What is the allure of farmhouses and farmhouse decorating? I believe a big part of why people love it so much is the call of a simpler time and lifestyle. We look back at our ancestor’s deep connection to the earth, to hard work, to the production of their basic needs and want a piece of that in our lives. Today, I’m sharing authentic vintage farmhouse decor that’s kid proof. Because not only do we want the authentic homes of days gone by, but we also want a house that’s comfortable for our family to live in.
Authentic Vintage Farmhouse vs Modern Farmhouse Style
When I talk about farmhouse decorating, “authentic” farmhouse décor or vintage farmhouse, I am speaking of home decorations that could have fit in a home seventy-five years ago. I am not speaking about the Modern Farmhouse style you can find in Target or Hobby Lobby.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not judging Modern Farmhouse style. If that’s what you like, that’s what you like. Our homes should be a reflection of us, and not what someone else thinks. But the Modern Farmhouse style (aka painted signs that say “Farmhouse”) is not what I’m talking about with “Authentic Vintage Farmhouse style.”
What Is Authentic Farmhouse Style?
Farmhouse style can certainly be mixed with other decorating styles. Heavens, I mix Mid Century and Farmhouse in Bertha, our single wide mobile home. Rustic Farmhouse, Farmhouse Shabby Chic, Farmhouse Boho – the beauty of decorating is bringing pieces of what you love and mixing them together.
Can Farmhouse style be all white with white walls, white painted floor and white furniture? Yes, it can be if you want it to. But even for this white wall lovin’ girl, I think authentic Farmhouse style is white mixed with warmth and color. It’s a mixture of textures and colors. It’s a collection of hard working items, worn through years of use – especially natural materials.
Can I Use Reproduction Antiques in Decorating Farmhouse?
Yes! Absolutely yes. I do suggest using a majority of vintage and antique items to decorate with. There is just a certain look you get with an item that has been around the block. Faking age on an item can never quite match up to the real patina and story an antique has.
However, there are times when reproduction can fit in seamlessly. Couches, dishes, lamps and rugs are just a few areas where you can fit in new items that go with the rest of your home style.
What Is Authentic Farmhouse Decor That’s Kid Proof?
In the end, we are decorating our homes to make our family comfortable. Caleb is fine with living with antiques “as long as it doesn’t feel like a museum.” I also don’t want to worry about something valuable breaking and not letting my 2 and 4 year olds play in the house. It’s not that I let the kids run amuck and not respect our living space, but they do play and wrestle, run and, yes, throw balls. The good news is that authentic vintage Farmhouse style is all about hard work and durability. That means the décor is naturally good for kids!
I’ll list my different suggestions by room that I’ve used in my home or that I’ve sold in my shop. These all fit the authentic Farmhouse style while also standing the test kids can give them.
Farmhouse Porch Décor
The classic Farmhouse porch. *sigh* Don’t we all just want to sit in a porch swing on a Sunday afternoon? No matter your house design, you can add your own bit of Farmhouse feel to the porch.
You can’t beat a porch rocking chair for classic Farmhouse style. But also don’t overlook the Mid Century metal chairs that have a slight rock. These are more 1950’s Farmhouse style but just as farmhouse as anything.
Swing or Glider
If you have room, a porch swing or glider is the perfect addition to add a resting spot for your family. You kids will love swinging away!
So.Many.Options. Galvanized buckets, bushel baskets, clay pots, rusty metal accents of any kind. Find something that fits your space and have fun with it. Since these can be found inexpensively, you can change it from year to year or even season to season!
It’s hard enough to keep your kids fed and alive much less a plant. But farmhouse porches need a little something green. Easy to keep plants include:
- Succulent Hens and Chicks
- Sweet Pea Vine
- Mums for Fall
Farmhouse Entryway or Mudroom Décor
Growing up, mom always had a short church pew in the entryway. I guess we all become like our mothers because I dream of putting one in our mudroom when the farmhouse is complete.
Worn Wood Bench
Short or long, old wood benches are easy to find. You can find chippy painted ones or worn wood ones with beautiful patina. Make sure it’s sturdy, and this piece will serve you well day after day.
