Style Spotlight: How to Get the French Farmhouse Decor Look

If you’ve scrolled through Instagram and Pinterest for design ideas, you’ve likely come across the French farmhouse style look.

While the rise of the Cottagecore Trend might be taking the design world by storm right now, French farmhouse style is a timeless look designer always turn to. Here’s a quick refresher of the style and what sets it apart.

What Is French Farmhouse Style?

It’s the perfect blend of rustic elegance with a focus on French farmhouse decor. The style originated from the cottage homes and vineyards located in the South of France, which are known for their rustic charm and chic approach to French country farmhouse decor.

Think lots of weathered woods, from architectural elements like wood beams, doors, and flooring to furniture that is salvaged, washed, or has that ‘chippy’ paint look. There’s also a mix of ornate decor and elegant pieces that feel like they were collected over time, which can sometimes give French country-style rooms a vintage eclectic look.

But it’s all rooted in the idea of furnishings that have a bit of patina and rooms that have aged beautifully over time. This timeworn appeal is the foundation of the French country style, which has a very defined elegance about it.

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French Farmhouse vs. Shabby Chic

French country style has similar elements to Shabby Chic Style, with a vintage, aged, and timeworn look, but the two are quite different.

French Country style has a strong emphasis on antiquity and vintage charm, with pieces that either age nicely over time or are already aged. In French farmhouse interiors, you won’t find modern replicas or distressed furnishings that are made to look old and aged.

Expect to see: Carved wood pieces, curvy legs, and chairs, lots of ornate accessories.

Shabby Chic style began as a trending look in the 1980s, then it got revived in the early 2000s. The result is a boom in mass-produced ‘shabby’ furniture that was made to look purposely distressed and aged. It came to define this look, which is also more fashion-inspired and glam.

Expect to see: Simple wood pieces, textured details, and fringe, plenty of vintage-style accents.

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How to Get a French Farmhouse Design

Explore some of the timeless furnishings and design elements that are always signature to French farmhouse style look below!

dining room traditional french country

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Distressed & Whitewashed Woods

You’ll always find aged and raw wood furnishings in French Country style spaces. From distressed or whitewashed wood cabinets, benches, and dining tables to decorative accents like candleholders and bowls, weathered wood pieces in all shapes and sizes are the foundational French country decor that make up the look.

Ideas to Try

  • Add timeworn French chairs. Louis XVI-style dining chairs (yes, inspired by the famous King Louis the 16th of France) are not only great in a dining space but also as side chairs that can be pulled into any room. They’ll add instant French flair to a room.
  • Bring in a sideboard. Whether you use it as a bar, a console, or as storage for dining room essentials, a weathered wooden cabinet is a statement piece that lends major French country elegance.

entryway plant four wall art

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Botanical Prints

French farmhouse style often nods to nature in the form of florals and botanicals, from flowers to herbs to wild greenery. This is reflected in the French country decor mix as art prints, dried or real flowers, and even faux greenery that brings a touch of the lush outdoors in.

Ideas to Try

  • Curate botanical studies. A wall decorated with a coordinating series of botanical prints is the easiest way to infuse your space with French ease and elegance. You can try hanging a pair, a trio, or a collection; the key is grouping them closely together.
  • Expand with lush elements. You can extend the organic element and lushness of botanical art to faux greenery and plants that add major sculptural appeal—with none of the real-plant maintenance.

traditional farmhouse living room neutral color scheme

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Natural Materials & Textures

When it comes to French country style that’s specific to the South of France, there’s a huge emphasis on natural materials, such as linens, woven basketry, burlap, natural fibers, and other beautifully tactile accents. Mixing these textures with natural woods truly brings this style to life.

