Wicker is among the signature components of French Country decor. Typically, furnishings and accessories incorporate natural vines and rattan cane in bold, distinctive patterns meant to stand out among their surroundings. In an accidental hybrid blend, these accent pieces are a tribute to remote living that evolved somewhat with the exodus of a newly wealthy middle class from city settings. Incorporating wicker pieces defined by their French Country style into any home setting is a refreshing proposition for traditional and contemporary taste palates.
Rusticity with an underlying elegance lies at the core of French Country styling. Other terms include Country French, French Provincial or more specifically, French Provenance. While addressing a specific region, the rural definition actually covers a much larger area. With its wide scope, attention to the use of natural materials remains at the forefront while other specifics, including color choices, may vary.
Upcountry northern regions, closer to the heart of city life, were far different from the distant peasantry. Over the course of several decades, which also covered multiple cultural periods, the catchall French Country term embraced many styles. While the nobility maintained their chateaus, the middle class with new-found wealth wanted to emulate the upper crust of society. This led to an outpouring from cities in search of places to build palatial homes that encroached on smaller villages and surrounding areas. Surprisingly, ladies with their unfamiliar riches found delight in highlighting peasant living by bringing many of the same furniture pieces and accessories into their own homes. These were, of course, complements to more elaborate furnishings.
Throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, home decor maintained a certain level of formality that was refined by comparison to the preferences of the traditionally wealthy. As natural materials, including wicker market baskets and hearth side chairs, made their way into households, the blend found its balance that allowed for versatility based on station in life, financial resources and location.
Classic Wicker French Country Furniture Profiles
While wood is a prevailing choice for French Country furniture, wicker chairs in particular remain popular components when outfitting dining, living and sun room spaces. Seating choices are solidly constructed, typically with concealed wood or rattan cane frames. Weave patterns are simplistic basket style, often bold yet always comfortable. This style is known for some dramatics that include exaggerated up swept wing backs paired with relaxed and practical armrests that are masculine by definition. Showcasing the wide range of designs defined as French Country, other wicker chair styles take a detour into genteel territories with domed backs and shapely skirting, all enhanced by woven panels. Side tables to match are generally smaller in scale while providing dutiful service.
Wicker Accessories for French Country Decor
At village markets, wicker baskets, upright carts and wagons were at the forefront for storage and transportation. Around today’s homes, they find many practical uses ranging from laundry hampers to fireside log holders. In kitchens, smaller low-profile baskets might hold just-baked breads or provide added color from freshly-cut bouquets. Wheeled vertical carts, designed for maneuvering among the narrow stalls of earlier eras, are stylish foyer accents as umbrella holders. Planters and urns with their wicker styling manage to combine beautiful shaping with strong artisan rattan patterns.
Overall, French Country wicker furniture and accent pieces complement a wide variety of home styles while meeting every decorating taste. Making a small appearance as basketry or a more vocal statement as seating, this is one design choice, with its diverse heritage, that will always be tasteful and inviting.