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June 25, 2021 8 min read

The Complete Guide to a Farmhouse Kitchen Design

Farmhouse kitchens look like something out of a magazine. Light and airy colors, rustic elements using antique fixtures and gorgeous cabinetry are all present in every farmhouse kitchen. These kitchens are family-friendly, bright and airy and are great for entertaining guests. If you’re looking to remodel your kitchen into a farmhouse design, we’ve put together this complete guide to help you through your renovation process. 

Features of a Farmhouse Kitchen

First, let’s talk about what a farmhouse kitchen is and some of the features you can typically find in one. This will help you decide if you really want to create a farmhouse kitchen in your home.

  • White cabinets. This is probably one of the biggest features in a farmhouse kitchen – the white cabinets. The goal of a farmhouse kitchen is to be bright and airy, so having lots of white everywhere is just the way to do that. Our JSI white shaker kitchen cabinets are perfect for every farmhouse kitchen design. You can add rustic touches to them by incorporating iron or brass knobs. They fit in well with a variety of kitchen layouts, and their soft close doors are perfect for creating a family-friendly kitchen. 
  • Open shelving. Open shelves are characteristic for farmhouse kitchens. Usually nestled between shaker cabinets (Wondering what shaker cabinets are? Take a look on our blog!), open shelves are great for storing frequently used items, such as dishware and glassware. You can even place some of your most-used cookware and cookbooks on them. They are a great decor point and much more contemporary than adding glass inserts to your cabinets. Floating shelves are a popular option in many kitchens and they eliminate the need for brackets and other visible methods of securing the shelving.  You’ll want to only place items that you use frequently on your open shelves, though, because keeping everything out in the open increases the amount of dust that can accumulate on them. 
features of a farmhouse kitchen
  • A big sink. Ever heard the phrase “farmhouse sink”? That’s because most farmhouse kitchens have them! Typically, farmhouse sinks are a large porcelain basin with just one section. You can pile lots of dishes into the sink, but they’re not for everyone. Some will sit on top of countertops, and others will sit in. Some antique farmhouse sinks even have built in dish racks to bring around the antique farmhouse look. Depending on what feel you’re going for will determine the type of sink you choose.
an apron sink
  • Apron sink. Jumping off of the last feature, many homeowners opt for an ‘apron’ sink in their farmhouse kitchen. On apron sinks, the top part of the cabinet that usually has a false drawer front, is replaced with an apron that protrudes past the front of the cabinet.  Depending on the apron sink you buy, you may need a specialty sink base, but many manufacturers are now making apron sinks that will fit into a standard sink base. They are usually available in stainless steel, porcelain or fireclay options. Cost can be a factor, however, as they generally cost more than standard sinks. If you decide to go this route, definitely let your cabinet designer know because they will need to make sure you get the right sink base to fit it.  

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  • Wooden accents. As far as accents go, most farmhouse kitchens feature a lot of wood. Whether it’s through butcher block countertops, open shelves or even used in the flooring or base for a kitchen island, you can find wood accents in a variety of places throughout a farmhouse kitchen. Some even include it in the decor. Wooden signs, personalized cutting boards or placemats are all ways that wood can be featured in the decor of a farmhouse kitchen. 
  • Simple backsplash. Farmhouse kitchens usually keep the backsplash simple. Crisp, clean, white subway tiles are the go-to for many farmhouse kitchens (though that’s not always the case). A farmhouse kitchen prioritizes having a variety of simple items because the simplicity is the draw – a no-fuss, no-hassle kitchen that lets you get your cooking done with ease is ideal for any homeowner.
  • An island. Almost all picturesque farmhouse kitchens have an island. Large or small, kitchen islands serve a variety of purposes. Whether you’re looking for extra storage space, kitchen prep area or even a place for the kids to pull up a stool and do their homework while you cook, a kitchen island has multiple benefits. You can add a sink or a dishwasher to your kitchen island to make it very functional as well. 
  • Exposed range hood. The range hood of your kitchen is typically exposed in a farmhouse kitchen. That’s mainly due to the rustic and antique look of many of these kitchens. Most farmhouses were built prior to the invention of microwaves, so they didn’t have range hoods built behind the microwave. Many homeowners choose to cover their range hoods artistically – some with wood, others with unique tile – to really create a focal point in their kitchen. 
  • Natural light. Expect a lot of natural light and few curtains in a farmhouse kitchen. If there are any curtains, they’re probably sheers or white curtains that still let a lot of light in but afford some privacy at night. Even if they have darker curtains, you’ll still find that the curtains are swept wide open during the daylight hours. 
  • Beadboard and shiplap. If you’ve ever watched Fixer Upper, then you’ve probably seen Joanna Gaines get excited every time a home renovation reveals a plethora of beadboard or shiplap. Many farmhouse styles incorporate these items into their designs, whether in wall paneling or as accents to their cabinets. Paired with complementing shaker crown molding, beadboard and shiplap look great in any farmhouse space!

Farmhouse Kitchen Ideas

Now, let’s talk about some farmhouse kitchen ideas that will turn your farmhouse kitchen into a truly one-of-a-kind space. Of course, as you plan your kitchen renovation, make sure to use our free kitchen design service. Our representatives are here to help you get the space of your dreams!

a wicker basket pendant light

Pendant lights. Pendant lights hang directly from the ceiling. These are great for farmhouse kitchens because you can get direct light over a specific area of your kitchen. Typically placed right above your kitchen island, you can have one or two pendant lights, depending on how many people your island seats. You’ll want things to remain symmetrical, so make sure you take that into consideration as you choose your pendant lights. 

