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DIY French Country Inspired Placemats

Saturday was family date night and the Perot’s unanimously decided to go window shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart, which is ironic because windows are probably the ONE thing they don’t sell there.

Our favorite space in the store, is their “TEXAS” room

Nebraska Furniture Mart Texas room

where they have collections of elegant ranch style furnishings.

Nebraska Furniture Mart texas longhorn

Mainly we go for inspiration, but unfortunately, sometimes we fall in love with a set that’s not within this month’s (okay, year’s) budget. Like this one.

Nebraska Furniture Mart texas room

So we just sit on it for 20 minutes or so, and imagine how life would be different with a light green ostrich ottoman under our feet every night.

Really what we’re there for, is inspiration to define our “style.” See, we have inherited a number of gorgeous antiques, but the struggle is real when I tell you that we still want our home to look like young 40 somethings live in it and not a stage set straight from Downton Abbey.

Considering I love the whole French county look, I think that with a little love, creativity and maybe a little paint, I may be able to to weave the whole antiques thing into our home and make it look somewhat effortless. That’s the plan anyway. I could wander all day in this section of the store — you know, for ideas.

Nebraska Furniture Mart French Country Nebraska Furniture Mart french country3

Nebraska Furniture Mart French Country2 Nebraska Furniture Mart accessories

When I found this pillow, I knew I was onto something attainable for our breakfast nook — which currently has a high ratio of roosters to people.

Nebraska Furniture Mart french country pillows

The hubs has been complaining about our placemats for months and this mattress ticking pillow was just the jumping off point I needed. I put the pillow back because at $70, I figured it could wait (and I’ve imposed a ban on any more roosters) — but my project couldn’t.

The next morning, Cupcake and I went to JoAnn and got supplies to make placemats. Now, mind you I am not a terrific sewer. I sew relatively straight lines – nothing else, and please don’t even think I can wrap my head around the complexities of a pattern.

Here’s what I made and basically how I pulled it together:

placemats project

I got the striped fabric from the “utility” section at JoAnn, a faux suede for the back to keep them from sliding (another NFM inspiration) along with some thread and Tulip Soft Fabric Paint Bottle, 2-Ounce, Matte Black” target=”_blank”>black fabric paint.


I had the stencil at home already.

I cut the fabric into 20 x 15 rectangles, careful to keep the stripes going up and down. Then I pinned the right sides together and sewed three sides. I turned right sides out and ironed it flat, stuck some packing paper inside and got ready to paint (that’s the funnest part). You could do the stencil on the fabric before you sew it, but I was eyeballing the stencil placement and wanted to make sure I positioned it right without losing some of the edge for the seam.

I taped the stencil down with tape and used a Martha Stewart 32243 Foam Pouncers, Set of 6” target=”_blank”>Martha Stewart foam pouncer to apply the paint.


stenciling on placemats

I didn’t worry about it being even as I was going for that sorta “shabby chic” look. That in itself was liberating.

I let the paint dry overnight with the paper inside.

french country placemats diy

Once dry, I ironed the remaining edge folded in so it had a finished edge similar to the other three sides, and sewed around all the edges with a decorative stitch.

It was a simple weekend project, and I love how they frame my everyday dishes.

plain placesetting on french country placemats

Now I can’t wait to paint and recover my chairs! Inspiration success!

french country placesetting

Okay, before I go. I have to show you this wild photo my phone took. I didn’t edit it AT ALL. The light and the stripes just fooled the camera. It looks like the plate is inside out and floating. Crazy!

optical illusion placemats



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