Expert Advice

How to Nail the French Kitchen Look

Oui, oui!

By Cristina Cleveland

I recently took my own advice from this very column and purchased a role of peel and stick wallpaper to cover up improve my rental kitchen. The pro is that the blue and white Mediterranean tiles look much more realistic than I expected. The con is that Mediterranean tiles don’t quite fit my typically neutral, modern sense of style. But for this project I knew that the “grout” of the faux tiles would be the perfect way to hide any seams or cuts I have to make in a way that granite or marble could not.

When I’m presented with obstacles in the style of my home, I sometimes like to think of them as a design challenge on a TV show (am I alone in this?)

So rather than fight the tiles, I’m embracing their character and seeking out inspiration to really make them pop. Like this stunning home that belongs to two artists in the coastal town of Sete in the South of France. They may be working with original tiles from the 1840s, but there are plenty of ways to bring this look home.

Read on for our expert advice on how to nail the French kitchen look.

featured image by Simon Watson for Architectural Digest

Bistro chairs.

When I visited Paris I was struck by all of the many shapes, colors, and patterns that bistro chairs came in. They’re the perfect way to bring the flair of a French sidewalk cafe into your kitchen.

Cookware worth showing off.

Why cook with a plain black pot when you can be cooking with red, yellow, or blue cookware in sculptural shapes. It’s easy to find enamel cookware on Etsy or in any antique mall, and the benefit is that they’re so pretty that you don’t need to hide them away if your kitchen is short on storage space.

Designer appliances.

France is the birthplace of elegant oven range designs like La Cornue and Lacanche, so if you really want to nail the French kitchen look then consider your appliances. I won’t be replacing my oven range any time soon, but a stylish Smeg toaster in cream would certainly upgrade my countertops.


Do you feel joy when you hold your hand towels? If not, it may be time to trade them in for a French linen. Paris it-store Merci is known for their selection of quality linens, and what’s more, the company funds an endowment that pays  for educational projects and development in Madagascar.


Pitchers, vases, and dishes dot the counters and cabinets of the Sete kitchen and serve as a reminder that if you choose your vases well, they look beautiful with or without flowers in them.

Bar soap.

If you’re someone who’s looking to cut down on plastic packaging in your kitchen, then give Savon de Marseille’s bar soap a try. Yes, bar soap. The French have been using this non-toxic olive oil soap since the 1600’s, and it can be used for dishes, laundry detergent, your skin, as an antiseptic, and for pest control.

Shop the post!


Bistro chair Anthropologie, red enamel teapot mmvintagestore, yellow soap dish MCBGlassStudio, blue enamel pot Pnut Gallery, candles Shed, vase Anthropologie, wire hen basket Shed, cream Smeg toaster Williams Sonoma , linen tablecloth Merci