What is Farmhouse Style? History, Key Elements, Benefits

Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

In the world of interior design, different styles come and go. However, one style that has maintained its charm over the years is the farmhouse style. This timeless aesthetic has its roots in the countryside, offering a sense of comfort, warmth, and homeliness that many people long for in today’s fast-paced world.

This article will delve into the heart of the farmhouse style, exploring its origins, key elements, and various types.

We’ll also provide practical tips on how to incorporate this style into your own home, highlighting its benefits and showcasing some beautiful examples of farmhouse style homes.

Whether you’re a seasoned interior designer or a homeowner looking for inspiration, this guide will offer a comprehensive understanding of what defines the farmhouse style.

History of Farmhouse Style

farmhouse kitchen

Origins of Farmhouse Style

The farmhouse style traces its roots back to the 18th and 19th centuries, when functionality and practicality were paramount in home design. Originating in Europe, particularly in areas like Scandinavia, France, and the British Isles, the farmhouse style was largely shaped by the rural surroundings and the local climate.

Homes were designed with materials readily available in the local area, such as wood and stone. Interiors were kept simple and functional, designed to accommodate a large family and the rigors of farm life. The color palette was generally muted, with whites, creams, and earthy tones dominating the scene.

Evolution of Farmhouse Style

Over time, the farmhouse style has evolved and adapted while maintaining its core principles of simplicity, warmth, and functionality. As people moved away from rural areas into cities, they took the farmhouse aesthetic with them, adapting it to fit their new environments.

In the early 20th century, the American farmhouse style emerged, characterized by its large front porches and a more informal layout compared to its European counterparts. Elements such as shiplap walls, barn doors, and wide plank floors became popular features of this style.

In recent years, the farmhouse style has seen a resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to television shows and social media. Today’s modern farmhouse style combines the traditional elements of the classic farmhouse with contemporary touches, creating a balance between old-world charm and modern sophistication.

Despite its evolution, the farmhouse style remains true to its roots, offering a sense of comfort and simplicity that is often lacking in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world. Whether in a rural setting or in the heart of the city, the farmhouse style continues to provide a sense of warmth and homeliness that many people long for.

Is farmhouse out of style?

Despite the constant evolution of interior design trends, farmhouse style is not going out of style. According to various sources, including Forbes and The Spruce, the appeal of this style remains strong due to its timeless charm and comfort.

Modern farmhouse style continues to be popular, with designers like Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” having a significant influence on its continued popularity. This style successfully marries traditional farmhouse elements with modern aesthetics, creating a balance that appeals to a wide range of tastes.

However, like all styles, it’s essential to keep the look fresh and updated. The overly antique, cluttered country farmhouse style is giving way to a more streamlined, modern interpretation. But at its core, the farmhouse style remains true to its roots, offering a sense of warmth, simplicity, and homeliness that many people love.

While new trends like Cottagecore are emerging, they don’t necessarily replace the farmhouse style but rather offer a different take on the comfortable, rural aesthetic that people associate with farmhouse design. Ultimately, the staying power of farmhouse style lies in its ability to adapt and evolve while maintaining its core principles.

Key Elements of Farmhouse Style

farmhouse dining room

Use of Natural Materials

Farmhouse style is deeply rooted in nature. It often features the use of natural materials like wood and stone, which lend a sense of warmth and rustic charm to the space. Exposed wooden beams, hardwood floors, and stone fireplaces are common elements in farmhouse design.

Neutral Color Palette

A neutral color palette is another trademark of the farmhouse style. Creams, whites, and grays often serve as the base colors, with shades of blue, green, or even red used as accents. This approach creates a calming and welcoming atmosphere, making the home feel comfortable and lived-in.

Rustic Furniture and Vintage Accessories

The furniture in a farmhouse style home is usually sturdy and rustic, often with a worn or distressed finish. Vintage accessories like antique signs, old clocks, and weathered crates add character and a sense of history to the space.

Open Shelving and Practical Storage

Open shelving is a popular feature in farmhouse kitchens, displaying dishes and glassware while adding a sense of openness to the room. Practical storage solutions like large cupboards and baskets are also typical, reflecting the style’s roots in functional, rural living.

Farmhouse Kitchen Sink

Perhaps one of the most iconic features of a farmhouse kitchen is the apron-front sink, also known as a farmhouse sink. These sinks are often wide and deep, perfect for washing large pots and pans. Their distinctive design adds a touch of vintage charm to the kitchen.

Incorporating these key elements can help you capture the essence of farmhouse style in your home. However, remember that the best designs reflect personal taste, so don’t be afraid to put your own spin on it. In our next section, we’ll provide practical tips on how to bring the farmhouse style into your own home.

Different Types of Farmhouse Style

Classic or Traditional Farmhouse

Traditional Farmhouse style is characterized by its rustic, comfortable, and homely feel. It’s reminiscent of old farmhouses with their wide front porches, wooden floors, spacious kitchens, and cozy fireplaces.

The color palette is typically neutral with pops of traditional country colors like reds and blues. Vintage furniture and accessories are key elements of this style.

Modern Farmhouse

Modern Farmhouse style is a contemporary interpretation of the classic farmhouse look. It maintains the warm and rustic charm of the traditional farmhouse but adds sleek, modern touches.

Think clean lines, minimalist decor, and a neutral color palette with black-and-white accents. Modern farmhouse style often incorporates industrial-style lighting and furniture for a more updated look.

