If there’s anything the French know a thing or two about, it’s food. Historically, the French are guardians of the Western world’s palate, serving up delicious fare over the centuries from well-appointed kitchens. So it should come as no surprise that French style kitchens have become popular for those considering remodels. Perhaps we’re hoping some of that gastronomic magic is going to rub off on us.

Let’s look closer at the signature elements that pull together a French cuisine look in the modern home. Whether it’s a rustic, contemporary or historically inspired kitchen, they will all have a certain elegance and sophistication marking them out as truly French.

Classy cabinets

The cabinetry in French inspired kitchens tends to echo furniture style; think smooth lines with intricate detail here and there. Classic dark wood finishes or painted, distressed effects are equally popular. Handles and fittings are often highly detailed iron pieces that give a suggestion of antiquity whilst being strong and practical too. Traditional shapes and designs with Baroque and Renaissance cues underline the French theme, appearing sophisticated and restrained.

French floors

A stone floor is a typical French kitchen ingredient. Fortunately, we have modern methods and alternative materials that shield our feet from the icy surfaces of limestone, marble or slate. For an authentic look, choose large scale flagstones with charmingly irregular surfaces. Such authenticity comes at a price, so it’s good to know antiqued oak floorboards or reproduction engineered timber make suitable alternatives.

Décor details

Other elements that place a kitchen firmly in French territory are the inclusion of a farmhouse sink in traditional white; a large cooking range, preferably with dramatic and ornate overhead mantle; and lots of timeless and quality materials that mature beautifully over time. Counter tops in marble, granite and soapstone all suit this style well, or for a more rustic flavor sealed hardwood surfaces look warm and inviting.

Pastel palette

We spend a lot of time in our kitchens, so they need to be pleasurable places to be. A bright and warm kitchen decorated with pastel shades is perfect for the French look. Creams and muted blues teamed together look stylish, as do darker colored floors against ivory cabinetry. Keep window treatments stylish and simple with wooden plantation shutters – not only are they beautiful, they are supremely practical in a busy kitchen.

Furniture in French

Give a dining area in a French kitchen a casual ambiance by using wicker Parisian Brasserie chairs matched with a glass-topped table. For a more formal approach, hunt down elegant French antique dining sets with sumptuously upholstered seats and finely turned legs. A nice touch in large family kitchens is a corner for a chaise longue, a comfortable place for flopping down and relaxing after a long day.

Finishing touches

Choose accessories such as gleaming copper jam pans and jugs which look magnificent suspended overhead from wrought iron racks. Flea market finds and brocante bargains add authenticity. Look out for antique light fittings, classic French porcelain, lace table linens and traditional enameled advertising signage for maximum impact.

For a style that satisfies the need for practicality along with sophisticated elegance, French kitchens really take some beating. Why not take a look and see what delicious designs are on the menu?