You always need places to store shoes, scarves and miscellaneous items that mysteriously come home. Rough wood crates would not do well for clothing, but there are many vintage advertising crates that are smooth inside and add a rustic charm. Large baskets to fit your space can be found on a regular basis at estate sales and flea markets.
From a Rustic barn piece to an antique mirror with hooks, there are many possibilities for hanging your baskets, hats, scarves or whatever else need to go on the wall. Just make sure the hooks are secure, and you won’t have to worry about this piece.
Vintage metal wall hooks are a great addition as coat hangers! Find brass hooks, plain metal or paint the plain metal black or white to match your room. Just make sure if it’s rusty that you spray a clear coat over it to keep it from rusting your clothing.
From ornate brass (that would have been used in a formal Farmhouse entryway) to a simple tall umbrella can (that would have been used for the family’s back entrance), umbrella stands are a useful yet beautiful way to add vintage Farmhouse style to your entry.
Farm women made what they needed in the working parts of their country homes. Inexpensive rag rugs (with a non-slip pad underneath) are perfect for the authentic Farmhouse mudroom. They are easy to throw in the washing machine as well!
Farmhouse Living Room Décor
In the living room, you can mix ornate and common in the Farmhouse style. Many farm homes had a special parlor where they decorated with special, “fancy” items for visitors. I’m not all about making a fancy room just for company, but incorporating a few sturdy but ornate items in a comfortable living room will work with the style.
Wood Beams or Board and Batten Walls
If you’re remodeling, have a house that these would work in and are able to make a big impact, painted or natural wood beams are awesome. Board and batten walls are an easier way to add vintage farmhouse style though, and these are pretty much indestructible by kids. Just know it’s harder to hang things on the wall!
You could buy an antique wood trim settee for your living room if that fits your life style. They are beautiful. I do not have my dream couch at.all, and my family would probably not be comfortable with that kind of vintage furniture. *sniff* Neutral colored couches with slightly curved lines work well.
Wood rocking chairs are hands down full Farmhouse style. But there are so many other options that would work for seating. Generally speaking, the lines of the chair are going to have some curve to them and some visible wood parts.
Whether you choose an ornate, antique claw foot side table or a large coffee packing crate, sturdy side table options are numerous. It needs to be sturdy but not necessarily a work horse since no one, presumably, will be sitting on it. You might want to brush a urethane over the top to guard against water glass damage.
This piece does need to be a work horse. If your house is anything like mine, the coffee table doubles as a seat, bed and jumping off point to the couch. Find a strong lidded trunk or table that can handle a few scratches and little children.
Aaaaaah, rugs…not an easy thing to pick out. There’s the pattern and size and style and then the cost! Oh, the cost. I have used an antique wool rug very successfully with little children spilling. The vibrant pattern covered up all kinds of woes. But certainly, a new rug will work just fine with the vintage Farmhouse style. I prefer lots of pattern to more easily hide those messes!
Accents and Wall Décor
You can create a gallery wall of landscape prints or botanicals or even old and new family photos set in vintage frames. A collection of baskets on the wall can also make a big impact. Brass candlesticks, blue or brown glass, chunky throw blankets (all of these can be reproduction) or stacks of antique books are all great additions. I keep the small decorations to a minimum, but you still want plenty of cosy textures.
Farmhouse Kitchen Home Decor
Everyday and Serving Dishes
Rather than having lots of decorations, I like to add style through our everyday items. This is really what Farmhouse style is all about, not an excess of decorations but beauty in the simple everyday. Dishes can be reproduction or authentic vintage. Good choices are:
Crockery was a staple in farmhouse kitchens. Use vintage or reproduction. Crocks can be used as utensil holders, fruit bowls and even everyday mixing bowls.
Antique paintings, either authentic or prints, are great ways to add character to a kitchen. Hang on an open wall, in a small nook or set on an open shelf.
Adding a rug to a kitchen adds a ton of cozy farmhouse charm. Find one that is easy to wash or one that has a ton of pattern and that can be cleaned with a carpet cleaner once in a while.
If you have space for a kitchen table, this is the very essence of an authentic farmhouse kitchen. The modern farmhouse style utilizes big counters and bar stools. This is completely fine if that’s what you want, but it is not authentic farmhouse vibe At.All. Old kitchens had scarce counter space but had a space for a small kitchen table that doubled as counter space for those big cinnamon roll projects. Wood drop leaf tables or Mid Century enamel tables all fit the authentic farmhouse look.