Coastal Farmhouse

Coastal Farmhouse style blends elements from both coastal and farmhouse decor. This style is light and breezy, featuring a color palette of whites, creams, and blues reminiscent of the sea and sky.

Natural materials like driftwood and sea glass are often used, and nautical-themed decor items like anchors, ships’ wheels, or marine life motifs can be incorporated.

Industrial Farmhouse

Industrial Farmhouse style is a fusion of rustic farmhouse aesthetics with the raw, edgy feel of industrial design. This style often features exposed brick or stone walls, metal accents, and reclaimed wood.

The color scheme tends to be more muted, with grays, blacks, and browns dominating. Industrial farmhouse style is all about celebrating the beauty of raw, unfinished materials.

Each of these farmhouse styles has its unique characteristics, but they all share the same core principles of warmth, simplicity, and a connection to nature. By understanding these different styles, you can choose one that best suits your personal taste and the architecture of your home.

How to Incorporate Farmhouse Style in Your Home

Choosing the Right Furniture

When incorporating farmhouse style into your home, selecting the right furniture is crucial. Opt for pieces that are comfortable and slightly worn, with a sense of history and character.

Weathered wood, distressed finishes, and vintage details are all elements to look for. You can also mix old and new pieces to create a balance between rustic charm and modern comfort.

Selecting the Right Color Palette

The color palette in farmhouse style is typically neutral. Whites, creams, grays, and soft earth tones dominate, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

However, don’t be afraid to add pops of color like rich green or earthy purple for a bit of personality. Avoid bright, overwhelming colors, as they can disrupt the calming aesthetic of the farmhouse style.

Choosing the Right Accessories and Decor Items

Accessories and decor items play a significant role in defining the farmhouse style. Consider using wire baskets for storage, wall signs with farm-fresh sayings, or antique-inspired lighting fixtures. These elements will add a touch of rustic elegance and establish a timeless design.

Incorporating Open Shelving and Practical Storage

Farmhouse style is rooted in functionality. Therefore, open shelving and practical storage solutions are key.

Display your dishes, glassware, or favorite collectibles on open shelves for easy access and visual appeal. Use large cupboards or baskets for storing essentials. These elements not only serve a practical purpose but also contribute to the overall aesthetic.

Benefits of Choosing Farmhouse Style

Comfort and Coziness

One of the main benefits of choosing farmhouse style is the comfort and coziness it brings to a home. With its emphasis on natural materials, warm colors, and inviting furnishings, farmhouse style creates an atmosphere that’s welcoming and relaxing.

Whether you’re curling up with a book in a plush armchair or cooking a meal in a kitchen filled with rustic charm, farmhouse style makes your home feel like a sanctuary.

Timeless Appeal

Farmhouse style has a timeless appeal that never goes out of fashion. It draws on traditional aesthetics, but can be easily updated with modern touches.

This means your home will always feel current, but won’t lose its classic charm. The use of vintage and antique pieces also adds a sense of history and character, giving your home a unique, personal touch.

Easy to Update or Change

Because farmhouse style is so versatile, it’s easy to update or change as your tastes evolve. You can easily add more modern elements for a contemporary twist, or incorporate coastal or industrial accents if you want to try something new.

And because the base palette is neutral, it’s easy to switch up your accent colors or decor items without having to completely overhaul your space. This makes farmhouse style a great choice for those who like to refresh their decor from time to time.

Examples of Beautiful Farmhouse Style Homes

Farmhouse style has been embraced by many homeowners, designers, and architects due to its timeless appeal and comforting aesthetics. Here are some examples of beautiful farmhouse-style homes:

  1. Napa Valley Farmhouse: This stunning home features breathtaking vineyard views. The design beautifully blends rustic elements with modern comforts, creating a space that is both elegant and inviting.
  2. Simple Contrasts Farmhouse: Featured in Sunset’s list of the most beautiful farmhouses of 2019, this home uses contrast to its advantage. The combination of dark wood and white paint creates a striking look that’s both rustic and contemporary.
  3. The Barn as the Main House: Another home featured in Sunset’s list, this farmhouse design takes inspiration from traditional barns. High ceilings and open spaces create a sense of grandeur, while warm wood tones and cozy furnishings keep things comfortable.
  4. Farmhouse Exterior Home: This home, featured on Houzz, showcases a beautiful farmhouse exterior. The design includes traditional elements like a gabled roof and wraparound porch, but updates them with clean lines and a modern color palette.
  5. Rustic Modern Farmhouse: This home, featured in Architectural Digest, beautifully blends rustic and modern aesthetics. The use of natural materials, like wood and stone, creates a warm, inviting atmosphere, while contemporary design elements keep things fresh and current.

Sources: [^1^]: Pinterest [^3^]: Sunset [^4^]: Houzz [^10^]: Architectural Digest


Farmhouse style is a design aesthetic that blends traditional charm with modern comfort. It’s characterized by the use of natural materials, neutral color palettes, and functional, cozy furnishings. This style’s timeless appeal lies in its ability to create spaces that feel warm, welcoming, and authentically personal.

Farmhouse style also offers flexibility and versatility. It’s easy to update or change, allowing you to keep your home feeling fresh and current. Whether you prefer a more rustic look or wish to incorporate more contemporary elements, there’s room for personalization within this style.

When done right, farmhouse style can transform your home into an inviting sanctuary that combines the best of old and new. So, if you’re considering a refresh of your interiors, why not take a leaf from the beautiful examples of farmhouse style homes we’ve explored today? Embrace the comfort, simplicity, and timeless appeal of farmhouse style – it might just be the perfect fit for your home.