Rustic Meets Refined: 15 Ways to Add Farmhouse Style

It's easy to give any house a dose of down-home by adding simple modern-rustic elements. Here’s how.

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: David A. Land

Photo By: Paul Dyer

Photo By: HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Photo By: Susan Teare

Sun Country

Interior Designer Heide Hendricks'€™ color sense hits the perfect pitch in this kitchen. "The surrounding meadows filled with Goldenrod and Black-Eyed Susan helped choose the colors," she says. Hendricks collaborated with her husband Rafe Churchill on this country home for a family of four. Cabinetry painted in Farrow & Ball's 'Babouche' yellow compliments the dark grey of custom-fabricated soapstone sink and counters. Added to the softly textured white of rubbed plaster walls and ceilings, and vintage plumbing and light fixtures, the space feels traditional, yet fresh.

Modern Rustic

Covering one large wall with 100-year-old barnwood gave this master bedroom instant farmhouse appeal. Designers Leslie Calish and Gayle Leksan of LMK Interiors then furnished the space with a mix of transitional and contemporary pieces, creating a fresh, modern look. Combining disparate elements is the key to the room’s success. "The wood and the steel sliding-door hardware add that farmhouse flavor to an otherwise clean design," they say. "The right mix keeps a space feeling current, not contrived."

Texas Charm

Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's hit show Fixer Upper helped a Hillsboro, Texas couple transform a once-neglected 1920s home into a welcoming, family-friendly haven. The home's come-on-in attitude starts in the foyer, where Joanna treated the space to a pale gray-and-white color palette, then added character with distressed flea-market finds like the framed chalkboard and plant stand. 

Light Touch

Old-fashioned farmhouse interiors may have been cozy, but they were also often dark. Today’s approach to farmhouse design combines many of the style's classic elements — wide-plank wood floors, exposed beams and rustic wood furnishings, with a much brighter take. Here, H2 Design + Build created their own interpretation of a modern farmhouse in the heart of Medina, Washington. In the dining room, Katie Hackworth paired an old farmhouse table and iconic Louis ghost chairs creating a casual but elegant space as well suited to a late night dinner party as it is to a weekend birthday celebration.

Project Central

When Stacy and Jonathan Anderstrom bought their 1998 farmhouse, they liked its simple lines but felt the house was a little "bland". So Stacy, a stay-at-home mom and lifelong DIYer, set about infusing the home with personality, adding fun touches like stenciled numbers on the staircase and shelving to display quirky collections. A mix of modern and vintage furnishings and accessories completes the personal — and not at all bland — look.  Tour more of the home that was featured in HGTV Magazine

Back at the Ranch

To give an open-concept ranch home in Northern California a look and feel that would "embrace indoor-outdoor living and support an active young family," designer Jennifer Robin MacDonald of Jennifer Robin Interiors turned to a deft mix of natural elements. "We used a blend of textures and materials like linen, rope, hide, jute, metal and reclaimed wood," she says. "The interiors marry clean lines and rustic elements for a relaxed, organic home."

Scandinavian Style

To give this serene master suite a warm, country atmosphere in keeping with its farmhouse setting, designer Lindye Galloway covered the ceiling with reclaimed wood. A pale, airy color palette and furnishings with simple, elegant, Gustavian-inspired silhouettes complete the look, creating a space that's at once refined and rustic.

Gut Rehab

When Charmaine Cooper and Chuck Codd first saw their Waco, Texas home it was the definition of a wreck, with no running water, scary wiring and dirt-covered floors. But with the help of Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, the couple were able to transform the former fright into a farmhouse-style delight, adding convenient elements like a custom-built center island to the kitchen alongside charming country touches like exposed ceiling beams and galvanized metal fixtures and furnishings. See more of this Texas charmer that was featured in HGTV Magazine

Sensitive Restoration

Updating an old house takes a certain finesse. The trick is to respect the architecture without making the spaces look like period rooms in a museum. In the design of the bathroom of a restored 19th century farmhouse, architect Kate Johns hit the perfect balance between yesterday and today, using new materials to create a period-appropriate — yet fresh and modern — look. "We used a custom vanity designed to look like a farm work table with a marble top. Painted wide beadboard paneling and a recessed wood-framed medicine cabinet with industrial galvanized steel lights complete the aesthetic," she says. The team also restored the original wide-plank wood floors.

From Drab to Delightful

A 1960s ranch house might be the last place you'd expect to find farmhouse-style decorating, but, if so, you clearly haven't met Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. When she and Chip were called on to update this once-dingy suburban Texas home, they treated it their signature charm offensive. Case in point: The dining room, where exposed beams and wide-plank wood floors create a warm backdrop, a long vintage table and metal chairs offer plenty of seating for casual gatherings and bright red barn-style pendants add a fun pop of color. 

New England Classic

To give this renovated Vermont kitchen its instantly recognizable farmhouse look, Cushman Design Group used a mix of traditional design elements: Simple cabinets with Shaker-style detailing; bead-board paneling on the walls and island; and an apron-front or 'farmhouse-style' sink. Details like the chrome plumbing with porcelain accents, glass-front cabinets, wood countertops and simple metal lighting fixtures complete the effect.

Updating an Heirloom

Inherited from her grandfather, this Marlin, Texas home had sentimental value to Sterling Zan and her husband Casey, but had fallen into a sad state of disrepair after sitting empty for more than a decade. Enter Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. The pair worked their own brand of magic, taking the house down to its studs before rebuilding from the inside out and, in the process, filling it with southwestern charm. In the living room, wood floors and knotty wood windows and doors create a strong rustic flavor. Sleek leather furnishings keep the look light and modern. And strong southwestern patterns on the rug and artwork add a regional accent. 

A New-Old Farmhouse

Set on a hilltop at the end of a long winding dirt road in Sharon, CT, this weekend retreat could easily be mistaken for a renovated 19th-century farmhouse — exactly as the owners and their designer, Rafe Churchill, intended. "The owners wanted a house with the restrained beauty and pragmatism of the New England Shakers,"€ says Churchill. "This house strikes the perfect balance between beauty and functionality, old and new: combining carefully curated furnishings, crisp colors and durable finishes with net-zero sustainable building technologies. This guest room, for example, provides simple comforts: a beautiful chair, a comfortable bed and a stunning views of the surrounding countryside."

Fine Vintage

In a Portland, Oregan bathroom remodeled by Hammer & Hand, Alice Design & Domestic Arts used white-washed pine paneling to create a rustic backdrop. Penny tiles on the floor and a mint-green vintage cabinet added quirky farmhouse style to the updated space.

Texture and Personality

Any house — even a plain-vanilla suburban ranch — can take on farmhouse flair in the hands of Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. In this open-concept living room, the pair added texture and interest with wood floors, an exposed wood beam between the living space and kitchen, and a show-stopping stone-faced fireplace. A mix of casual wood furnishings and more formal upholstered pieces creates a look that's comfortable but elegant enough for entertaining. 

More from:

Design 101