9 ways to bring comforting farmhouse style into your space
Farmhouse interiors are all about the simple details. This decidedly American style is experiencing a major resurgence, appealing to those who prefer the classic, comforting style of a simpler time. It's a blend of architectural details, most easily recognized by covered porches, inherited pieces, light colors, and rough-hewn finishes.
This easy-breezy, sentimental look can be achieved by anyone, anywhere. Here are nine ways to bring farmhouse details into your space.
1. The wraparound porch. An outdoor living space, the porch was traditionally used as a mudroom or a place for getting respite from the heat when it was too hot inside during the summer. It eventually became a place for enjoying shared moments with family and friends, rocking away the time while taking in the evening air.
Get this look: Don't have a wraparound porch? A porch, patio, balcony, or stoop of any size can still help you get the farmhouse look. Rockers and country flowers are classic, but if you're short on space, a rustic planter filled with wildflowers will set the tone.
2. Classic lantern lighting. A beacon of colonial American lighting, the classic lantern has embedded itself into farmhouse decor and refuses to budge. The clean and simple fixture is perfect for a farmhouse exterior or interior.
Get this look: Consider replacing a piece of focal lighting in your home with a classic lantern. Smaller sconces suit front entries well, and larger pendants work beautifully above a dining room table. If installing a new fixture isn't in the cards right now, pick up a few budget-friendly tabletop pendants.
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3. The warmth of wood. Wood was often used in farmhouses because of its abundance and accessibility to landowners. The scuffs and scrapes that come with longtime use convey a farmhouse's history. Don't be afraid to embrace wood — the more rustic the finish, the more nostalgic it will feel.
Get this look: If you can't afford to put in hardwood floors throughout your house, try putting them in a part of your home that's seen the most — like the family room. Wood furniture, wall paneling, and accessories can also help you create that farmhouse warmth without renovating your entire home.
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4. Light and bright. For some early farmhouse owners, the walls were kept light because of limited access to more expensive colored finishes. Families with a little more money sometimes used wallpaper in important spaces, such as entryways, to showcase their style or affluence. But simple, light walls have become an identifiably classic characteristic of farmhouse interiors, providing rich contrast against darker treasured design elements.
Get this look: Paint your walls, trim, doors, and baseboards in a light color for an affordable and easy way to honor farmhouse style. Woodwork isn't always painted in farmhouses, but if your home has limited light, you may consider painting any dark wood to brighten your space. Just be careful — once you paint wood, there's no going back.
5. Relaxed fabrics. Farmhouses aren't fussy. Textiles and upholstery were often handmade or passed down, well loved by the generations who inherited them. As a result of this heirloom style of decor, fabrics were generally mixed and matched for a comfortable, eclectic, and lived-in feel.
Get this look: In early rural America, cotton was king, so take that as your cue when thinking of a comfortable base fabric to work with. If kid chaos is a concern, use a poly blend for wear and tear, but keep the styling simple.
6. Heart of the home. Kitchens are the heart of a farmhouse. Since this is a heavily trafficked area, finishes are meant to be tried and tested. Apron-front sinks, sturdy wood countertops, and solid cabinetry may look great, but they were originally designed take a beating and cater to a house full of guests.
Get this look: Farmhouse-style apron-front sinks can work in any kitchen. But if your budget is limited, add ceramic accessories, like utensil holders or dishware. A few well-placed, chunky cutting boards can substitute for farmhouse-style butcher block counter.
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7. Dining staple. One word can sum up the centerpiece of any farmhouse dining room: sturdy. As the main event in this space, the classic farmhouse dining table was generally handmade and lovingly passed on to family members.
Get this look: If you don't have a family heirloom (or the funds for a wooden table), a large wooden cutting board can make a great foundation for any rustic centerpiece. Take farmhouse design's mix-and-match motto to heart with a collection of eclectic chairs too.
8. Mix and match in the bedroom. The classic farmhouse bedroom would have been adorned with weathered, mixed and matched heirloom pieces inherited from friends and family. Light and airy linens and whitewashed walls complete the look.
Get this look: Look for new or used pieces that have a 19th- or early-20th-century look to them. Don't worry about finding matching sets either. The more collected your bedroom looks, the better.
9. The luxury of a claw-foot tub. Although claw-foot tubs weren't readily available in America until the late 19th century, they have become a staple of farmhouse design. Originally made of cast iron and lined with porcelain, these hefty pieces generally hold more water than modern tubs. The sloped end allows users to recline, unlike the European counterparts.
Get this look: Fiberglass replicas of this original beauty can be purchased from just under $1,000 up to several thousand dollars. Not ready for the added expense? Try giving your bathroom a dose of farmhouse style with accessories. Hang hooks on walls to hold towels. Include a wooden chair for dressing or to use as a side table. Throw down a woven rug instead of a standard bath mat.