What is Farmhouse Style? A Simple Guide to Natural Decorating

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Candi Randolph

You may love the look of a Farmhouse style home, but you’re not sure how to incorporate it into your own. I get it.

Many DIY decorators are concerned about making costly decorating mistakes and spending money on finishes and furniture that doesn’t ultimately live up to the design that was dancing around in their heads, or that ‘perfect’ image they found online.

Farmhouse decorating is appealing to so many people because of the inviting, cozy, simple, approachable, “come sit and stay awhile” vibe, while still offering a chic and cohesive overall style. That’s why it has been embraced with such enthusiasm.

So, what is Farmhouse Style? Is it right for you, your lifestyle, budget, and home?

Farmhouse Style is a natural choice because it’s simple and rustic while still being practical in both form and function. It’s also an incredibly flexible design concept which means there are tons of ways to create a farmhouse-inspired room in any setting. Let’s explore some examples together!

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What is Farmhouse Style?

Farmhouse style is a relaxed, down-to-earth design style that reflects the aesthetics of rural architecture. It doesn’t mean you’re decorating your home with actual farm tools or other rural pieces, (but hey, if that’s what you want, go for it!) but instead embraces modern comforts while maintaining the charm of a simpler life.

This interior design style is categorized by its coziness and warmth. It tends to prioritize muted colors which are often combined with natural elements to create a simple, rustic look. While it usually incorporates wood furniture and accessories, this design style is all about the details. Instead of bright and flashy decor, you’re looking for soothing color combinations, natural elements like wood and stone, and texture. 

The History of Farmhouse Style

Farmhouse architecture began as a need for houses on farms to house farmworkers, originating in Germany and Scandinavia. Farmhouses with a simple yet solid design were introduced to the United States in the 1700s.

During the colonial era, homes served as protection from the elements and storage for the items required for day-to-day living. Everything had a specific role.

Wood was used to construct farmhouses since it is a cheap and simple material that does not require a deep understanding of construction to build houses, so individuals were able to construct their own homes as well as furnish them simply.

The American Farmhouse is now iconic and revered as a vital part of US culture and sustainability in modern times.

What Draws People to Farmhouse Style?

Although it draws inspiration from rural life, Farmhouse style is not limited to rustic homes. The versatility of this design concept allows it to be incorporated into modern homes and commercial spaces.

There are tons of reasons people gravitate towards farmhouse-style decor. It’s simple and cozy, making it a great fit for homeowners who seek peace and relaxation in their living space.

The simplicity of Farmhouse style also makes it an affordable design concept. Of course, the elements you choose to incorporate into your farmhouse-inspired decor will play a role in how expensive it ends up being, but this is often one of the more budget-friendly designs.

Not only that, but Farmhouse Style is a popular choice for people who want to create a space that they can use and enjoy today – but still be able to change or sell it later on. It’s very flexible and compatible with different styles and themes, so you won’t costly issues if you decide to change the overall theme of your home’s interior in the future.

Why Choose Farmhouse Style Decorating for Your Home Interior?

Why not? It’s simple and easy, making it a great choice for homeowners who long for a comfortable, casual, natural style home interior. It’s also very flexible, meaning you can add touches of other styles without creating an unbalanced look in your home.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the need to make your home stand out, a modern Farmhouse look is a great choice. It’s a popular trend because it offers a relaxing and calming environment that doesn’t draw too much attention to itself.

This type of design aesthetic is perfect for homeowners who want their space to feel both relaxed and comfortable yet still have the flexibility to change or update it when they’re ready.

What does Farmhouse Style look like?

If we’re going to use descriptive words to describe this style, we would probably say that it is simple, rustic, charming, cozy, warm, inviting, natural, organic, functional, practical, weathered and worn, vintage, and approachable.

Oh, and one important point to remember about farmhouse style decorating. It’s not perfect.

A farmhouse design might typically incorporate neutral colors that rely on darker shades to create a beautiful contrast. It will often feature a mix of light and dark pieces, but the overall look will still be neutral. 

Think of neutral colors like taupe, white, shades of gray, and shades of beige. Those are the colors you’ll typically see on the walls and possibly on the floors.

A farmhouse design style is known for having rustic influences, so wood pieces in a variety of finishes are likely to play a significant role in your decorating scheme. If you love to include an antique piece or two in your home, all the better.

Wood floors, vinyl planking, even wood-like tile are some examples of the flooring you’ll embrace.

Many different elements contribute to a farmhouse design scheme, but one element that ties it all together is texture. From rough-hewn wood barn beams to light linen window coverings, you’re always looking to create interest with texture.