Ideas to Try

  • Lay down a large fiber rug. The best way to play up texture is to ground your French country room with a natural-fiber rug that covers the majority of your floor space. It will bring focus to the neutral furnishings on top while also adding an instant relaxed vibe.
  • Look for relaxed textiles. Linen pillows, burlap table runners, and light wool upholstery are key finishing touches with huge impact. They’ll usher in a soft ambiance and add to the French country aesthetic of the space.

bedroom traditional classic french design

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Neutral & Pale Blue Color Palettes

The primary palette with any French country-style interior is neutral tones that are always layered with notes of soft blues. Think signature blue-and-white toile, ceramics, gingham pillows or a pale blue floral rug for jumping-off points to working this timeless palette.

Ideas to Try

  • Try an overdyed rug. These beautiful rugs are perfect in French country-style spaces, thanks to their gentle washed colors and traditional design. Not to mention, they’re extremely soft on the feet so you get both comfort and classic elegance.
  • Pile blue-and-white bedding. This is a classic color combination you find in bedding and linens in French farmhouse interiors. Whether it’s indigo-and-white sheets or beautifully block-printed linens, this bedding palette will transport you to a charming hotel in the South of France.

dining living room neutral color scheme

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Antique Forms and Silhouettes

Inspired by the modern rustic charm of Victorian farmhouse style, antiques and vintage-style pieces are staples in French farmhouse interiors. And they’re usually more ornate and sculptural—you won’t find sleek furniture nor a lot of straight lines. Consider a classic roll-arm sofa, weathered-wood floor mirror, or an aged-wood pedestal table found at a flea market.

Ideas to Try

  • Hang an ornate chandelier. Take the time to hunt down an ornate or vintage chandelier that is an instant focal point in your space. It’s a common accent in French country style rooms that is also timeless and even practical.
  • Work in vintage nesting tables. There’s no shortage of these compact tables at flea markets and antique shops. Pull in a set made with aged wood or antiqued metal for elegant mini surfaces that add character, Old World charm, and French flair to spaces.

bedroom farmhouse traditional mirror

Soft Patterns

Bold patterns take a back seat in French farmhouse-style rooms. It’s all about soft florals, vintage overwashed rugs, romantic botanicals, and simple patterned checks and stripes. You can’t go wrong with a mix of these neutral patterns and prints.

Ideas to Try

  • Blue-and-white stripes are key. This is a quintessential pattern in French country-style interiors. And it’s never too much—layer this print everywhere, from pillows to throws to upholstery and right down to your placemats!
  • Mix trad and modern patterns. Keeping to a neutral (or blue-and-white) color scheme, mix patterns in the bedroom and living room! Think blue-and-white floral pillows with gingham with painterly printed bedding, which add up to a rustic-romantic French look.

neutral color scheme classic traditional farmhouse

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Comfortable Light Upholstery

French country decor is rooted in comfort through and through. And it starts with plush upholstery that’s light and inviting, from deep armchairs and padded headboards to down pillows and bedding. Casual, chic, and neutral are the name of the upholstery game.

Ideas to Try

  • Pull in a crisp armchair. A perfectly scaled and deeply plush armchair (or two!) is a must in French farmhouse interiors. They not only lend warmth and comfort, they also provide a traditional formal touch and will help balance out all the wood elements.
  • Combine simple neutral upholstery. Keep to classic upholstered pieces in a neutral palette for a look that’s relaxed and at ease. Try a fitted slipcover sofa, or one that’s skirted and has some give to the fabric, alongside a linen armchair, and a muslin bench.

entryway traditional classic design

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Gilded Mirrors

In addition to botanical prints and vintage art, gilded mirrors are quintessential French farmhouse wall decor. Hang a decorative gold-accented mirror or lean an oversized floor mirror with a window-pane frame—the perfectly imperfect look is always what you’re after.

Ideas to Try

  • Show small reflections. Just as you would arrange botanical prints for a gallery wall, swap them for a series of small antiqued mirrors for a bright focal point. Be sure to mix vintage mirrors in different shapes, sizes, and finishes that nod to the rustic French look.
  • Go for old and oversized. One designer trick we love is filling a stretch of empty wall space with a large oversized floor mirror that reflects light, gives the illusion of space, and makes for a sculptural statement piece that lends French farmhouse elegance.

