Here’s a look at a handful of welcoming spaces that creatively put homespun harmonies into play by introducing fun farmyard elements.
Mix formal and informal forms.
Modern farmhouse kitchens are breezy, easy and cheerfully bright. This chic kitchen includes country influences presented in an up-to-the-minute manner. Wood-clad ceilings, plank floors, beaded-board cabinets and open shelves near the sink provide informal forms, while a bell jar pendant light and a snazzy tiled backsplash present more refined figures and textures.
Put in a barn door.
Nothing says farmhouse better than a distressed door rolling across a barn-door track system. This rustic red door makes a splash against white walls; reclaimed floorboards provide patina from the past.
Make your own board-and-batten walls.
Board-and-batten wall treatments bring country character to public living quarters and private sleeping chambers. Breezy blue paint refreshes these wood-clad walls and gives an old-timey idea a modern twist. Want a similar look? Nail strategically spaced 1-1/2-inch-wide pieces of lath to your walls; paint the lath and drywall the same color. Voilà! You have board-and-batten walls.
Use hardworking details to add character and function.
Incorporate functional forms from long ago to improve present-day operations. This homeowner mounts a rusty farm basket and a worn barnwood shelf on a wall to create a pleasing construction that enhances storage and display capacity. A deeper basket and an antique wooden crate stow party and pantry staples on the lower shelf of the industrial worktable.
Add organic elements to the countertops.
Cap base cabinets with concrete countertops. The poured-to-fit countertops sport a naturally pitted finish that supplies a rough and touchable texture, which nicely balances a kitchen’s shiny fixtures. Other good countertop choices for a farmhouse kitchen? Consider honed granite in earthen tones or nonporous soapstone, which shifts to charcoal gray or black with age and oiling.
Incorporate the feeling of farmhouses around the world.
Like American farmhouses, Spanish haciendas, French châteaus and Tuscan villas were often the center of various agricultural enterprises. Those old-world looks translate to timeless beauty when thoughtfully reinterpreted in remodeled or newly constructed spaces. Mount rough-hewn beams on the ceiling, expose ceiling rafters and door headers and lay down foot-worn floorboards. Employ limned, scraped, whitewashed or antiqued finishes to instantly age door and window frames, woodwork, furniture and flooring.
Include fresh finishing touches.
Apron-front or farmhouse sinks—available in fireclay, granite, copper and stainless steel—immediately establish country style. Naturally finished Shaker cabinets, black iron hardware and textured glass cabinet doors are farmhouse elements that combine in this kitchen to create a light, airy and modern look. The mosaic-tile backsplash also presents a vintage element—subway tile—in a brand-new way.
Indulge in nostalgic notions.
Head to flea markets, yard sales or your grandma’s garage to look for galvanized-metal bins, oil cans and buckets that can be transformed into good-looking accessories. Use lamp wiring kits to turn milk cans into countrified lighting, and stitch colorful feed sacks and seed bags into throw pillows. Throw in plenty of country checks, plaids and stripes rendered in barn red.
Choose metals that matter.
Thoughtfully meld agelessly appealing metallic finishes to fashion rooms that accommodate your decorating preferences and your everyday living needs. A tabletop crafted of zinc adds more than a little zing to a weathered farm-table frame. Wrought iron pops as sconces and as the base of a schoolhouse light fixture. Other metals that contribute farmhouse vibes include polished chrome, hammered copper and antiqued bronze.
Evoke rural scenes.
Collections with barnyard beginnings transform city, rural and suburban spaces into charming country quarters. In this kitchen, milk pitchers—in galvanized steel, with chipped enamel finishes, and in assorted white porcelain shapes—evoke images of farm chores.
Create overhead interest.
Revive vintage tin tiles or purchase reproduction versions. Use the embossed metal elements to build age-old dimension on ceilings, form unconventional backsplashes or frame as alluring artwork. By painting the ceiling tiles white, these homeowners coordinated ceiling and woodwork, making the ceiling appear higher and boosting the room’s overall brightness quotient.
Embrace salvaged materials.
Waste nothing, and you’ll want for little. These homeowners saved money as they remodeled their farmhouse by recycling building materials and rethinking found objects. Pieces of salvaged marble create a countertop atop a cabinet base built from reclaimed wood. Old French tiles colorfully fill wall space between a hospital sink set atop an antique desk and an office hutch holding cups.
Make your own backsplash.
When beaded board appears in extensive applications, such as wainscoting and backsplashes, it makes a fetching farmhouse statement. To craft a backsplash like the one pictured here, cut beaded-board panels to size and glue or tack them in place on the wall; if desired, finish the backsplash’s top and bottom edges with tile borders or lengths of molding.
Curate a rural look.
This nifty ceiling-hung rack contributes a farmhouse feeling in multiple ways. The ladder’s distressed finish makes it appear as if it could have been used by generations of hayloft-accessing folks. Heavy black chains and utilitarian nails doubling as hooks underscore its rusticity, while the copper pots introduce an inherited vibe that is inherent in country designs.