I’m sure everyone is familiar with HGTV’s show Fixer Upper, with the Gaines and their style called Farmhouse. The picture above is an example. To me, their style, while pretty, is more Industrial than Farm, and the grey-washed interiors lack something…you know…color..warmth. It can be striking, for sure. And I know it’s a very popular style. I’m certainly not knocking it.
But when I think Farmhouse, I think Farm. At least a little grass and trees around the house, if not barns, pastures, and fields. I think hard, dirty work and muddy boots trudging into the kitchen. I remember my relatives in South Dakota, Iowa and Washington…my Great Aunt’s huge wood stove, the old hand pump in the garden, quilts and tablecloths and curtains, all handmade. I think sturdy workworn kitchens, dining rooms with fancy lace tablecloths set for company or Sunday dinner, comfy living rooms.
Bedrooms upstairs with iron beds or wooden bunkbeds covered with colorful old quilts, cotton curtains rippling in the breeze of open windows. Toys and books and momentos laying about. They usually had a room off the kitchen (called a mudroom) with pegs by the door holding worn Carhart coats and muck boots parked beneath them. And I don’t mean those bright yellow rain boots worn by suburbanites as trendy accessories. I mean muck boots, rubber boots that have been thru mud and manure. My pair have lived thru many a stall cleanout.
My version of Farmhouse style reverts back to those times in my past, and the simple homes I remember. Homes handed down thru generations, but kept up and supplemented with homemade touches that lent the homes a personal, welcoming, comfy touch. But…that said, I also like a few modern twists from the current style trends.
So here’s some of my favorite elements of a warm, welcoming, hard-working Farmhouse.
My Farmhouse Style Elements
And these are in no special order.
- A warm front entry – even if it’s just a stoop and stairs, this is your first chance to provide a welcoming touch to friends and family. A wreath on the door, a cool welcome mat, and some potted flowers say, “Hey there, glad to see you”.
- Comfy furniture and plenty of personal touches. I don’t want to see ‘planted’ vintage books and candlesticks that are just for looks. I like personal touches – books you’re actually reading, your latest crochet project, fun pillows and throws, family photos, and real items that are used – candles or oil lamps for when the lights go out for example.
- Wall art that reflects who you are and what turns you on – like the horse painting on wood above my couch. For you it may be floral prints, a painting of chickens or heifers, a Farmall tin sign, or an enlarged photo from that week at the lake that makes you smile every time you look at it.
- Wood paneling – I know…some people hate it. But I love wood touches, so weather it’s old timey pine paneling or updated reclaimed barn wood, I like at least a partial wall of paneling.
- Color. Whether it’s painted walls, carpets and rugs, furniture patterns, or additions like drapes, pillows, and accessories, I don’t want to feel like I’ve gone color blind when I walk in. I don’t like overdone…but white and gray decor says urban and industrial to me, not country or farm. Think nature, greens and browns, reds and yellows.
- Vintage accessories – graniteware coffee pots, oil lanterns, boot jacks, egg baskets, galvinized buckets, vintage furniture and linens.
- Find new uses for outdated things. Use an old bucket as a flower container, or a childs wagon can hold flower pots near the front door. I have an old leather horse collar on my wall as a wreath. Get creative. However, try not to ruin the item, just find a new use for it.
- Animals. No Farmhouse is complete without animals. Now you may not be able to have real chickens, cows, or horses where you live, but you may have a dog or cat. Don’t be afraid to add a little whimsy with a few stuffed or ceramic farm animals around the house or garden. A cute cement pig would look cute in that flowerbed, don’t you think?
- Let your home looked lived in…ever walk into a house where not a thing is out of place and there aren’t any personal items anywhere to be seen? I think, is this just the front of the house where they let visitors in? Where do they LIVE?? Don’t be afraid to USE your Farmhouse. Don’t decorate for show, decorate to be used.
- Display memories. My Dad’s pipe, Mom’s apron, an old metal lunchbox , a stuffed horse my sister gave me when I was hurting…I like things around me that remind me of good times or special moments.
There are as many ways to decorate as there are people decorating. These are some things that I like. Fill your home with what makes you happy. What are your essential farmhouse style elements?