What is Farmhouse Style?

If you’ve been wondering what makes farmhouse style so popular, where it came from, and what kinds of other farmhouse looks are out there, this post is for you!

Gorgeous two-story country farmhouse, white with gray stone and a black roof, natural wood columns and accents, black framed windows and double wooden front doors, two rocking chairs on front porch, blue sky with white fluffy clouds, green grass

Watch any home improvement show or flip through a home decor magazine and you’ll quickly notice that farmhouse style is brought up a lot. At first, it may seem like this style features nothing but ship-lap and antique furniture, but there’s so much more to it than that. This leads to a pretty common question from those looking to redecorate or renovate their home; what defines farmhouse style anyway?

In general, farmhouse style is a home decorating and interior/exterior design style characterized by both antique and natural elements, which are common in historic farmhouses. There are several sub-styles, such as rustic farmhouse and modern farmhouse. 

If you’re looking to learn more about this home design trend, keep reading. This post covers questions like where farmhouse style came from, why it’s popular, whether or not it’s on its way out, and more.

Table of Contents

Where Did Farmhouse Style Come From?

Historically speaking, farmhouse style was never about design or aesthetics. There’s a long history of farmhouses being used for anything but what they’re known for today. 

Back in colonial days, a home’s sole purpose was to be fully functional and make living on a farm easier. Thus, anything that was readily available such as raw lumber or even a cracked window was used for practical purposes only. Homes were also laid out in a way that catered to life on the farm, like kitchens being completely separated from the rest of the main rooms. 

Throughout the years, people continued to collect things from these old farmhouses and incorporated them into their homes as a way to honor farming history. It gives many people a feeling of pride and allows them to honor their heritage. It then became part of mainstream home design throughout the 1900s and early 2000s, though most people weren’t aware of it. 

In recent years, popular home renovation shows (namely Fixer Upper) and magazines have taken the farmhouse style and given it a new twist to fit into today’s homes. The farmhouse style gained massive traction and eventually became the most searched home design trend on Google in 2019.  

There are many sub-styles of farmhouse style, but the design as a whole is popular because it gives off a comfortable and welcoming feeling. When incorporated correctly, the main elements of this design trend put an emphasis on gathering people together and remembering simpler times. This is achieved through things like the classic large farmhouse tables, antique decor, and apron sinks.

The farmhouse style that we know today is a balance of both function and beauty. For example, a reclaimed piece of wood in settler days was a necessary part of a home’s structure and a large basin sink was essential for cooking tasks. However, today those things are intentionally chosen as design pieces, yet are still fully functional parts of the home.

People choose the farmhouse style because it is timeless, simple, and very versatile. The core characteristics of farmhouse style can be fused together with other design trends, such as rustic, industrial, traditional, chic, and so forth. It provides endless design opportunities and can be customized to your heart’s desire. 

Is Farmhouse Style Going Out?

While the farmhouse style has seen its peak and may look a little different today than in previous years, it’s not going anywhere. That’s one of the reasons it’s admired by designers and homeowners; it can be carried throughout generations and take on many different styles and trends without losing its charm. 

The more trendy parts of this style such as ship-lap and rusty kitchen signs may not be as popular, but the core elements of the farmhouse design are here to stay. Many people still choose elements that resemble rural architecture and make them their own with a modern spin. Like any style, it will change over time and look a little different every year. 

What Is Farmhouse Style Furniture?

Farmhouse furniture can be anything from a kitchen island to a bed frame. The most popular pieces of farmhouse-style furniture are dining tables, kitchen islands, headboards, hutches, and chairs. They’re characterized by earthy tones, varying textures, antique accessories, and natural elements. 

Vintage and reclaimed furniture can be considered farmhouse furniture, as well. This style of furniture often has a weathered, distressed appearance on purpose but can also have clean lines and more refined touches.

What Kind of Farmhouse Styles are There?

Over time farmhouse style has gotten several different faces. Let’s explore which ones are the most popular and why.

