What’s the Deal with Farmhouse Kitchens, Anyway?

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You can thank Chip and Joanna Gaines for farmhouse kitchens — or blame them, if you’re not fans! While this trendy kitchen style was a thing well before their show got popular (after all, the current-day style is based on historic homes), the couple’s signature Fixer Upper farmhouse vibe seems to be what everyone is craving these days. And with relatively good reason. It’s cozy, charming, and has that perfectly worn-in feeling that makes it ideal for families, cool couples, and every homeowner in between.

Not sure who Chip and Joanna Gaines are? They’re a married couple who run a remodeling and design business. They’re also the stars of HGTV’s widely popular show Fixer Upper, which gives a farmhouse look to basically every house in Waco, Texas.

In Houzz’s 2017 Kitchen Trends Study, millennial respondents (ages 25 to 34) named farmhouse kitchens their preferred style. According to the survey, with homeowners focusing on wanting more family time (49 percent) and more home cooking (41 percent), there’s a natural need for a space that can do double duty as a stylish spot to entertain and a family-friendly zone where cooking up weeknight meals is easy and seamless. Enter: farmhouse-style kitchens.

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Why Is Everyone So Obsessed with Farmhouse Kitchens?

One of the reasons why the farmhouse look has become the go-to look for designers and home renovators alike is because it’s easy to make it work. As designer Shea McGee of Studio McGee explains on her blog, “It’s laid-back, warm, and feels like home. From styling open shelving to decorating your counters, you can blend farmhouse style into almost any kitchen.”

A farmhouse kitchen gets its signature look from a few timeless elements. Let’s break them down.

  • Shiplap: If you know farmhouse style at all, then you’re probably pretty familiar with shiplap, the rough-sawn pine paneling often used in barns and historic homes. If you’re not lucky enough to uncover shiplap behind your walls during a renovation, you can install planked wood from the hardware store and then either leave it raw or paint it (we love the subtle texture white-washed shiplap adds to a room).
  • Apron-front sinks: Usually ceramic but also sometimes made of metal, apron-front sinks are charming and utilitarian. They’re a great way to add style to lower cabinets and they’re usually deep, so they can hide a ton of dishes during a dinner party.
  • Butcher block countertops: Thick wooden countertops are practical and a nice way to add natural materials into your space. In addition to butcher block, all forms of rustic wood are welcome in a farmhouse kitchen.
  • Shaker-style cabinetry: You can recognize these thanks to their simple frame and recessed panel in the middle. Shaker-style cabinets are often painted white, light or dark gray, or even a minty green for a farmhouse look.

A few other elements that tend to pop up in farmhouse kitchens include simple cabinet hardware, wire-caged pendant lights, subway tile, country-like farm stand signage, open shelving, and the like.

(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

Will Farmhouse-Style Kitchens Ever Go Out of Style?

So, where’s the trend headed — and can we even call it a “trend” if it has as much staying power as it’s proven to possess so far? If the past few years are any indication, farmhouse kitchens are here to stay. At least in some iteration.

While the tent poles of the look will largely remain the same (those apron sinks, rustic wood, open shelving, etc.), designers, bloggers, and homeowners are starting to view it through an increasingly modern lens, fusing classic farmhouse elements with edgier accents like brushed black metal finishes (and even appliances!), graphically patterned tiles, bright colors, modern light fixtures, and more.

Are you a fan of farmhouse kitchens? Or are you totally tired of them all (even the modern ones)?