  • Pro tip: Wicker basket pendant lights are all the rage right now. They look great in farmhouse kitchens because they add another natural element into the space. If you are also a fan of the boho look, you can use wicker basket pendant lights as a way to blend the two design styles.

Built-in breakfast bench. Instead of adding a separate small table with a couple of chairs, a great idea is to install a breakfast bench. It’s perfect if you have a bay window, or you can build out some cabinets between a window to create the space for the bench. A wooden bench is ideal to keep the space feeling farmhouse. Add a matching cabinet underneath the seat for extra storage, or place hinges on the seat to allow it to lift up so you can put some other items there as well. Built-in dining for your kitchen is always a great idea because it keeps everything in one space. You won’t miss out on the holiday fun while you cook because everyone will be in your kitchen!

  • Pro tip: Add a few throw pillows of different sizes, patterns and textures to make the bench more comfortable and homey. A wooden bench can be difficult to sit on for long periods of time, so having a variety of throw pillows to sit on or nestle into is a great way to accommodate your guests and make everyone more comfortable.

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Hardwood floors. If your home has hardwood floors everywhere but the kitchen, make that change! If you can still find your floor sample, and your flooring company still makes the flooring, simply purchase more and have the flooring experts come out to lay out the hardwood throughout your kitchen. Otherwise, try to choose flooring that goes well with your current wood floors or complements it. Sometimes, a simple stain will make the wood match well enough. 

Choosing flooring that goes well

  • Pro tip: Check under the vinyl or tile that’s currently down as well because old farmhouses might have hardwood lurking at the very bottom of any other flooring that’s been placed on top of it through the decades. You might be surprised at just what you find under all that 1970s renovation gunk.

Bright pops of color. Farmhouse kitchens feel very in-tune with nature. That’s because farm life is typically using fresh, natural ingredients, so the farmhouses reflect that. Don’t hesitate to incorporate bright pops of color into your farmhouse kitchen. Whether you lay out a bouquet of fresh flowers every week, hang dried herbs from a bar above your sink or have a bowl of oranges or lemons sitting on the counter, you can incorporate color into your space in a variety of ways. 

  • Pro tip: Keep the larger items, such as your cabinets, floors and backsplash, neutral and bright, and let the accents speak for themselves. Consider changing items out as the seasons change as well. You might not want to put limes out during fall, but a bowl of pomegranates during the winter would work well. 

Glass jars for storage. Farmhouse kitchens don’t hide their items. In fact, most farmhouse kitchens serve to feel open and accessible. Incorporating glass jars in a variety of sizes and styles is a great option. 

an assortment of glass jars being used to store various spices and pasta

  • Pro tip: Line up spices, pastas and other non-perishables in large glass jars with lids on an open shelf to achieve this look. You can even line some up on the island, such as jars filled with candies or freshly-baked cookies.

Patterned floors. If hardwood floors aren’t an option for you in your farmhouse kitchen, consider vinyl tile or patterned tile. These floors are durable and great for kitchens because they clean well. Adding a rug in your kitchen is a great idea as well. An intricate pattern of black-and-white tile is great for kitchens. 

  • Pro tip: Are you going for an antique farmhouse look? Consider using penny tile. You can find a variety of penny tile samples and patterns that look unique and antique, perfect for your kitchen. Penny tile also looks great in bathrooms, so consider matching your kitchen flooring to your bathroom flooring, too!

Inverted colors. If you’re looking to modernize your farmhouse kitchen, consider inverting the colors! Use black cabinets, a butcher block countertop and black backsplash with white accents (barstools, chairs, decor) to create an inverted, contrasted effect. It’ll be like stepping into an alternate universe. Add some other metal accents, such as gold, silver or copper, for a way to break up the dark elements. 

  • Pro tip: If having too much black in your kitchen scares you, consider making the lower cabinets or your kitchen island in your space black or even a gray to contrast with all the white in the space.

Use butcher block countertops. While not actually turning your counters into cutting boards, butcher block is a great alternative to expensive counters such as quartz or marble. They’re pretty durable, too, but you just have to remember to oil the counters at least once a year to keep the wood in pristine condition. They look great in farmhouse kitchens because of the rustic and natural elements that are present in that design style. 

  • Pro tip: Butcher block countertops are great in breaking up dark colors, too, so if your cabinets are black, blue or even green, butcher block countertops will look great sitting between cabinets of darker colors. They really help to neutralize the space.

French doors. Does your kitchen open out to your back porch, deck or patio? Install a set of French doors! They look great in a farmhouse kitchen, and they’re a perfect way to let in fresh air during the day. The cross breeze you’ll get from a set of French doors with other windows being open will keep your home nice and cool on hot summer days. 

  • Pro tip: Install a doggie door into one of your French doors so that your pups can travel in and out of your home with ease. They’ll love to have a way in and out of the space. Don’t forget to hang their leash by the doors and put their food and water next to the kitchen island for easy access!

Image Credits:

traveladdict/Shutterstock.com

Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock.com

New Africa/Shutterstock.com


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