10 Features of a Farmhouse Kitchen and 30+ Inspiring Examples

Farmhouse Kitchens

Step into a Farmhouse-style kitchen and it feels like you've gone back in time.

Beyond the elegantly rustic appeal of this centuries-old style, the farmhouse-style kitchen creates a excellent working space for cooking, eating, and entertaining.  

I wanted to write this post because after exploring this kind of kitchen, I feel that the farmhouse-style kitchen is a perfect example of how decor and functionality can, and should, be combined to make an amazing space.

Most of the features outlined below contribute just as much to the style of the kitchen as they do to its usability and effectiveness.

Have fun browsing through these 10 features of a farmhouse-style kitchen and explore 30 inspiring examples below. 



01 Exposed Shelving and Glass-Door Cabinetry

Exposed Shelving in a Farmhouse-style kitchen

What's neat about exposed or open shelving, is that it makes the kitchen feel so much more roomy and accessible.

By omitting a block or two of cabinets - say, above the sink area, or around the range - you feel more space near the top of the kitchen.  

It makes the ceiling feel higher and the walls seem just a little bit farther apart.

Rustic Accents and Exposed Shelving

Using open shelving also lets you put your favorite plates, pots & pans and more out on display.  

This makes your kitchenware much more a part of the style and decor of your kitchen (Notice the open shelving in many of the pictures as you scroll).

Glass-door cabinets can have a similar effect, and can be used as a sort of "trophy case" for some of your most prized kitchen items (think grandma's antique teapot, or your favorite stemware).

(If glass isn't the right fit, you can also replace a cabinet door with patterned fabric.  While this doesn't quite contribute to the openness and accessibility, it adds a nice, farmhouse-style touch and doesn't cost much.)

Shelving like this makes everything more reachable when you're cooking and entertaining.  Pots, pans, and utensils are only a reach away.  

Guests can see where cups and plates are, and will feel much more comfortable grabbing something from a shelf than looking through your cabinets.

An offshoot of this style is hanging pots and pans, as well as utensils and knives (carefully!), which can be both very attractive, and very useful.

Can you picture incorporating exposed shelving into your kitchen?

Glass-front cabinets
Rough-hewn wood shelving

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02 Beadboard

Beadboard Cabinets in a Farmhouse Style Kitchen

Even though some folks aren't fond of beadboard, you'll recognize it instantly as a prominent feature of the farmhouse-style kitchen.

Originally meant as an inexpensive way to cover portions or entire walls (especially if the surface needed restoration or if there was other damage), beadboard remains as a relatively inexpensive feature that can have great effect.

To make the most out of beadboard, it's likely best to use it as a wall that's away from your washing area.  The wooden panels don't like water, and it can be a bit tricky to clean, especially if you've got thinner grooves.

What kind of beadboard designs do you like best - cabinets, backsplash, or both?

Beadboard upper and lower cabinets
Beadboard Paneling in a country farmhouse kitchen
Glass front cabinets and beadboard paneling



03 Farmhouse Sink

Farmhouse sink in a kitchen

Drawing again from an earlier time when kitchens were the hub of activity, farmhouse sinks are noted for their width, depth, and an apron that juts out slightly from the countertop (and, some farmhouse sinks rest on legs, rather than embedded into the countertop <<< ultra-vintage).

They serve as a prime example of design meeting functionality.  

When you see this kind of a sink in a kitchen, you notice it almost immediately.  This is especially true in farmhouse-style kitchens because the layout is likely to revolve around the sink.  The sink will typically contrast in color from the rest of the countertop, and a rustic-style faucet will add to the effect.

Farmhouse-style sink

Yet, it's not all for show.  These deep sinks give you plenty of space to clean large pots and pans.  You can use the basin as a holding place for bulk foods like ears of corn, bushels of greens, potatoes, or more, as your prepare your meal.  

Farmhouse style sink in an island



04 Free-standing Cabinets

In early kitchens where space was limited and built-in cabinets were hard to come by, homeowners added free-standing cabinets or hutches to provide more storage space.

Used primarily for less-frequently used items, a free-standing cabinet situated against a wall improves the kitchens functionality and adds a dimension of style suitable for the farmhouse look.

It allows you to keep your working space more open and accessible (where your open shelves may be used), while still having enough storage space to keep relevant items fairly close-at-hand in the kitchen.

Can you picture any of these free-standing cabinets in your kitchen?

Free-standing wooden cabinets in a Farmhouse style kitchen
Multi-purpose free-standing cabinet
Rustic free-standing cabinet in a farmhouse style kitchen



05 Farm Tables & Islands and Seating

Small island in farmhouse style kitchen

Serving as both a communal hub for gathering and the centerpiece of the culinary process, a large table or island is an essential element of the farmhouse-style kitchen.

You can use surfaces such as granite, soapstone or butcher's block to create a stunning visual effect, and placing the surface in the center of a U-shaped, L-shaped, or single-wall kitchen inherently makes it the focal point of the area.

