French Provincial furniture design, developed in the 17th and 18th centuries, incorporates Parisian innovations from the Louis XV, Louis XVI, Regence, Directoire and Louis Phillipe periods, such as scrolls, pediments, scalloping, fluting and ormolou. However, it retains a relaxed country character and utility for storage and other practical uses.
French Provincial or Country French furniture is characterized by graceful design and sturdy construction. Usually white with gold embellishment, it typically incorporates one or more elements of classical French design, such as fluting or pediments, while retaining characteristics typical of the province in which it was manufactured. Considered rustic by Parisian standards, it also retains the distinct trademarks of individual craftsmen.
Parisian fashion and innovation made its way to the country through different provinces and via different classes of travelers. Accordingly, French Provincial design, prevalent in Bordeaux, Brittany, Normandy and Provence, often demonstrates elements of Parisian design with some local connection. Because it was common in French country homes to mix several types of furniture in one room, such as an ornate escritoire sitting next to a slab farm table with turned legs, French Provincial design encourages eclecticism. Eclecticism involves radically different design elements complementing each other to create a new aesthetic.