Farmhouse dining room ideas – 18 styling tips for an elegantly rustic eating area
Enjoy country suppers in a dining room inspired by modern farmhouse style. We share expert tips from top designers to help you achieve the look
Talk to any designer and they'll agree a long wooden dining table, often showing the traces of time on its surface, is key to the farmhouse look. It's a piece of furniture associated with kitchens most of all, but modern farmhouse style is all about elevating this traditional rustic theme – which is why the dining room has become an important space for homeowners key to add am element of refinement to their eating arrangements.
There's still a homely feel to today's farmhouse dining room ideas because the look embraces the beauty and simplicity of nature – it's an authenticity that flows through farmhouse decor.
How to style a farmhouse dining room
'At its heart, farmhouse-inspired style is known for its deep love and appreciation for raw materials,' says Alex Whitecroft, Head of Design at I Want Wallpaper. That means lots of wood and stone in terms of structure (ceilings and walls) and furnishings (tables, chairs, rugs, etc.) From exposed brickwork and stone to warm reclaimed or unfinished woods, interiors have a simple, natural look and a warm and inviting appeal.'
In the dining room, the focus will be on the table and seating, of course. But everything from the lighting that illuminates your meal to the fireplace that invites you to linger once the plates have been cleared, all contribute to the ambience.
We've collected the ingredients to inspire your ultimate farmhouse dining room ideas. It's time to take your seat at the table…
1. Gather around a focal point
This project from Sante Fe design firm V&R Interiors breaks the usual farmhouse rules by having a circular table, but it's perfect for creating a cozy look in the dining space.
Positioning the table in front of the farmhouse fireplace naturally invites family and friends to sit and enjoy the space. But even without that focal point, the composition of the room draws you to the table.
The low-slung lantern and collection of jugs combine to put the focus on the table area and create an intimate zone in the centre of the room.
2. Install a traditional dresser but paint it gray
A dresser filled with china, glassware and heirloom silver is a farmhouse staple, providing ample storage close to the dining table.
For a more contemporary take, paint the dresser a deep shade – here it's charcoal – and update the handles with leather or brushed metal replacements.
3. Bring in rush seats & flooring
Layering natural materials, in the form of rush rugs, rattan and woven chairs, and even a tree trunk table base, will give your farmhouse dining room an authentically earthy look.
You can then incorporate the more refined details that elevate the scheme. An elegant bar cart, contemporary artwork and modern chandelier create a space as at home in the city as it is in the remotest countryside.
4. Add colorful textiles
The simplest scheme can be transformed with the addition of pattern, color and texture via fabric and wallpaper.
'Farmhouse design tends to focus on stripes and geometric weaves, rather than country-style florals,' explains stylist Sara Bird.
'Double up two cloths on the dining table, then encourage comfort and lingering over dinner by providing cozy throws to drape over knees or the back of a chair to keep out drafts.'
5. Use the power of three
Interior designers often group items in threes to create a perfect balance of shape, size and scale. We usually think of this trick for smaller groupings, such as table and shelf displays, but it works for larger pieces, too.
In this dining room, designed by Cherie Lee Interiors, the contemporary chandelier, long dining table and chairs, and the olive tree in its rustic pot, combine to create an elegant design trio.
It's a pared back approach that's worth considering for your own modern farmhouse dining room ideas.
6. Choose a tonal palette
While farmhouse style can incorporate deep and rich tones, it's very much informed by the colors in the natural landscape around you.
'If your property is near woods or plains, then going with local and natural materials in the interior is a perfect continuation of the environment,' suggests Bryan Stoddard of Homewares Insider.
'Floors and walls covered with wooden planks or panels will fill your house with the necessary warmth, both visually and physically. Bring a dose of comfort into the house with a rich rug and a tablecloth in the same shade.'
Here, Benjamin Moore paints are used on the walls, with the geometric rug adding a soft touch of complementary color.
7. Create a dining hall in the entrance
In a refurbished barn or wood-framed new build, a large entrance hall or open-concept layout can feel empty and underused.
Siting a dining table here is an ideal solution, providing a focal point at the centre of the home and having enough room for entertaining family and friends.
8. Add a rustic touch with lighting
Rustic metals with an industrial feel will bring a touch of authenticity to your farmhouse dining room set-up. Look for tin, copper and zinc shades, or even repurpose vintage jelly molds and tart dishes for the job.
Here, in a dining room design from Cherie Lee Interiors, a trio of shades is refined with a fluted glass dimension.
