When homeowners are looking to remodel their kitchen, farmhouse kitchens are a common theme that comes to mind. Farmhouse style kitchens have a natural homeliness and warmness to them that makes them very inviting and desirable, especially for families.
They’re much more welcoming than some modern kitchens!
But what exactly goes into a farmhouse kitchen, especially when it comes to the decor and the cabinets? Here we talk about farm house kitchens and farmhouse cabinets, telling you everything you need to know about this endearing style of kitchen and its signature cabinet style.
What is a Farmhouse Kitchen?
Before we can talk about farmhouse kitchen cabinets, we first need to talk about the farmhouse kitchen style itself. Although there are different sub-categories of this design style, such as modern interpretations and transitional versions, there are defining characteristics that unite most farmhouse kitchen styles.
First off, you’re going to find lots of natural materials.
Natural materials often used in farmhouse kitchen styles include wood, exposed brick, wrought iron, dull brass, exposed pulls, and much more. There’s no hiding the natural elements used to build the kitchen here – it’s all about embracing natural products to help the home feel real and authentic.
Generally speaking, the design will be pretty simple and non-pretentious. These kitchens are based on real farmhouse kitchens used many decades ago – the idea is to make them feel warm, comfortable, and vintage. You should be able to cook large family meals in this kitchen with ease, and quite possibly dine in it too.
Color-wise, we’re going for warmth.
You’ll see a lot of natural material colors such as the wood and brick, as well as muted warm colors like yellows and greens designed to project warmth and comfort into the space. You might also see some white (or off-white) incorporated into the kitchen to help keep the space feeling bright and airy.
Vintage antiques, ornaments, and accessories are commonly on display in farmhouse kitchen styles, especially if they fit in with the general theme or colors of the space. This can include things like vases, small figures, mason jars, small vintage toys, and much more. The vintage items should harken back to a simpler time.
Open shelves are also incredibly common.
This open shelving is designed to let you display antiques and vintage items easily, though you might also use it for crockery and farmhouse kitchenware that you regularly use, such as plates, cups, and glasses. Open shelves lined with vintage products is one of the easiest ways to get across the farmhouse aesthetic straight away.
Finally, expect warm ambient lighting in a farmhouse kitchen design.
Most kitchens have fairly warm lighting setups these days, but farmhouse kitchen design kicks this up a gear. You’ll often see antique lamps hanging from the ceiling, complete with warm tungsten-style lightbulbs to give off that warm, yellowish glow. Modern white LED bulbs will feel too cold and undo all the hard work of the homely design.
What are Farmhouse Cabinets?
Farmhouse kitchen cabinets are often described as “cabinets that look like cabinets”. Because the whole idea of a farmhouse kitchen revolves around simplicity and natural materials, you’ll find that farmhouse kitchen cabinets are always made to look natural and simple.
This usually means that they’re made from wood which is either left its natural color, painted a muted color in a flat finish, or specifically glazed to give it an artificially “aged look”. Sometimes painted cabinets will also be sanded after painting to reveal the wood underneath, giving the cabinets a “rustic look” via another method.
Basically, they’re not meant to look brand new.
Two-tone cabinets are quite common in farmhouse kitchen design, though this can vary depending on the design of the kitchen overall. When you look at farmhouse cabinets, they’ll usually have simple fittings and handles made from dull metals such as wrought iron or oil-rubbed bronze.
Design-wise, you’ll usually find that farmhouse cabinets have carvings and recessed panels in their wooden cabinet doors. These usually evoke traditional cabinet door styles, such as the Shaker design, and if the cabinet doors are glazed for a vintage effect, these carvings will be darkly highlighted to produce a weathered antique look.
It’s a really cool effect.
Basically, it’s all about making the farmhouse cabinets look old, aged, distressed, and worn-in. This can be achieved through the choice of materials, the color scheme, sanding down the paint, or using a special glaze (brown glaze over white paint) that makes the cabinet doors look ravaged by the hands of time. If you’re into this style then you also might be into glazed kitchen cabinets or more traditional cabinets.
What color are farmhouse cabinets?
The color of your farmhouse cabinets really depends on the decor of your kitchen overall. Farmhouse kitchens tend to have a lot of warm, natural colors such as wood tones, yellows, oranges, and muted greens. However, your cabinets don’t necessarily have to follow suit.
You may often see farmhouse cabinets in their natural wood color, or perhaps wood that has been finished with a glaze or lacquer. This is usually the case if other parts of the farmhouse kitchen are white (or at least bright) so that the farmhouse kitchen isn’t too suffocated by wooden tones.
After all, we still want the space to feel bright and airy.
If your farmhouse kitchen already has a lot of dark and warm colors, it might not be a good idea to have wood-colored cabinets too. In this case, you should try white or off-white farmhouse cabinets in a flat finish. You may also want to consider sanding them down after painting for an aged, distressed feel.
However, white and natural aren’t your only options.
