Style Series: What is Farmhouse Style?

Chip and Joanna Gaines.  We’ve all heard of them. Many of us have drooled over every episode of Fixer Upper.  They helped bring “Farmhouse Style” into vogue.

This week, we are looking at the second in our Style Series. What is Farmhouse Style? Farmhouse style of home décor is what I’m most familiar with because it’s how I grew up.  But it’s also the most difficult for me to explain, partly because there are different styles of “Farmhouse style.”  The modern version of Farmhouse style is everywhere you go.  Type it into Pinterest or browse the shelves of Hobby Lobby, “Farmhouse Style” is THE thing.

While I love the Modern “farmhouse” home décor pictures on Pinterest, I am going to explain my take on Farmhouse Style.  My take is a bit more cozy and warm rather than the modern all-white version (though I love me lots of white walls!).  Either “take” on the style is perfectly fine.  I just prefer the Farmhouse style you find over years of collecting and not in the aisles of Hobby Lobby or Target. (And, yes, I’m always game for a Target run or Hobby Lobby find).

Here are five elements of my Traditional Farmhouse Style of home decorating.

  1. Using utilitarian pieces for decoration

People living on farms were/are hard workers.  They needed long-lasting tools to help them in their everyday lives, and they kept those “tools” readily available, not for decoration but for ease of use.  To copy this part of Farmhouse style, you would essentially decorate with practical items…baskets on shelves, an apron hanging in the kitchen, scissors and twine on the counter.  Decorate with these useful items (and use them too!).

  1. Well-worn furniture

Farmers weren’t going to buy new furniture all (or any of) the time.  They passed down pieces from generation to generation.  Or they would go to the nearest farm auction and get sturdy, used pieces.  As a result, farmhouse furniture has chippy paint and well-worn wood that looks like it could tell a story from 75 years ago.

  1. Neutral, often white, walls mixed with warm wood tones

I think white walls is a little more of a modern take on Farmhouse style, but I like it, so here it is.  White walls let the decorations shine.  Warm wood stands out well against this simple backdrop.

But for a more traditional Farmhouse wall color, there are tans, greens and blues that have a brown-ish undertone.  Also considered “neutrals,” these calm colors will warm up a room and give it an automatic coziness.


  1. Cozy accessories

This is another way farmhouses of old were decorated with utilitarian pieces.  Farm families made what they used.  There were quilts on the beds and knitted blankets.  Towels were made from old grain sacks (purposely printed with a simple floral pattern when flour companies realized women repurposed them into clothes). Linen was also a simple, long-lasting fabric.  Color is pretty muted to light pinks, blues, greens and yellows (again, with brown undertones).

  1. Kitchen Table

This is very specific and may or may not work in your home.  But farm kitchens had (usually small) kitchen tables in them.  Many Modern Farmhouse Style definitions says that it includes an open concept kitchen.  I disagree.  I’m not saying that open concept is bad; it’s just not original farmhouse style.  Yes, the heart of the home was in the kitchen; yes, people congregated there. But it was at a somewhat cramped kitchen table in a closed off kitchen.  The room was cozy and warm (because of the heat from the stove…no central heating then, ya’ know). So, if you have a closed off kitchen, take heart!  You can add great farmhouse style by adding a small table that serves double duty as extra kitchen workspace.

Overall, Farmhouse style of home décor is beautiful in its simplicity.  It’s based on a lifestyle that is hardworking, so the farmhouse decorations you use should often do double duty as pieces you also take down and use.  And an added bonus of this style is that since it is so practical, it is very kid friendly!  Badda-bing, badda-boom.


Our Vintage Bungalow

Howdy! I’m Tammy, and I’ve lived most of my life stretching a low decorating budget through garage sales and DIY renovation.

I am going to give you quick and easy tips on the beauty of reusing older items instead of spending tons of money on new. I’ll show you how I add vintage style that makes a your house feel like a cozy home (even with young kids, a practical husband and a big dog in tow). 

Read more about our journey HERE

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