Now we don’t all have a husband who will just tear down walls, expose long forgotten shiplap, paint everything, install new kitchens and take care of the kids while we decorate at night! But even if we do, here are some easy ideas to get the fixer upper look on a dime one room at a time.
So even though my house is very traditional I still love the new look. I think we can also call the fixer upper look “new country”. Or let’s also call it Rustic Farmhouse Style. The style is unique. It is a little bit country with a touch of shabby chic and a touch of French Country with Traditional roots.
Now most of us are not starting from scratch with a tear down or totally renovated old fixer upper, but if you love the look and want to try it, start with one room. Since most of my house is very traditional with dark stained furnishings, I started with my showroom, which room would be easiest for you to start with?
Here are My 10 ideas to get the Farmhouse Look without breaking the bank.
1. First! Think COOL! Gather all of the colorful accessories in your room and move them out. Go around your house and see what items you might have that could be moved into your Farmhouse Room. Look for items with cool colors: grey, white, pale teal, greyish green, off white and natural wood. Try to get rid of reds, yellow, oranges and other warm or bright colors.
2. Paint your walls one of the preferred paint colors for the fixer upper look. Be sure your trim is white or off white. And if for some lucky reason you have “shiplap” walls, expose them!!
3. Thirdly, eliminate some of your traditionally brown stained furniture and add in some painted pieces. Consider painting some of your least favorite, outdated or damaged furnishings. See my article on painting furniture here. Painting your pieces white, off white and grey will bring in the “Look” to your room. Naturally distressed, artificially distressed or perfectly painted pieces are equally as charming. To save money, think about updating your light fixtures and chandeliers by spray painting them white or a metallic color. I use Rustoleum all the time. Mainly Rustoleum Heirloom white.
4. Next, add in some metal furnishings, and accent pieces if you can. The natural look of metal as well the eclectic feel will add a little fixer upper Farmhouse appeal to your room. Light grey metal, black metal, bronze/brown metal and painted end tables, accent tables, shelf units, bistro chairs and wall shelves will accomplish this.
Here is a shelf similar to the one in the photo
5. The most awesome way to get the look is to repurpose something in the most amazing ways. Take old window frames and hang them on a wall. A rusty old bike becomes a focal point on a wall. A discarded metal gate hangs above a sofa or console table with a wreath in the center. Antique shutters with amazing patina can be the centerpiece of a room. Hang an old painted frame on a wall and place another item in side of it. Hang letters on the walls too. Any architectural item can be reconsidered as a charming and eclectic piece of wall art.
6. Storage is always a necessary thing for any room. Creative ways are used to add storage. Old wooden drawers hold desk items. Galvanized metal farm bins and zinc hardware caddies become table top entertaining pieces. Wood boxes are screwed into the walls. Ladders are propped against a wall to hang magazines and throw blankets. A metal wire frame is used as a bulletin board. What unique architectural piece is in your attic or garage or local vintage shop that you can repurpose for storage?
7. If your kitchen cabinets are dark dated oak, consider painting them white or off white. The farmhouse look uses white cabinets with farm sinks. But remember if painting kitchen cabinets, you really have to sand them or degrease them. The way I paint furniture without sanding first, may not be best for kitchen cabinets which will get a lot of wear and may have built up grease on them. See my article on tips to update your kitchen to the farmhouse style.
White slip covers. If you can’t invest in new upholstered furniture consider a white slip cover. I have a sofa with a white slip cover and it has worked out pretty well. I have taken it off and washed it numerous times and it came out nicely. The trick is to enforce the “NO eating on the couch” rule. Then after you wash it -only partially air dry it. Put it back on the sofa when it is still damp.
Here are some places to buy white slipcovers for your sofas or loveseats.
also there is Patriot White Sofa Slipcovers
I found this other company which has ready made or custom slipcovers for sofas and wing chairs etc. Their prices seem pretty good. I like the “natural” cotton fabric.
8. b. Lighting choices can enhance the farmhouse look too. Another product I just found after a long search is a really cool outdoor lantern which my daughter Emily is going to use on her new house.
I will add another post all about Emily and Brooke’s house transformation with real pictures of the lanterns asap. Stay tuned for that.
9. Hang your artwork, mirrors and architectural pieces at a woman’s eye level. Keep it within 15 ” of the piece of furniture that it is relating too. This way the wall art and the sofa or table below it will have a one piece look. Think of the wall art as the top of a hutch (the display part). Consider propping artwork, shutters, old windows or frames etc. on your mantel or buffet instead of hanging them.
10. Lastly, wood tables, accent pieces, mantels or floating shelves with natural wood tones help with the Farmhouse Look. Weathered wood or the look of weathered is probably the most popular
Good luck and have fun!