What Is Farmhouse Style?

Though it has been around for hundreds of years, “farmhouse” is one of the most popular style trends in furniture and home decoration today. Perhaps it is the rebirth of the “farm to table” movement, or the shift in popular style trends towards a back-to-basics, minimalist, clean and organic lifestyle of all wood furniture. So what does “farmhouse style” actually mean? Obviously, you do not need to own a farm with chickens and cows to enjoy this furniture aesthetic. From what type of wood you select to how large your custom table is, there are many components that go into creating a farmhouse style piece. 

Farmhouse Style Origin

Farmhouse style is a nod to America’s roots. It’s inspired by old farmhouses of course--think large boards, warm wood, and a rustic feel. Farmhouses originated in Europe in the 1700's and eventually made their way across the Atlantic to Canada and the United States by the 1850's. Originally created as simple structures without fuss or frills, by the 1930's farmhouses could be found across the country with running water and electricity. Farmhouse style furniture is popular today because it represents a simpler time. Farmhouse-style pieces bring warmth and character to even the most modern homes. By nature they are sturdily built, meant to last generations as an heirloom piece, which is in direct contrast to a throw-away, factory-manufactured, or made-overseas culture and aesthetic. 

farmhouse style table

Key Elements in Farmhouse Pieces

While there are both classic and modern farmhouse furniture styles to consider, most pieces utilize one or more of the following elements:

  • Reclaimed wood: much of the farmhouse style furniture Cannon Hill Woodworking uses are built from old beams of actual farmhouses 120+ years old.

  • Large Furniture: because farmhouses are such large and comfortable spaces, farmhouse style furniture tends to echo this. Think big broad beams for large tables, sumptuous chairs, and heavy desks.

  • Distressed wood: most reclaimed wood will have markings from its past engrained throughout the board. Circular cuts from old saw blades or epoxied holes from large nails holding a beam in place are common. 

  • Warm colors: pine is a common wood variety in farmhouse style furniture due to its light hue, but reclaimed oak and other varieties can still bring the same farmhouse feel to your home.

  • Turned or chunky legs. The legs would be 3 inches or wider. At Cannon Hill we can incorporate pre-designed turned legs or for an extra fee, or make totally custom designs

  • Thicker tops (1.5” - 1.75” thick)

Classic vs. Modern Farmhouse Styles

You may find woodworkers offering “classic” or “modern” farmhouse furniture. While the pieces are typically similar, you’ll find that modern farmhouse style will have some “finishing touches” that bring the warmth of farmhouse style into the modern day. A  glossy finish on a table top is one way. Another example is that you could have a farmhouse-style reclaimed oak base for a kitchen island with a white granite, marble or quartz countertop. Likewise, some people like to take farmhouse style table tops and add sleek metal legs to it. Others like to paint the legs a “pop” of color or black--you can even paint turned legs. At Cannon Hill Woodworking we make custom metal bases and can powder coat them any color. Another way to bring farmhouse to the present day is to stain or tint the base a unique color, unoriginal to wood, like white or grey, or to add beautiful inlays of other woods or metals to the top. 

Both modern or classic farmhouse furniture can be great fits for your home depending on what aesthetic you’re hoping to create. Finishing a piece will depend on what type of wood you select and how you hope the table will be used. For example, it may be a shame to oversand or laquer a reclaimed oak board if it already has great character. On the other hand, walnut wood is rarely reclaimed and comes in a variety of shades, so a large walnut board may be a great fit for a dark farmhouse style table.

Common Pieces Made In Farmhouse Style

While there are many elements that make a piece “farmhouse” style, some pieces of furniture are better suited to this design than others. Here are the most popular requests we receive for farmhouse furniture: 

  • Dining tables: far and away, the most inquiries we receive regarding custom farmhouse furniture are for dining tables. A custom made dining table from reclaimed wood is the centerpiece of a home. A couple of finishing touches can help create a farmhouse feel for your entire house. Because big boards with rustic touches are common in farmhouse furniture, large dining tables tend to be most suitable for wood of that size. 

  • Coffee tables: similar to dining tables, coffee tables have a great chance to showcase stunning farmhouse style wood and construction. If you’re looking to incorporate a modern farmhouse theme into your home, a darker coffee table may be a good option.

  • Dining chairs: farmhouse style is often a mixture of old and new. If you have a modern table, consider using reclaimed wood chairs to give the dining room a rustic feel.

  • Dining bench: if you’re still hoping to use a long beam, a dining bench could be a great option. On a functionality note, dining benches are perfect for homeowners who hope to fit as much people at their table as possible. 

Accenting Your Farmhouse Style Furniture

Once you have your farmhouse style table at home, you can add finishing touches to pull the entire room together. One of the biggest trends is having a neutral color palate in your home--no magenta accent walls here. A couple of small pieces can help make a single farmhouse table bring the home together. Keep the room somewhat minimalist from a furniture standpoint (you want the furniture to stand out, after all). Make your decorations in the room antiques made of old brass or metal, and wood. Think pieces of rural America and America’s farmsteading roots. Farmhouse is all about bringing warmth and comfort to a home, and reminding us of a simpler time, so even an extra blanket on the couch can make a house feel like a home. 

Every farmhouse table we make is designed with our clients ahead of time to ensure we achieve the exact aesthetic they are hoping for, whether it’s classic farmhouse, modern farmhouse, or something in between. To get started on your farmhouse project, send us an email at info@cannonhillwood.com or call us at 857-576-2089. Even if you’re in the heart of Boston, farmhouse style furniture can make it feel like you’re a three hour drive away from the city in the mountains of Vermont or New Hampshire.