Decorate with Crafts

French Dressing

Pair up French country style with garden-fresh goods for a kitchen full of spring charm.

The Country Sampler stylists infuse garden-fresh goods into a French country kitchen full of delicious decorating details, and -- voila! -- the results are cheery and charming.

To view a video with more French country inspiration, visit us on YouTube.

Becky Reffett has always had a house full of men -- husband Scott and three now-adult sons, Nicholas, Jacob and Grant -- so she has made many of her decorating decisions with her Geneva, Illinois, home's other residents in mind. "I've always loved French country style, but with three boys, I had to do some masculine colors," she says, adding, "The boys' room is the living room -- the kitchen is my area."

To achieve a warm, rich feel in the multiuse room, where cooking, dining and relaxing all happen, Becky employs timeless tricks of the French country trade: vibrant hues and toile. "French country is very happy, with happy colors," she notes. "And, this is my second house with red toile -- I just wasn't done with it!" Elegant window treatments designed by Becky's mother, an interior decorator, provide the essential dash of Proven├žal fabric, while a mix of ornate and laid-back furniture keeps the space from feeling too overdone.

Interested in furthering the family-friendly room's casual vibe, Becky invited Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad, Debbie Plantery and Nancy Borsodi to bring in a bit of spring with outdoor-inspired accessories. "When you have a common element, it's easy to link up different styles," Debbie says. "We connected Becky's French country look with farm and garden via florals and roosters. Staying within a similar palette was also key to this makeover." Read on for 19 more fresh ideas for revamping your kitchen's look for spring.

Tray Chic
1. Look on the Bright Side. Lighten up a tabletop vignette with a vibrant base. This yellow lap tray highlights one of the primary French country colors that Becky loves so much.
2. Cultivate Some Fun. For a cute grouping, arrange miniature gardening tools,
a classic country figurine and a faucet-inspired soap dish -- used here to hold a potted bloom -- atop a grass-like moss mat.
3. Stick to It. To enhance the footprint of a petite accent, such as this mini framed stitchery, attach a dowel or popsicle stick to the back and insert it into a block of floral foam cut to fit inside a small watering can or flowerpot.

The Finest Ingredients
4. Give It a Boost. The Reffetts' angled kitchen island is front and center in the room, providing an ideal display spot. Terra-cotta pots boost a round breadboard, which, in turn, hosts a flatware-filled watering can, a greens-toting teacup and a lantern on a pedestal.
5. Button Things In. Perk up the space underneath a vertical arrangement with a personality-plus textile. Nancy stitched three place mats together with red buttons to create this runner.
6. Compote Yourself. Set a blue battery candle in a compote, and arrange burlap and moss around the base.
7. Look Up. "This light fixture has a shelf perfect for a lightweight accent, such as a woven basket," Sally-Jo says. "For a spring look, we stocked the tote with wheatgrass planted in canning jars and wrote ‘Spring' on its chalkboard tag."
8. Be a Little Sill-y. Prop up colorful artwork on your windowsill to add some graphic charm to the area. Here, a rooster canvas in red and blue repeats the toile-and-checked shade's color palette and French country vibe.
9. Get on Board. Incorporate plenty of items that offer both form and function, such as a decorative cutting board.

Pecking Order
10. Master the Mix. Becky's formal-yet-comfortable armchair features regal lines and charming buffalo-check piping. "If you want to stay within a shared palette, add interest by incorporating different shapes and patterns when you choose accent pillows," Debbie advises, pointing out the rectangular feed-sack pillow peeking out from behind a square rooster pillow. The larger pillow's burlap fabric and chicken-wire motif neatly contrast the chair's more ornate lines.
11. Sign Up. Turn a narrow wall into a farmhouse-inspired showplace with an oversize wood lath sign that brings in more rustic appeal.
12. Set the Bench. This cozy seating area is next to the living room doorway, so a lightweight bench provides a smart, easy-to-relocate alternative to a heavier ottoman. An array of similarly simple items -- a checked runner, a twine-wrapped bundle of unbound books and a pretty tea tray -- enhance the top.
13. Find a Light in the Dark. A country staple, black furniture can be especially useful for making lighter-hued elements pop. Here, photos are tucked into a decorative garden gate on a dark cabinet.
14. Take It to New Heights. Use a vintage scale as a booster for a distinctive lamp to vary heights in a tabletop grouping. This lamp, crafted from old candlesticks and outfitted with a woven-grass shade, stands tall above a framed butterfly and a blue-and-white planter.

Grand Central
15. Fan Out. Dress up chair backs with creative decor. For each of these seats, Nancy folded a rooster tea towel to show its graphics and placed it in the center of a red-checked napkin. She accordion-folded the two together, cinched the center with burlap ribbon, and wired the accent onto the woven chair back.
16. Weave Around. "I love the natural texture of Becky's wicker chairs," Nancy says. "The crocheted jute rug used as a table runner gives a similar feel beneath the tablescape."
17. Be an Upright Citizen. Instead of setting decorative plates in stands on counters or tabletops, arrange an assortment inside a rustic wood tote or oblong basket. Add a few handfuls of moss for color, and wrap chicken-wire ribbon around the container for a little extra dimension.
18. Shrink Down. Repeat the treatment used for the wood tote on a smaller scale by nestling a chicken-wire-wrapped battery candle in a wood bowl full of moss.
19. Behold Beauty. "As you can tell, I have a love of beautiful things," Becky says of her penchant for Proven├žal decor. One of her favorite pretty pieces is an elegant terrarium filled with spring blooms, which brings more height and a bit of sparkle to the table display and honors the homeowner's affection for French country style.

Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Photographed by Maurice Victoria
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad, Nancy Borsodi & Debbie Plantery

For more information, visit our Craft Fair online.

Williraye Tribute to Bobbe figurine and water faucet soap holder, Heart-N-Hand
You Are My Sunshine stitchery, Primitive Praise

Sunnyside Farms rooster canvas, The Hen House Shop
Flameless candle, The Red Brick Cottage
Large round decorative breadboard, Olde Farm Creek
Bless this Roost cutting board, KDC Country Village

"Change" reclaimed tobacco-lath sign and antique feed-sack pillow, Olde Farm Creek
No-Grit rooster pillow, Folkart Gatherings
Amish side table/cabinet, Homestead Primitives, Inc

Flameless candle, The Red Brick Cottage
Jute rug, Rags to Rugs by Lora

Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Photographed by Maurice Victoria
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad, Nancy Borsodi & Debbie Plantery