Close up of sweatshirt and french press coffee sitting in a restaurant

Ways To Turn Your Kitchen Into A French Bistro

Craving that feeling of being in a French bistro? There are several ways to turn your kitchen into a French bistro and be transported to Paris on a daily basis. I am going to show you the ways that I have been trying to incorporate into our kitchen.

French bistros have that charm and simplicity you aren’t able to find anywhere else in the world. Why do you think they are such a huge part of the French culture. You can’t go anywhere in Paris without a different bistro every few feet and on every corner.

The bistro is a mainstay of Parisian life and neighborhoods pride themselves on their bistros. They are the pulse of the city for the social and culinary life.

white marble Bistro table and chairs in a restaurant

RELATED: Where To Eat In Paris With A View

What’s The Difference Between a Bistro and A Café?

The difference between a bistro and a café used to have a more clear-cut distinction but these days the two pretty much mean the same thing.

A Bistro or Bistrot as it’s sometimes spelled is a small café serving more traditional French home-style cooking at affordable prices.

The menu in a bistro changes daily depending on what’s in season and the menu is usually written on a chalkboard. Bistros are usually family-owned with the entire family working in the bistro and taking care of everything from cooking to cleaning.

Bistros are different than a traditional restaurant because they have a more laid-back atmosphere.

There are several ways I’ve been trying to turn our kitchen into a French bistro. These pictures were actually taken at one of my favorite bistros in Kansas City, Tailleur.

The restaurant has a French bistro atmosphere with everything from the tables and chairs to the floor and tableware. I couldn’t think of a better place to have some fun with the pictures.

Items Needed For A French Bistro

Lots of the items listed below are found in several different retailers all over. However, I would also encourage sourcing places like ETSY, local flea markets, and antique stores. I have purchased a lot of our vintage silverware off ETSY and from local antique stores.

1. Parisian Café Chairs

Nothing is more iconic than a Parisian Café chair in rattan or wood. These iconic chairs can be seen at every bistro and café in Paris and France. This chair has become so popular over the years that you can pretty much find them everywhere now.

However, there are actually only two types of authentic French café chairs. Made of rattan cane and rilsan, which are still being made by two French companies.

I have these Serena and Lily chairs in our kitchen and these Amazon chairs out on the patio. They truly are the perfect chair for any decor and are the must-have in your kitchen if trying to recreate a French bistro. You can choose either rattan or wood depending on which one you prefer.

2. French Bistro Tables

Along with the chairs you need a French bistro table in your kitchen. Actually, with some of the designs, you could use the table as either a dining or even a desk.

This small bistro table from World Market is such an affordable price and would also make a great side table. Traditional French bistro tables are small and either circle or square in shape and usually made of marble or wood. They also usually have some sort of iron scroll or pedestal base like this one from Amazon.

3. Tableware

The dishes in a bistro tend to be very simple and either a classic white or the traditional blue and white combination. Some also prefer to go a vintage route and use a mix of French dinnerware and silverware that doesn’t necessarily match but complements each other instead.

I tend to find my tableware off ETSY and also from Elsie Green, an online store that sells mostly French wares. You can find mix and match tableware at very affordable prices.

4. Glassware

Glassware is one of my favorite elements of a French bistro. Everything from the water glasses to the wine glasses all has a certain look. They are simple yet incredibly beautiful and look so elegant displayed on the tables.

Most of the water glasses consist of the Duralex Picardie Glass Tumblers which you can also find on Amazon as well. Another option for tumblers or goblets would also be this French brand from Pottery Barn.

I bought these exact glasses after coming home from Paris and they are some of the best glasses we’ve ever had. My husband accidentally dropped one on the hard floor and it didn’t crack at all.

Don’t forget the water carafe which is placed on all tables at a bistro. This vintage-looking one from Williams Sonoma is beautiful.

Another important piece of glassware that’s part of the bistro is of course the wine glass. You could opt for some like these café goblets or these French wine glasses.

5. Art and Lighting

French bistros tend to have more intimate lighting making them cozy and inviting. Think of pendant lights hanging down like this one from Williams Sonoma or these bistro flush mounts.

For the walls, bistros usually have vintage food art or artwork that’s French in nature. And, no bistro is complete without a chalkboard which usually contains the day’s menu.

You can find lots of vintage food art on ETSY and Art.Com as well.

Some of the Photos taken at Tailleur On Main by Heather White

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