Inspired by elements of old English, French, German, and Dutch farmhouses, farmhouse style décor shares many similarities to other styles borrowed from rural European and cottage style aesthetics. As an American distillation, Dutchess County, NY homes incorporating this style often borrow more heavily from one country’s style than others depending on personal and regional cultural heritage.
American farmhouse architecture and décor often has a more spacious and colonial feel than European variants, with more emphasis on light colors and open spaces. All are considered overlapping expressions of the farmhouse style. With perhaps less affectation than the shabby chic look or beach cottage style, farmhouse is a look that strips away all pretension and focuses instead on the aesthetic of authenticity and salt-of-the-earth dependability while remaining charming, welcoming, and cozy.
Not your kind of style? Check out: Creating Your Kind of Style Backyard: Country Rustic or Creating Your Kind of Style Backyard: Modern Contemporary.
Although no fixed color scheme exists for farmhouse style décor, the clear emphasis is on subdued earthy colors and the rich, authentic tones of raw timber, leather and natural stone. Shades of white and cream are also commonly used, while the environment is often relied upon to provide more vibrant colors in the form of flowers, trees and grasses. Another reason for the lack of bright or primary colors is the heavy reliance on texture to create visual interest, although the pastel colors of the shabby chic style are sometimes, but rarely used.
Flowers and Plantings
Farmhouse style backyards frequently make use of dense, finely textured plantings. Lavender, chrysanthemums and reeds are good examples of this. The needles of conifers also contribute a soft, fine texture to a farmhouse backyard. The contrasting effect of fine detail provided by plants and the rugged, bulky textures offered by building materials such as flagstone and raw timber, give the farmhouse style its unique sense of natural balance. A vegetable and herb garden is also a common feature of a farmhouse style backyard and will provide the additional satisfaction of growing your own produce.
The backyard furniture of the farmhouse style is often reclaimed vintage furniture specially selected or repurposed for its authenticity and rugged appearance. Combinations of bare iron and wood are common attributes of tables, chairs and benches of the farmhouse style. Faded fabric cushions and leather are also a common feature. As with other aspects of the farmhouse style, the emphasis for furniture is simplicity, comfort and authenticity. Non-decorative wooden furnishings are often minimally treated or salt washed. Wrought iron and wooden benches often provide the perfect outdoor seating within the farmhouse style.
Hardscaping in the farmhouse style places special emphasis on rugged texture, earthy colors and rustic styles, making flagstone, brick, and natural stone favored working materials. Cobblestone may also be an option for homes with a stronger inclination toward European style. Outdoor fireplaces are a well-loved hardscaping feature of the style, as are quaint paved walkways leading through flourishing, densely packed backyards. In the American Farmhouse architectural style, whitewashed wooden decking features in the form of wrap-around verandas.
Additional Decorative Features
The farmhouse style’s focus on simplicity and rugged authenticity incorporates wrought iron lamps and lanterns into its design. Barrels can be repurposed as tables, seating or simply be used as decorative features, while feeding troughs, buckets, milk urns and watering cans are often used as creative flowerpot alternatives. Stones and boulders may feature as backyard decorations as can driftwood or logs with ornate attributes.