If you've ever tuned into HGTV, you know this design style well. Modern farmhouse is all over design shows, and for good reason: this design style is relaxed, warm, and inviting. "Farmhouse style brings natural surroundings in, uses handcrafted materials and artisan and utilitarian pieces," according to Lea Johnson of Creekwoodhill. Farmhouse works well with so many other décor styles that it's easy to bring into any home.
Meet the Expert
Lea Johnson is the creator and stylist behind Creekwoodhill. She advocates for curated, bespoke, and sustainable living. She grew up with fond memories of her grandma's farmhouse in western Minnesota and has infused that nostalgia into her own home and designs.
Farmhouse style is easy to implement, but it is essential to focus on the feel of the space. "Farmhouse is more of a lifestyle, and so I like to think of how farmhouse makes one feel," says Johnson. "Usually feelings of coziness and nostalgia."
What is Farmhouse Style?
Farmhouse style is characterized by warm colors and natural materials. There's often a sense of nostalgia throughout the space with a sprinkling of vintage and repurposed pieces. A cousin to the "shabby chic" movement, farmhouse décor can lean more modern or rustic, depending on the designer.
Read on to find ways to bring the warm look of farmhouse décor into your own home.
Use Restraint in Your Decor
Farmhouse décor is all about understatement. The style lends a feeling of nostalgia through a pared-down look that is often only about the basics. Similar to minimalism, the farmhouse style relies on key pieces to set the room and doesn't go overboard in terms of including a lot of added flair. When incorporating this look into your home, focus on the key pieces first, and accessorize delicately.
Farmhouse style relies on the use of natural materials, often in an unexpected way. Think leather in the kitchen or brass and silver in the living room. Don't be afraid of the unexpected—though farmhouse is rooted in the traditional, that doesn't mean there's not room to experiment.
Try Open Shelving
Remember: Farmhouse style is relaxed and approachable. Consider open shelving in your farmhouse kitchen. Not only is open shelving effortlessly chic and casual, but it gives you the chance to highlight vintage glassware and dishes in an understated way.
Look for Exposed Beams
If you're lucky enough to have exposed beams you're already halfway there. Whether in a kitchen or a basement, keeping a slight "unfinished" look to your room is a great way to mix in a farmhouse feel. If you don't have exposed beams, introduce elements with reclaimed wood or other natural features to achieve a similar vibe.
If you don't have exposed beams, you can install faux beams over your existing ceiling. While this isn't a simple DIY, it can transform a large living room and make it feel cozier and more inviting.
Try Shiplap in New Places
If you've ever watched Fixer Upper you've probably seen your fair share of shiplapped rooms. And while shiplap is a perfectly fine material to use on an accent wall or to spice up a screened-in porch, you can also consider using it on a kitchen ceiling or in a mudroom to add a bit of visual interest.
Opt for Natural Materials
When trying to replicate the farmhouse feel, it's easy to head to a flea market, throw down money on a few farm-inspired vintage pieces, and call it a day. Instead, Johnson says you should "aim more for handcrafted pieces, espeically in lighting, hardware, rugs, and textiles." Consider a hardwood coffee table over a glass one or a handwoven rug over a mass-produced one.
Spring for Unique Fixtures
The right farmhouse space incorporates vintage pieces (or vintage-inspired pieces) in a delicate and understated way. Consider a deep farmhouse sink in the laundry room or kitchen, brass fixtures in the bathroom, or wrought-iron accents on your porch. One eye-catching element is enough to transform a room and give it a finished feel.
Try Industrial Lighting
Industrial lighting is a key feature seen in many farmhouse homes. Think antiqued bronze and faux candles or Edison bulbs. Farmhouse often borrows from the industrial look, especially in fixtures and finishes. Look for fixtures with rustic materials and soft lighting.
Opt for Neutral Colors
When decorating in a farmhouse style, opt for neutral hues like white, tan, or gray. While this isn't to say you can't add in other, bolder colors, you'll want to consider a palette that feels warm and tranquil above all else.
Consider Your Entryway
In a farmhouse-inspired space, the entryway is key. A well-curated entryway is essential to a warm, inviting home. If you have a dedicated area for a mudroom or an entryway, take time to style a minimalist but intentional space. If you don't have a dedicated entryway, a bench and a console can go a long way in creating the illusion of one.
Focus on Warmth
As we've said, farmhouse is much more of a lifestyle than it is a specific design look with a structured playbook. "When I think of farmhouse, [I think of] a slow-living lifestyle," says Johnson. "It's an intentional lifestyle where home is crafted from meaningful pieces and organically sourced."
Try a Contrasting Palette
One way to add a bit of interest in a pared-down, farmhouse-style home? A contrasting palette. Even neutrals such as black and white can create a lot of depth in your home while still remaining minimalist and understated. Think black-and-white tiles in the bathroom or an island painted dark gray or black.
While farmhouse design often feels minimalist and neutral, it also feels relaxed—and that means not worrying about a perfectly matching palette. Throws and pillows with contrasting patterns or prints that play off each other can still work beautifully in a farmhouse home, as long as the rest of the space is pared down.
Work With Antique Pieces
While you can definitely incorporate modern pieces into your farmhouse design, it's also a chance to mix in antiques as well. "Farmhouse means generational pieces have been infused or handed down," according to Johnson. "You can mix them with more modern pieces or materials to help keep a traditional farmhouse from feeling too capsulated."
Add in Farmhouse Accessories
Take this suggestion delicately, because if overdone, it can make a home feel too kitschy or themed. That said, don't be afraid to mix in a few traditional farmhouse pieces into your home. Think rustic woven baskets, farmhouse sinks, or vintage signs. When paired with more modern pieces, these elements can make your home feel inviting.