How to Choose Farmhouse Fabric to Add Color and Pattern to Your Home

Relaxed fabrics rendered in simple patterns and cheery colors add informal style to modern farmhouse designs. Linen or cotton, gingham or plaid, smartly selected textiles create rooms that spill over with country charm.

Vintage Textiles

Farm life is busy and often exhausting. No wonder the first country-living decorators chose easy-care fabrics in spirit-brightening colors and striking patterns.

Farmhouse fabrics are informal and treasured for their countrified associations, high-contrast color combinations, touchable weaves, and hand-stitched beginnings. Utilitarian textiles like recycled grain sacks, ticking-striped towels, red-checked tablecloths, and calico aprons are finding new life in country decor. They pop up as upholstery fabrics, throw pillows, bed skirts, and quilts.

Want to establish farmhouse style in your home? Here's a look at the fabrics, patterns, and textiles that let you create country character.

Ticking Stripes

Vintage Textiles

Nothing says classic country better than ticking fabrics. Originally, these durable striped cotton fabrics were used to cover pillows and mattresses, but they've inspired look-alike patterns in lightweight textiles. Fresh and breezy, ticking fabrics usually sport white or light backgrounds and blue stripes arranged singly or in pairs.

Use weightier ticking fabrics to create all sorts of covers: duvet, pillow, cushion, and furniture. If you can't find ticking stripes you like, use two-tone fabrics boasting skinny stripes. They mix nicely with larger-scale farmhouse fabric patterns, such as colorful plaids and buffalo checks.

Buffalo Check

Backsplash Tile Patterns

Thanks to their overscale pattern and high-contrast palette, buffalo check fabrics make a bold statement that reads as both country and chic. Often seen in black and white or navy and ivory variations, buffalo check fabrics work well with gingham, toile, and striped fabrics that share similar colors.

In this kitchen, farmhouse fabric takes a sophisticated turn. It adds panache to elegantly shaped barstools and pendant shades, mirroring the colors of toile window shades and balancing a dramatic patterned backsplash.

Perfect Plaid

twin beds

Plaid farmhouse fabrics sport stripes of varying sizes and are crafted from different-color threads, more intricately designed than checked fabrics. There are multicolor plaids like tartans, but country plaids tend to be more laid-back. Two colors—such as navy and white—come together in unique patterns that make a statement as window and bed dressings.

An easy way to add plaid? Toss a plaid coverlet at the end of a bed, arrange store-bought pillows across a denim sofa, or lay a plaid rug at your back door.

Rural Roots

yellow and black bedroom

Barnyard decor always has a place in farmhouse-style spaces. Look for printed fabric, pillows, or curtains that showcase cattle, roosters, or colorful crops to further your rural feel. To bring your country home to life, incorporate farmstead-related textiles, such as cowhide rugs, flour-sack valances, and feed-bag pillows.

Raw Materials

kitchen

Coarsely woven materials, including burlap, homespun fabric, and muslin, bring rough-to-the-touch textures that add authenticity to rustic farmhouse rooms. They're neutral in color but still make a splash thanks to their irregular weave. For example, burlap is a good choice for valances, pictured here, and curtains because its loose weave allows a bit of light to filter through.

Other advantages? These types of fabrics are inexpensive and versatile. They can be used to dress windows, cover pillows, and skirt sinks or dressing tables.

Playful Gingham

Vintage Textiles

Delightful and cheerful, gingham fabrics are lightweight cotton checked in white and a color. Gingham is characterized by small, sprightly checks, which (because of their petite size) take on a neutral quality that works well with other farmhouse prints. The farmhouse fabric often appears as cafe curtains and valances, but it easily moves outside as pillow covers and tablecloths.

In this bedroom, black and white gingham dresses up sconce shades to punctuate a wood-clad wall with country color and pattern.

French Toile

bedroom

Toile fabrics, like the toile de Jouy pictured here, immediately bring French country flair to a home. With pastoral scenes and botanical imagery, the prettily patterned fabrics are most often linen or cotton. Patterns are rendered in almost any color on much lighter backgrounds. Depending on weight, toile fabrics easily translate to drapery panels, breezy valances, and skirted chair covers.

Cabin Checks

art and headboards

Usually rendered in light and dark colors, cabin-check fabrics take gingham up a notch. Medium-size checks (the most suitable companion for gingham and buffalo check fabrics) align on decorator-weight materials, buoyant cottons, and linen and cotton blends. This gives homeowners plenty of options for creating country-cozy window dressings, bedding, and table coverings.

No matter their size, country checks are essential building blocks of farmhouse schemes. In this kids' room, checked headboards partner with a like-color striped rug to warm white-painted floorboards.

Updated by
Ann Wilson

Ann Wilson has worked to bring readers the best information about their homes. For over five years, she has discussed in-depth about designing a space, from choosing the right colors to creating the best organization in any room.

On top of design, Ann has written extensively about remodeling and flooring in the home to ensure all readers choose the best option to fit their lifestyle and preferences. Her remodeling topics have included choosing the best wooden flooring and tiling to create a cohesive, beautiful space.

Ann Wilson is a leading expert on home design and remodeling. She has over five years' experience discussing all-things remodeling, color designs, and flooring ideas to help readers make the best design choices.

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