Get the Look: French-Inspired Bathroom Ideas

French-Inspired Bathroom Ideas

When it comes to style, no one holds a candle to the French. It makes sense, then, that even French bathrooms would be fashionable and elegant. One of the most exquisite French décor styles for a bathroom is French country décor, which balances the elegant with the rustic for a style that embraces the beauty of antiques while maintaining modern sophistication. Defined as a mix of rustic and refined décor and inspired by homes in the French countryside, French country style originated in the 17th century and is still popular. Characterised by antique furnishings, weathered finishes, ornate details, rustic patterns, and soft colours, it is similar to other styles, including French provincial, farmhouse, and shabby chic. What sets French country, also called French cottage, apart from all of those other styles is that it is balanced, not too rustic, too distressed, or too showy and ornate. French provincial is more formal, farmhouse style is too American, and shabby chic, generally considered a sub-aesthetic to French country, has a more rustic, bohemian feel than French country, which has a simple elegance.

What are the best colours for French bathrooms?

There is something soft and elegant about French country style and this extends to the colours used in the décor. If you are planning a French-inspired bathroom, eschew bold, bright colours in favour of subtlety, with beiges, neutrals, nudes, and warm, faded colours. The only appropriate place to incorporate primary colours is in floral accessories, and those accessories can be changed to fit the season or suit your mood. Even there, stay away from bright or saturated tones. For most of your palette, look to the warm side of the colour wheel, and choose hues in with medium to low intensity, like creams, blush tones, soft greens, and faded blues. And while this might sound counterintuitive, if you want to bring in some contrast, do it with black. Incorporating black and white for a high-contrast look makes the space feel French, especially when you pair it with a clawfoot tub and incorporate a variety of textures and softer colours to make it less sterile. For an especially bold look, try making black the predominant colour.

French inspired bathroom

French Country Patterns and Textures

The thought behind French Country is to keep things feeling light and bright. That is why the colour scheme should be subtle, for the most part, and the same theme carries throughout the design. Use any materials you prefer for your walls and floors, as long as you retain an airy feel. Wood panelling can be perfectly beautiful in a French style bathroom, but dark woods are not in keeping with the desired design. Soft furnishings and prints in small florals, gingham, checks, plaids, and stripes are perfect in a French country room, and toile is de rigueur. This traditional pattern can be used for upholstery and wallpaper in a bathroom, with its charming pattern of a detailed, pastoral scene in one soft colour, repeated on a white or beige background. Rugs and seating should be soft, and natural materials like wood, metal, clay, and linen are a must. Real, fresh flowers look beautiful in a French country bathroom, but you can also bring in the floral aspect of the style in wallpaper, mosaics, or upholstery. As you are dreaming up your décor ideas, take inspiration from the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, keeping your mindset on light, bright, and airy surroundings.

Styling the Bath

Nothing says ‘French bathroom’ like a beautiful, freestanding tub, and you should definitely go for it if you have enough room. An iconic, elegant roll-top bath can create a stunning focal point for a bathroom and turn your space into an indulgent oasis of relaxation. There is just something about the graceful curves and vintage styling of a clawfoot tub that turns any bathroom into a luxuriously serene space, especially when it is paired with elegant fixtures and accessories. Picture decorative tile behind the tub, drawing attention to it and making it seem even more luxurious, or a beautiful, antique, beaded chandelier hanging above it. Your freestanding tub can also be an expression of your own unique sense of aesthetics. Scour antique markets for the perfect clawfoot bathtub, choose a minimalist modern tub, or take the luxury to the next level with an eye-catching copper bathtub. If you do not have the space for a freestanding tub, there are also some beautiful drop-in bathtubs that will perfectly complement a French cottage style bathroom. Styled correctly, perhaps surrounded with white panelling or designed with a tile surround, an elegant drop-in tub can be a focal point just as breathtaking as an antique clawfoot tub.

French style bathroom
Glass shower

The Shower

A modern shower in a Parisian bathroom may sound incongruous, but a beautifully executed, glass-enclosed walk-in shower or wet room can look right at home with French country styling. Keep it light, with white or creamy tile, and choose the right fixtures, perhaps in an antique brass finish, to make it elegant. Of course, not every bathroom has room for a freestanding tub and a separate shower. You can add vintage appeal by adding a shower to your clawfoot tub, with an elegant linen shower curtain in a delicate pattern, hung from the shower enclosure, and a handheld showerhead attached to the tap.

Washbasin and Storage

The washbasin and vanity are another area where vintage finds from the charity shop, salvage yard, antique fair or flea market can really shine. Antique wooden furniture is a beautiful element of French country style, in light natural wood or painted in a slightly distressed finish in white or light colours. In a bathroom, you can pull in a feature chair with French-inspired upholstery, use wooden furniture for storage, and get creative with your vanity, pairing a charming table or rustic dresser with a chic basin sink to create a uniquely sophisticated look.

French bathroom
Monochromatic Windowless Bathroom

Styling a French Style Bathroom

Attention to detail is important when you are styling your French-inspired bathroom. Original mouldings, decorative plasterwork, and ceiling medallions can be stunning features, as can parquet flooring or decorative tile work. While wallpaper can be used to create a gorgeous French country look, you can also show off the elegant features of your bathroom beautifully against a clean white backdrop. Little things make a big difference, so carefully choose your taps, in luxurious finishes like gold or antique brass, your light fixtures, your textiles, and every other little aspect of your bathroom. Chandeliers add a beautiful touch, particularly when suspended above a clawfoot tub, and ornate touches like carved feet on your tub can elevate your bathroom space and give it an opulent feel. Be careful not to get carried away with decoration, and not to make it too ‘matchy’, instead juxtaposing materials, mixing weathered pieces with elegant fabrics, a vintage tub with an upscale brass faucet, or softly patterned wallpaper behind a stunningly ornate mirror. The idea is to embrace a curated, lived-in look, pairing rustic and polished elements to create a look that is harmonious and aesthetically pleasing.

Pulling it All Together

Remember, the French country style is all about balance. The idea is to pull together all the different elements of your bathroom in a way that evokes the timeless beauty of the French countryside, so while you are designing, make sure you are creating a cohesive look. Your palette should be soothing, your fixtures vintage-inspired, and your textiles natural and lovely, incorporating delicate patterns and rich textures to infuse the space with French elegance. Keep it uncluttered, prioritising negative space so that your focal points will stand out the way they are supposed to, instead of getting lost in the mix. Choose your accoutrements carefully, opting for natural materials, personalising your design with ceramic jars for storing beauty projects, art that is meaningful to you or whimsical items, like a purely decorative birdcage. Bring in fresh flowers to complete the aesthetic and turn your bathroom into the perfect French country retreat.

French Style Bathroom Ideas

Let Bathroom Inspirations Help You Create a Spa-Like Bathroom

If you want inspiration for designing your gorgeous French country style bathroom, check out the gallery of work we have done, to see some of the stunning bathrooms we have created and accessorised. It might just take some minor adjustments to remake your bathroom, but if you are ready for a renovation, call the bathroom installation professionals at Bathroom Inspirations. Our Dorchester-based company is family-owned and managed by Bridport-born brothers Patrick and Paul Ackerman. Established in 2004, the business now boasts one of Dorset’s largest showrooms, presenting stunning, innovative bathroom designs in real-life settings. We will even help you design your bathroom, with free design services that use state-of-the-art 3D design technology, for visualising the finished bathroom before committing to the work. To learn more, feel free to explore some of our work or schedule an appointment to visit our showroom in Dorchester.