Wake up your walls by giving them the farmhouse treatment. All you need are one-inch by two-inch pieces of MDF or wood. Nail them to the wall vertically, 12 inches apart. Use a level to ensure that they're plumb.
To keep things light and fresh, paint out the trim and walls in the same colour. We like the idea of a milky white. (Above: Martha Stewart Living Glass of Milk, MSL029)
To create a relaxed feel, choose seating with light, casual fabrics. A white sofa may sound risky, especially to those of you with young families, but as long as the seat cushions are removable (as is the case above), you can bleach them. Two different occasional chairsone with traditional wood arms and one with loose T cushions as above, for example—are less fussy-looking than a matching set. As long as they're upholstered in the same material, they'll still work well together. (Above: All furnishings by Stony Lake Furniture.)
Raw wood is quintessential farmhouse, so don't overlook it. The coffee table is a great place to incorporate the look. A twig chandelier adds further rustic drama.
Decorate with collections, textiles and vintage finds. Make the look your own by adding in personal touches. Truly bring the outside in by decorating with plants and fresh wildflowers.
This edition of Ask S&C was inspired by one of our viewers, Jennifer, who wrote:
Hi Steven and Chris,
My husband and I bought a farm a few hours north of the city and are going to be building a house where old barn sits. While we have a great builder in mind, I want to have a vision for the space before it gets started. I would like it to feel "farmhouse," but not gimmicky. Any suggestions?
Got a design dilemma that only the boys could solve? Ask Steven and Chris! Click here to submit your question, and it might appear on the show!