The “modern farmhouse” look is one that has surged in recent popularity with the advent of shows like Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Fixer Upper. One of the most popular decorating trends for 2017, it’s clearly not going anywhere anytime soon. Other than Fixer Upper, though, what’s the attraction? I had to take some time, because I am super-analytical and tend to over-think everything, and reflect upon reflect upon why farmhouse style is so universally appealing.
Here’s what I came up with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Perhaps most significantly, it’s about more than just beautiful décor. When you think about decorating trends—modern, romantic, traditional—isn’t this always the case? Home décor is representative of some part of ourselves, be it that minimalist, orderly aspect of our personality we embrace, or our boho spirit animal we want to set free. So what does farmhouse style represent?
To answer this question, I think we have to go back to the roots of where “farmhouse” hails from. Now, you don’t have to own a hundred acres, free-range chickens, and several dozen heads of cattle nowadays in order to embrace the farmhouse way of doing things. But once upon a time, when I thought about “farming,” I thought about Grandma and Grandpa Wray’s farm with its weathered red metal roof, where I’d spend most of my summers. I thought about Laura Ingalls and her amazing pioneering experiences. I thought about Green Gables and Anne Shirley, and so many others.
The thing these entities had—have—in common that for me, becomes emblematic of “farm” is a different set of values. It’s so much more than just shiplap walls, burlap, and mason jars. Cheryl at the blog Ruffles and Rifles expresses this so perfectly, I have to quote her:
“I believe people are desperate to experience what the farmhouse style, and Chip and Joanna have come to represent. A slow-down escape from technology and the ragged rat-race so much of modern America has found themselves in…”
A few further qualities of farmhouse style that make it so appealing, drawn from real farm-house living, are:
- It embodies the combined labor and union of families, rather than the modern ideal of to each his own. Example: farmhouse benches, cushy couches, rooms meant to be shared and lived in.
- It’s representative of hard work. When you look up and see that windmill hanging on the wall, or that feed trough caddy, you’re reminded that nothing was built without labor.
- It’s also representative of relationship and fellowship. That swing on your front porch? The pretty enamelware pitcher to serve some sweet iced-tea to your neighbor? Those remind you of conversation and sit-a-spell friendships.
- It’s imperfect, but still beautiful, inviting, and intentional. That spot of rust on the chicken wire screen? Meant to be there.
- It encourages DIY exploration. You can build and create so much with farmhouse style. Of course, if you’re just not crafty, you can also BUY it.
- It encourages a return to a simpler, more organic way of life. I think so many of us are craving and seeking this right now, with our busy-busy, go-go-go lifestyles. We just want a place to sink into and be still. A place to feel a little less guilty about fossil fuels and our carbon footprint.
So that, in a rather wordy nutshell, is why I think farmhouse style is so popular. What about you? What draws you to it?