Farmhouse Decorating Tips

Am I the only one who gets into a home-project mood at this time of year? I’m taking it easy, just redoing one bathroom closet. I’m fixing a couple of holes in the wall, painting the inside, and converting it to open shelving. A tiny project that is taking me forever due to complications I wasn’t expecting… isn’t that the nature of home projects?

Last year at this time, it was our dining room–we shifted it from southwestern to farmhouse style. Here are the decorating tips I learned along the way.

#1: Wood and White. Don’t give in to the temptation to add a lot of color. White or cream, or at least neutrals, are restful to the eye and fit the farmhouse feeling. Not good at painting? That’s okay—a whitewash look is total farmhouse and is forgiving of brush strokes and partial coverage. And no need to match your whites—a variety adds depth without fussiness.

#2: If you want a pop of color, go primary: red, yellow, or blue. Shepherd check or gingham are wonderful ways to connect those colors to your basic white/cream shades.

#3: Bring the outdoors in. A simple mason jar full of dried reeds and grasses makes a wonderful centerpiece. Tie a ribbon around it and you’re done.

#3: Baseboards, mouldings, and ceilings can all be the same neutral color. Easy on the eye and easy to paint!

#4: Breezy half-curtains frame the outdoors and block out any inconveniently urban aspects of your view, leaving you with rural-looking trees and sky.

#5: Mismatch! Try dark wood chairs with a lighter wood table, or various white or cream dishes from the thrift store.

#6: Simplify. After you’ve painted the walls in a new neutral color, stop. Don’t automatically fill the walls with decorations—even so-called farmhouse ones like a big wooden “eggs for sale” sign. Live with the blank walls for a week or two and you may find you need fewer pictures and wall hangings than you think. With farmhouse style, less is more.

I got interested in farmhouse style when I wrote The Forever Farmhouse. Ryan, Cody, and Luis–the three Hometown Brothers of the series–spent their teenage years with a foster family in a farmhouse on the Chesapeake Bay. Ryan returns to the farmhouse to help his foster mother, Betty, get through her grief at the loss of her husband and clean out her cluttered home. 

Learn more about The Forever Farmhouse!

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