There are a lot of different decor styles you can choose from to give your bathroom a pulled together theme that is both attractive and functional but one of the most romantic and elegant is the French Provincial style. Not as ornate (or as expensive to achieve) as grand French design in the style of the Palace of Versailles or some other grand French chateau, the bathrooms in homes in the French countryside are filled with whitewashed wood, elegant details and broad windows that fill each room with natural light. French provincial bathrooms are inspired by these themes, combining rustic charm with an elegant ambiance.

The effortless beauty encompassed in this style makes it a popular choice for modern bathrooms. No matter what country you’re in, these design tips will make it easy to recreate a French provincial bathroom look.

The Walls

Modern tile is too harsh for a French style bathroom. Instead, try painting the walls with a waterproof paint using a faux painting technique such as ragging or distressing. Keep paint colors light and airy – whites, creams and pale pastels are the best choices.

Adding just the right pieces of artwork to the walls can help set the tone for the room as well. A great country landscape can help transport you to the land you are trying to recreate or a themed wall border – grapes, roses, even roosters – can also achieve a similar effect

Lighting

Replace modern light shades with older, antique style cut glass ones (you will probably be able to find them at a thrift store or on eBay) and consider adding elegant scones to the walls to provide ambient light for relaxing bath times. If you really want to add a touch of glamorous drama you could even consider installing a small chandelier.

Fixtures

If you really want to add a rustic French look to your new bathroom replace modern plastic toilet seats and towel racks with elegant wooden – or wood look – ones instead. Replacing modern storage shelves with an antiqued wooden equivalent can enhance the look and feel of the space as well. Even something as simple as switching the plain knobs and handles on a bathroom vanity for elegant crystal ones can make a bigger difference than you might imagine.

Ambiance

Another thing to keep in mind when creating a French bathroom is that the French often prioritize form over function. This goes against what many Americans believe about bathroom design, but it does help a space become more elegant.

For example, the French might choose beautiful drapes that frame a clawfoot tub, regardless of whether they’re mildew resistant. Or, they might look for large, ornate antique mirrors – even if they’re somewhat impractical for a small space.

This doesn’t mean you should choose design elements that aren’t functional. Rather, let this principal guide you in choosing elegant, gilded features that are perhaps slightly outside your comfort zone but may turn out to be far more ‘your style’ than you thought.