Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Choosing My Farmhouse Style

Have you ever struggled with knowing what your decorating style is?  Have you ever needed/wanted to redo a room, but you're really not sure what direction you want to go with it?  Have you ever been equally drawn to two different styles that don't really mix well and are actually quite opposite?

Well I have.  That's what I've been going through recently, and it's frustrating.  I plan to paint our living room in just a couple of weeks while my kids are on their spring break, plus I'll be inheriting some new-to-me pieces of furniture soon so I have got to decide what I'm going to do in there, but I've been so confused!

I know for certain that above all my style is Farmhouse.  That's just a given.  I mean come on, I named my blog The Cozy Old Farmhouse not because I actually live in an old farmhouse, but because that's how I want my home to feel.  But...."Farmhouse" isn't limited to just one style.  It seems to have become very popular as of late and so within that category a few different styles have cropped up: French Farmhouse, Rustic Farmhouse, Primitive Farmhouse, Farmhouse Chic, Industrial Farmhouse, and then what I call Cottage Farmhouse (and probably a few others I haven't thought of).

The two I'm torn between are Industrial/Rustic Farmhouse and Cottage Farmhouse, but my versions of them really are quite opposite of each other.  Industrial Farmhouse is more neutral, reserved, and toned down while Cottage Farmhouse is bright, cheerful, colorful and fun.

Let me explain.


This image from Pottery Barn captured my attention as soon as I saw it.  It has the industrial feel to me.  I love the monochromatic palette, I love the mixture of vintage items and black and white photos on the gallery wall, I love the worn TV console table, I love the clock on the wall (I have a very similar one already).  There's just something about it that I really like.  Though, you know me, I love me some red so I'd have to add a pop of red in there somewhere. 


I also really like this as well (minus the nature pictures on the wall, those aren't really my style).  The leather couch, paired with the wood and metal rustic looking vintage side table, the slightly industrial lamp, and the chippy coffee table.  It's a neutral color palette, but still warm and inviting.


This is another great one.  Notice all the arm wood tones with the metal accents, the worn brick on the wall, but with soft touches of plants and flowers.

(source: found on Pinterest, but the link doesn't follow
through so I'm unsure of it's original source)

This one also has the industrial vibe I had in mind.  It's a little bit "cold" and "hard edged" for me, almost military feeling, so I'd have to soften it up, but again, it's the combination of the worn leather couch, metal and wood, touches of black, and collected vintage items mixed in.  I can picture an old black Royal manual typewriter displayed, replace the typography on the wall with the Pottery Barn gallery wall, add in a thick fuzzy cable knit throw on the couch, some cozier looking pillows, and a warmer shade of gray on the wall and this would be an awesome room!


In the kitchen the neutral palette and wood and metal and black would play out something like this picture above.  I LOVE this kitchen!  I wouldn't call it industrial necessarily, but it's got that neutral toned down palette.  It just looks so warm and inviting, and very much worn and "farmhouse-y."


Here's another kitchen (from Farmhouse 5540) that I like a lot with a similar feel.

Whenever I'm at a yard sale, thrift store, or just see junk on the side of the road I am immediately drawn to anything wood and/or metal.  That kind of thing fits in perfectly with this style and it's what my eye is just drawn to.

Ok, so are you getting a handle on the kind of style I was thinking?
Industrial touches, but also warm and rustic and worn, with repurposed vintage items for a collected feel, and touches of black to anchor it all.

Herein lies the problem though...
 I also LOVE me some pops of cheerful color, and I love mixing up and combining patterns!  The following pictures are more what I would call a Cottage Farmhouse style.

Here's a bright and cheerful kitchen that I love.  It has a white airy background so to speak, but it's full of warm and inviting pops of happy color! 

Here's a living room that I like as well.  This just says "cheerful" and "fun" to me! 

This one is great too.  I love the big vintage sign on the wall, the ice cream bucket lamps, the wood furniture piece with all the drawers, the bucket of flowers on the coffee table, the cheerful quilt on the couch, and the feed sack accents with the red ticking stripe.  Bright, cheerful, happy, yet cozy.