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Three Ways To Get the Oh-So-Popular Farmhouse Style In Your Home

farmhouse interior designWhen it comes to decor trends, Farmhouse style has it all—think texture, contrast, and coziness all rolled into one perfect space. It’s a super trendy style that has taken the design world by storm. You’ve likely seen it everywhere from your Pinterest and Instagram feeds to popular TV shows (we’re looking at you Fixer Upper!). But what exactly does “farmhouse” mean when it comes to interior design?? This guide will walk you through the ins and outs of farmhouse style to give you the full scoop on what exactly it is and how to get the look in your own home!

What is Farmhouse Interior Design?

Farmhouse interior design is a decorating style that takes inspiration from the look of an actual farmhouse and uses decorative elements that you’d find in rural or agricultural areas. Farmhouse interiors are warm, cozy, relaxing and full of charm and character. Generally, the style turns up its nose at more contemporary design sensibilities and prefers to hearken back to “simpler” times.

However, to keep the look from veering into too much “country kitsch,” it’s important to maintain a stylish balance of old and new and to make sure the focus is on a natural look. In other words, farmhouse design isn’t code for going overboard with the mason jars, shiplap, and rooster paraphernalia!

Is Farmhouse Going Out of Style in 2020?

Far from it! While the initial farmhouse craze might be dying down, we’re not seeing this style going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, we’re actually seeing the farmhouse style becoming more nuanced and expressed in several different ways. One farmhouse doesn’t suit everybody!

What are these different types of farmhouse style? The main types we’re noticing fall into three distinct buckets—rustic, classic, and modern takes on the farmhouse interior design style. While all of these looks are popular, they have some pretty distinct differences. To help you sort it all out, we’re breaking down the recipe for each farmhouse style in one home designed in three different ways.

Come along for a mini home tour of these three unique farmhouse style designs to find out all you need to know about farmhouse interior design and which version might be right for you!

rustic farmhouse bedroom

Rustic Farmhouse Interior Design

The Style DNA: Rustic meets traditional with a vintage twist

The Vibe: Cozy and fresh with lots of countryside character

Rustic farmhouse design is all about celebrating the natural and rough-hewn aspects of the farmhouse aesthetic. Think of this version of the style as a blend between rustic and traditional, that even sports a bit of an industrial flair. The rustic elements bring a heavy focus on rugged materials—think raw and unfinished woods, chunky knits, linens, metals, and leather with patina.

The traditional elements play a supporting role, adding the vintage/antique flair that gives this version of farmhouse style its distinct personality—it’s definitely a look that loves a bit of nostalgia! All in all, the look blends streamlined furniture with traditional design influences and tends toward a sharp, grey-scale and high contrast color palette.

The result is a style that strikes a balance of hard and soft, incorporating both traditional and fresh design elements. We like to think this farmhouse decor scheme would make even Chip and Joanna proud.

rustic farmhouse living roomThe Rustic Farmhouse Living Room

Our rustic farmhouse living room is anchored by comfy foundational furniture. The neutral sofa prioritizes comfort and style with a simple form and sleek tailoring. The accent chairs pull in a traditional spindle detail in a fresh new way, for a stylish take on cozy charm. We love how the natural wood tones of the chair, coffee table, and mantle help warm up the grey-scale palette. Details like the animal art, metal accents (peek the light fixtures and decor) and geometric patterns in the rug and pillows offer a subtle, yet curated approach to farmhouse interior design.

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rustic farmhouse dining roomThe Rustic Farmhouse Dining Room

As with the living room, our rustic farmhouse dining space is all about function with a stylish edge. The foundational furniture sets a solid and functional foundation, while also bringing in the key elements of the rustic farmhouse style—distressed woods, unfinished metal, all with a slight antique/vintage vibe.