You can find great hand towels for an authentic farmhouse style. I stay away from “cutesy” towels with sayings or seasonal towels. Plain white tea (drying) towels were in almost every farm kitchen. Most of the time these were embellished with hand worked patterns. These subtle decorative elements are the essence of a farmhouse decor style!
Home Canned Goods
If you are into canning produce yourself, don’t hide all your hard work! Canned tomatoes, pears and jams in glass jars are beautiful works of art. These give instant authentic farmhouse charm when set on an open shelf.
Decorating Your Farmhouse Dining Room with Kids
Dining Room Table and Chairs – Finding the “perfect” table and chair set may take a while. While old dining tables and chairs have lots of character, they need to be sturdy for vintage farmhouse decor that’s kid proof. I’ve used wobbly dining tables and do not recommend them! Sturdy farmhouse tables can be found. I recommend looking on Facebook Marketplace. You might have to be willing to refinish it though if it’s “well loved.”
Chairs and a bench can be mixed and matched for a great farmhouse style. I chose bentwood chairs in our bungalow home. They were sturdy enough for everyday use. I will probably bring them into our farmhouse when it’s finished.
I inherited a china cabinet from my grandma that I absolutely love. I keep my beautiful vintage collections in it for safekeeping. This is a luxury that I don’t take for granted!
Trinkets and Vintage Collections
A lot of the fun of decorating with vintage and antique items is starting a collection. It becomes the thrill of the hunt. Dining rooms are great places to display the collections. Put them in a china cabinet, on a tall floor shelf or on top of a sideboard cabinet. Vintage collections are intensely personal, but some ideas for potential collectors are:
- Trophy Cups
- Naturalist Items like Bird’s Nests and Feathers
- Nice Dishes like Stoneware and Jadeite
- Colorful Vintage Tablecloths
- Antique Books (yes, books in the dining room are totally do-able!)
Farmhouse Bathroom Decorating
Bathroom is less decoration and more usefulness, which is ideal with farmhouse style – decorating with the everyday.
If you have a smaller bathroom, using a large antique mirror above the vanity is perfect. There are so many styles and sizes. Just keep an eye out for one that suits you at an antique store, flea market or estate sale.
There are tons of small shelves or cabinets that give plenty of storage space while looking beautiful.
Crates or Baskets
From bath towel storage to drawer organization, vintage or reproduction crates and baskets can be invaluable.
A piece of vintage artwork or an old black and white family photo can add your unique story to this space.
Having bathroom floor space can be such a blessing for extra storage. Tall, narrow cabinets with glass fronts are a perfect addition to a bathroom corner. If you have a glass front, make the inside “pretty” by hiding essentials in baskets and crates.
A bathroom is the perfect space for a hanging plant. Steam from the shower keeps it happy, and you’re in there everyday to water it. It also adds a touch of greenery, which is often much needed. Still not convinced you can keep a plant alive while taking care of kids? Try a philodendron or, yes, a good faux plant.
Galvanized buckets, Mid Century trash cans, or woven waste baskets – depending on which best reflects your own personal style – can be a good choice to fit an everyday need. My aunt even used an antique enamel chamberpot with a lid for her bathroom trash can. Can’t get more farmhouse than that!
Woven laundry hampers with a lid or a tall, woven laundry basket are easy to find and will be another necessary item with vintage style.
Farmhouse Laundry Room Vintage Farmhouse Decor That’s Kid Proof
You can find a vintage laundry cart or a reproduction one. Stores like World Market and Amazon carry great options. This will hold laundry in that fabulous farmhouse style.
It’s handy to have a fold up drying rack somewhere in your laundry room, and this was used in farmhouses before the days of electric dryers. Use free standing racks, wall-mounted fold down or swing arm racks.
Original farmhouses didn’t have many (or any) closets and storage space. I’m not totally sure why, but it just wasn’t a thing. They relied on free standing cabinets and wall hooks. Common in farmhouses were Shaker style wall pegs to hang items like baskets, brooms, and dust pans.
