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What is Vintage Farmhouse Style?

What is Vintage Farmhouse Style?

neutral colored dining room with old furniture and exposed ceiling beams

You love vintage collectibles, and you love farmhouse style…so can you have both in your home? Absolutely! You can add vintage to any type of farmhouse style, but this sub-genre is particularly suited for all those hard-won collections.

Vintage farmhouse style combines the warm and welcoming friendliness of the farmhouse with historic design and decor from eras in the past. The American farmhouse itself dates back as far as the early American colonies in the 1600s, so it’s a perfect style to showcase a love of vintage!

So how can you get vintage farmhouse style into your own home? Keep reading to find out!

This is part of our Design Glossary series! Catch the whole series to find out more about the different types of farmhouse style!

Franklin Tennessee Project House exterior
Our Tennessee Project House was an older home in Franklin. The builder/designer, Kara of Garden Gate Homes, worked within the existing home to maximize its charming design and make it fit for modern living. Photograph by Nick McGinn.

Historic Home for Vintage Farmhouse Style

Vintage farmhouse style works particularly well in historic homes—those built before 1960. This can be an old farmhouse, but it can also be an old Victorian, mid century ranch or even and old Airstream trailer. It’s easier to add vintage farmhouse style to a home that’s old in the first place.

bright dining nook with built in bench and white table in ranch renovation
The dining nook in this mid century ranch farmhouse has a great mix of farmhouse style and vintage elements, from the exposed ceiling beams and vertical shiplap to the bistro chairs and DIYed bench seating. Photograph by Lu Tapp.

But! Can you add vintage farmhouse style to a new home? Absolutely! Your farmhouse style is never limited by the type of architecture you have. However, if you know you love this style and are in the house market, this is a great place to start. Look for homes built in the first half of the 20th century (or older!), or homes that have great farmhouse style architecture (more on that next).

Alyson Dorr homestead kitchen
In this old historic Montana homestead house, the renovations included having to deal with great (yet challenging) old house elements like uneven floors and sagging ceilings. But they made it work, and added architecture like the board and batten wall paneling to fit the home’s vintage farmhouse style.
Photograph by Jeremiah and Rachel Photography.

Historic Architecture

Whether or not your home is an old farmhouse, you can add historic architectural elements to create that great vintage farmhouse look. Add casing around the windows and trim to the floors and ceiling; add wall paneling like shiplap, board and batten or breadboard to the walls.

Behind the white bed is a headboard made from shippy vintage doors
When designing her primary bedroom, homeowner Heather Tartaglia added vintage charm to her new house in the form of old doors for the headboard, vintage-inspired windows casings and, of course, classic shiplap. Photograph by Chad Mellon.

Research old building materials, depending on what room you’re working on; for example, in the bathroom, elements like penny tile and pedestal sinks were trendy in the 1920s through ’40s, so these are great elements to add for vintage farmhouse style. Install hardwood flooring and solid wood doors. All these design decisions will help you get the vintage farmhouse style you’re looking for.

Finished pink painted dresser
This chippy furniture upcycle is a DIY project you can do to any piece of furniture you find at a consignment store, thrift shop or even on the side of the road. Photograph by Sweet Pickins Paint and Furniture.

Vintage Furniture

Whether authentically vintage or vintage-inspired, furniture is a big part of your home and is a great place to bring in a vintage look. You can hunt for old furniture at the flea market, or keep an eye out for old-looking pieces that are new (see a few ideas at the end of this article).

Not afraid of a little paint? Try upcycling a piece of furniture with a chippy finish, which will contribute to the vintage farmhouse style look. Any finish that looks like it’s old works for both the old house and the farmhouse.

yellow breakfast nook with windows and fresh flowers in historic farmhouse
This historic home got a vintage-friendly remodel that took the entire house—from architecture and furniture to decor—back to 1906, when it was built. Photograph by Francis Dzikowski.

You can stick with a single time period for your vintage furniture, or mix and match historic settings. For example, pair a Victorian sofa with a mid century coffee table, or go all Americana for the furniture in your house.

A small book shelf houses a sign that reads, “Country Fresh Eggs For Sale.” Accompanying the sign are layers of baskets and scales, originally used in markets, for vintage farmhouse style
One of homeowner Jessica Russell’s favorite flea market finds is her Country Fresh Eggs For Sale sign. She’s paired it here with other vintage collections: old scales, baskets and Mason jars, to work with her vintage farmhouse style. Photograph by Jessica Russell.

Collectibles for Vintage Farmhouse Style

Ah, the heart of every vintage lover! Collections of old things—whether or not they’re meant to be decor—will add to the old house look. You can collect vintage items that are meant for the home: everything from jadeite serveware and Munising bowls to clocks and even flower frogs. Display them in a hutch or on an open shelf to maximize their position in your home.

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Decorating vignette with green vintage items with herb garden

You can also collect items that weren’t originally made for decor. Hunt for vintage typewriters, scales, signs and bottles. Shop for architectural elements too, like corbels and architectural salvage. You can turn them into decor or use them in your next renovation.

A coffee table sports a collection of English advertising pots with vintage farmhouse style
This collection of vintage English advertising pots works well with the items surrounding it: old books, glass bottles and a chippy chest working as a coffee table. Photograph by Leslie Saeta.

The trick with vintage collectibles is to make sure the collection works with your vintage farmhouse style. For example, if you’re looking for art, a collection of old painted portraits or landscapes would work better than a collection of 1970s rock posters. While vintage posters are undeniably cool, they might work better with modern or Scandinavian farmhouse style (yes, you can have vintage collections with those types of farmhouse style too!). But if you’re going for a whole-bodied vintage look in your farmhouse, curate your collections to contribute to that overall feel.

Vintage movie seats on the landing of a custom farmhouse for vintage farmhouse style
Homeowner Jaclyn James added vintage movie theater seats to her second-floor landing. “I found them at the vintage market place that comes to town once a quarter,” she says. Photograph by Chad Mellon.

Get the Look

Love the vintage look? Here are some new (but vintage-inspired) picks you can add to your farmhouse to help curate a gorgeous vintage farmhouse style in your home!

Here at American Farmhouse Style, we absolutely love to share our finds from around the web with you! That being said, you may notice that some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that if you click through and make a purchase, AFS receives a small commission at no extra cost to you! Truly a win-win! 

Setee sofa with light gray tufts for vintage farmhouse style
Via Homethreads
Gold mirror on wall with vanity in front
Via Frontgate
Mantel with a set of vintage farmhouse style cow bells
Via Ballard Designs
Chippy lantern outside hanging from ceiling
Via The Belle Cottage
set of three botanical prints for vintage farmhouse style
Via Kirkland’s Home
Set of plates and a bowl in cream
Via Corelle
New rug with faded vintage multi-colored pattern
Via Ballad Designs
Silver napkin ring that looks like a branch with leaves
Via Linen Closet

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