european exterior

How to Get an Authentic European Exterior

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What happens when you miss traveling and yet have the urge to stay home and do home projects? This post!

We’ve been doing lots of things on our home lately to get it to be the cottage style that I like. We limewashed our home, added shutters and window boxes, landscaped…the works! See the final exterior reveal here!

I also dug into what the different home styles mean such as cottage, farmhouse, etc (see that post here).

I’m not shy to say my home is French Country inspired. Though I do my homework and aim for authenticity when I can, it will never be 100% authentic and that’s A-Okay with me.

But because I’m nostalgic and have been missing traveling lately, I went through my photos from our anniversary European trip and I noticed some key repeats from the European exteriors, from both homes and businesses!

Some things may be out of your control (such as having an all stone house), but there are achievable things we can do to add authentic European charm to our exterior.

Here they are!

Achievable Ways to Get an Authentic European Exterior

1. Pots by the front door
One delightful thing that you’ll see over and over again in Europe are pots by the front door. They’re usually terra cotta pots (or lime/whitewashed) and filled with herbs and flowers. Boxwood is a classic European plant too. Don’t just stop at one though! “Layer” them or line them all up in a row. However you do it, make sure you have a lot.

tuscany italy

2. Shutters
I talk a little bit about shutters here, but basically, there are lots of “wrong” ways out there. If you’re going for authentic though, just know that any shutters I saw in Europe were operable with hardware and also the right size for the window.

3. Window boxes
This is very common…not to mention dreamy! Just like the flower pots, these window boxes are usually very full of herbs, flowers, or both.

tuscany italy

4. Bistro set outdoors
Do you have a patio, porch, or balcony? Consider adding a cute bistro set!

tuscany italy

5&6. Wood doors and lanterns
I’m combining two here because they are very frequently seen together! A solid wood door is a perfect touch of quality and character to add to your home, not to mention the “Narnia” vibes of a lantern.

wood door in Europe

7. Ivy growing on the exterior
It’s hard to walk by a building without seeing some charming ivy or greenery growing upon it. It really gives it that “old world” feel!

Let’s recap!

authentic european exterior

If you incorporate some or all of these things you are sure to add authentic European exterior charm to your lovely abode!

What do you work on after the exterior? Your garden! Read how we’re creating a cottage garden here.

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Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.