Here's a wonderful red and white quilt thrown over the back of a couch (LOVE that quilt!), combined with an adorable and colorful feedsack pillow.  This is totally farmhouse style, but colorful and fun.


Dawn over at Creative Cain Cabin does an amazing job of mixing bright colors and patterns and always seems to pull off cheerful looking farmhouse styled rooms.  The above photo of her summer bedroom is one of my favorites! (That white blanket with the blue stripe on the end of the bed is actually a hospital blanket!)


I also love this colorful farmhouse bedroom by Kim from Savvy Southern Style.  The red buffalo checked curtains, the farmhouse pitcher with flowers, the lovely vintage quilt on the bed, the striped ticking bedskirt, the red bench, I could go on and on.  I just love it!


Here's another one with a great vintage quilt, red buffalo checks (noticing a repetitive pattern here?), light airy wall color.


This one has a more subtle mix of colors and is a tad bit more "fancy" than my style, but it still appeals to me none the less.  (And again with the red buffalo checks!)

So how do I know which style to choose?!?
Do you see how they seem to be almost polar opposites from each other?  One is more monochromatic and feels reserved, the other is colorful and bright and not at all toned down with it's mixture of colors and patterns.

What to do?  What to do?

Something I've read about discovering your style is that you should go into your closet and take a look at what clothes you're drawn to.  Have you already been naturally drawn to a neutral color palette in your clothing?  Or do you have a mix of bright happy colors?  Do you have simple styles with only a hint of basic pattern, or do you have an eclectic mix of all kinds of bold patterns?  Your clothing can give you clues as to your decorating style.

So off I went to analyze my closet.
And do you know what I found?

A closet full of bright colors and lots of different bold patterns.  
Funny how I had never noticed that before.

One of my favorite shirt combinations to wear is this plaid shirt over a paisley printed cotton tee.  It's fun and interesting, and coordinates without being too matchy matchy.  So here again, it's that colorful mixing of patterns.

Another clue that struck me recently was when my kids and I went to a local quilt festival.  I absolutely love quilts (it's border line obsessive really) and there were easily several hundred of them displayed throughout the town that day.  Out of all of those hundreds of choices do you know which one was my hands down instant favorite?

This one, with it's white background, mix of bright colors, and mixture of patterns.  It was the only one that made my heart skip a beat.  I wanted it with much wanting!
But with a price tag of $250 it had to stay there.  

So, I'm discovering that my style is more of the Cottage Farmhouse, with a white background and lots of cheery color and fun patterns, but I'm having a hard time relinquishing the worn industrial vision I had going on.
 I really liked it too.

I showed Hubby this post and walked him through each picture explaining my quandry of style.  When I got done and asked what he thought, he immediately said, "I know exactly what style you are, you're the Cottage Farmhouse.  You like color!  I never would have picked those first few pictures as being something you liked, it doesn't really seem like 'you'.  You're just confused."  And you know what?  He was right.  It took him all of 3 seconds to solve a dilemma I've been agonizing over for months now.

The neutral industrial look had that reserved, more sophisticated feel to it to me.  But who am I kidding?  I'm neither reserved nor sophisticated.  No one has ever accused me of being too proper, having too much etiquette, or being...well, sophisticated.  I am none of these things.  I am unique.  I like to have fun and I laugh too loud sometimes, occasionally I even snort.  I'm too down to earth to be fancy, I like to keep it real.  I live in denim and cotton, and feel uncomfortable being dressed up.  I'm a bit rough around the edges I'll admit. I have diarrhea of the mouth sometimes and don't seem to know when to shut up, especially when I feel awkward around someone.  (See?  Case in point.  What classy person says "diarrhea of the mouth?")  Sophisticated, reserved, and neutral I am not.  I think one too many fancy-shmancy Pottery Barn magazines have affected my brain.  Don't get me wrong, I love lots of things from Pottery Barn, but their overall style infiltrated my head and had me believing I was something I'm not.  But all along the happy cheerful mix of colors and patterns and a style all my own was waiting for me to realize I needed it.

