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farmhouse style sofas

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In response to my post about Sally’s living room, I received this comment from my friend, Breida

“I have a hard time figuring out what kind of couch fits into the “farmhouse” style… I can’t wait to see what you find!”

Good question!  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to answer it perfectly, but I’ll throw out my thoughts and you can, in turn, throw out yours and we’ll see where we end up.

First of all, “Farmhouse” is definitely the trendy buzzword when it comes to home decor and I’m sure that comes as no surprise.  When a style becomes trendy, like country, primitive, shabby chic, French provincial and now farmhouse, the waters get really muddy.  Suddenly, everything is “farmhouse”, even stuff that really isn’t.

To make the waters even muddier, there are many styles under the large umbrella of “farmhouse”.  There’s European farmhouse, prairie-style, shaker, New England, etc. and it can even get more specific by region or state.  For example PA farmhouses have a a style that is distinct from those just an hour or two south in Virginia.

And then you add into the mix the opinions of people who actually LIVE in a working farmhouse and they scratch their head at everything being declared farmhouse style when their real farmhouse doesn’t look at all like that.

So, we have a lot of mud to wade through.

I wouldn’t call my style strictly farmhouse.  For the past few years, I’ve described it “French blue, farmhouse white.”  It’s a blend of European influences and classic American farmhouse a few other things mixed in that I like.

I like to mix primitives, like a step-back hutch, with French-style chairs.

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A table made out of an old barn door and potting bench base mixed with a crystal chandelier, a French-style buffet and a bucolic cow in a gilded frame.  The chairs are definitely a little flouncy for traditional farmhouse style.

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That’s my interpretation of farmhouse style.

So, if you love farmhouse style and you’re shopping for a sofa, what should you be looking for?

I can’t think of a sofa style that is specific to farmhouse style, but rather styles that will feel at home in a farmhouse space.

In my house, I have a leather sofa in our family room.  It has fairly simple lines, turned legs on casters and nailhead trim.  I feel like it reads fairly neutral in the room.

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Our other sofa is a Gustavian-style sofa, but it doesn’t feel overly fussy or formal because of the nubby hemp sheet upholstery and distressed frame.  I don’t think it would work as well with the industrial cart coffee table if it had tapestry upholstery and a dark wood frame.

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So, this brings me to my primary conclusion.  I think many sofa styles can work in farmhouse decor if the fabric is right.  I would stick with fabric that is either is a natural material or looks like one.  Linen, hemp, leather, cotton twill, etc…

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In fact, sofas slipcovered in white cotton twill seem to be the favorite choice of those who decorate in farmhouse style…

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While that’s the most popular choice, there are others that look right at home in farmhouse style, too…

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And I do like a good deconstructed sofa, if it’s still functional.  There’s something about the celebration of the humble side of the furniture that works with farmhouse decor in my opinion.

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What did I miss?  What sofa style says “farmhouse” to you?

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Comments

  1. Perhaps you’ve already thought of this, but would your tufted sofa work for the room makeover?

  2. I love your take on farmhouse style. ? I agree that it’s more about the finish and the fabric than it is about the shape. And I always think a room is more interesting with a mix of styles, as long as they speak to each other. Thanks for a great read!

  3. Maggie says:

    Great article..

  4. Carrie says:

    We are renovating a 90 year old farmhouse and I loved this article. Thank you.

  5. I love the use of some of the rustic sofa’s.

  6. Living on a farm, I’d say a “farmhouse” sofa has some mud and hay on it 😉 That translates into having a sofa with washable slipcovers. I like the IKEA Ektorp- low price and washable slipcovers are a winner in my farmhouse.

    • We have this sofa with a white slipcover in our 120 year old house and it works perfectly. Even with two black cats, a black and white dog, a husband who works with fireplaces, AND a baby, I LOVE this white sofa!

  7. Sheran Steading says:

    What a good article, Marian.

  8. Janet H says:

    I picture a big rolled arm sofa, with wheels on the legs, in a rich velvet and a pair of cowboy boots next to it. It needs big soft tapestry pillow and and a large plaid throw blanket to make it cozy and ready for someone’s nap. After all, that cowboy got up before dawn.

  9. This is why I struggle to define my style. It’s a mix of things I like, and things I wish I could afford. I really like the Rose sofa from Interior Define – whatever style that is! And the Rose chair… I love your down to earth approach to decorating.

  10. Karen says:

    Marian, on your Gustavian sofa…is the roll pillow fabric the same fabric you are working on your parents bedroom?

  11. marylisa noyes says:

    I just like that today’s styles can be a mixture which always adds interest to a room….

  12. Great article Marian. So hard to find an attractive sofa! Most are horrible and oversized and covered in microfiber! I’ve been searching on Craigslist for a sofa for my daughter , and let me tell you, there are some uuuugly sofas out there! These are all great examples to pull from !

    Cindy

  13. Hi Marian ~ Your home is packed with charm and your unique style. I love how you blend American and European elements. Thank you for including a picture of our farmhouse living room! We live on a mini farm in rainy (muddy) Seattle, with three growing boys, a large dog, cats and chickens…and most of our furniture is white, slip-covered. Sometimes it’s a pain, but I would choose it again for its ability to be bleached and the open, airy feel it gives our home. We used to have a dark leather couch in our family room and while it cleaned up beautifully, it was very “heavy” looking and cold in the winter. Your leather couch is a really pretty shade. ~julie

  14. How about a sofa that isn’t really a sofa but more of a large, upholstered bench? One can always add a lot of pillows and make it as fluffy as one wants, and if the “couleur de jour” changes, one doesn’t have to chuck the whole sofa but just make new pillow/cushion covers instead.