Once you’ve got your foundation, add in some industrial accents like the pendant light fixtures and dining chairs to bring contrast and an elevated look to the space. Notice how the accent furniture has a slightly more industrial vibe, which balances out traditional elements in foundations—a key element in rustic farmhouse style!

Top it all off with fresh, high-contrast artwork. This is where the style most differs from a more traditional approach to farmhouse style. Instead of pastoral scenes or landscape paintings, rustic farmhouse decor prefers non-objective prints and more contemporary black & white landscape photography. Altogether the effect is fresh, inspiring, and will give you room a polished yet cozy look.

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rustic farmhouse bedroomThe Rustic Farmhouse Bedroom

For the bedroom, we took a similar approach to the other spaces—start with your foundations and build up. Here we chose a wrought-iron bed which brings a traditional/antique vibe, rendered in a contemporary way. Paired with the sleek nightstands and bench (which both perfectly balance rustic materials with a contemporary shape), the look is the perfect balance of old and new.

To keep the look from feeling too cold or industrial, we balanced out all the wood, leather, and metal with plush textiles and lots of layers. The neutral rug grounds the space, and we love its traditional pattern in a washed-out antique fade, which adds to the vintage vibe in a softer way. Then, top off the bed with layers of contrasting pillows and don’t forget to add curtains to further soften the look. A few woven baskets bring another pop of natural texture and are a great bedroom storage solution.

Finally, the art in the bedroom is a bit softer than other places in the house—it is your bedroom, after all. We love these vintage-style bird prints, which have an almost eclectic vibe. Together they bring a very traditional, antique contrast to the more rugged elements in the space and totally seal the deal on the farmhouse vibe.

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modern farmhouse interior designModern Farmhouse Interior Design

Style DNA: Modern designs mixed with rustic materials and natural textures

The Vibe: On-trend, a bit dramatic, and effortlessly livable

Modern farmhouse is easily the trendiest version of all three farmhouse looks. It’s comfy, cozy, and full of charm, offering a unique take on comfort and simplicity. If you’re one to shy away from farmhouse interior design because you think it’s outdated, modern farmhouse design will prove you wrong!

In this style, modern design fuses with a comfortable, relaxed farmhouse aesthetic. It’s an eclectic mix of styles and materials anchored in rustic foundations but shows off a more contemporary approach to shapes and decor. Modern design elements like curved or streamlined forms, unexpected materials, and sleek lighting play a big role in this trendy style.

modern farmhouse living roomThe Modern Farmhouse Living Room

Our modern farmhouse living room look features a mix of materials that make for a dynamic space. This design features everything from wood to linen, velvet, brass, marble, ceramics, and seagrass! While we incorporated a range of tones to give the room contrast and warmth, the key to mixing these materials (and acing modern farmhouse look) is sticking to a neutral and cohesive color palette.

In this take on the style, our foundational furniture is still comfy but features slightly more modern appeal than traditional farmhouse-style shapes. For example, the sleek sofa with piping detail, the velvet armchairs, and the round coffee table, all play with rustic design elements in a completely modern way.

Overall, the accent furniture and decor take more risks and are the pieces that pull in the texture that makes for a cohesive look. The brass and marble side table is super mod and the velvet club chairs provide a familiar silhouette in an unexpected material. There’s also some fun play with geometry at work, like the sputnik pendant, side table, lamp, vases, and art that nods to a mid-century modern influence.

The secret to keeping this look from straying too modern? The symmetrical layout! This more formal structure to the room anchors in a more rustic/traditional aesthetic and keeps it from straying too far down an eclectic path.

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modern farmhouse dining roomThe Modern Farmhouse Dining Room

To get the modern farmhouse look in your dining room, stick with traditional undertones in your furniture but look for pieces updated with a modern edge. For example, here the dining table offers a streamlined take on the antique trestle table and the schoolhouse chairs feel vintage and mod all at once.

