With the idyllic charm of country life comes the classic farmhouse. Pitched roofs, raked ceilings and natural materials are just some of the hallmarks of this charming style of home.
Whether you live in the sticks or the city, there are style lessons to be learned. Here are some inspiring features to infuse into your home for country chic.
The kitchen table is more than just a place to gather for dinner. Made from solid timber, fashioned by hand, and without any decorative flourishes, it has seated generations of family and symbolises strength, timelessness and longevity. “The farmhouse table is a great conversation piece as there are always stories behind it,” says interior designer Jane Ledger. “Aesthetically, as a character piece, it adds texture and warmth to a room and softens its contemporary elements.”
When choosing a table, think about size, scale and material. Ledger says timber tones vary widely, so ensure your flooring and timber furnishings complement each other. “Be aware of sizing and sturdiness too,” she adds. “Some antique tables are narrower than we are used to, and should be inspected for stability.”
Don’t be afraid to dress your vintage table in vibrant linens for a contemporary spirit and add chairs with a modern touch. “Matching this style of table and chairs looks chunky,” says Ledger. “Pair with contemporary chairs, like original Hans Wagner Wishbone dining chairs, for perfect contrast.”
The classic apron-front sink, a single or double ceramic basin with an overhanging front, not only makes a kitchen or laundry sing but is highly versatile. Its design means you stand directly at the front of the basin with no benchtop in between.
The soft curves eliminate sharp benchtop edges, and its deeper and wider bowls make it easier to scrub large pans or wash clothes. To prevent chipping crockery, place a protective sink mat or look for a style in a more forgiving material like stainless steel or fireclay. Add traditional tapware, like brass or cracked white porcelain for farmhouse flair.
Just through the back door sits the mudroom, a designated area for plonking everyday items like school bags, bike helmets and wetsuits. Originally a drop-zone for farmers to discard dirty boots and clothes after working on the land, today it is a stylish transitional space that ensures the rest of the home is kept clean and organised.
“If you don’t have an allocated mudroom, add some storage components at the front or back door,” says interior designer Sibella Court.
Install your space with durable materials compatible with wet-weather gear. “I like reclaimed flagstone or recycled brick on the floors, recycled timber for shelves, hardwoods for boot storage, wipe-down, satin-finish paint colours and outdoor canvas for upholstery,” Court says. “If items need drying or are muddy, think about the finishes or materials that work best, like brass hooks for wet items like towels, and steel hooks for muddy jackets. Cubby holes are perfect for storing dry items like school bags and shoes.”
The warmth and glow of a crackling fireplace is the definition of bucolic charm. Whether brick-clad or surrounded by rustic stone, it dominates its space and provides symmetry and room for styling treasures and collectables.
“It’s popular to position a television above the fireplace, but it’s a no-no,” warns Ledger. “It interferes with the aesthetic and proper functioning of the fireplace. Position it to the side of the fireplace and consider the whole wall when integrating it with cabinetry.”
Add a sculpture to the mantle, seek out antique fire tools, and position your stash of chopped wood like it’s art.
In the most traditional of country homes, the library is its most elegant space. Lined end-to-end with books, it is a room that is comfortable, cosy and unique. Forget colour coding or staged styling; the country home bookcase is crammed with classics, tomes and dog-eared favourites interspersed with carefully curated trinkets and treasures.
Built-in bookshelves look especially timeless and elevate any blank wall while maximising storage space. Flank a doorway with shelving and choose a warm timber to create a cosy feel. Paint inside the bookcase a dark statement-making colour, or incorporate open and closed shelves to tuck personal items away.