What is farmhouse style? If you love yard sale furniture and painted signs and milk glass and shiplap then this is the post for you and your farmhouse style self.

Welcome to Style Week day 3

Monday we talked about coastal style and Tuesday we talked about traditional style.

And today?

Today is all about farmhouse style and the people who love it.

You may or may not have read the papers and listened to the town crier and heard the news. Apparently, they say farmhouse isn’t a thing anymore.

Stop the presses.


Farmhouse? One of my favorite styles on the planet is a has-been? Washed up. Over and done. Yesterday’s news. So 2018.

I get it. I understand. I know that trends come and trends go and the farmhouse of yesterday might be a little overdone.

But, truly?

I was farmhouse before it was ever a thing and I’ll always have a little farmhouse in my decor. I can’t help it. Because to me, farmhouse is more than just hay bales and corn stalks and vintage tables and dough bowls.

Farmhouse is family.

Farmhouse is creativity and repurposing and rethinking and turning the ordinary into something extraordinary.

And as for me and my house?

I think farmhouse is here to stay.

How about you?

If this is your first day with us, I wrote a book all about style and how to find it called The DIY Style Finder. We traveled all over the country photographing different houses with different styles—like this amazing living room space from my friend Bre at Rooms for Rent. I thought it might be fun if we took a style a day and talked about it and how to create it and what you can buy to get it and how it looks in pictures.

I wanted to feature some of the pictures from her home that we took.

Especially all the photos that didn’t make the book.

Are you ready to talk farmhouse?

Oh, good.

Me, too.

Elements of farmhouse style

Instead of looking at the current, trendy elements of farmhouse style, I want to go back to my roots. I want to celebrate the timeless elements of farmhouse style that have endured through all the decades that have gone before.

This isn’t your farmhouse that’s imported from China. This is true, blue American farmhouse in all it’s chippy glory.

Here are a few of my favorite elements of farmhouse style:

  1. yard sale tables
  2. painted signs
  3. wood frames without the glass
  4. boxwood wreaths
  5. seagrass rugs
  6. reclaimed wood anything
  7. white yard sale dishes
  8. oversized baskets
  9. cutting boards
  10. slipcovered chairs

Farmhouse style is all about authenticity

(total aside: aren’t these pictures beautiful? These are some of the ones that we didn’t include in the book)

Farmhouse style is all about screen doors that open with a smile and celebrating family with overflowing dishes and platters of corn and antique floors and blue and white aprons and vintage tea towels turned into pillows and board and batten walls and walls of vintage mirrors.

Farmhouse style is all about keeping it real.

Here are a few repurposing projects you can introduce into your home to bring in authentic farmhouse style:

  1. turn a ladder into a blanket displayer
  2. transform a chicken coop into a coffee table
  3. make a drop cloth into a roman shade
  4. spray paint a basket with farmhouse numbers
  5. layer rugs to save your budget
  6. turn a dough bowl into a centerpiece
  7. frame something ordinary like a book page or a map or leaves from the yard and turn it into something extraordinary
  8. make a plate rack into a recipe wall
  9. add twigs to a vase
  10. turn a drop cloth into a curtain

Farmhouse style is all about painted furniture

If you take nothing else away from this intense discussion on farmhouse and all its style, remember this. Farmhouse style isn’t expensive pieces that you buy in the store. Farmhouse style is all about repurposing and transforming and making that screen door or fence post or chair seat or newel post or barn door that your found at the thrift store or (even better) on the side of the road into something amazing.

See what I mean?

Nothing fancy.

No airs.

No four-syllable vocabulary words.

Just creativity and ingenuity and taking a second look at something and seeing all the potential.

Here are a few of my favorite furniture makeovers:

  1. This painted armoire
  2. This paint stick table top
  3. This pallet desk
  4. This yard sale hutch
  5. This white distressed hutch
  6. This yard stick stool

Types of textiles that work well with traditional style

Farmhouse is all about layering in the textiles. You know. The rugs and the curtains and the pillows and the tea towels and the slipcovers. The key to getting the farmhouse look is keeping those textiles authentic. You don’t want to spend a lot of money. Instead, you can find your textiles wherever the yard sale sign takes you.

Here are a few ideas for farmhouse textiles

  1. Make curtains out of drop cloths
  2. Transform a dish towel into a curtain
  3. Create your own one-of-a-kind dishtowels by stamping the coordinates of your favorite place on them
  4. Design a linen scrap pillow of your house
  5. Make your own simple dining room slipcovers by adding ribbons to dish towels
  6. Stack vintage monogrammed linens
  7. Frame an apron or other vintage textiles

Add a traditional paint color

One of the easiest ways to add a little farmhouse to a space is with paint. You can transform a room in a weekend with a new coat of paint in a farmhouse color. When choosing a paint color for your space, think of adding neutrals with depth and layering in grays, whites, khakis and creams to your wall.

