Whether you have a century-old home on acres of land or a newer house in an urban setting, you can follow a few basic design principles to achieve the warm and inviting feel of a country farmhouse. In fact, it just takes a little imagination to bring this beautiful look to every room in your home.
Basic Principles of the Farmhouse Look
No matter which room you're decorating, there are a few basics to keep in mind with the country farmhouse look:
- Use lots of wood, especially weathered or reclaimed wood or knotty pine.
- Keep colors and patterns muted and neutral. Today's country look isn't about florals and plaids.
- Include lots of antique accessories to add a sense of history to your look, even if your "farmhouse" is a new home in the suburbs.
- Avoid clutter. The farmhouse look is about old-fashioned simplicity.
Contemporary Country Farmhouse Kitchen
The key to a really beautiful modern farmhouse kitchen is mixing the weathered beauty of antique wood with clean, contemporary appliances. These are a few other important elements to consider when designing your kitchen with farmhouse flair:
- Maximize natural light, even if it means reducing upper cabinets. Open shelving is a great way to retain storage while keeping a country feel.
- Incorporate materials such as natural wood, antique brick or tile, and stone. Whenever possible, use reclaimed materials to add history.
- Use appliance panels to disguise your dishwasher and refrigerator. This helps maintain an old-fashioned appearance. Many appliance and cabinet manufacturers offer these panels.
- Consider a retro-style farmhouse stove, such as those from Big Chill or Elmira Stove Works.
- Add an apron-front sink in white cast iron to increase the antique appeal. You can find these sinks at stores like Home Depot.
- Paint cabinets white, or step outside the box with a cool country blue or a sunny yellow.
- Add accessories like antique pitchers and bowls, wooden spoons, and beautiful old dishes to bring history to your home. You can find these items on eBay, at flea markets, and in antique shops.
Living Room with a Farmhouse Feel
The same principles of farmhouse décor apply in the living room as they do in the kitchen. Natural materials mixed with modern elements keep this look from being dated or stuffy. Keep these tips in mind to create a country living room with laid-back charm:
- Choose reclaimed wood flooring or neutral carpet to give the room a warm, simple base. You can purchase salvaged wood flooring from manufacturers like Pioneer Millworks and Aged Woods.
- Stick to natural tones, such as tan, brown, and green to embrace the colors found on the farm. Experiment with texture.
- Add built-in cabinets to disguise modern technology like your TV or stereo system. Leave plenty of room to display books and interesting artifacts as well.
- Keep furniture simple and neutral, and use weathered wood coffee tables and end tables to echo the floor.
- A fireplace is the centerpiece of a country living room. If you don't have one in your home, you can get that farmhouse feel by purchasing an electric fireplace or simply decorating the wall with a salvaged mantle.
- Decorate the surfaces with antique items, such as barrels, bottles, and candlesticks. Other great ideas to enhance your farmhouse look include metal egg collecting baskets, farm signs, and antique canning jars.
Welcoming Country Dining Room
Creating a dining room with real farmhouse appeal is about mixing painted and natural-finish wood pieces and accenting with simple accessories. Use these tips to achieve this relaxed country look:
- Just like in the living room, the farmhouse dining room starts with simple flooring. Reclaimed or weathered wood is ideal, but neutral carpet can work too.
- The centerpiece of your dining room will be an antique table or a table crafted from salvaged wood. You can find salvaged wood tables at sites like Antique Woodworks and Vintage Perkins.
- Stay away from fussy-looking china cabinets, since the farmhouse look is all about keeping things simple. Instead, opt for open shelving or a painted wood buffet.
- Accent with simple dishware or mismatched antique china plates, available for only a few dollars each at thrift stores and flea markets.
- Choose a light fixture that really works with your look. Good options include wrought iron, distressed metal, painted tole chandeliers, candle chandeliers, and fixtures made with reclaimed wood.
Luxurious Farmhouse Bathroom
By its very nature, the bathroom is a modern room, but you can soften the hard lines and add a lot of character by bringing in natural materials. Keeping these tips in mind will help you create a bathroom that would be perfectly at home in a countryside farmhouse:
- Use pedestal sinks to create the illusion of a larger room and to bring in the Victorian feel of an old commode. Another option is repurposing an old dresser as a vanity cabinet.
- Create history by using reclaimed wood beams or trim. You can even use wood on the bathroom floor, as long as you apply a marine-grade varnish to prevent water damage.
- Stick to a light-colored, simple color palette, such as warm whites or pale blues. You want to echo the natural colors of the farm. Take inspiration from a pail of new milk, the sunlit sky, or fresh sweet cream butter.
- Add a large soaking tub, such as those available at Vintage Tub or Signature Hardware, as the centerpiece of your bathroom décor.
- Bring in antique accessories, such as an old ladder that doubles as a towel rack.
Cozy Country Bedroom
The bedroom is a great place to experiment with a farmhouse look, since you can easily change out elements until you find the atmosphere you had in mind. Try some of these ideas:
- Choose simple, antique-style furniture such as four-poster beds, Shaker-style desks and dressers, and antique side chairs. You can buy these items at your local furniture shop or antique store.
- Begin with rustic wood floors, and add rugs to create warmth. You can find great rugs and other accessories at Cottage Home Furniture and Cottage and Bungalow.
- Add a fireplace or fireplace mantle to the bedroom to bring in some historic charm.
- Give a lot of thought to your lighting choices. A stunning, rustic chandelier can be the centerpiece of your farmhouse bedroom, setting the tone for all the decor.
- Keep surface clutter and wall art to a minimum. A few mirrors, photos, or antique paintings can add the charm you want without creating too much distraction.
- Leave woodwork natural, or paint it white for a clean, fresh look.
Decor to Make You Feel at Home
Whatever your budget and location, the basic elements of country farmhouse decor hold true for every room in your house. Keep accessories and colors simple, and allow the beauty of nature to shine through. Toss in a dash of rustic history in the form of a few objects d'art, and you'll feel right at home, even if you don't live on a farm.