Style Confusion – Hamptons vs French Provincial

in The Latest
1 Sep 2015

Written by Mitch Ferguson – Interior Designer

It seems the two hottest words at the moment in the interior design world is ’Hamptons Style’. We are almost hearing this daily. Whilst I can’t speak for the likes of the styles and trends occurring in nearby Melbourne and Brisbane, it seems that us Sydneysiders cannot get enough of this look in our homes.

Another recent sought after style revival we’ve been requested of by our clients is ‘French Provincial’, which has been hanging around in force for the past 7 years. I was asked the other day what the main differences between the two styles were, as it seems there is a little confusion between what distinguishes them both.

Whilst the two styles actually do overlap in many areas, we’ve nutted out the key differences. They are: 

French Provincial:

  • Furniture is usually more ornate and influenced by the French Royalty ‘Baroque’ period of the 17th and 18th century
  • Colour Scheme usually consists of dark timber or stone flooring, plastered walls with ornate trims and cornices. Pale buttery yellows and blues are accent colours.
  • Preferred window treatments in lace or delicate floral and damask patterns are used mainly due to insulation performance in colder months.
  • Finer and more intricate detail in cabinetry and furniture is common and antique furniture is usually used.
  • Kitchens may have a strong farmhouse or country cottage feel with rustic finishes


  • Furniture is usually an eclectic mix of contemporary furniture with clean modern lines paired with large classic American furniture made from heavy stained oaks. Adopt an ‘old meets new’ way of thinking.
  • As the style derives from the Hamptons district of New York State, which is situated along the beaches, a strong coastal flavour is commonly seen through the use of artworks, accessories and trinkets.
  • Colour Scheme varies with the external architecture of the home, however natural hues, washed oak floors, calming blues and forest greens are seen as accent colours.
  • Window treatments and upholstery fabrics are usually natural linen and cottons and of a plainer detail
  • Decorative trims and wall paneling are large and grand adding to the mix of ‘casual beachside luxury’

I think the main thing here is to focus on your overall outcome and the story you want your home to tell. As both styles are so similar to one another, maybe narrow it down to these two questions? Do you want a coastal theme in your home? Then perhaps focus on the Hamptons style for inspiration. Do you want rustic, farmhouse meets French manor outcome? Check out French Provincial.



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