How to Bring the French Countryside to Your Kitchen
Decor essentials with loads of warm, rustic elegance.
Skirted sinks, patinated pots, chippy cabinetry—classic French kitchens are somehow both effortlessly beautiful and perfectly practical at the same time. But getting the right mix of high and low, new and old, and traditional patterns and colors takes more effort than meets the eye.
Laurie Furber, the co-founder of the Bay Area French antique shop Elsie Green says, “When I think of a traditional French kitchen, I think of function. My French friends have their Le Creuset, copper, and cast iron passed down through generations, and [they] keep wood, enamel and silver spoons within easy reach for cooking and tasting.”
For Adrianna Fie, co-founder of the Minnesota-based French wares shop Flotsam + Fork, a French kitchen is all about the layers. “I think blending items from different eras, especially iconic French designs, can go a long way towards bringing a French feel to a kitchen.” Fie suggests mixing neutrals “through crockery and wooden spoons, pattern through Provencal prints, and texture through linens and wicker baskets along with iconic items that are found in kitchens across the country, like glassware.”
Taking inspo from Furber and Fie, we curated 16 essentials that are both functional and oh-so-French, like oversized blocks of milled soap, beautiful linens, and netted market bags, to bring some of that warm, rustic elegance into our own homes.
1. Classic French Cow Butter Dish, $16.99
The beauty of a French kitchen lies in the simplicity and the details. The only way to make butter the tiniest bit better is by storing it in this classic butter dish, featuring a cow imprint on the lid.
2. Vintage French Bread Board, $79
Aged wood can add instant warmth and texture to your kitchen. Vintage bread boards come in all shapes and sizes, so add a few in different tones for everyday use but also for serving everything from homemade pizza to the perfect charcuterie.
3. Serena & Lily Scallop Pendant, $
Another thing to love about French kitchens are those unexpected elements. That’s why we love this rattan, scallop pendant. The fixture isn't simply practical but the soft, swooping curves lend it a classic, antique edge.
4. York Wallcoverings French Linen Stripe Wallpaper, $108
If you want your space to feel unpredictable yet traditional, find a nook, pantry, or wall to wallpaper in this classic linen stripe. We’re all for layering patterns, textures and neutral hues in our kitchens. The wallpaper is available in dark grey and a soft moss, so either option would be subtle yet impactful.
5. Sabatier Bread Knife with Olivewood Handle, $98
What’s a breadboard without the perfect companion knife? Beautiful and functional, this one is crafted in a town called Thiers that’s renowned for its French blade manufacturing.
6. Bergs Palace Pot + Saucer, $26+
While we unfortunately can’t replicate the fresh produce markets on the corners we can incorporate fresh herbs and produce along our kitchen counters. A couple of pots around the window planted with fresh herbs will bring a pop of practical plant life to your space, too.
7. Linen Pinafore Apron,
House dress meets nostalgic childhood pinafore in this relaxed linen apron. Available in creamy white, black and caramel, it looks just as good simply hanging on a peg in the kitchen.
8. Filt French Net Market Bag (Set of 2), $48
Speaking of hanging around, no kitchen is complete without this essential and iconic netted tote bag. It’s a cinch to toss in your bag for trips to the farmers' market, but you can also use it as hanging storage for things like soap, onions, and wool dryer balls.
9. Fer à Cheval Marseille Soap Cube Trio (Set of 3), $27.25
Maybe it’s the scent of vegetable oil, maybe it’s the grand square shape but this soap is an essential in any French kitchen for all the above reasons. Use it to wash hands, dishes, and even as a stain remover. It’s super effective and extremely long-lasting.
10. Matfer Copper Heavy Jam Pan, $141
A French kitchen just isn’t complete without a well-loved—perhaps overused—piece of copper cookware. Whether you’re making preserves or whipping up some jam for brunch, this beauty will make the outcome all the sweeter.
11. Le Parfait Jam Jars, $33
In a French kitchen, the life of a jam jar goes well beyond its intent for storing food, flowers, utensils, and even as candle holders. Any old jam jar will do but if you’re looking for something new to add to your collection consider Le Parfait. With its graphic lids and angled edges. you’ll never look at jam jars the same.
12. Vintage Stoneware Crock, $49
French flower markets are amazing, but a bouquet of grocery store flowers would look just as beautiful plopped right into an old crock. These are available in a range of sizes, so if you’re not a flower person, choose a different size to store cleaning brushes or cooking utensils.
13. Frieling Double-Walled French Press,
You’ve had to have seen this one coming. We’re can't get enough of this Frieling French Press for a few reasons. Obviously, it’s beautiful, but the stainless steel is also incredibly durable, and the double-walled construction keeps coffee four times warmer than traditional glass coffee makers.
14. Gracie Oaks Tea Towel (Set of 3), $23.99
Every French kitchen needs kind of striped tea towel. This set plays well with both solids and prints, and there are tons of colors to mix and match.
15. Debra Hall Lifestyle French Transport Basket, $125
Baskets are handy to have around the entire house from storing potatoes and onions in the pantry, to harvesting fruits and vegetables in the garden, and even hauling clothes to the laundry room. This twig-crafted version has all the color and texture of versatile vintage basket, but on a smaller scale.
16. Duralex Clear Picardie Tumbler, $20
There’s no limit to what you can sip from one of these clear glass tumblers. Espresso in the morning? Check. Sparkling water and lemon in the afternoon. Yes. Wine in the evening? One hundred percent. They're made from tempered glass and are extremely durable, which is exactly the reason they’re the choice drinkware for French cafés across the country.
See what other Food52 readers are saying.