9. Ground the look with a dark floor
In a light-filled room with lots of windows, a darker wood floor can bring depth to a dining space – especially if you are able to restore original flooring or incorporate reclaimed timber into your scheme.
'A main feature of the farmhouse style is the fusion of old and new,' explains Richard Petrie, interiors expert at Thomas Sanderson.
'Wooden beams or classic fixtures give vintage charm which can be complemented by modern art and cushions to update your space.'
10. Paint chairs & cabinets
'One of the easiest ways to bring some farmhouse style into your home is to incorporate antique or DIY painted furniture,' says Minnesota-based designer Amy Leferink of Interior Impressions.
In the dining room, that might mean painting the chairs that surround the table – either in a matching shade or in an eclectic mix of colors.
'For a farmhouse-style living room or bedroom, something like an antique club chair with worn-in leather, or a vintage chest next to a new bed will keep the overall vibe of the space more relaxed,' Leferink continues.
11. Go for monochrome
Taking a pared-back decorating scheme throughout the home – from front door to kitchen, via an entrance hall dining space – was key to creating a modern farmhouse look in this project.
'All of the textures, wood, black accents, shiplap, and metal really created this modern farmhouse style that carries throughout the entire home,' says Amber Carfield, Lead Designer at Scottsdale Arizona kitchen remodeler, Kitchens by Good Guys.
12. Search out vintage furniture
Head to barn sales and thrift fairs to find vintage furniture that you can revamp with a coat of varnish or paint, and new hardware.
'Wood is a versatile material to use in your home and is great if you want to add a rustic and traditional feel to any room,' says Richard Petrie, interiors expert at Thomas Sanderson.
'Larger features like distressed furniture can make your space feel cozy, whereas smaller decoration like wooden signs can be a fun addition.'
13. Use lighting to add drama
In this project from design firm Covet House, the dining area and kitchen share an immersive space, clad in dark barn wood.
The dramatic pendant above the table, as well as the recessed floor-level lighting, creates a moody ambience that contrasts with the bright courtyard garden outside.
14. Keep it bright with sunny fabrics
If you prefer a sunnier aesthetic to the dark and moody look, switch on the brightness with soft furnishings in bright and zingy shades.
'These will naturally coordinate with rustic wood and whitewashed surfaces and can bet switched out for other colors as the seasons change, to reflect the countryside outside,' says stylist Sara Bird.
15. Add 'something old, something new'
'For this dining room design, I wanted to create a timeless look, but one that still felt modern,' says Lauren DeBello of Nashville-based Lauren DeBello Interiors. 'I included lots of layered, textured neutrals, plus a black and white palette and natural wood tones.
'I chose classic Windsor-style dining chairs that had clean, straight lines, and a vintage kilim to add that something old. I love to include vintage and antique pieces in each project.
'The room has such beautiful architectural elements, like the ceiling and black windows, so I made sure to choose furnishings and accessories with clean lines to complement what the room already had.'
16. Paint a fireplace black
Update a fireplace to add a touch of modernity to your farmhouse look.
'A fireplace in your living room is the focal point of the room,' suggests Andra DelMonico, Lead Interior Designer of Trendey. Painting your fire surround in black paint is a quick style fix, but there are other options.
'You could cover your modern fireplace or create a faux one with bricks. Then use a salvaged or reclaimed piece of lumber for the mantel,' DelMonico suggests.
'If you build a faux fireplace, you can arrange large candles or mount an electric fireplace in it.'
17. Make it plush with upholstery
When it comes to modern farmhouse ideas there can often be a focus on walls and floors, and this is perfectly understandable,' explains Chris Harvey at Stelrad. 'Natural wooden floors and cabinets with a neutral color palette for walls are the bedrock of this aesthetic. However, if you really want to elevate the look then it pays to focus in on the details.'
Smart and supremely comfortable, upholstered dining chairs will add a touch of luxury to the your farmhouse dining room ideas, especially when finished with neat tacks and a polished handle.
18. Take a corner spot
In an open-concept space, let the view and walls frame your dining table. A corner spot is ideal for this, creating a natural 'hug' around your entertaining zone that makes it feel more welcoming.
This dining room was designed by New Jersey designer Jennifer Muirhead of Jennifer Muirhead Interiors.
'The modern take on the Windsor chair is the perfect compliment to the distressed farm table,' she says. 'And the glazed pendant is reminiscent of old farmhouse pottery but still manages to feel contemporary.'
Andrea has been immersed in the world of homes, interiors and lifestyle since her first job in journalism, on Ideal Home. She went from women's magazine Options to Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor on Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for sister title homesandgardens.com.
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