A farmhouse-style design is also known for its simplicity, so you’ll want to keep furniture pieces that are clean-lined and made of natural materials like wood or metal.

Once you understand the major elements of the décor, let’s talk about what sets this design apart from others.

Open Shelving

You may or may not feel comfortable opening up some of the shelves in your kitchen to the world, and I certainly get that!

With farmhouse decor you have the perfect opportunity to use open shelving in living areas, family rooms, dining rooms, the bathroom, and yes, the kitchen.

Natural Elements and Finishes

As previously mentioned, natural elements play a significant role in this design concept. Besides wood pieces, you’ll usually find stone or brick making up the foundation of your room. Natural materials are also common for flooring and even furniture pieces like trestle tables.

Another element you’ll find in Farmhouse decorating is the use of metal. Think wood and metal accent tables or coffee tables, perhaps the dining table.

Rustic, natural wood finishes that have their own personality and are not matching sets are perfectly suited to this decorating style. In fact, you don’t want to have the matching set of table lamps in the living area, my friend. That is a design for a different decorating style.

If your home has exposed wood beams, hardwood floors, areas of exposed wood or brick, you’re already on your way to a cohesive farmhouse style interior.

You’ll also see more of a natural, matte finish in farmhouse style than lots of bling and shine. A little bit, yes. A houseful? No.


Slipcovers are casual, affordable, and can be removed for cleaning if needed. And, you can change your mind about fabric, color, texture, and pattern without having to purchase new furniture.

You’re also right in line with the casual style of farmhouse decorating.

Farmhouse-Up Your Walls!

Close your eyes and picture a cozy farmhouse style room. What do you see on the walls? Most likely, you’ll find accent walls or wainscoting with beadboard, shiplap, or a similar type of paneling.

You don’t want to go overboard with this, but know that it’s a natural part of the decorating style. If there is a kitchen island, it can be the perfect place to use these natural elements.

Farmhouse style light fixtures

Wood, iron, and glass are the main elements of light fixtures, with industrial elements blending in simple, straightforward designs.

Area Rugs, Accent Rugs, and Throw Rugs

Throw rugs are also a popular element in farmhouse style rooms. They create softness beneath your feet while adding texture to the design scheme. You’ll often find throw rugs placed in front of furniture, or on the floor beside them.

Interpretations of Farmhouse Style Decorating

There are several ways to interpret this approachable style of decor in your home:

Modern Farmhouse Style:

Modern Farmhouse is probably the most widely embraced interpretation today. It takes the rustic farmhouse style and adds clean lines, geometric patterns, and usually a few pops of color to modernize it.

The exterior of your home doesn’t have to look like an actual farmhouse in architectural detail, friend. If it doesn’t have a wraparound porch, several gables, and a porch swing, that’s perfectly okay.

Having said that, if your home’s exterior is ultra modern, it might be a bit too far of a swing to walk in the door and find a classic farmhouse style look. But, if you’re drawn to a sleek, modern home exterior you most likely will also be drawn to a modern style of decorating!

The walls will have neutral paint colors, a few vintage pieces may be sprinkled throughout the home, but you’ll also find a clean-lined sofa in the living room with a contemporary feel.

You’ll find stainless steel appliances in a modern farmhouse kitchen living happily next to an oversize farmhouse style apron sink. Wide plank floors provide the foundation for a kitchen island with rustic shiplap on the base and sleek granite countertops.

The dining room may include an oversize rectangular wood table with iron base, several wood chairs with cushioned seats as well as bench seating. I can visualize a rectangular shaped dining fixture that combines glass and metal in a simple, straightforward design.

The bedroom may boast a bed with an upholstered headboard paired an antique dresser and a couple of vintage, mismatched night stands. Or it could live just as happily with a clean-lined mid century modern dresser with iron legs.

Classic Farmhouse Style:

How would classic interpretation of farmhouse style look? Well, think lots of wood and natural materials with an antique look. You’ll often see a lot of white in the details, too.

The exterior of a classic country farmhouse style home usually has several gables, dormers, and a wraparound porch. There’s usually plenty of gingerbread trim on the eaves and around doors and windows.

Inside, the walls are typically white, with wood floors and furniture. sometimes you’ll see a blue and white color scheme.

You might have an old pie safe as an accent piece in the living room, or an antique armoire in the bedroom.

In the kitchen, you’ll see a lot of white appliances, with wood countertops and a farmhouse sink.

The difference between classic farmhouse and modern farmhouse is in the finishing details. You’ll find more of a sway toward the country style look in classic farmhouse, with buffalo plaid curtains, displayed collections, and a definite rustic vibe.

