Are you looking to create that perfect farmhouse kitchen?
Farmhouse kitchens provide our homes with a rustic, charming sense of nostalgia. But if you’ve never designed one before, you might not know what the essentials are.
Don’t worry! Read on for 11 features every farmhouse kitchen needs to complete the look.
1. Farmhouse Sink
Farmhouse sinks are pretty much a staple of any farmhouse kitchen. They’re spacious, timeless, and classic. These sinks add a beautiful, feature point to your kitchen that draws the eye.
The origins of the farmhouse sink date back to a time where sinks weren’t only used to wash the dishes. People would can food, use them in cooking, and even wash their babies in them.
These beautiful sinks aren’t the same as an apron sink. But people do struggle to tell the difference. Looks-wise, there isn’t much difference in shape and size. Farmhouse sinks will be porcelain or fireclay though, giving that country feel. Apron sinks tend to come made from modern materials like stainless steel.
The biggest difference comes in the way they’re installed. Apron sinks have a lip that will stick out from the counter’s edge. They’re also a little bare around the other 3 edges. This allows for it a “slide-in” installation.
Farmhouse kitchens tend to have finish on all 4 edges. This means they need to install below a countertop or above it. A lot of homeowners enjoy the aesthetic of the exposed front edge. The farmhouse sink is a high quality option that doesn’t need a cabinet to hide it away.
2. Cabinets Painted White
The most popular, iconic finish to farmhouse kitchen cabinets is to paint them white. Though, in actuality, any neutral shade will work. Anything in the cream, gray and beige color pools.
Neutral colors are the key trend in any modern kitchen now. They’ll let you create a farmhouse look that’s different from grandma’s. But, you’re still going to stay true to the style.
You don’t have to stick with only one finish color either. There is still a place for color in the farmhouse style. Shades of green like sage or grey-blues are a strong choice that will still give a farmhouse vibe. There are color options to suit every taste, you don’t have to restrict yourself.
The modern farmhouse look focuses on time-worn features. So, rather than color consider the finishes on your cabinets. Choose a speciality finish like glazed, distressed, or antique. Scratches, nicks, chips, and knots are all desirable to at an authentic look.
3. Exposed Shelving
Exposed, open shelves didn’t originate from modern design, even though they’re a staple. It actually came from the farmhouse kitchen and is both functional and stunning to look at.
Historically, kitchen cabinets had no other option but to remain exposed. The enclosed wall cabinet came after and was there to stay. With the resurgence of the farmhouse style, came the resurgence of exposed shelving.
Go for options like a simple floating shelf, or a hutch. If you have space, an island with open cabinets can also create a beautiful, rustic display.
You can store anything from daily glassware to the ‘good’ china you only use at thanksgiving. Even when you’re not using them, these pieces can become a display to enjoy and enhance your kitchen’s look. Exposed crockery is essential for the farmhouse style.
4. Traditional Countertops
To get that simple farmhouse look, your countertops need a smooth look or a subtle pattern. Soapstone or white marble is a good choice.
Butcherblock also gives a rustic look and breaks up any light cabinet paintwork. You can install it on a select section or on your island as a statement piece. They’re also practical and hard-wearing and bring in another natural material. Consider other forms of natural, rustic wood as this is essential to the farmhouse style.
Soapstone will contrast well with white and light-shaded cabinets. It also is very durable and resistant, not much bothers it. It’s impervious to hot pans, staining, and has a heavy, smooth, rustic quality finish.
5. Freestanding Furniture
One of the biggest features of the farmhouse look is its use of freestanding furniture. It isn’t about built-in cabinets, appliances, and islands that all click together.
Using a furniture-style island bring in some of that casual, farmhouse appeal. You want the room to look as though it’s added to over time. You don’t want something that looks and feels like it’s planned to the last inch and detail. Farmhouse is all about rustic imperfection.
Use leggy furniture pieces you can see through. It also creates the illusion of space in smaller kitchens. It doesn’t matter if your furniture pieces don’t match exactly. In fact, it’s better if they don’t. Just unite them with a color or type of wood that you prefer.
6. Beadboard and Paneling
Another classic farmhouse must-have is beadboard. Crisp, striped wooden panels give an uncluttered eye-catching focus to any farmhouse decor.
The key is creating rich, texture-filled looks. You want tactile, ruggedness to your floors and walls cabinets and whatever else you can find. Wood paneling and beadboards provide this while keeping simple.
You don’t need fancy, busy patterns. The simple, striped pattern will be enough. You can stain it, paint it or keep it coated clear to show off that natural grain. Looser paneling will give a cottage feel. Tighter beadboards look subtle and polished.
7. Milk Paint
A Colonial American staple for decor was mixing paint with milk. You could use it on furnishings and walls to get a soft matte, unique finish. But this authentic finish isn’t the only reason to you should use it in modern-day kitchen looks.
It’s hailed these days as being better for the environment. And the muted colors and matte finish provide excellent palette inspiration. Matte finishes are softer, and pair well with wear and tear imperfections that are so integral to the farmhouse style. You want to choose a ‘washable matte‘ or something like that.
8. Wood Flooring
To add traditional warmth to your kitchen, choose dark, rich hardwood flooring. You can never have too much wood in a farmhouse kitchen.
If you’re not blessed with original hardwood floors don’t despair. There’s plenty of ways to get that distressed, aged look with new flooring.
Remember, the goal with this style is perfect imperfection. Dents scratches, chips, and uneven surfaces are the end result you want. It’s what adds the classic, timeless charm to the farmhouse look.
There are farmhouse flooring options to suit any budget. You can get it from vinyl, engineered hardwood, laminate, and even carpet or rugs.
The good this is most flooring options are now designed with durability in mind. So in some cases, they might be a better bet than refurbishing the existing flooring. And you don’t have to compromise on that quintessential rustic feel.
Older houses didn’t have the plastering options we have now, so it was common for beams to be visible. So consider exposing ceiling and wall beams to bring back that farm/barn feel.
Adding them in will be a big project though. But it’ll be a true dedication to the farmhouse style if you add them in. It’ll scream aged vintage to anyone who walks through those kitchen doors.
10. Islands and Stools
This is perhaps an addition born more from modern convenience that aesthetic necessity. Traditionally, large farmhouse tables would serve the dual purpose of a worktop and table.
In the modern farmhouse look, style merges with functionality, with the modern island. Any surface can work and transform to fit the style.
If you want to ensure that farmhouse vibe, add stools to your island. These can be wood, upholstered, or even metal. A great option though is a simple wood stool that you paint yourself to add a touch of your personal style. It’s the start of a great family heirloom.
11. Period Accessories
One thing you want to avoid is looking too kitschy. Fruit patterned wallpaper, sunflowers painted on everything, barnyard animals everywhere, it’s just corny.
You should always decorate your home with what you love. But if you’re going for classic farmhouse, you don’t want to end up in country kitsch instead. So here are some key period accessories to set the right tone:
Ball Jars — Use them to display home-grown fruit and veg in a nice wall display. Or you can store your flour and other dried goods.
Wooden Racks — Choose a few racks to fix on the wall. You can store plates, cookbooks, or small jars for a rustic, functional display.
Chalkboard — Another functional addition to keep track of shopping lists, or what’s for dinner. Use a vintage frame to tie it in.
Farmhouse Kitchen Designs Made Easy
So there you have it! Now you know these 11 essentials for a farmhouse kitchen, you’ll be sure to get the kitchen of your dreams.
Remember, the key is perfect imperfection. You want to create worn, aged, timeless functionality. Rich textures and wood are a must-have — the more wood the better.
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