welcoming the guests.
The lighting devices may be easily categorized as the decorative elements of the interior. As, apart from its primary function of the space illumination, beautiful lamps made of latten or rough metal, decorate the kitchen. Some models of illuminating elements a la Provence are decorated with china, cloth or glass. Even at the small kitchen do not limit yourself to the installation of the central chandelier only, as the Provence style is always a light premise.
Pay attention to the selection of kitchen sink mixer. Modern chromized fitting is able to nullify all your efforts. There are many semi-antique models of mixers for sale nowadays – with bent taps and cruciform valves. There are also beautiful mixer taps performed a la bronze or decorated with white acryl.