Farmhouse decor is one of the trendiest home decor themes right now—and for good reason. Farmhouse-styled spaces are universally inviting and make most people feel at ease. They inspire gathering with friends and family and welcoming others into your home.
Before we dive into how to decorate your home in a true farmhouse fashion, let’s start by understanding what farmhouse style is and whether it’s the right home decor style for you.
1. The farmhouse style centers on simplicity and comfort.
At its core, farmhouse style is an appreciation of a simpler time and way of living—paired with modern practicality. It’s an uncluttered, less-is-better way of living, with open spaces furnished with natural materials emulating simple forms.
2. It’s an attitude… or more precisely, a lack of attitude.
Unfussy and unpretentious, casual but still very sophisticated, farmhouse answers a desire for calm, comfortable surroundings and furnishings that are more functional and beautiful than simply decorative. The farmhouse-inspired open-plan invites flow and interaction from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room. The museum-like living room that nobody goes into? Not happening here!
3. It dates back to Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Traditional farmhouses were built for farmers and their families using available resources, typically wood and stone gathered from the property. Long before the invention of drywall, wood was also used for cladding interior walls as well as for flooring and furniture. The architectural forms and furniture created were determined by the surrounding nature, the resources available, and the tools used to work them.
The style continued as the U.S. was settled, starting on the East Coast and spreading to the West, following the flow of settlement and developing with advancements in transportation and building materials along the way.
4. There are different types of farmhouse style.
Farmhouse style is not one style; there are several farmhouse types. And while most of the elements are the same, they differ slightly in characteristics. Scandinavian farmhouse, for example, is almost austere in its approach, minimal with a balance of proportions. Rustic farmhouse, on the other hand, features handcrafted elements, distressed wood, and a warmer palette with pops of warmer tones. Modern farmhouse, probably the most Instagrammed of the styles, is all about a super-edited palette—stark contrasts of light and dark, very fresh, very new, very clean.
5. It’s easy to personalize.
Another reason why this style is so popular is its ability to inspire reinterpretation. Farmhouse decor can go masculine with industrial elements or feminine with soft, lighter-toned accessories; upscale with antiques and traditional details or modern with minimal adornment. Lighting and furnishings can also steer the overall look in any direction, giving the style an enormous amount of flexibility, making it work just about anywhere and for anyone.
Vintage and curated furniture pieces, collected over time, also make the space more personal and interesting and give the style more depth. The practice of furnishing a home with matching furniture sets is obliterated here. The magic is in the mix.
6. It’s warm, approachable, and family-friendly.
The farmhouse style has a welcoming warmth that is universally embraced. It’s born of the open, melded spaces that simpler architecture provided. We gather at the hearth and the table, who doesn’t love that? The style is completely family-friendly, made with finishes and materials that aren’t meant to be too perfect or too precious.
With the advent of HGTV, an audience of millions watched farmhouse style transformations happen in real-time. We saw how to open up living rooms, ditch dingy dining rooms, and blow out small galley kitchens. Spacious areas were created with big center islands, redefining the focus on family-style living: dad’s making dinner while overseeing homework being done at the kitchen island, while mom’s at her laptop, keeping up with the news from across the room. Everyone is in the same space while attending to the things of life.
7. It’s practical, economical, and sustainable.
There’s also an economic factor in this style. Every part of the original farmhouse, inside and out, was handmade using natural materials. Objects were designed and built to last, making them beautiful in their functionality. This thoughtfulness and practicality drove the design of every part of the home and as we’re seeing everywhere, we’re circling back to those mindful ideals today.
It’s also more affordable to build in the farmhouse style than to build a Mediterranean-styled home. The focus is on form and function versus adornment. But that’s not saying that you’re sacrificing beauty or decoration. Opening a space up to a pitched ceiling can make a 12’x12’ room look spacious and bright and feel amazing! That simple form is farmhouse, as is the concept of maximizing every inch.
8. The farmhouse decor trend is here to stay.
The farmhouse style of open-plan living is timeless and timely. I don’t see construction and home design reverting back to separating and isolating spaces again anytime soon.
With its bright and airy rooms, an uncluttered vibe, and the striking contrast between white walls and dark accents, the farmhouse style photographs beautifully. Throw in a pitched ceiling and you’ve got one of the most Instagrammable, Pinterest-postable looks around—a room that everyone will gravitate to.
9. You don’t need much to mimic a farmhouse-style home.
Perhaps the best thing about this style is that you don’t really need much to recreate farmhouse style at home. A few well-made, smartly designed pieces can MAKE a room and be all that you need. Add patina that only comes with use and age and suddenly the space feels authentic and grounded and imparts a history to the space. Take some time to collect pieces that truly speak to you.
The days when we went out and bought brand-new, mass-produced living room and bedroom sets are over—thank goodness! What is trending now and what has always been chic is a space that looks evolved and curated over the decades and one that says something about YOU.