How to Give Your Modern Home the Farmhouse Touch

I know the feeling. You live in a rancher in a small neighborhood, but your dream is to own a sprawling old farmhouse on five acres in the countryside. I’ve lived in farmhouses, and I’ve lived in A-frames, ranchers, and mid-century modern homes. My style may result from being born and raised in a farmhouse on a sheep farm in Ohio, so I sort of have the farmhouse style in my bones, but no matter the home I’ve lived in, I’ve always figured out a way to farmhouse it up. If you’re trying to get the farmhouse look in your rancher or modern bungalow, here are some tips that will help.

The Apron Sink – The deep farmhouse apron sink that we’re seeing pop up in many homes was traditionally a utilitarian sink in farmhouses. Early on, many farmhouses did NOT have running water. Farmers needed the big deep farmhouse sink to hold a lot of well water or water brought up from a nearby water source. They were initially designed for comfort as women spent long hours at their sinks, and the apron sink’s orientation lessened the amount of effort they needed to lean over. If you’re looking for a very traditional farmhouse sink, the Apron Sink is it.

Barnwood – Attaching barnwood to some of your homes’ walls can take a room from kind of blah to pretty old farmhousey wow without a ton of effort. You can purchase wall kits with ready-made rustic-looking wood. Alternatively, if you want to go the sustainable route, as I always advise, get your little booty down to an actual old barn. Contact the owner or your town, or even sign up to attend a barn salvage auction. Barnboard also makes excellent shelving that can be used in other areas of the house to add farmhouse character.

Open Shelving – Most original farmhouses weren’t retrofitted with closed cabinet fixtures attached to almost every wall in the kitchen like we have today. A couple of open shelves to place crocks and bowls and baskets were about all you’d find in a typical original farmhouse. Amazingly, this same simple utilitarian look is making a comeback. With people fried from the less than visually appealing mainstream cabinetry found in your average suburban home, they’ve taken to the open shelving concept. Some people are also going back to a simpler and more sustainable lifestyle requiring fewer things to be stowed away in closed cabinets. Use rustic barn wood or an antique cupboard with open shelving to get this look.

Lanterns – Lighting was at a premium in the olden days. Pre- Thomas Edison, most light came from kerosene lamps and candles, as well as whatever the fireplace could provide. If it was a moonlit night, then there was also that. Families used lanterns to carry light from room to room to protect the home from errant flames. Today, we give a nod to that lighting method with lanterns – albeit usually electric with lightbulbs – hanging as chandeliers or attached to walls as sconces.

Raw Wooden Beams – Exposed beams are reminiscent of the days before drywall. They provide a very cozy, handmade home vibe. Unless you live in an authentic original farmhouse with original exposed beams, this is probably a look you’re going to have to re-create yourself or with the help of a contractor. But guess what? It’s not that hard to do – you can assemble or expose a joist and panel ceiling fairly easily.

Clawfoot Tub – An antique claw-foot tub is the epitome of relaxed farmhouse style. Whether used as a freestanding tub or sheltered by a curtain, this deep tub is as versatile as they come. Place an antique chair or stool alongside the tub to complete your look.

Steer Clear of Bright Colors – Choosing the right paint colors for your home is one of a homeowner’s most significant challenges. In the past, neutral colors were considered boring, but now, they are a staple of farmhouse elegance because they make rooms feel spacious yet cozy, and they place emphasis on the furniture instead of bold paint color. For this style, choose neutrals with very subtle undertones, such as gray and blue, along with a soft pastel palette.

Harvest Table – Woodgrain, wormholes, and dents are all welcome aspects of a farmhouse table, where families can gather for a meal. Match antique chairs in complementary colors to complete the look. A rustic workbench or old church pew is a nice touch.

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