Millwork in the Farmhouse

Creating a cozy atmosphere is at the heart of farmhouse style. In addition to furnishings and décor, carefully selected millwork, including mouldings, trims, and baseboards, can enhance your farmhouse aesthetic.

Choosing millwork is usually the last step in the design process. Your millwork selections should complement your major elements such as flooring, fixtures, lighting, and cabinets.

Millwork offers thousands of different profiles, design elements, and architectural elements. As for keeping your millwork within the parameters of farmhouse style, simple, clean lines are generally the most popular. I rarely bring in ornate millwork. Farmhouse style lends itself to a simpler, utilitarian look, especially when it comes to the millwork.

Here are four design tips on how to add millwork to your farmhouse:


Basic Millwork

In colonial or Victorian homes, you might see thicker and more elaborate mouldings and trim, while in farmhouses, S4S (surfaced on four sides) boards are more common. An S4S board doesn’t have much curvature, and it has no extra cut profile or flourishes. Like I said above, simplicity is key to the farmhouse look.


Wood stains and tones play a significant role in the look and feel of your millwork. Stained pines and light woods, and whitewashed wood have become more popular than fully painted white baseboards. With that said, I actually have all-white painted baseboards throughout my home that look beautiful against our darker stained wide plank oak flooring! When it comes to paint color or stain, I prefer a contrast between floor and trim.

Contrasting Mouldings

Moulding is a strip of wood or other material used to create details in architecture. Originally, mouldings were designed to cover the joint between two surfaces or protect expensive walls. Nowadays, mouldings are mainly used to add interest and detail.

When you have white walls and mouldings, everything tends to blend together. So that they stand out (which is usually what you want a moulding to do) as more of a statement piece in your decor, it’s best to choose a darker color that contrasts nicely with your wall color. Black is becoming a more popular moulding color.

All millwork needs a place to end and meld into another moulding piece. Often, crown moulding or chair rails run around a room to the point where the wall stops, leaving the mouldings hanging in mid-air and forcing the piece of wood to turn back into the wall. This looks really bad and sad, so If you have this situation in your home, maybe you shouldn’t apply mouldings at all.

Wood Beams

Wood beams look incredible and can be a great way to bring character and charm into your home. Choosing a vertical or horizontal pattern can elongate your space. You can also match the pitch of your ceilings with the beams giving the ceiling beautiful architectural detail. Original farmhouses often had exposed wood beams to die for! I love beams in the rough-hewn style, which you can purchase from various mills. But my absolute favorites come from old barns and farm homes that are being demolished – just be careful with these, as they are not always in the best shape.


Shiplap remains a popular choice for farmhouse-inspired spaces. While it’s trendy, you can get creative with it. Although shiplap is typically applied horizontally, consider attaching shiplap vertically to add a sense of height to a room. And while it seems always to be painted a crisp white, go out on a limb and try some other hue like light green or even a smoky gray!

In general, your options for shiplap include: 

Shiplap prefinished and painted (typically white) and ready to install.

Primed—you can then paint it to whatever color you want.

Rough—unfinished or stained for a rustic appearance.

Tongue and groove shiplap is the easiest to install, but it’s the most expensive. You can make shiplap yourself with S4S boards and paint stirrers between each panel. I suggest laying each piece of shiplap on the ground to ensure it is straight before installing it because wood tends to bow. Handpick what you’re going to use for your project.

If you plan on painting the shiplap, you can save money by using inexpensive pine planks. You can even use plywood if you’re really tight on funds. If you plan to leave the paneling unpainted, you may prefer a more attractive type of wood, such as cedar.

I hope this helped shed some light on how millwork can be used in your farmhouse. Share some of your favorite millwork tips and tricks in the comments below!

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