In our bungalow home in town, I had large open shelves in our laundry room to store our items while also using them as decoration. Things like vases, laundry supplies put in jars and canisters, tablecloths and baskets are the perfect blend of functional and farmhouse!
Farmhouse Bedroom Décor When You Have Young Children
Antique beds can be beautiful. You can find sturdy, nearly indestructible iron or wood bed frames in twin and double sizes for the kids’ room. However, queen and king sizes are harder to come by for the master bedroom. You may need to find a reproduction bed in the larger size.
Of course, you can find great antique dressers to go in your bedroom. I dislike matching bedroom furniture, so I’m good with the mis-matched farmhouse style. However, old dressers can be tricky to close. If your drawers are a little stiff, try rubbing beeswax on the drawers and slides for a better close. Caleb is pretty particular with dressers. He thinks they should work instead of look pretty. The nerve. So I did find a newer wood dresser that fit with the natural look of our room. And it actually closes with one hand! Haha.
Almost anything can be used as a nightstand to give authentic farmhouse charm. A painted or natural wood drawer cabinet, a small dresser, a wicker side table, or even an antique advertising crate for a truly unique look!
Choose a large area rug or layer several smaller rugs together for a cozy addition to your bedroom. Even rooms with carpet can have smaller rugs layered on top. This is a space that typically can handle more uniquely beautiful antique rugs as they don’t get as much wear. (Or you can find reproduction antique looking rugs.)
I love having a rocking chair in the kids’ and my bedroom. This makes it easy to rock the little ones back to sleep in the middle of the night. And rocking chairs are as farmhouse as it gets. A Queen Anne style chair is also a good idea for room decor.
Find a collection of various antique jewelry holders, trays and boxes for a vintage addition to your everyday needs.
I love picking up antique quilts in good condition to use as bedspreads or throws in our bedrooms. And if we’re not using them, they look great folded up in a stack. Pretty sure if you’re decorating in authentic farmhouse style, you have to have a least a few quilts!
Farmhouse Office or Library Decorations with Kids
My dream in every house is to have a “library.” Before kids, I had an actual room in our bungalow we called the library. When that room became a little girl’s room, my library was moved into a nook in our bedroom. Whether you have an entire room for office space or simply a corner of a room, your space can feel very collected and farmhouse-y.
Shouldn’t every vintage office have shelves full of books and personal collections from your life? I certainly think so. This is where your personality and life absolutely shines.
Speaking of books, a mixture of old and new books are great for your authentic farmhouse office. Don’t just stack them up in a row. Lay some down, stack them up, turn some around backwards. This is where more is always better than less.
Keepsakes from your childhood, items inherited from relatives, mementos from vacations, small vintage trinkets that caught your eye all work together in an office to make the space your special story.
Whether recent photos of your family or old black and white photos of grandma and grandpa, an office is a beautiful space for your story. Put in them various frames, enlarge them for a statement wall hanging or create a gallery wall.
Ephemera is vintage paper items. This can be anything from old letters and postcards to maps or a ticket stub. Pin a collection to a board to create a large piece of art. Or use this idea from my friend. From a box of papers from her grandpa, she found a check he had signed for something purchased on his farm. She had the check blown up to about 24 x 48 ish inches on a canvas for a stunning statement piece.
Old typewriters and rotary phones can be fabulous, authentic additions to your office. Have a landline? Hook up that phone! Want to send a note to a friend? Bring out that typewriter! My kids love playing with my typewriter and phone while I’m working. Good clean fun, AND they know what a typewriter and rotary phone actually are!
Cubby cabinets and library card catalogs are some of the most useful yet beautiful additions to vintage farmhouse decor that’s kid proof. Store your office supplies, craft supplies or knick knacks in these handy spaces. There is something about a cubby cabinet that draws close attention.
Well, I should stop there with my list of vintage farmhouse decor that’s kid proof. There are almost endless ideas you can use to create authentic vintage farmhouse decor that’s kid proof. I hope this list has helped you in your journey of creating a uniquely beautiful home for your family.
Decorating vintage in our homes isn’t about going to the store and buying all we need. It’s a life-long collection of things that mean something or are useful to us. Yes, this may take a little longer, but as we know, life is about the journey. Our homes are not about creating the “perfect” space but creating a comfortable space we love.
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