Here are some of my favorite farmhouse paint colors:

  1. SW Agreeable Gray (slight greige tone)
  2. SW Extra White (perfect for trim)
  3. SW Repose Gray (just a hint of khaki with the gray)
  4. SW Dover White (the perfect cream)
  5. SW Sandbar (the perfect khaki)
  6. SW Tricorn Black (the perfect front door color)

What to look for at yard sales to create the farmhouse look

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it over and over and over again. Yard sales are your best friend. They are one of the easiest ways to bring a little farmhouse into your space.

Here are a few things to keep your eye out for at yard sales this summer:

  1. Architectural remnants That is just a super fancy way of saying parts of things that used to be something else. You know. Like the back of some sort of antique or random pieces of molding or the top of a chair or part of a hutch. You can usually find them by the trash or free section. When you see them sitting there DO NOT GET EXCITED. Do not. I repeat DO NOT under any circumstances tell your yard sale friends what you are going to do with their trash. Because here is a yard sale truth:  ideas make trash MUCH MORE valuable. Take the trash and run.
  2. Baskets One of the most underestimated and overlooked item at a yard sale is the basket with the wired ribbon hot glued to it with a dusty faux flower arrangement inside. Most of the times you can get it for $1.00. Take it home and go all Hollywood makeover on it. Shed the ribbon. Shed the flower arrangement. Paint the basket an entirely different color or make a liner from dropcloth or spray paint numbers on it. The world is your basket oyster.
  3. Mason jars These are a dime a dozen at yard sales. Literally. Decorate your mantel with them. Add them to your back porch. Fill them with flowers at your next summer party. Simple.  Inexpensive. Utilitarian. I never met a mason jar I didn’t like.
  4. Shutters If you are looking for a little inexpensive wall art—let me introduce you to my friend shutter. Their superpower is that they visually fill up a space and then you can hang ANYTHING on to the front of them. Like a wreath. Or a chalkboard. Or plates. Or a calendar. And if that’s not enough, you can transform them into an architectural element by covering an entire wall with them.
  5. Whiteware Oh, whiteware how do I love thee, let me count the ways. I almost didn’t put this on the list because it’s so Captain Obvious. If you’ve read my blog for more than 10 minutes you know how all about a white plate I am. And yet? I never seem to have enough.Maybe I need an intervention.

Here are a few farmhouse style accessories to help you get the look

Click on the links to shop

If you are all about farmhouse I celebrate you and your wonderful style.

You are family.

You are a screen door opener.

You are chippy tables and green grass and lazy summer days on porch swings with a really good conversation and laughter and sweet tea.

I love your style.

Let’s be friends. 🙂

PS Be sure and check out the rest of the styles and how to get them in my new book, The DIY Style Finder.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Pamela Smith Pamela Smith

    Good morning! I actually gt to be here in the morning since its spring break this week. I love this look too! It looks so cozy and comfy and friendly. So many of these elements work well with coastal too. Just saying. ;) Have a great day!

  2. Image for Jenn Jenn

    I am a basket addict, you can always find a use for another basket. I am pretty sure I am Farmhouse...I have always loved old and chippy and unique and not store bought. I think it is just in some people, the word became trendy, but the style has been around for a long long time...I think it is sort of a traditional. This series sure is fun!

  3. Image for Linda Linda

    Hi, I ordered your Find Your Style book long ago. About 2 weeks ago, I got a note from Amazon saying "thank you for preordering the DIY Style Finder, Enjoy your free copy of DIY Home Planner. I already had the Planner, but this one was autographed so I was happy. I'll gift the other to my friend. However, are they not in stock yet? Are you getting jipped because they are giving away copies of your other beautiful book?! Just wondering. Love, Linda

  4. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    There are two television houses that I would live in, in a heartbeat. First, the Stevens' house on "Bewitched." Totally 70s traditional. The other? "The Waltons." Now THAT is a farmhouse! Even though I'm a traditional/transitional girl, I'm still farmhouse in my heart of hearts. I live in KY and I grew up on a farm - granted, our "farmhouse" had orange, green, brown, and gold shag carpet and a couch to match (it was the 70's, y'all), but the kitchen was pure farmhouse with it's 40-inch range and chicken wallpaper! LOL!

  5. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    I love farmhouse too, with the cows,chickens,barns and chandeliers all in the same place. Love some of your ideas, thanks.

  6. Image for Yvette Yvette

    Love farmhouse style.., it will never go away. Love things that have a story and need a new home! ♥️ I am really enjoying style week. 🥰


    Grew up on a dairy farm- so I will always have a little farmhouse in my decor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Love how you summarize the style!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Image for Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap Tara @ Stilettos and Shiplap

    I think the feeling this style creates, resonates with so many. I think that's why so many jumped on the farmhouse wagon and went overboard with it so that now the word "farmhouse" is accompanied by some eye-rolling! You know the old expression "too much of a good thing"? Love how you've shown how to keep it simple and true to it's roots, not tacky and overdone. You've made farmhouse into something that is timeless. As it should be.

  9. Image for Mary Jamieson Mary Jamieson

    I grew up on a farm so farmhouse is a part of my DNA and will always be a part of my decor. I also think a little galvanized metal and a few farm animals (I like mine to be whiteware of ironstone) round out the look of Farmhouse. I am singing, "I was Farmhouse when Farmhouse wasn't cool...."

