Farmhouse Decor – The Dirty Truth

Let me start by saying I LOVE the farmhouse decor currently trending! I mean, we built a brand-new farmhouse a year ago with beautiful white cabinets, craftsman-style trim, a “greige” color scheme, and a wrap-around porch. It’s fresh, clean, and airy and gives me a sense of calm. BUT, there are some things to consider if you decide to get on the farmhouse decor wagon.

I’m going to be brutally honest with you because I would’ve loved someone to be brutally honest with me before I fell in love with this style (not that it would’ve changed my mind). Here are my experiences with the good, bad and ugly, when it comes to decorating in true farmhouse style.

Farmhouse Decor - The Dirty Truth

Color Scheme

Most farmhouse color schemes include beige or greige, white, and cream. The pictures on Pinterest are beautiful! I mean truly stunning! Creme-colored  couches, crisp white kitchen cabinets and neutral-colored walls as far as the eye can see. It’s truly breathtaking! But, it’s NOT functional.

If you have little people, or teenage people, or people at all, you’ll find it’s darn near impossible to keep clean. The fingerprints. Oh, the fingerprints! You will drive your self mad trying to keep fingerprints off your once crisp-white kitchen cabinets, trim and doors (but they sure are beautiful). And if that’s not enough, add the dirt that comes traipsing in with each visitor. It settles on the beautiful thick baseboards and window sills, silently mocking you. Reminding you you will NEVER catch up on the cleaning.

Farmhouse Kitchen

Papa and Chris doing dishes in our farmhouse kitchen.

And the neutral walls? They hide nothing. I mean NOTHING. You can see exactly where my kids touch the walls regularly (let’s not talk about my stairwell). We’re talking full palm prints, occasionally smeared with dirt, peanut butter, jelly, you name it. Wanna know what my kids have been up to today? Just examine our walls. You may want to invest in the company that makes magic erasers because girl, you’re gonna need ’em!

Last, linen. Excuse me while I roll on the floor laughing! This one I haven’t even bothered trying. I mean, how does anyone keep those beautiful couches and upholstered dining chairs clean? Plastic grandma covers? I can see it now, “Oh, I’m sorry, you can’t sit on that couch. It’s for show only”. While I admire the way those rooms look from afar, I’m not a glutton for punishment so I’ll just have to enjoy the pure white and creme furniture from my Pinterest boards.



No farmhouse is complete without all the knick-knacks (to my husband’s dismay). Honestly, this may be my favorite part of farmhouse decor. I love the hunt. Finding the perfect piece or pieces. Mixing, matching, arranging, and rearranging. With some good basics (baskets, trays, vases, candles, and greenery) you can create a million different looks.

Storage can also be an issue. I recommend tossing your husband’s old wrestling trophies, football helmet, and newspaper clippings to make room (if you tell him I said this I’ll deny it). But seriously, what’s more important? Him reliving the glory days every five years or having a variety of knick-knacks in storage so you can have a constantly-varied home decor that will be the envy of all your friends? I trust you’ll make the right choice.

Another problem? Again, the little people (they seriously cramp my style!). They like to touch things. All the things! And nothing gets me going more than when they play with that adorable antique Easter Bunny chocolate mold I found at a flea market in Charlotte, NC. No big deal, it can be easily replaced, right? Thank goodness our mantle is six feet high! If it’s not up there we have to assume our kids are going to touch it. It may even grow legs and find its way under Riley’s bed or in Gabe’s bathroom drawer (Surprise!).

Oh, and all these things collect dust. But who doesn’t love dusting? Anyone who knows me knows how much I love to clean! It just soothes my soul… NOT.

In conclusion, as long as you clean daily, don’t let people sit on your furniture, and contain your little people, actually, ALL your people, you too can have a home decorated in Pinterest-worthy farmhouse style. 


Now now, don’t let these things deter you from attempting to add a little farmhouse charm to your home just yet. There are plenty of good things about farmhouse decor!

Upcycled Porch Spindle Candle SticksRecycling

Farmhouse style involves a lot of recycling and upcycling.  I love curb-side finds, garage sales, flea markets, and Craigslist! You can find pieces with “good bones” that, with a little paint, new hardware, and a creative touch, become beautiful, functional works of art! Any time I can breathe new life into something while using my creativity I consider it a win!

If you’re not in to do-it-your-self projects there are lots of cute boutiques who feature pieces by people who are! You can have an original piece without the fuss for a pretty reasonable price.



If you have people or furry friends, patina is a wonderful thing! Rust, dents, breaks, cracks, and chipping paint are IN! Yup, in my world we call it character. I relish in the imperfections. Those are what make a piece truly unique. And my children, dogs, husband and I all add “character” to our decor (like that dent in the sheet rock, right?).

How distressed or rusty people like things is a personal choice. When I started I wanted things minimally distressed, but as I’ve grown in my style I find I enjoy some items with more distressing. There’s definitely a balance though. It’s just nice to not stress when I accidentally hit my farmhouse table leg or my metal planters start to rust.


Mix and match

Farmhouse style is eclectic, not matchie-matchie. You can collect items as you go like silverware and dishes or unify different-shaped items like candle sticks or dining chairs by painting them in a similar color scheme. Having only three chairs or different-patterned plates is no longer an issue.  You just add items with similar characteristics, and tada, you have a cute, farmhouse style all your own!


Wild Wood Farmhouse at Sunset

Although I don’t particularly enjoy cleaning (which is the main headache with this style) the feeling I get when I come home more than makes up for it! There’s something special about knowing there’s a story behind each item. It might be hand-made or buried treasure. It may have been a great bargain or my Grandma’s! I have stories for days about the adventures these items remind me of and the friends and family I shared them with!

I hope I didn’t turn you away from this style if it’s something you love! Making it functional for your life is just another challenge for your creative mind!






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