What are the differences between rustic and farmhouse?

farmhouse dining table with grey fabric dining chairs

Are you confused at the difference between rustic and farmhouse interior styles? Rustic furniture and farmhouse furniture are the same, right? Well, not entirely. There are similarities between the two styles, both have a warm and welcoming feel to them, but there are distinct differences as well. We take a closer look to help you decide whether you're wanting to create a farmhouse look or rustic style in your home.

The Rustic Style

rustic stool with wool blanket

Both the rustic and farmhouse styles were borne out of rural life, so it makes sense that both have strong natural influences. Wood was the material of choice many years ago and in plentiful supply, so it features heavily in both styles. However, if you want to achieve the rustic look, these are the key elements you need to incorporate into your design to differentiate it from farmhouse:

  • Rustic furniture tends to be ‘rougher’, retaining a more natural finish and letting the raw beauty of the wood shine through.
  • Both styles honour the grain of the wood, its pitting, splits and marks, but the rustic style makes a feature of these qualities and accentuates them further in its finish and design.

rustic sideboard with three cupboards and black metal handle

  • Key pieces of furniture such as a rustic dining table or rustic styled solid wood bed should be crafted from ‘knotty’ woods with curves, bends and irregularities that give it natural character.
  • Wood in a rustic style room or home is left very much in its original state, but can also be distressed further, ensuring that as a piece it continues to tell its story. As a result, you can expect to see a solid wood bed frame or a rustic sideboard made from reclaimed wood such as a reclaimed wood rustic dining table.

reclaimed wood dining table wooden dining bench

  • This brings us nicely onto reclaimed wood, which is a common feature in both styles, but especially rustic. The history, character and abundance of features visible in reclaimed wood furniture sits with the rustic style seamlessly.
  • Overall the wood used is thicker and chunkier, with solid wide cuts used to create bespoke rustic style furniture.
  • Finally, the joints in rustic styled pieces tend to be chunkier as well or made using natural materials, but always still finished to a high standard.

Colours for the rustic style

The colour within a rustic interior scheme tends to be a mixture of a neutral palette to allow the rustic furniture to stand out or strong and natural earthy tones – soft browns and rusty orange for example - that are grounding, organic and inherently warm. 

Accessories reflect the simple yet elegant, natural yet comfortable rustic style too. Choose pieces created by local artisan crafters, with pottery and naturally woven textiles perfect for finishing the scheme. 

The Farmhouse Style

white milk jug with pink roses with white rustic wood background

The farmhouse look is equally as appealing and has a comforting and unpretentious feel to it, but if there is one obvious difference, it is the subtle rounding and polishing of the finish that features in the farmhouse style and farmhouse furniture.

  • Farmhouse decor relies on natural materials and more specifically, wood, but rather than leaving the wood in its natural state, it takes a different approach by adding a more refined finish.
  • The cut of the wood is often machine cut and not rough-swan for a smoother finish. 
  • The finish in farmhouse furniture, such as a farmhouse dining table, is often polished, stained or in many cases, painted.  The natural grain of the wood is still visible, but it has been given a more elegant aesthetic.

white painted reclaimed wood dining table with matching wooden dining bench

reclaimed wood dining table with white painted trestle leg

  • Finally, the farmhouse style has a more rounded shape to its furniture, together with a great emphasis on the detailing.  For example, a typical farmhouse table may feature trestle style legs or a thick-set monastery leg for a more imposing statement.  A round kitchen table in a farmhouse style home would almost definitely feature a curved pedestal leg, perfect for family suppers.

Colours for the farmhouse style

For colours, choose light, pretty tones such as light blue. sage green and neutral beige, or opt for more flower-inspired shades reflective of a cottage garden - cherry reds or sunshine yellow will brighten-up a room beautifully.

Accessories are stylish and functional, taking the best of not only local artisans, but national crafts too. Adding a hint of French style and interior design works well with the farmhouse style and appeal; the details found in French furniture work well in any room in the home, but especially in a farmhouse styled dining room.

This is our take on the differences between Rustic and Farmhouse styles, we hope it's helped you decide what style is best for you.  What style would you choose? We would love to hear from you!

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