And so, even though I don't yet have a complete vision of what I want, I shall set out to create a bright and happy space, full of fun and cheerfulness, combined with the warm rustic woods that I love and loads of repurposed vintage items.  It'll be somewhere in between Cottage and Industrial.  How do you mix those two styles?  I know not.  But I can guarantee the journey will be fun.

And I can guarantee it will be a style all my own, snorts and all.

How about you?  Have you ever been in a style quandry?  How did you go about choosing which one you liked the best?  Was it painful to leave another style behind?  Are you currently style confused and looking for solutions?

I'd love to hear all about it.



  1. i just buy what i like and it becomes my "style". angela

  2. And this is why I love reading your blog ....... It's real and not staged.
    I agree with Angela. If something "speaks" to me and I like it, it becomes my style.
    Go with you heart Stephanie, you'll never regret it.
    Thanks for sharing your insight,

    1. Thank you so much Vanessa! Your comment means a lot to me.

  3. I too have often thought "what is my style" Finally, I figured, I decorate to my liking, so it is MY STYLE :) Sure, I can say it is Farmhouse, Primitive, Rustic, Country, with a dash of Shabby...But in the end, it is just my "My Style" no need to box it in to a catagory.

    I must say, as I was reading your post, I was looking at the first few pics you posted, and thought, your home does not seem cold and staged like these pics. So, whatever your style is...I like yours much better!

    Have a blessed week!


  4. Wonderfully written post...I'm still working on figuring out my style as I stated on your FB group page but I think now that I have read your blog post I maybe closer to figuring out which style fits me best :) Thank you!

  5. I too, don't know what my style is! Especially in the quilting world - I love the folk art/primitive styles, but then again I also love the happy colors like Pam Kitty Morning fabrics. What to do, what to do????! I really get what you are saying and a giant pat on your hubby's back for helping you out. Is he available for analysis ;o) Actually, I think I will check out my closet like you did - I think that is just a great idea!!!

  6. I've had the same dilemma...love the rustic farmhouse, but yet the colorful farmhouse always pulls me in. (I had to laugh at how many of the pictures you posted are ones that I've had bookmarked, too! I love The Painted Hive and Creative Cain Cabin both!). If I looked at my closet, it's always been neutral with bold pops of color and lately I've been adding MORE color; if your home is supposed to reflect who you are and what you love,.maybe I should follow that lead. Will be anxious to see how you follow "your" style!

  7. Me too!....how to define my style, I like a little of all the things you do. I am calling mine French country cottage farmhouse fancy chic.....and yea, I just made up a new style....I know what you mean about men...they take one look at something and make a decision, that I will agonize over for weeks or sadly to say months....last spring I was going to paint my hall and living room...I bought samples of paint colors and spotted them on different walls to see the color in diff lighting, it drove my family nuts... finally in June I made my decision, and I mixed some colors together myself, painted, and I love it!

  8. I love monochromatic colors in magazines etc, but color makes me happy. I think when you buy what you love you'll always be right.

  9. GO hubby...he is a super star!!!!
    I was getting worried about all of those industrial pictures myself!!! The odd industrial item makes life interesting...all industrial looks like you are living in a warehouse....no fun a'tall!!
    You need to do up a room like the one with the ice cream bucket lamps, so I can come and visit it :^)

  10. I have rolled this question over in my mind often and finally decided that I am a lot of styles mixed together. I am traditional, cottage, rustic, farmhouse with a little contemporary thrown in. I have managed to incorporate them all without it looking cluttered. I surround myself with things that have meaning to me and look beautiful, but useful also. I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward seeing what you"ll do with your new home. Blessings ><>....Jenny

  11. Your blog post just described my dilemma to a tee. I also like the rustic farmhouse and cottage farmhouse styles. We are currently remodeling an 80 year old farmhouse and I'm completely torn between the two. I am leaning more toward the cottage style because I live in western Washington and it's always grey outside so pops of color on the inside would make the day a bit cheerier.

  12. Stephanie - I've suspicioned it before, and am positive now. We are kindred spirits. All those things you love, I love too! :-) I also am very much love the cottage/farmhouse look. - Dori -


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you!

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