Meanwhile, the dark metal accents add an industrial edge that adds much-needed contrast against the natural wood, which works overtime to warm up the design. Then to combat all the modern-ness happening in the furniture, we added an abstracted landscape print to soften up the look and tie in more “traditional” farmhouse vibes. Don’t forget the patterned rug underfoot, which enlivens the space and makes the room a little more fun and playful!

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modern farmhouse bedroomThe Modern Farmhouse Bedroom

For the bedroom, we started with traditional shapes and gave them modern updates, like the spindle bed frame and seagrass bench. These pieces are classic and draw on traditional design elements, but here are given sleek modern facelifts with their streamlined forms. The nightstands feel traditional, but the touch of brass hardware warms up the look with a modern edge.

This take on farmhouse decor has a bit more color to it, with the pillows and rug. And the abstract line art is a fresh addition to the space and helps pull the whole design together.

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classic farmhouse interior designClassic Farmhouse Interior Design

Style DNA: Classic designs mixed with countryside charm

The Vibe: Refined cottage style with a warm and timeless appeal

Classic farmhouse, in contrast to rustic or modern, is the most traditional of the bunch and leans into a more “French provincial” aesthetic. This style would be the closest example of “shabby chic” and is a much softer, more feminine approach to farmhouse design—think classic cottage chic. The look starts with comfy foundational furniture, but pushes more classic than rustic farmhouse, and then layers in accents of washed-out wood or painted decor for a more antique vibe.

Classic farmhouse also depends on a light palette of whites and creams with added pops of green and blue. The overall look skews more pastel and avoids contrast—think light, airy fabrics, and white-washed wood tones! This look should blend seamlessly together for a light, feminine look with few instances of metal or darkness.

classic farmhouse living roomThe Classic Farmhouse Living Room

At first glance, it’s easy to see how our classic farmhouse living room differs from the previous versions. While the rustic and modern farmhouse looks are all about form and material, classic farmhouse style puts much more emphasis on classic details, like button tufting, nailhead, ornate carvings, and applied ornament. Here the space is grounded by a French country-style rolled arm sofa and armchair duo for a super comfy, classic style. The linen upholstery feels very countryside charming, which is perfect for this look.

Our accent furniture in this design features classic details like flutes and spindles—it all has a carved, ornate decorative quality. Botanical prints warm up the space and bring a natural touch and accents like whitewashed wood, antiqued surfaces, and distressed finishes bring in the charming countryside quality.

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classic farmhouse dining roomThe Classic Farmhouse Dining Room

For the dining room, we again started with classic foundational furniture. The substantial and ornate pedestal stable grounds the space and features intricately carved details for a classic touch. The linen slipcovered chairs keep the look comfy but sophisticated, while the smaller scale of the dining table keeps the overall vibe more intimate and cozy.

All of the distressed wood finishes in the space give the room a homey vibe. Nature-themed art, like the bird gallery wall, along with a few curated pops of greenery give the space that classic cottage look. The whole space is tied together by the traditional, yet delicate, patterned rug, which adds a slight pop of texture to the space.

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classic farmhouse bedroomThe Classic Farmhouse Bedroom

Nothing says “classic farmhouse” more than an upholstered headboard with tufting—it’s an important detail for classic style. The antique style rug has a washed-out oriental pattern that offers warmth and texture without overpowering the room. The lamps, bench and nightstands all have a classic shape and a serene, neutral color palette keeps the room cohesive and elegant.

We love the traditional art above the headboard! The cottage landscape painting is a purely traditional take on a farmhouse motif that feels right at home in this style. The hanging planters on the wall and the leafy green tree give the room subtle pops of color while bringing a little nature inside.

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Work with an interior designer to see farmhouse decor in your home!

Not sure which type of farmhouse style is right for you? With our design services, our designers can help you find your personal design style—whether it’s classic, rustic, or modern farmhouse interior design. Learn more about our design services on our Interior Design 101 page.

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Destination Style: Try On Texas Farmhouse Elegance

Texas farmhouse style

To celebrate summer, we’re taking inspiration from the all-American tradition of a cross-country road trip. We’ll be making our way across the USA and exploring some of our favorite cities and their signature design styles along the way. Buckle up and get ready for some major destination design inspo. Next up: Waco and its signature Texas farmhouse style!

