Whether you are decorating an actual barn renovated to be a living space or just want to create a barn-like theme in your home, the aesthetic you should aim for goes by many names. American country, folk art primitive, cottage, rustic and even shabby chic styles overlap with barn style. The best aspect of this decorating theme is that it welcomes flea market finds and family heirlooms, do-it-yourself projects and handcrafted items.
Palette and Materials
Barn decorating typically centers around natural finishes and materials. Unfinished exposed wooden beams, arches, window frames, gates, doors and wide plank floors add a rustic tone. A stone wall with a stone fireplace adds drama, but you can achieve the effect more easily with a stone-finish tile back splash in the kitchen or bath or even a scatting of river pebbles along the fireplace mantel. Various earth tones from light straw to deep terracotta give barn decor warmth, while small pops of yellow, red and cobalt blue provide contrast. Paint walls antique white for a crisper look, or a warm and mellow yellow as a soothing backdrop.
Decorating in farmhouse style works best if you invest in solid wood pieces with bold lines. Look for rustic details such as oxidized metal hardware, chunky handles, hammered tin panels, wood joinery, wrought iron scroll work and glazes that make the surface of the wood look crackled and aged. Avoid glossy or slick surfaces in favor of distressed finishes. A weathered gray wooden bench in the entryway or on the porch adds a homey touch. In the bedroom, an iron bed frame painted creamy white looks perfect with patchwork quilts or under a sheer canopy. Outfit your bathroom with a claw foot tub and a vintage medicine chest.
Use barn-inspired pieces in your decor. A metal trough makes a perfect planter in a container garden. A wooden barrel can serve as an entryway table. Hang horseshoes and other metal hardware as wall art. Repurpose a gingham apron as a curtain and hang it cafe-style, set halfway down the window frame to allow you to peek out the top of the window at your garden. In the kitchen, wrought iron skillets hung overhead and ceramic crockery stacked in open shelves adds country style. Make a forgotten corner shine by accessorizing it with leafy green plants, candles set in metal lanterns or milk pitchers and rusty buckets filled with wildflowers.
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