How to Achieve the Farmhouse Chic Look
Home is where you can kick up your feet and relax. More often, people want comfort and practicality in their home furnishings, without sacrificing visual appeal. It’s the perfect storm for farmhouse style furniture.
“My clients frequently request coffee tables that can handle feet, drinks and children’s artwork,” says Michelle Holland, owner of Patina Antiques and Interiors in Shelburne, Vt. “They don’t want to fuss over the finish, and [they] feel it is important for people to feel comfortable using the furniture.”
The old, worn look of farmhouse furniture, Holland says, makes this style a great go-to. “Imperfections are what give these pieces character. You can see the different paints that have been applied, the dings and chips from use, and surfaces worn smooth by a hundred years of use.”
Simplicity and accessibility are two defining characteristics of this style, Holland says.
She points to the farm table ¬– with its broad surface and clean lines – as one beautiful piece that can work almost anywhere in the home. “You can use them for dining, for kitchen islands or as coffee tables,” she says. Sometimes stretching as long as 10-feet long, these tables often become the gathering hub for families.
Karen Ellentuck, a Seattle-based interior designer and owner of Ellentuck Interiors, has noticed the rise in popularity of the natural, unfinished wood look paired with metals, such as an iron rod fixture – signature farm-style looks.
People are also using a lot of natural fabrics around the home, she says, and materials like hemp and linen are popping up more and more in carpeting and rugs. “I think it has to do with the green movement,” Ellentuck says. “Farm style also seems to make the area more inviting.”
Another beloved piece tied to this style is usually found in the kitchen: the butcher block. Often used as a kitchen island, the assembled wood block can double as a cutting board.
“I think the butcher block adds warmth when people are combining hard surfaces like granite or stainless steel appliances,” says Julie Browning Bova, designer for Julie Browning Bova Home Collection and founder of Indianapolis-based Julie Bova Interior Design.
The special aspect about the butcher block and other farmhouse furniture, Browning Bova says, is their inherent connection to the past. “I think the farmhouse style is a wonderful marrying of the old style and current style,” she says. “That, to me, is what is making this return to farm style popular now.”
“I always suggest people fill their homes with treasures they love and the stories of the people who live there,” she adds. “I think the farmhouse style does that.”
A hutch with shelves and glass cabinets is a classic display piece for sharing those stories. It instantly adds charm, Browning Bova says, and enables people to display collected items and cherished family heirlooms.
“Ladderback chairs, farm tables, hutches, all these things can be found as family hand-me-downs or antique reproductions for people who are looking for that simple, Americana farm look,” she says.
The term “farmhouse” sometimes evokes an explosion of gingham, farm animals and hay, but this décor style is subtler than that. Browning Bova says people can strike the right balance to achieve a sophisticated, organic and clean-lined “farm chic” space, no matter where they live.
She advocates for a “blending of the periods – mixing the past in with the modern – and that contrast of rustic and classic… There’s a wonderful warmth to it, and you don’t necessarily have to live on the farm.”