Our little prairie farmhouse has quite the history…
Originally built in 1918, its walls have seen many families come and go. Every once and a while, a former resident will pull into the driveway and want to reminisce. I absolutely love hearing the stories of the folks who loved this piece of land before I did.
I’ve learned that the original family who built the house raised four girls in the tiny upstairs bedrooms. And how their uncle would pay them for every rattlesnake they killed on the property (which apparently was quite a few…). And how the family that lived here in the 1940s and 1950s would candle their eggs in the basement and how this place was their pride and joy.
Unfortunately, I’ve also heard how the house fell on hard times in later years. It became a rental at one point, and was severely neglected. In fact, there was even a horse (it was either a pony or a foal) living IN MY LIVING ROOM at one point…
Thankfully, the man who we purchased the property from completely remodeled the inside before we bought it. Out of necessity, he put in all new sheet rock, flooring, fixtures, and appliances. It was literally like a brand-new home in the inside. (You’d never know that a horse had ever seen the inside of these walls– promise!)
Unfortunately, in doing some of the necessary remodels, some of the original old-house charm was lost. I am so thankful that my kitchen came with all new appliances, counter tops, and cabinets, but it just seemed to lack some of the character it should have had as a old homestead house.
As you know, I recently undertook the massive task of repainting my kitchen cabinets, and during that process, we also added a few extra touches to increase the farmhouse charm-ability.
How I Added Farmhouse-Charm to my Builder-Grade Kitchen
1. Painted Cabinets
I don’t know about you, but nothing screams “farmhouse” to me quite like creamy white cabinets. Repainting my builder-grade oak cabinets was a huge project, so you can find an entire “how to repaint your kitchen cabinets” post here.
2. Lighter walls
When I think of a farmhouse, I automatically think of whites and creams and a light, airy feel. For some unknown reason, I had thought it was a good idea to paint my kitchen walls brick red shortly after we moved it… *facepalm* Combine that with the small footprint of the room and only one window, and my poor little kitchen had a rather dungeon-like feel.
I love the feel of a neutral kitchen, so I could hardly wait to repaint those red walls… I chose Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. In my opinion, it’s the perfect warm grey– and it goes perfectly with my creamy white cabinets.
3. New hardware
My builder-grade oak cabinets were originally knob-less… I knew that once I painted, it would be extra important to have pulls and knobs to help keep my white cupboards clean (I’m a messy, messy cook…) But, I didn’t expect it to change the feel of the cabinets as much as it did– I was amazed at how this simple addition drastically improved the “elegance” of my basic cabinetry.
I went with a simple knob with an antique-pewter finish. As tempting as it was to go with “cutesy,” trendy knobs, I wanted something that would be timeless.
4. Crown Molding
As with many old houses, ours has more than a few sloping floors and crooked walls– and the kitchen is no exception. The soffit above our cupboards is less-than-square, and once I painted the cabinets, the glaring gaps became even more obvious. Thankfully, a small piece of crown molding was able to cover up the imperfection. AND, it added a custom-look to my basic cabinets.
5. Beadboard and beadboard wallpaper
Oh beadboard… how I love thee. We used beadboard paneling around the DIY-island we built in 2010, shortly after purchasing the house. Nothing says country like a slab of beadboard…
But, I have a very exciting announcement– brace yourself. Did you know that they make paintable BEADBOARD WALLPAPER? Yes, yes they do. I found mine at Lowes, but I see that Amazon sells it as well. I used the wallpaper to cover the ends of my cabinets and it honestly and truly looks like the real thing.
Now– I’m not sure I would use it on walls– especially if you have dogs or kids (I think it might be prone to tear in areas of high-traffic). But, it’s absolutely splendid on my cabinets, especially since “real” beadboard would have been too thick. (And I do think I’ll be using it for some furniture projects in the near future…)
6. Wooden embellishments
I knew from the beginning that all-new cabinets were not a possibility, so I decided to make my stock cabinets look as custom as I possibly could. Along with the wallpaper and crown molding, I dressed-up my two false-front drawers (you know, the ones that are usually under a sink) with small wooden embellishments. Hubby used a staple gun to attach them right to the wood and I painted over the whole thing. I think it’s a nice extra touch.
7. Store functional items in plain view
One of my most favorite tricks for adding old-fashioned charm to my kitchen is to decorate using the utensils and items that I actually use on a daily basis. I’m not a fan of “canned” kitchen decor, and prefer to embellish using functional stuff. I have my collection of cast iron pans proudly adorning my wall, as well as my antique butter mold and apron. I also love my clear glass canisters that show off my stashes of popcorn, lentils, sucanat, and beans. This not only leaves me more room inside my cupboards, but it also is a frugal way to decorate.
8. Decorate with the old, the rusty, the chipped, and the repurposed
There is nothing I love more than giving cast-off items new life with a bit of paint and TLC. I’d rather decorate my home with thrift-store finds than even the fanciest knick-knacks from “decor” stores…
Choose old items that you love, or ones that have special meaning. They don’t have to be expensive to add charm to your home. Some of my favorite items to grab at yard sales are old headboards, glass jars and containers, random bottles, and cast-iron pans.
So, there you have it. I don’t claim to be an interior designer, but I love my simple little homestead kitchen all the same.
What are YOUR favorite tricks for adding farmhouse-charm to your home?
This post was shared at Frugal Days Sustainable Ways
Can't Get Enough Homesteading Goodness?
Join over 54,000 others who get the weekly Homestead Toolbox delivered fresh to their inbox. It's packed full of recipes, ideas, and homesteading tips you can actually use (no fluff), plus a copy of my very popular mulch gardening how-to guide.Let's go!