  10. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    love your style and the history of your home 💗. Farmhouse feels warm and inviting to me 🥰 Karianne, where did the rug in your family room come from? The color and style would work great for me. Thanks 🌺

  11. Image for Deedra Deedra

    I love the farmhouse style and I think true farmhouse style will stand the test of time. The current farmhouse style that was spurred by Fixer Upper will be what fades in my opinion. Don't get me wrong because I loved that show. But real farmhouse goes way back and not the current look that farmhouse has taken on.

  12. Image for JOY JOY

    I love your farmhouse style! I feel like it's okay to have farmhouse style if you live in or near an actual farm. Your house was once an actual farmhouse so it's ok. My house was built in 2016 and is in a subdivision. I don't think my house, as much as I love it, could pull off the farmhouse style. I'm more traditional/transitional with a little coastal (I do live within 45 minutes of the beach) style. I call it relaxed and comfy. I'm still working on getting paint on my builder grade walls (facepalm). I haven't found the perfect color yet and I'm terrified of getting it wrong!

  13. Image for Dee Turk Dee Turk

    I love farmhouse style and definitely Farmhouse Cottage is my thing. I like painted furniture and light, brightness. The photos were wonderful, I appreciate them so much and everything that you said.. all the textures and the warmth my favorite thing is white with woods and just the feeling of casual homeyness that it provides. Thank you for the resources!

  14. Image for Susan Madge Susan Madge

    Farmhouse forever! However I have a far more fundamental reason to love farmhouse style: I live in an old farmhouse in rural NSW, Australia. We have four dogs, four cats and a horse - so glossy city style just would NOT look appropriate, nor would it survive. As my four Rottweilers thunder through the house I am SO grateful for a style that supports chips and dents!

  15. Image for Kris Kris

    I'm not sure I can name my style. I like remnants of all of the styles you have featured so far. I think of myself as more "cottage" than anything. I start with traditional bones and add accessories to make my home warm and cozy feeling. Attractive .... but not fancy. I identified with what you said about being farmhouse before it was a thing. I wanted a white kitchen long before they became popular (and now everyone seems to be painting all that white ... but not me!).

  16. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I love true farmhouse style and you did a brilliant job unpacking the elements that represent it. I think Erin Napier said it best when she said, “if everything is farmhouse, the nothing is”. The word farmhouse is now used to used to describe anything and everything. 😍😍😍 Loving this series!

  17. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    You are always "right on." You will continue to be about design; as in farmhouse going out of style--crazy-we will always have it, sometimes stronger than others but always a little bit in style!!!

  18. Image for Linda Linda

    "farm house" will never go away! I think this style is in my DNA. I have done just about everything you have listed thru out my life for every house I've lived in! My sisters called me a country bumpkin decades ago. I called my style "country" yes, and now it's called "farmhouse". I was garage sailing as a teenager for things to repurpose, and still am at 50ish! I enjoy seeing the farmhouse look that I've always loved all over the place. "Farmhouse" makes me happy! Thank you for your wonderful article!

  19. Image for Crystal Crystal

    For crying out loud, farmhouse dead? I don't think so. The so called everything white modern farmhouse trend may be cooling.. a bit. I'm seeing a move to more natural wood and black instead of all white, but that's doesn't mean farmhouse is dead! For me farmhouse was a label attached to country and country style will never go out of style no matter what label is attached to it. Modern farm, industrial farm, cottage, romantic, even boho farmhouse. There are enough variations of country/farmhouse style for everyone. I do think lots of farmhouse style homes on instagram look the same, with the same decor used in the same way...but that's an easy fix. I don't use big box decor, I use vintage and antiques, they are priced about the same and why hang a sign that says "farmhouse" bought at Hobby Lobby when you can find a sign that says "Pete's Chickens and Eggs" and have something different. :) "They" will always be around, "They" said shabby chic was dead in the 90's and Rachel Ashwell laughed all the way to the bank... in the Caymans. And is still laughing. So all the farmhouse lovers can just keep on keepin the farm love going.

  20. Image for Wendy Wendy

    I am so with you, Karianne, on this subject. I actually grew up in a real farmhouse the first 4years of my life. We had cows, pigs,, chickens, a garden, blackberry bushes, a smokehouse, and a little of everything.

  21. Image for Sonya Sonya

    Love the farmhouse look and have a bit of it mixed with my coastal look. I have had a long time love of blue ball jars and baskets everywhere. Even if my style changes I will always love those items.

  22. Image for Carol Carol

    Yes, I too was Farmhouse when Farmhouse wasn't cool, so I will continue to decorate with what I love. And I'll keep waiting for stainless steel sinks and appliances to go out of style!

  23. Image for Kyle Kyle

    Hi Karianne, I couldn't agree with you more. Farmhouse style is here to stay. I love your tip about painted furniture, and your pallet desk is impressive. I'd like to add, what is a farmhouse kitchen without a farmhouse sink? They keep trending up and are shown to increase the value of your home. We've included the top farmhouse sinks in our collection. Another great post! You have one of the best farmhouse style blogs I've seen in a while. Cheers, Annie & Oak

Comments are closed.