This works for functionality as well, since much of your prepping and plating will likely occur in this central spot.  You'll be just a small turn away from the stove, sink, shelving/cabinetry, and family & friends.

Add a few stools, bench seating, or Shaker-style chairs around the table or island so you can use it as a dining area as well.

Which styles do you like better - island, or table? Granite or Butcher's Block?

Wood table in a farmhouse style kitchen
Creative wooden table option in a farmhouse style kitchen
Granite island in a farmhouse style kitchen



06 Hardwood Flooring

Rustic and worn natural hardwood flooring

It's easy to picture a hardwood floor in a farmhouse style kitchen.

Stick with a natural, or even distressed look, or you can choose to paint it with colors that accent the room with a welcoming hue.

Wood flooring is fairly easy to keep clean, and though high-traffic areas will experience a degree of wear-and-tear, this may very well add an additional element of vintage style to the kitchen (like the picture with the dog).

Plus, these days, you can use items like luxury vinyl tile or ceramic tiling to achieve the distressed-wood finish, without the expense or upkeep requirements.

Hardwood flooring in an open, farmhouse style kitchen
Light wooden flooring



07 Farmhouse Lighting

Farmhouse kitchens ooze style from floor to ceiling, and giving some thought to the style of lighting fixtures can make a world of difference.

Most often, farmhouse-style kitchens will have metallic lighting fixtures, made from materials like copper, wrought-iron, glass, polished or brushed stainless steel, or galvanized metal.

Rustic lighting option with Edison bulbs

Choose lights like Edison bulbs (with the highly-visible filaments, as in the next picture below) for a vintage look or use actual candles for a decorative effect in unused fixtures (I don't recommend actually using candles for lighting, other than for decoration.)

Sometimes these fixtures can be mounted to the ceiling, while other times it will look better if they hang down about half-way into the room.  Most times, combining both of these styles creates a wonderful effect.  (For example, having drop-down lighting directly above your farm table will give you better light for prepping and eating; while having fixtures mounted to the ceiling above your sink or range, you can be sure you'll have unrestricted space above you while reaching for pots and pans from your shelving units.)

How would lighting like this change the feel of your kitchen?

Galvanized metal used for rustic-style lighting
Glass globe lighting in a farmhouse style kitchen



08 Muted Colors

Farmhouse-style kitchens are known for their soft, muted color schemes.  This has a two-fold effect: soft colors create a welcoming, homey feeling as you enter the kitchen, while at the same time allows high-contrast colors like bright blues and oranges to really pop and add attractive accents to the space.

Muted green color in a farmhouse style kitchen

White is a common color for cabinets and walls, often times possessing just a touch of gray to avoid a look that's too sterile.  Powdery and greyish-blues work great in a farmhouse-style kitchen, as does lighter yellows and cream colors.  Pastel greens look exceptionally stylish when solid, bold white elements are included.

Soft colors with exposed brick a farmhouse style kitchen

These colors work well in a farmhouse-style kitchen - and notice how each distinct colors adds a slightly different tone to the room.



09 Metal 

Metal accents in a farmhouse style kitchen

You saw how metal lighting fixtures work well in the farmhouse-style kitchen, and you can use different kinds of metals to accent the room in other places as well.

Galvanized metals lend a true rustic feel, and can be well-suited for utensil holders, storage tubs, or even flower pots.

Rustic copper hood over a 6-burner range

Hang your metal cookware for both accessibility and added style.  You can also use metals for the support beams on your exposed shelving.  

How about a copper farmhouse sink or an over-the-range hood? Take a look at these houses to get more ideas for using metal in your farmhouse-style kitchen (and keep reading on to #10 to see even more).

Hanging cookware and knives in a farmhouse style kitchen



10 Rustic Accents

Rustic farm accents in a farmhouse style living room

Once your kitchen layout and major elements have been set to capture the farmhouse-style feel, start adding useful rustic accents to fill out your kitchen.

Antique items like metal weathervanes, gardening & farming equipment, barrels or wagon wheels look amazing in these kitchens, and truly make the room a design showpiece as well as a powerful work station.

Use pottery and vases with fresh flowers to add a country vibe along with bright colors and pleasant scents.  How about mason jars to hold flour and sugar?

Country-style mason jars in a farmhouse style kitchen

Look for opportunities to selectively use the distressed-wood-finish and/or patinated finish to achieve an aged, stylish look.

You can also hang aprons from the range or on one of your free-standing cabinets (and pick bright colors for high contrast).

Hanging weathervane in a farmhouse style kitchen



So, what do you think?

I hope you've learned a few new things and found some inspiration for your home and kitchen.

Even if you're not ready or interested in the farmhouse-style kitchen, hopefully you'll still find value in the key takeaway here: the best kitchen remodels are the ones that improve your home's style and functionality.