Nostalgic French reading room

French Jan 3, 2021

Image source: French estate in Austin, TX

Imagine: A rainy afternoon sitting in one of those comfy arm chairs with a page turner book, reading to the sound of droplets on the windows.


If you were walking down the street and came across this house, you may feel like you traveled to the countryside of France. From the outside, this French country estate boasts a beautiful stone facade, with steep sloping rooftops that give it a very old-world feel. The brick driveway and large trees in the front lawn give the home a mystical and magical vibe as well.

French country estate - exterior

Typically French country style consists of a neutral color palette, which this home already begins to allude to from its exterior. As we move inside, the palette is especially noticeable through the choice of wall paints. Each room typically has a simple, no-sheen, slightly off white paint. You can see this is true for most of the rooms in this home...

French country estate - kitchen
French country estate - dining room
French country estate - bedroom
French country estate - bathroom

...except the reading room. And that's why I love this room so much. I love that the designer decided to go bold and different for just this 1 room. It makes me wonder if the homeowners wanted to pay special attention and detail to this room.

French country estate - reading room
French country estate - reading room

As you can see, not only is this room one of the only ones that uses wallpaper, but it is far busier than any other wall decoration in the house. Even the bedroom's semi-exposed brick, which adds so much character to the room, is very subtle. However, one way the designer of this room has brilliantly made a busy print not feel overwhelming is through the choice of color. The wallpaper's color pattern feels like an extension of the wooden panels that frame it.

Imagine if the wallpaper kept the same pattern, but was either a lighter off-white neutral tone like the rest of the house, or, just for fun, a dark black color!

French country estate - reading room
French country estate - reading room

Both of these are better than having plain white walls though so I think the pattern is a good decision.

French country estate - reading room

While it wouldn't necessarily look bad, the room doesn't have the same charm as it does with the patterned wallpaper. The white walls do help bounce the light streaming through the windows more.

Since the walls and flooring are both a relatively dark shade, the white area rug with white arm chairs lighten the room significantly. As the textures are soft and fluffy, they also are inviting and cozy.

All in all, I love how much this room stands out from the rest of the house. It's a great focal point and one I would love to spend some time reading in!


If you like this style... I’ve helped you find some options to replicate the pieces found in this interior.

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