  15. English country farmhouse style is often large old chintz sofas, with blankets on them for the dogs.

  16. I really enjoy reading about “styles” especially when the do not fall into one particular bucket. With all of the incredibly talented folks upcycling and collecting so many beautiful pieces, it is fun to watch how they all work together. That being said, I would describe my style as “Industrial-nordic-vintage-farmhouse-shabby-modern-french”!! (smile)
    JoanMarie

  17. i kind of feel that farmhouse sofas are those that were bought a really long time ago and have withstood the test of time. They are classics that may be updated for today’s families, but they are not “trendy.” That’s how your selections appear to me too. Classics but updated in an understated way.

  18. B Folk says:

    Nice article, with some good “eye candy”, as usual. While I like all the rooms and sofas, the thing that really caught my eye was the cute sweater pillow in photo #6. Think I will have to make one soon!
    I agree, a sofa or anything farmhouse is probably going to be practical and comfy. Not stuffy in the style sense, perhaps “stuffy” in the sense of being overstuffed and comfortable. Slipcovered with an easy-care fabric that can take repeated washings. Sturdy frame, perhaps locking casters, mixes easily with whatever other furniture may come and go. Frame easy-to-clean as well, without a lot of nooks and crannies to collect dust and dirt (which there is a lot of on a real farm).

  19. Naomi S. says:

    Marian, I liked this article and the fine photography, but what does “deconstructed” mean exactly? The couch you show for that term looks much less upholstered than most of the others. Would that be what deconstructed refers to?

    • marian says:

      Deconstructed means that the sofa or chair is left unfinished intentionally, so you can see the insides. That means the seat, seat back, front and arms are upholstered, but the back is left open, exposing the wood frame.

  20. Living on an 1857 farm…in the original farmhouse ~~ what I have come to believe is that “farmhouse style” is practical, humble and relies on the spirit of the color around it. Milk house white, the muted yellow of corn, the green of the summer field. It is hardworking contentment…like pine, chippy paints, and a clothesline dripping with textiles. There is nothing pretencious about it…yet it is filled with pride of work – which is why feedsacks seem to naturally embody this style. A couch in a farmhouse is meant to be sat on, to be mended over time, to have kitty feet & muddy paws. It is the embrace at tthe end of a working day.

  21. I guess I am one of those who chuckles when I see something about Farmhouse Style. I grew up in a farming family and some of the things that folks seem to consider as Farmhouse Style were never in the houses of my grandmothers or my mother. Now that I have come full circle and live on a farm again, I can honestly say that many of those things won’t be found in my house either. Maybe we just have no style!

    There has always been a sense of practicality in some ways but those women of my ancestry and I have also always liked fine, nice things in our homes. We tend to avoid light floors, white walls, and light upholstery on furniture because of the fact that when one is working in fields with crops and working with animals, there is the chance that mud, dust, dirt, and manure being tracked in or ground into the furniture. So, when I see all this white in homes and folks call it Farmhouse Style, I just chuckle.

    Farm people who live in farmhouses are really no different than any other segment of people in our world. We also love and aspire to having and showcasing in our homes things that are not rustic and simple. We appreciate what we have and take care of it and work hard to be able to aquire something nicer. While my grandmothers did use flour sacks and made clothing, curtains, and more out of those available items, as soon as they could, they would replace them with fancier, nicer goods. Using grain sacks and burlap in their home would have been out of the question for them just like my wearing jeans to work on casual days because those were things for the barn and not nice enough for the home.

    While I have evolved along with styles and ideas, I still chuckle at times when ‘city folk’ think they are emulating the lifestyle I’ve known for most of my 56 years. I do love your blog and gather ideas for my own home from your posts. So, please keep sharing those beautiful ideas!

  22. Personally, I love the white slipcover and think it’s dreamy but life (and dogs) dictates leather for us!

  23. Summer says:

    I have a denim sofa and loveseat from Rooms to Go! Fits right in with my primitive country style and its comfortable, too. Loaded up with patchwork pillows, its a magnet for us couch potatoes!

  24. Margaret Mills says:

    I LOVE that green wire storage bin in the picture with the brown wooden sofa with leather seat. What is that called and where might I find one? I MUST have one. Thanks!

  25. T. Rene says:

    I think that farmhouse style is something different to everyone. I didn’t grow up on a farm but I grew up surrounded by them and with grandparents who had farms. We recently built a home which I consider a modern farmhouse….it has a large wraparound porch and other elements that older farmhouses might have. To me farmhouse style is really all about invoking certain feelings, for me it’s a place feels warm, comfortable, inviting, and cozy….because that’s how my husband and I felt at our grandparents farms. It’s a place where family gathers around the table and friends want to come and stay for a while. Ok, and I admit… I like a few touches of pretty and a couple shiny things here and there and I love mixing old (especially family heirlooms) and new!. I know that my modern farmhouse might not look like those ones that my grandparents grew up in and that’s ok with me.

    Back to the topic, my couches have big comfy cushions, rounded arms and a twill neutral colored fabric so I think they fit into one of your descriptions.

  26. carol d says:

    I live in a 100 plus year old farmhouse on a farm that has been working for the same amount of time. When I started stripping wallpaper to get down to the plaster (not sheetrock) I must have found 20 layers of wallpaper at least. When I was a little girl my grandma, mom and me went “calling” on the neighbors often. All of these houses were old farmhouses, all but a few are gone now. Every single one of them had wallpaper in most every room, but always the kitchen. This is what I consider rural American farmhouse style!c

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