Classic Farmhouse

As the name implies, a classic farmhouse style is inspired by the authentic classic farmhouses from centuries ago. It includes rustic pieces such as rusty metal frames, exposed weathered wood beams, and floral fabrics. Classic farmhouse style is all about using what you have and making it part of your home.

bathroom with white clawfoot tub, tile flooring, white walls, off white sliding barn doors with black metal hardware, white rug in front of tub

Modern Farmhouse

The opposite of classic, modern farmhouse style is a balance of modern comforts that are inspired by the laid back and simplicity style of a classic farmhouse. It incorporates the same neutral tones and natural elements, but mixes them with an overall contemporary or modern design. There’s an emphasis on cohesive decor, clean lines, and refined pieces, rather than the vast eclectic rustic touches that’s found in a classic farmhouse style.

Open floor plan showing kitchen, dining room and living room, hardwood flooring, furniture combines a simple rustic look using wood and brown leather, black accents on light fixtures, decor and doors

French Farmhouse

This style gives an airy, cozy, country flair to a home. It uses galvanized metals, rustic accents, wood furnishings, and lots of marble. French farmhouse style has a cool grey and white color palette that’s accentuated with warmer elements, like dark flooring or distressed oak tables.

Cozy entryway showing the front door open letting in the sunlight, stairs leading up to the second level right off the front door, a small bench with pillows, shelf with a home sweet home sign

Industrial Farmhouse

The industrial farmhouse style is all about textures, metals, exposed elements, and an overall masculine feel. It has a strong urban edge and often includes exposed HVAC, concrete counters, Edison bulb lights, reclaimed wood, and exposed red brick. Even though it has an overall grey-toned color palette, it also has lots of natural accents to make it more inviting and farm-like. 

Industrial kitchen with concrete ceiling and exposed copper pipes, black metal light pendants hanging from the ceiling, white tile backsplash from counter to ceiling, wooden counters with white cabinets, simple wooden table with black chairs, floating white shelves, tv on wall

Primitive/Country Farmhouse

This style stands out more than the others thanks to its darker color palette, burnished metals, rustic pieces, and overall Americana feel. It mixes antique pieces that you’d find in other farmhouse styles with more country touches like quilts, mason jars, and the classic country metal star. 

Black metal canister with wooden spoons, cream placemats, old fashioned silverware, an old cutting knife and cutting boards

Rustic Farmhouse

This farmhouse style puts an emphasis on repurposed furniture and antique finds. In a home inspired by a rustic farmhouse style, you will find open shelving with a hob-podge of dishes which are often worn or chipped, handcrafted decor made of distressed wood, and lots of rusted metals. It can be mixed with cooler color palettes and timeless accents like subway tile for an overall cozy, rustic farmhouse feel.

Rustic farmhouse kitchen with floating shelves, hanging pans and old wooden cabinets, stainless steel sink, canisters with spices and simple wite countertops

Coastal Farmhouse

A coastal farmhouse style is characterized by natural elements like driftwood, sea glass, shiplap, and wooden beams – just like any other farmhouse look. However, it has an overall breezy, light, cozy feel with a color palette that’s inspired by the ocean, as well as lightweight textures. It often features warmer accent pieces, such as brass faucets or bed frames, for an overall ocean cottage aesthetic. 

White shiplap wall, hardwood floor with a large area rug, simple wooden rectangular table with 4 green chairs, table runner and small plant with candles on table

Farmhouse Chic

The farmhouse chic style is a mix of everything – it has neutral color palettes and vintage pieces like classic farmhouse, with clean lines and refined touches like the modern farmhouse style. It also has multiple layers and textures, natural finishes, and colored accents for added warmth. It’s usually made up of both rustic items from flea markets and modern furnishings or accents. 

Cozy farmhouse living room with original hardwood floor, large black and white area rug, dark brown sectional with throw blankets and pillows, white shiplap accent wall, 2 windows and open front door letting in sunlight

Defining Farmhouse Style on a Personal Level

What defines a farmhouse style on a personal level really comes down to your own design preferences. 

You can have an overarching farmhouse feel without leaning too far into any specific look. On the other hand, you can dive into one single style and only choose pieces that reflect that certain design.

There are many ways to achieve a farmhouse aesthetic, which is why it has been a staple in design communities for years. It may have hit mainstream stores and design shows just in recent years – with certain parts of it already on their way out – but the farmhouse style trend is definitely here to stay. 

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