Though it’s less common, some people inject a bit of fun into their farmhouse design by painting their cabinets in unique colors, especially focusing on paler colors and pastels that aren’t too vibrant and over-the-top. You’ll often see pale grays, pale blues, and pale greens that blend seamlessly into the design.
Whatever colors you decide on, just make sure that they fit in with your farmhouse kitchen design at large.
How to Decorate a Farmhouse Kitchen
In addition to the cabinets, there are many elements of a farmhouse kitchen that you need to carefully utilize in order to tie the theming together into a singular, coherent aesthetic.
While every farmhouse kitchen is different depending on the customer and their unique vision, here are multiple products and features often seen in farmhouse kitchen styles:
- Wooden Counters – Instead of granite or solid surface, why not try going au naturale with wooden countertops? While the wood isn’t as robust as stone countertops, it’s much cheaper and tends to age naturally, giving the kitchen a more rustic look as time goes on. If you can’t go all the way with wooden counters, try a couple of wooden butcher’s blocks to evoke the same feeling.
- Farmhouse Sink – Farmhouse sinks are very common staples in this decor – you basically can’t have a farmhouse kitchen without a farmhouse sink. These large exposed-basin sinks make washing tons of dishes easy, so they’re convenient for large families. While you can get farmhouse sinks made in various materials such as stainless steel, it’s most traditional to get a white ceramic farmhouse sink for that authentic look.
- Soft Colors – Soft, warm colors are a staple of farmhouse kitchen styles. You can expect to see a lot of natural tones (wood, brick etc.) mixed in with muted yellows, oranges, greens, and off-whites. Keep it warm, welcoming, and quaint.
- Small Kitchen Island – If you don’t have space for a full-size kitchen island, you should consider a small table-turned-island instead. These small wooden kitchen islands give an authentic old-timey vibe to your space, as well as additional counter space to work with.
- Open Shelves – Open shelves are very, very common in farmhouse kitchen styles. They’re usually used to display antiques, decorative plates, vases, or other items. You might use your open shelves for kitchenware, special crockery, or for purely decorative products. It all depends on the design you’re going for and how you use your kitchen.
- Beadboard – If you’re not aware, beadboard is small panels of wood lined up and connected by sections known as “beads”. These uniform narrow wooden panels are sometimes used on farmhouse cabinets, walls, or kitchen islands to make the kitchen feel more homely and rustic. It’s relatively low in price to install beadboard and it can instantly transport your farmhouse kitchen back to a simpler time.
- Ornaments & Antiques – Farmhouse kitchen designs almost always employ vintage antiques and ornaments in some part of their decor. This could include objects such as vases, mason jars, figurines, books, old clocks, vintage cookie jars, and much more. It’s easy to place these things on top of your farmhouse cabinets or on your open shelving units.
As you can see, there are many categories of decor that can help get your farmhouse kitchen in order and make it feel authentic. Keep your options open and try different design concepts until you find the one that works for you as the customer/homeowner.
How to Decorate Above Kitchen Cabinets Farmhouse Style
If you’re looking to decorate above your kitchen cabinets in the farmhouse kitchen aesthetic, there are some common products that you can try to give this otherwise empty space the rustic feel that you’re going for with your farmhouse kitchen.
While every farmhouse kitchen design can differ, here are some common things placed on top of farmhouse cabinets to elevate the aesthetic:
- Decorative Crockery – Even if you never use it in your life, consider some simple, quaint looking crockery for the top of your cupboards. This could include teapots, plate sets, commemorative plates, and much more. It helps to give the impression of homeliness that you’re going for.
- Wine Bottles – Wine tastes better when it’s aged, right? If you’ve got some fancy vintage wines you’re saving for a special occasion, why not keep them on display on top of the farmhouse cabinets? They might be real or prop wine bottles, but they’re a great way to feel inviting yet sophisticated.
- Rustic Signs – You see these things all over home decor stores – rustic signs that say things like “Kitchen”, “Food”, “Love”, “Farmhouse”, or other nice slogans that evoke the general theme you’re going for. The signs might be authentically vintage or just made to look old – it doesn’t really matter as long as it looks good across the top of your farmhouse cabinetry.
- Potted Plants – Adding some greenery into a space is always a great way to liven it up and make it feel more lived in. You’ll often see people store potted plants on top of their farmhouse cabinets, featuring a wide array of large and small plants depending on the design. You might want to consider artificial plants for this, especially if real plants will have a hard time staying alive in such a hard-to-reach dim area.
- Vintage Clocks – Old-school large clocks are often placed on top of farmhouse cabinets, especially in the center. This has the added benefit of telling you the time (assuming that it works).
- Ornaments & Antiques – Once again, the top of your farmhouse cabinets is a great place to put your old antiques and ornaments that help to carry that old-school design. Try things like cookie cars, vases, mason jars, ceramics, figurines, etc.
There are many categories of things you can decorate the top of your farmhouse cabinets with, but these are some of the most common choices out there.
Whatever sort of decor you decide to put on top of your farmhouse cabinets, just make sure that it fits in with your personal design in order to keep things homely and evoke a sense of rustic homeliness.