The living room is probably the most used or second most used room in the house, vying for top billing with the kitchen. Some homes have formal living rooms, as well as a more casual room for daily use, some have more of a a "great room" concept. Either way, a living room usually has more floor space than other rooms in the house. This makes it a fun room to consider when it comes to decor. There are several elements discussed in this article that may or may not be present in your living room. You can adapt some of the ideas here for use in other rooms of the house as well:
A mantel is a great place to start the discussion of the French Country living room, since it is often chosen as a major focal point. Mantels in French Country decor can be very austere and imposing, or extremely ornate. Material are usually wood, but one can find mantels made of stone such as limestone. Stone mantles usually have a "bleached" appearance, and look almost like an old world hearth. Many wood mantels have ornate carving. These heavily carved mantels benefit from simpler displays so that the focus can remain on the intricacies already present in the piece.
Choosing the seating that will be incorporated in the living room is the most important choice for the rooms' use and look. In a very formal living room, which will be used less often, or for more formal settings, French sofas and love-seats may be a consideration. These pieces are delicately formed around wooden and steel frames and then covered with fabric and edging materials such as cording. They are usually raised on high legs, and the upholstery is patterned or floral. For a more typical living room, couches and seating need to be comfortable and long lasting, but beautiful at the same time. Leather couches and sofas are a great way to fulfill both of these desires. Leather can be purchased with a distressed patina, giving it the appearance of age. A rich dark leather is usually chosen and warmed with the addition of wooden supports and brass hardware. Many French country couches feature upholstery tacks. The same description apply to single chairs found in the living room. They should mimic the design of the couches. Usually the chairs found in the center of the seating area are oversized and roomy, sometimes accompanied by an ottoman. Smaller accent chairs can be used against walls or windows, in a small reading nook, or with a desk.
Coffee tables came from the tradition of moving with your guests to another area of you home after a meal in the dining room. In the French Country look, coffee tables can be used to display items while remaining functional, since these tables are usually quite large. The traditional coffee table is rectangular, and there are many choices of woods and finishes. A large square coffee table is an interesting alternative. In any case these coffee tables tend to be low lying. They may have plain tops, be knotted and distressed, or even be hinged with brass eaves that drop down to adjust size. In a more formal living room, a coffee table can still be used. You may want to consider a glass table with wrought iron, bronze, or gilded frame for the more delicate appearance of formal living room furniture.
Your French Country living room is a place for the family and your guests to gather and relax. Be assured that all of your decorating efforts will pay off in years of enjoyment of this vital area of your home.