The French countryside brings to mind romantic images of rolling hills and cozy chalet homes, so it’s no surprise that Americans have been imitating that concept in French country house plans. Though French country homes have evolved over the centuries, especially when they made their way to the Americas, they maintain the rustic charm and eternal elegance that many people associate with rural France.
The southern French region of Provence is the birthplace of the French country house, which is also known as French provincial. Unlike most French architecture and decor, which is heavily ornamental, French country architecture is more subdued and favors function over aesthetics. Whether it’s a modest rural farmhouse or a lavish chateau, French country home plans emphasize warmth and comfort above all else.
Gentle, curled arches and stonework are trademark characteristics of French country house exteriors with exposed beams and plaster walls common for the interior. Stucco, brick and stone are common materials for exterior walls, and steep roofs and symmetrical, multi-pane windows give the house a neat, clean look that recalls a casual elegance.
French country houses aim to marry the traditional elements of nature and elegance. Rustic, distressed furniture and subdued color palettes are, therefore, very common. Symmetry is another important facet of French country house floor plans, with the windows designed to be perfectly in line with each other. Deliberate lines and a pair of symmetrical chimneys are also common, giving off an inarguable air of refinement, comfort and luxury.
The interiors are traditionally less cluttered and furnished with simple yet sturdy items â€” a throwback to the original 18th-century country houses in Provence, which were sparsely decorated because the homeowners couldn’t afford ornate furniture. However, modern French country-style homes can vary in decor, and many mix the coziness of cottage living with country living.
Often interchangeable with French country houses and French provincial houses, a French country-style house is one whose architecture and decor is inspired by the old farmhouses and chateaux in rural France.
The exterior is made from stone or brick and there is an emphasis on symmetry, just like traditional French country houses. However, modern French country-style houses don’t necessarily need to have multiple stories and can range from small, modest homes to sprawling luxury homes.
You may not be able to embrace the glory of pastoral living in the French countryside, but there are many advantages to building your own French country-style house, especially if you use pre-existing house plans to do it.
Here are five more benefits of living in a French country house:
Since there are several types of French country house floor plans from which you can choose, it may help to get a better understanding of the options available. Here are four common types of French country house floor plans that you can choose for your new house:
Having a general idea of what a French country house plan consists of is one thing, but seeing real examples of floor plans is another. Here are three examples of different types of French country house plans:
Sprawling an impressive 2,854 square feet, this Southern-style French country home features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an attached three-car garage and an optional bonus room on an upper half-level. It contains a front and back porch as well as a screened porch at the rear. The garage connects to the house through a spacious mudroom and also has designated space for extra storage if needed.
The main suite is as elaborate as the house itself, featuring his-and-hers en suite bathrooms with attached walk-in closets. A custom shower links the two bathrooms together, which is accessed through the single bathroom entrance in the bedroom. One side of the bathroom also comes with a luxurious tub for those who prefer the occasional relaxing bath.
The second bathroom sits on the opposite side of the house, ensuring optimal privacy in the main suite. Walk-in closets furnish both additional bedrooms, and there is a spacious great room with high ceilings off the hallway. The dining area and kitchen take up the open space in the middle of the home, and there is even an office with a separate entrance. One of the bedrooms also has its own entrance, making it perfect for guests.
True to the French country house style, the exterior looks unassuming and deceives passersby about the size of the home itself. Steep roofs and symmetrical lines give the home the quintessential French country look of neatness and sturdiness. Window shutters recall storybook homes while matching dormer windows inspire romance.
Also a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, this French cottage-style house sits on one level and measures a modest 1,817 square feet. A two-car garage is attached, from which there is access to the attic.
The interior can be accessed through the garage or through the main entryway, which features a cute stooped porch. The great room â€” which comes with rustic decorative beams â€” dining area and kitchen share one large open-concept space, great for entertaining of all kinds. There is also a pantry through the kitchen. The great room and dining area are settled in between the main suite and the additional bedrooms, allowing for ample privacy for everyone.
The main suite is spacious and comfortable, with an en suite bathroom and shared walk-in closet. The second and third bedrooms share the second bathroom, and the spacious rear porch is perfect for enjoying pleasant weather.
The exterior of the home is elegant, with neat gabled roofs that rise and dip in symmetry. Rustic shutters border the windows, giving the home a quiet and refined dignity as well as a timeless style.
You can enjoy true luxury and live like royalty in this massive 3,302-square-foot house that recalls the days of the French monarchy’s infamous extravagance. Containing four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and a half bath, this luxury home has two levels as well as an unfinished basement, making it ideal for multigenerational families.
Featuring a ground-level main suite, with an en suite bathroom that has his and hers sinks, a walk-in closet equipped with a packing table and both tub and shower. Also on the main floor is a spacious library with built-in bookshelves. Across the foyer from the library is the dining room, where you can enjoy a two-story ceiling. Past the stairs to the second floor is the great room, which opens out to the rear porch. The porch allows you to seamlessly join indoor and outdoor entertaining and has the option for a built-in grill and fireplace.
Three more bedrooms, each with their own en suite bathroom, and a desk nook make up the second level. Two more bedrooms with bathrooms and a second half bath can easily be built into the basement if needed.
The home’s exterior is the real eye-catcher thanks to its large porte-cochere that joins a three-car garage to the two-car garage.
When you’re in the process of researching house styles, you’ll inevitably have several questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about French country houses and their answers:
Often thought to be interchangeable, there is a distinct difference between French country houses and farmhouse-style houses. The key characteristics of French country houses denote soft, gentle elegance. Simplicity, comfort and function are the key components of this style. In contrast, farmhouse-style homes are inspired by the rustic and elaborate homes that dot the countryside coupled with the colloquial feel of Americana.
French country houses continue to be popular across rural France, where they’re focused more on functionality. In the United States, modern French country houses are popular in both urban and rural areas and favor comfort and aesthetics over anything else.
The key to decorating a home to mimic the French country house style is to select your furniture in a way that lets the rooms flow seamlessly. Choose curved lines and natural materials â€” antique or distressed is best â€” and soften any stark lines with fabrics and upholstery.
The color palette remains mostly neutral, but patterns are a great way to bring pops of color into any room with linens, area rugs, drapery or wall art.
Accessories are also welcomed in modern French country decor, and quirky ways to repurpose items are especially encouraged. This could be as simple as setting some wildflowers in a mason jar or using woven baskets to store throws and extra pillows.
French country house plans are one of the rare styles where there is likely something for every taste. Whether you’re looking for a modest, two-bedroom to retire to or a luxurious, sprawling home with ample room for friends and family to stay over, you can find the home you’re looking for in our large selection of French country house plans. Instead of hiring a house designer to create plans from scratch, you can save money and use prefabricated plans and customize them to your wants and needs.
Browse through the selection today and get started building your dream house.