Let’s just say we have design stars Chip and Joanna Gaines to thank for putting Waco, Texas on the map as a design and lifestyle destination. In addition to their home decor mecca, Magnolia Market, the husband-and-wife team (and their four children) have charmed millions of homeowners and decor lovers across the country with their happy “Waco Way of Life.” And much of their lifestyle is rooted in their classic approach to farmhouse living and style, which, if you know us, is a look that we find endlessly inspiring.

What we love about the Gaines-style and the Texas farmhouse style is the simple blend of comfort and elegance. It’s a mix of sophisticated furnishings, rustic-industrial accents, and gorgeous details, all grounded in a tried-and-true palette of blue and white tones. These elements add up to a farmhouse look that’s elevated but still feels totally inviting. But not just for Waco, this look is popular from San Antonio interior designers to New York, even to California!

So, we dreamed up a home that perfectly captures the Gaines ethos and farmhouse look, bringing together all the key design elements that set it apart. Read on to pick up tips for bringing the polished Texas farmhouse style into your home.

Keep to Blue and White (and Off-White)

You can’t go wrong with a tried-and-true blue-and-white palette. It’s the foundation to this farmhouse look, but the trick here is how you balance these colors and their many shades in your space.

Start with walls for a crisp backdrop that inspires comfort and calm, then work in blue notes through your textiles and accents (such as pillows, rugs, art and objects). If you want to inject a warmer note into your space, opt for an off-white or beige with your sofas and upholstered chairs, which will turn them into welcoming foundation pieces.

And when it comes to blue shades, try to steer clear of the teal-leaning hues. Our favorite ways to work blue-and-white is to either go for a soothing and sophisticated look with layers of soft pale blue tones, or take the crisp and elevated route with bold blues, such as cobalt and navy.

Texas farmhouse styleUse Natural Materials as a Neutral

The best neutral for a blue-and-white palette are materials that have a rustic twist and emphasize comfort and livability. Consider spreading out some woven baskets in all shapes, sizes, and styles; adding a few natural rattan ottomans; and opting for furnishings that feature raw woods, from table tops and chair frames to shelving and mirrors. This will enhance the blue-and-white palette and elegant farmhouse look and feel.

Go for an industrial-rustic mix

What does that even mean? Glad you asked! The difference between a sophisticated Texas farmhouse look versus a rustic Sonoma-style one is that the former is made up of furnishings that lean more industrial. It comes down to furnishings that have a bit of heft and substance, such as steel-framed bookshelves and consoles, rectilinear tables with bold metal bases, or sleek metal pendants and chandeliers (skip the gold and brass entirely). The result is a farmhouse look that’s anything but cottage-inspired or shabby chic – and that’s what you want here.

Texas farmhouse styleThink Classic but Not Stuffy

This is a fine balance and the key is to identify pieces that have classic beauty without feeling overly formal. How? When looking at larger foundational pieces, find furnishings with classic details, like the shape of a sofa arm, turned legs, or an armchair with a traditional French-style frame. These pieces will provide both elegance and ease and a sense of livability because of their clean, modern lines paired with small classic flourishes.

Pile on the Traditional Patterns

Stick to classic patterns and tried-and-true prints. Layering these prints together in a classic blue-and-white palette is one of the most effortless ways to give a space a cohesive and elegant feel. And don’t forget to consider some decorative art with traces blue.

Texas farmhouse styleAdd Accents with Subtle Texture

What makes the Texas farmhouse look so elegant is that it’s all about a considered palette, classic details, and lots and lots of beautiful textures. In addition to adding natural materials such as rattan and sisal, make sure to pull in pieces that have more delicate textures. Think faux shagreen, burlap, speckled pottery and lightly tarnished metal vases. These are the subtle details that will truly set apart your rooms.

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