Storage in farmhouses can get tricky. This is mainly because people who own or live in farmhouses prefer a less modern, less practical, more vintage feel to their furniture. But antique and vintage furniture is usually small and not designed with our modern storage requirements in mind. Authentic original farmhouses were rarely grandiose, and the furniture inside was typically relatively small–people didn’t have much, so they didn’t need much in terms of storage.
Fast forward to the modern age where getting stuff and more stuff is sort of what most Americans do, and those cute antique farmhouse wardrobes aren’t going to cut it.
And yet, and yet…they actually can if you use them creatively!
Entry–Our entryway is tiny, and we need to somehow stuff coats, boots, mittens, and all the detritus that comes with living in the mountains into this small area. Enter our sweet antique dresser. It holds winter hats and mittens perfectly with room to spare! The bottom drawer is where we keep printer paper and office folders. Other great options for the entry include vintage lockers, antique hooks, even an old refinished wardrobe.
Living Room/Family Room–While most of the furniture in our living room is pretty typical (couch, coffee table, television), we also have two storage pieces that aren’t often seen in a living room. First, I put a steel (and HEAVY) vintage library filing cabinet next to the couch to store all of our tools, batteries, extension cords, and chargers. The small bureau near the hearth holds cookbooks, my antique tablecloths, and placemats; we also shove extra bottles of wine in there.
Some people place a desk in this area too if they can make it work. We used an old steamer trunk as a coffee table that did double duty to store extra blankets. Another time we used an old WWII trunk I’d scored at a garage sale as a side table. Inside? The kids dress up clothes!!
Kitchen–Depending on how your kitchen is laid out and whether it has been thoroughly modernized or still retains its patina and cabinetry of days past, you can store quite a bit of non-kitchen items within the cabinets. Some people like to add antique sideboards or hutches to the kitchen if they lack cabinet space — a glass hutch or buffet can be a perfect spot to store and display pretty pottery or China.
Master Bedroom–Our current home is pretty small, and the bedrooms are exceptionally tiny. We have to be particularly creative in these areas. A bed that doubles as a dresser? With trundle drawers located under the bed, this is possible. A beautiful old heirloom wardrobe can fit “some” clothing if you lack a closet (closets are often absent in original farmhouses). A cute side dresser works well for the rest of your clothing. If you don’t have room for an actual nightstand, place a reading lamp on a small wooden chair next to the bed. I used to use the dresser as my nightstand. Farmhouse living often requires decorating compromises.
Children’s Bedrooms–Children’s bedrooms usually need some toy storage. If the bedroom doesn’t have a closet, you’ll need to find another way to wrangle the toys, so they don’t end up strewn across the floor all the time. A toy chest is great, but from my experience, toys end up broken or lost at the bottom of a toy box. An armoire with shelves can be a functional and gorgeous addition to a child’s bedroom. Use matching baskets or storage bins to organize toys and place them on the shelves in the armoire. Other options include vintage lockers or even installing open shelving on which you can place matching bins or baskets.
Dining Room/Area–Dining rooms are more straightforward, as you can usually get by with a gorgeous vintage sideboard or buffet for linen and cookery storage. Some pretty antique crocks look great and classic stored on top of a buffet too. A wardrobe with shelves works well in this area, adding crockery or baskets to the top of it for a complete farmhouse effect.
Bathroom–Bathrooms usually lack built-in storage too, especially in old farmhouses – remember, in some older original farmhouses, the bathroom was an outhouse! I’ve seen beautiful wardrobes in bathrooms to store linen. We placed a little barn wood side table in our tiny bathroom to hold extra toilet paper and other excess bathroom items. It’s cute, it works great, and we put a plant on top of it. Another option is to install a vintage medicine cabinet on the wall–decorative and practical!