The Farmhouse Table: An Updated Guide to Buying a Rustic Dining Table
In this post: The timeless farmhouse table works with many decor styles. Find your favorite with this updated guide to buying a rustic dining table. ⇒
Long before there was “Farmhouse-style”, there were farmhouse dining tables.
Or more accurately, farmhouse tables long pre-date the trendy decor style known as modern farmhouse, which oversaturated the market following the popularity of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ and their updated take on rustic decor.
As the farmhouse trend begins to wane and evolves into something else, actual farmhouse dining tables are still going strong. This is, no doubt, due to the fact that they’ve been around forever and have been a significant part of many other design styles, from French Country and English cottage to boho, steampunk, industrial and more.
There’s something about an aged wooden table with its weathered patina that works beautifully with many styles, underscoring the cherished authenticity of antique and vintage decor styles, yet also spotlighting, through contrast, the artistry of the unique and new.
In Search of a Farmhouse Table
I’ve wanted a genuine farmhouse table since the early days of our marriage, when I worked for Ralph Lauren, just as the home furnishings line was getting started. It was there that I learned an appreciation for all things vintage, valued for their tradition, reliability and purity of design.
It was also there that I came to respect derivative design, creating good quality reproductions in reverence of the originals.
In searching for an iconic piece of furniture, such as a farm table, it helps to understand the defining characteristics that make the item legitimate, regardless of whether it is vintage or new. Today’s post looks at those key aspects, exploring what to look for in a farmhouse dining table, along with a helpful buying guide to the best farmhouse dining tables.
There was a time when the term ‘farmhouse table’ conjured up visions of a perfect size harvest table with a thick top, solid wood construction, and a chunky leg style. Maybe there would be a matching bench, certainly it would be utilized for family gatherings, but the most ubiquitous characteristic of these rustic tables would be the aged natural finish of the top planks and the weathered patina.
This old school style table still represents an ideal, but today there are many other options for a beautiful farmhouse table that take into account modern lifestyle and usage, such as extendable dining tables, as well as ones that fit into small spaces. We are no longer limited to a one-size-fits-all lifestyle when we choose to purchase a farmhouse dining room table.
The first thing you probably want to decide on is the best shape for your dining room or kitchen table. Small spaces do well with round tables while larger, traditionally sized rooms look great with long rectangular tables. If you prefer soft lines, consider an oval top.
There are various options for the table base, too. Round tables often have a pedestal base, for easy movement around the table, while rectangles offer several classic bottoms, including the trestle base (similar to a double pedestal), the traditional 4 leg base, the criss-cross leg bottom or a combination of 4 leg and trestle.
Material and Finish
Next you want to decide on the material of your table, along with the finish (see more on finish below under ‘Color’). The most popular material for a farmhouse table is, of course, wood, and the more rustic the wood grain, the better. In fact, this is the quintessential element of farm tables. However, it’s not necessarily the only option. A faux wood table with a distressed finish can simulate the look of an aged wood table. In some cases you might even find stone top tables with a rustic base or metal topped tables with a weathered look. Select these tables for a rustic modern aesthetic.
Whether your top pick is wood or another material, you’ll have to choose a color for your table. If using real wood like white oak or rustic cherry, you’ll need to determine if you want a natural finish, a stain color or a painted finish. Natural wood tones are quite on trend, particularly when they have a rugged grain. Stains run the gamut from ash grey to dark tones, but again, the more weathered they look the better. In painted finishes, you’ll find everything from a simple whitewash to a complex painterly finish. In general, regardless of which way you go, you’ll want the finish to look dry and aged. The easiest way to kill a farmhouse table look is with polish and shine.
Details and Extras
While farmhouse tables tend to be simply designed, there are some extra details that can individualize your particular table. You can choose smooth top versus planks, chunky block legs or refined curves, pedestals with detailing like fluted columns, pineapples or decorative motifs and you even might find a table with shallow silverware drawers.
Before moving on to the shopping guide section, I wanted to say a few words about price. I’ve always preferred to keep my recommendations in an easily affordable range, but prices have sky-rocketed lately and a lot of items are out of stock. In order to offer as many available choices as possible, I’ve raised the bar a bit on what I consider affordable. I included at least 10 items that were under $1000 (at the time of publishing) with the great majority under $1500. But there are some really great pieces that are closer to the $2000 mark and a select few that are even higher. My goal was to balance style with affordability, and I also must point out that what is affordable is subjective.
I hope you enjoy this selection of farmhouse tables. What they all have in common is a relaxed chic aesthetic that’s welcoming for anyone who is invited to your table. Take a look and see if any resonate with your taste. Then maybe you can plan a little casual dinner party!
More Dining Room Decor
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
(This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
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