Shabby Chic Farmhouse Style:

If you love the distressed look, but you’d like to go with lighter colors and a little bit more feminine approach, shabby chic farmhouse decorating is the way to go!

There are lots of clean lines and crisp edges in this look, but it’s still rustic. Exposed brick walls are popular as part of the design scheme, too.

The kitchen will feature white appliances against wood cabinetry with distressed finishes. You might see a farmhouse sink and an island with a butcher block countertop.

Painted furniture is popular in this style, as are floral fabrics and chintz.

You’ll see a lot of white and light colors in shabby chic farmhouse style, with accents of blue, green, and yellow.

Which Style Do Most Homeowners Choose?

More often than not you’ll find that homeowners gravitate toward modern farmhouse decor. It’s casual but stylish, warm and welcoming yet composed. The mix of elements creates a rustic feel with just enough sophistication to keep the overall vibe from becoming too ‘country’.

How to Incorporate a Farmhouse Style Look in Your Home

It’s fairly easy to introduce some simple modern farmhouse style elements into your home if you take it one step at a time.

First, let’s review the elements of farmhouse style we’ll most likely find in a home’s interior:

  • Natural and organic elements
  • Painted furniture
  • Neutral colors on walls
  • Beadboard, shiplap, etc
  • Wire and iron accents
  • Farmhouse light fixtures
  • Distressed furniture finishes

Here are some simple ways to begin incorporating farmhouse style:

PAINT: If your home’s interior is in need of freshening up, consider using lighter neutrals to set the backdrop for a simple farmhouse style

REPLACE: Are the end tables or coffee table in your living room looking a little tired? Search for replacements with a distressed wood top and iron legs, for example. And remember, they all don’t have to match!

LIGHT IT UP: A new dining fixture or entry lighting can be the perfect opportunity to introduce a farmhouse style element.

ON THE FLOOR: This is typically more of an investment, but if you’re thinking of replacing some flooring and the idea of a more casual style is appealing, take a look at planked vinyl flooring with a rustic wood look. I’ve used this in a couple of my homes and absolutely love it.

ACCENTS: If you’re hesitant to invest a lot of money into a new type of decor, consider swapping out some of your smaller accent pieces such as table or floor lamps, accessories, accent rugs, and wall art.

Farmhouse Style In My Home

I’ve been involved in interior decorating and home staging for years, so creating a simple yet inviting home interior is second nature to me in my ripe old years. 🙂

My current home is a blend of modern farmhouse, mid century modern and just a touch of contemporary. It works for me!

modern farmhouse style blended with mid century modern and contemporary decor

Notice the case goods: wood tops with some being distressed, iron legs and/or accents, and an ‘X’ design that is repeated several times in the great room.

The bedroom is almost minimalistic, with midcentury modern case goods.

There are touches of contemporary in the accent rugs and wing back chairs, but overall it’s a casual, slightly rustic modern farmhouse blend of styles.

Where to Shop for Farmhouse Style Furniture and Decor

When we are answering the question, what is farmhouse style and how do I shop for it, there are many resources with a wide variety of price points to offer, from a small budget to ‘the sky’s the limit

Shop for Farmhouse Style Furniture and Decor with Target:

Shop for Farmhouse Style Furniture and Decor with Wayfair:

Shop for Farmhouse Style Decor with Etsy:

Shop for Farmhouse Style Furniture and Decor with Amazon:

Shop for Farmhouse Style Furniture and Decor with Antique Farmhouse

You might not be familiar with Antique Farmhouse – this online shop is a wonderful source for farmhouse style decor and furniture!

I love the variety of shopping experiences they offer:

  • featured events with collections curated around a specific theme
  • shop by department – holiday decor, home decor, furniture, lighting, wall decor, and more
  • shop by room – kitchen, dining room, living room, mudroom, home office, and more
  • shop by style – farmhouse, modern farmhouse, shabby chic, french country, industrial chic, and more

While the ‘big boys’ of the online world have something for everyone, Antique Farmhouse is a niche for lovers of everything rustic. And, their spend threshold for free shipping is very reasonable – currently it’s just $49+

The images shown at the top of this post were curated from Antique Farmhouse. Here are a few more options to check out:

Conclusion: Creating a Farmhouse Style Look in Your Own Home

Now that you know the elements of this approachable, casual style of decorating, it might be time to incorporate some elements of farmhouse style into your home.

Give it some thought, start slowly and add furniture and decor as it makes sense for you and your lifestyle, and you could ultimately create a wonderful home interior that speaks to the past, lives simply, and is your haven to love.

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