Farmhouse décor is everywhere these days, and you don’t have to live in a Little House on the Prairie to make this look work in your home. Farmhouse living is all about turning rustic — but still useful! — found items into beautiful objects of art. Farmers are frugal souls, and if you bring a “waste not, want not” attitude to your aesthetic, you’ll be well on your way to crafting the perfect farmhouse-style touches for your own house, whether it’s in the city or suburbs.
Hallmarks of Farmhouse Style
Farmhouse style isn’t fancy. It’s meant to be comfortable and to make the most out of the “good bones” of your house by relying on natural materials to add interest. Wood floors, exposed beams and horizontal paneling are all part of the look, though stone and brick may also be featured in the interior. Walls are often whitewashed because it’s the most affordable finish, and this clean look makes a great backdrop for farmhouse-style accessories. Likewise, kitchen cabinets are often painted white as well.
As for decorations, furniture is usually simple, but functional. A large, wooden dining table is a must, and a mix and match sensibility with chairs is common. Decorative touches are humble and handmade, including elements like Mason jars, burlap fabric, fresh wildflowers, wrought iron and salvaged wood. There’s a lot of white and neutral shades in country décor thanks to all those natural materials, though aqua, blue and black accents are often featured as well. The color is typically less important than the finish, which should be matte and distressed to create an antique look.
When you’re ready to add some farmhouse flair to your home, try one of these great DIY projects to get a taste of country living.
Decorate With Doors and Windows
One of the easiest ways to introduce a little shabby-chic style into a farmhouse look is to use salvaged windows and doors as artwork. The best ones will be broken into several small panes and have original, distressed paint on the mullions for lots of interesting texture. You can find these at garage sales and in salvage shops around the country.
To use them, dust off the windows and either hang them in a gallery wall collage with other rustic pieces, or stand them in layers on a shelf as you would a collection of framed photos. They also make a charming backdrop propped up against the wall on a console table.
Display Produce in Wire Baskets
Keep your farmers’ market wares on display in your kitchen to showcase nature’s bounty. Wire baskets are perfect for this as they look old-fashioned and allow good airflow to keep your food fresh. Any produce that you store at room temperature — avocados, bananas, tomatoes, citrus, apples — will look lovely out on the counter or hanging from wall baskets.
You can also turn your wire baskets into a real showstopper by affixing them to a rustic board to create a display area on your wall. Once you have an old board that looks the part, simply screw in cup hooks to support the wire baskets. Use a stud finder and drywall screws to secure the board to your wall, and you have an organic snack center.
Make a Mason Jar Centerpiece
Mason jars are the perfect addition to farmhouse decor because they’re both rustic and useful. A farmhouse table is typically full of good things to eat, so centerpieces should be simple but lovely. Use a collection of four-ounce Mason jars to hold tea candles for some mood lighting, or use quart-sized jars as simple vases for a bouquet of flowers.
For an added touch of rustic charm, tie layers of burlap and lace ribbon around your Mason jars. Simply cut pieces to fit the circumference of the jar and secure with a length of twine tied into a bow.
Design a Schoolhouse Slate
There’s nothing like a chalkboard to add a little farmhouse charm to your décor, and it’s a great way to express yourself with artwork or your favorite quotes. Best of all, you get to erase your work and change it up with the seasons.
To make your own framed chalkboard, you’ll need a large picture frame, black chalkboard paint and some white chalk. Take apart the frame and paint the glass cover with a coat or two of your chalkboard paint. Once it’s dry, color your whole chalkboard with white chalk and erase to give it a used look. Put the glass back in the frame and display!
Make Your Own Milk Glass
White walls and furniture are a big part of farmhouse décor, but don’t forget that this color is also excellent for accessories, too. White stoneware, crocks and vases are all a big part of country style thanks to their clean lines and simple good looks. Milk glass is a great choice for vases and other decorative items, but you don’t have to buy expensive antiques or even new versions to get the look.
To make faux milk glass vases, all you need is an old glass vase or two — this is the perfect project to take on if you have some extras from past flower deliveries lying around. Use a high gloss, white spray paint and apply two coats to your old vases to make a collection of fake milk glass in just a day.
Use Ladders as Shelving
An old wooden ladder can be quickly repurposed into useful shelves to display a few favorite items. Use a freestanding ladder as a corner shelf to hold potted plants, favorite books, or a few framed photos. While tall ladders work well in the living room or in the dining room, shorter stepladders can also make a cute side table in a guest bedroom. A ladder that needs to be propped against the wall can also be used for holding bath towels and washcloths.
If you’re concerned that the treads of your ladder aren’t wide enough to hold your favorite items, you can add wider shelves. Have some pine 1 x 12 boards cut to width at your local hardware store, then use a hammer and nails to attach them to the top of each tread to increase your display area. To make sure the new shelves look vintage, stain them with a homemade coffee stain before attaching them to your ladder.
It’s not hard to turn your house into a welcoming home with farmhouse touches. All it takes is a little imagination and a willingness to turn old materials into something creative and new — but not too new! A little bit of rust and wear is what makes this look work, so don’t be afraid to give it a try with some unique flea market finds.