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Designing Your Entire

French Country Home

On A Budget


This articles about decluttering your home - then creating the home of your dreams.

We'll go step-by-step no matter what your budget is on deciding what to do with your current floors - painting new colors in your rooms - what furniture pieces should be bought first and than buying the "filler" pieces.

It's a new year and last year I shared a lot with you about French Country style. With a new year comes fresh ideas. If I could tell you to remove everything from your home - I would - seriously! And it's because I want to start fresh - like a blank canvas with nothing on it - just white. I don't want any distractions.

1. Declutter and Get On With It

This year - I want to start fresh with a clean piece of canvas that we'll paint as we go along.

What's decluttering? Decluttering is having three large bins and going through every single inch of your home - picking up each thing and if you haven't used it at all last year - it goes in the recycling bin. If you did use it and continue to use it frequently - it goes in another bin. Anything that looks broken - goes in the third bin.


2. Flooring

Question to ask yourself - What are the Condition of your floors?

  • Hardwood 
  • Wall to Wall Carpet
  • Linoleum or Vinyl

What to do with Wall to Wall Carpeting:

$55.00 per room for Professional Cleaning of your carpets

$0.00 If you remove it...

Now that you have the wall to wall carpeting removed, consider using a vinyl wood flooring that isn't only super easy to install, but is also gorgeous. The floor that they make are so realistic looking that no one's going to notice the difference.

What to do with your linoleum or vinyl floors?

One thing to remember if your floors are linoleum (the thick stuff) than more than likely it has asbestos in it - so wear gloves and a mask when removing.

$25.00 If your floors are level and in fairly good condition, then you can go right over them with new flooring. If you have a few areas that are uneven, you can use a self leveler to even out these areas.

If you lift a corner up and see hardwood floors - yeppy! but it's ultimately up to you if you want to go through the work of revealing them.

How to Remove Linoleum or Vinyl Floors

Linoleum floors can be very difficult to get up and removed because of the adhesive underneath and all the years of walking on them.

Vinyl floors aren't so bad because there newer floors.

If there's hardwood floors underneath, then be very careful when removing the linoleum. First, cut it into parallel strips about 6 inches wide with a utility knife. Use a hammer to tap a stiff putty knife or brick chisel under the linoleum to break it loose. Pull the linoleum up in strips to reveal the backing or the glue. Once the surface layer is gone, use mineral spirits to soften and help break up the glue, then gently scrape it with a metal scraper.

Now that you have the linoleum or vinyl floors removed, consider using a vinyl wood flooring that isn't only super easy to install, but is also gorgeous. The floor that they make are so realistic looking that no one's going to notice the difference.

Vinyl Wood Flooring

$ If you have hardwood floors exposed now, you'll need to sand and urethane them which can cost a little bit of money. You'll need to rent a sander and you can do this for however long you'll need it. Then purchase a 5 gallon bucket of urethane because it's going to take several coats with sanding in between coats.

2. Walls

We're going to pick some new wall colors for you. Having your walls in a very neutral palette is one of the best things you can do for your home for several reasons. Neutral walls are very easy to decorate with. Neutral walls are also a huge selling factor if your deciding to sell your house in a few years.

Do you currently have darker walls?

Not to worry because any brand of paint makes one for precisely this. One coat covers darker walls, just ask your paint consultant to mix your paint color with this.

Painting your walls in a gorgeous light color similar to these not only will enlarge each of your spaces, but will also give you a clean palette to work from. You'll truly be amazed on how different your home will look.

The colors that I've shown above are from different paint manufacturers and would look gorgeous being used in different rooms of your home. No matter which one of these colors you decide to paint a room, all of the others will work for the adjoining room.

This is the beauty of choosing a paint palette with all the colors in the same hue.

$20.00 per gallon of paint - estimate 2 gallons per room

Condition of your interior doors?

While your so joyfully painting away - consider the doors in each room. Could they use a fresh coat of paint? Typically doors are painted the same color as the trim paint.

Now we have our floors and walls done. Let's have some fun!

3. Primary Furniture - Dining Table - Couch - Bed

Because furniture is expensive no matter how you look at it, we're going to start with just a few pieces.

Condition of your Living Room Furniture?

Honestly, what's the condition of your living room furniture? Do you hate the looks of it, but it's still in good shape (maybe has tweed fabric)? Or did you buy a cheap living room set when you got married just to fill your house with furniture?

$72.00 Slipcovers

Rather than invest in a new couch, why not just slip cover the one you have. Target has some gorgeous slip covers for not a lot of money.

Remember these sofas? Maybe you have one that's been paced down? Not to worry.

Here's two incredible makeovers using slipcovers

$72.00 This is the one I'm going to be getting. I might cut those ties off the front.

If you've notice with French Country living room furniture - it's all slipcovered. There's a few reasons for this 1) we've pulled away from the traditional French Country with lot's of color and he furniture being finely upholstered, 2) because of our life styles, we tend to enjoy more relaxed furniture. Pieces that you can cuddle in rather than having to worry about throwing your feet up. 3) Slipcovers are a whole lot less money than finely upholstered fabrics. 4) And they can be washed!

$400.00 New furniture may be on your horizon and don't panic - we can do this affordably (even if you are living paycheck to paycheck).

This is probably the most poplar couch and sofa right now. As you can see - everyone sells them and there all different prices. Low and behold to Ikea - you can have one for a fraction of the cost.

$460.00 + Chairs Dining Table

Countryside style tables are also very popular right now and that's why you can find them anywhere with all different sorts of legs and bases. For me, I like to keep it simple. The one from Pottery Barn is gorgeous with it's scrolled legs, but the one from Ikea is just as gorgeous and a bit more countryside looking which I love.

Grouping your gorgeous table with upholstered chairs will bring warmth into your dining room, in addition to the draperies and fresh flowers.

$500.00 Bed

4. Filler Pieces of Furniture

Furniture aside from your main pieces are what I like to call "filler pieces" because that's essentially what your doing - filling in all the empty spaces around your main pieces.

Filler pieces vary greatly in pricing. You could buy filler pieces at Target, or you could buy them from Wayfair. Do what's affordable to you.

Here in the living room, I've chosen French Country accent tables, arm chairs and a bookshelf. I've also done the same if you'd like to add a hint of Parisian to your space.

I love these two side boards for the dining room. The one on the right is for our touch of Parisian as they love these ornate grills on the front of the doors.

I love using these end tables and dressers for the two beds we have. They ave a heavily worn finish with some white in them. The other pieces I love for our touch of Parisian. The darker dresser has gorgeous gold hardware on it.

So now I have a full view of what's going on in our home.

I really hope this has taken the mystery out of designing your home and incorporating pieces that are true to you.

Remember - irregardless of your budget - you can do this. It simply boils down to how important it is to you.

If this was me doing this living in an apartment and being as frugal as I am - I'd take one room at a time.

  • Kitchen Floor - probably laminate or vinyl - $25.00 + cost of new flooring
  • Living Room - probably either wall-to-wall carpeting - hardwood or tile
  • Have the carpet deep cleaned $55.00, or have the tile floor deep cleaned $55.00
  • Bedroom - probably either wall-to-wall carpeting - hardwood or tile
  • Same as the above with cleaning $55.00
  • Paint Kitchen first $40.00
  • Paint Living room second $40.00
  • Paint Bedroom last $40.00
  • Slipcover for couch $72.00
  • New Dining room table and chairs ?
  • New Bed $350.00
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