Your farmhouse is more than just your house; it’s the place you and your family live and work, the core around which all the happy chaos revolves. So, it’s important for this to be a place of comfort, physically and emotionally. But creating a welcoming atmosphere that lasts involves considering how each room contributes to the whole. For the living room, in particular, maintaining a foundational sense of comfort and security may be the difference between a room that connects your family and provides rest to one that creates tension.
The most fundamental element of any living area is its furniture. The rest of a room can be fitted to a solid set of furniture; the reverse is far more difficult. Furniture is not only the largest element of a living room, it’s also the most multipurpose and frequently used. For a farmhouse living room, finding a furniture set that works effectively means looking at its comfort, utility, style, color, and even the sense of life it conveys.
Comfort might be a simple word, but it’s far from a simple concept. A true sense of comfort involves more than physical support and ease. An effective set of furniture for any farmhouse must be comfortable. Workdays on a farm or ranch are long and unforgiving. The body is often pushed to its physical limit or required to ensure serious physical discomfort, accumulating various aches and bruises. When you come home, your bed should not be the only place you’re able to physically relax. Instead, you want to be able to spend quality time with your family without continually being distracted by discomfort. You want to find a furniture set that entices you to sit back and kick off your boots.
Your mind should be able to do the same. Even the most comfortable sofa won’t feel welcoming if it clashes with the rest of your furnishings or doesn’t fit the room well. More than the furniture alone, you need to look at how each piece of a set will work in your space. Will it disrupt the flow of conversation or activity, or facilitate it? Do certain features distract or call attention to themselves because they are an annoyance? Begin by measuring your space. Map out several options for how you want your living room set to fit into your living area. Consider whether certain pieces will increase or detract from your family’s comfort; will an ottoman provide an extra perch for the kids and let you stretch your legs, or will it get in the way and block access to the room?
As part of planning for your new set, think about your living room space overall. For a busy farmhouse, it’s helpful to ensure that your spaces remain relatively simple and open. You don’t need added clutter or frills that serve no purpose except another thing to worry about keeping clean. Instead, lean toward minimalism. Look for furniture with hidden storage spaces, too. Natural light fills open rooms more easily, contributing to an overall sense of welcoming and calm. Clutter, on the other hand, has a reverse effect.
So, when considering the configuration, size, and style of your living room set, remember not to over-fill the room. Aim for an open atmosphere. Simple styles maintain this sense of openness. Overly bulky sofas with skirts tend to appear to take up more space than they actually do. It’s critical to find a balance between comfort and bulk.
Another important element when considering style is thinking about utility and structure. For any farmhouse, the function is paramount. Useless extra furnishings only take up space without contributing value. Consider how your family will be using your living room set. Will you need to move individual pieces around to clear a space for game night, for instance? Does your dog love to lounge on the couch with you? Would a reclining feature dramatically improve the level of comfort a chair provides? Is your toddler regularly sliming the armrests or spilling crumbs?
The answers to these questions might lead you to new requirements for your furniture, such as removable cushions or washable covers. Even the type of feet on a sofa matter, especially on hardwood floors. If you’re already attached or committed to a specific set, elements like area rugs can help troubleshoot some of these concerns. That said, certain features will change the ways in which you can use your furniture. A fold-out sofa needs enough space to completely extend and won’t be easily moved once it’s in place.
As you begin to narrow your search, consider the durability of the materials in your set. A sturdy wooden or steel frame is far more likely to hold up to the hard use of a growing family with rambunctious pets. Also, sofas with heavy foam seat cushions paired with down-back cushions tend to last longer than other combinations. Down cushions can be fluffed, while thick foam provides years of support. Cover materials are perhaps the most important. Choosing a quality leather, canvas, or other tight-knit material and double-stitched seams helps avoid the need to reupholster or even replace your set within a few years. Leather, in particular, resists stains and hard wear better than a lot of furniture materials.
Often, the higher the quality and durability, the higher the cost. While it’s worth seeking out an exact match to your farmhouse needs, finding living room sets on sale can keep your budget on track without forcing you to sacrifice the key elements that will help ensure your investment lasts. Simple, well-constructed pieces will not only work well with your existing décor and furnishings but avoid the need to purchase too many extra accessories to try to force your furniture set to match the rest of the room. After all, a living room is meant to welcome people to live in it, not stuff. Consider whether clearing out your space will increase its utility. You’ll impact the atmosphere, too. Each of these elements works together.
Simplicity is important for more than style, however. Other design elements, like color, benefit from a minimalist approach. To keep any room feeling cohesive, it helps to begin with a set, limited color palette. While you may include some variations, sticking to this palette helps direct your choices. Try to select a neutral tone and two colors that will serve as the foundational colors for your living area. A carpet, for instance, might serve as a neutral. Or a brightly painted wall might bring in one of the colors. Using this color trio approach, you’ll avoid color clashes and maintain an overall tone, warm or cool based on your preference, within the space.
Keep in mind that your color palette will help determine the atmosphere of the room, so take your time when deciding on a color. Don’t dismiss your own preferences for the sake of style, either. Make sure at least one of the two primary colors is a favorite; you will enjoy your space so much more when the actual colors appeal to you.
As you’ve likely figured out, these elements aren’t independent of one another. Instead, each contributes to and builds on the others as you work toward finding the furniture set that best fits your home and lifestyle. For instance, color also has utility; a darker color will tend to mask stains. You should also consider how the light interacts with the colors and space of your living room.
While you’ll likely have a combination of warm and cool light sources, natural and artificial, think about how the placement of various light sources contributes to the overall atmosphere. Even if the windows of your living space allow in plenty of natural light, think about how overhead fixtures brighten or otherwise alter a solid color couch. Think about whether a side table lamp has a warm bulb instead, for example, to encourage cuddling up with a book and a blanket on the corner of the couch.
Finally, it’s important to bring life into your home to match the energy of your active family. What this means, specifically, will vary depending on your family and personal preferences. Natural and hypoallergenic materials and dyes protect your family and, as an added bonus, appear less artificial. While this consideration isn’t necessary, it’s worth thinking about how the elements you are bringing into your home are affecting your health and how their manufacture impacts the environment.
Either way, a fantastic way to bring the vibrant life of nature into your home is by bringing elements of the outdoors inside. Houseplants, for example, are a wonderful way to refresh a space and keep it from feeling stagnant. Plants continue to grow and change over time; in fact, they can even help combat the accumulation of dust and smells. In a living space, plants not only support your efforts to extend the life of your furniture by routinely cleaning the air, but they are a wonderful way of brightening a space without combating your chosen color palette. Because they grow naturally, the greens of plants feel and look more natural to the human eye, which allows you to bring more color dimension into your space.
In addition to plants, natural wood elements contribute to the impression of a fresh, healthy environment. Finding living room sets with raw or natural wood finishes calls up positive associations that fit perfectly in a farmhouse. Exposed wood elements in your living room set are also much easier to match with other natural wood furnishings; you might even begin a woodworking project to create a matching coffee table or bookshelf. Whatever your other furnishings, however, remember that natural elements and colors tend to cohere well. You’ll waste less time trying to find exact color matches between plants and wood finishes.
Of course, most farmhouses are also home to domestic pets at some point, so it’s crucial that you confirm the various plant and other natural elements they might chew on are not toxic to animals. The more durable your furniture, the lower your chance of dealing with pets ingesting materials. Still, it doesn’t hurt to double-check.
Like plants, other décor and accessory elements are a great way to finish a room. While living room sets come with an internal cohesion because they already match, your décor decisions can expand this cohesion to incorporate the entire room. Rather than attempting to find exact matches for colors or textures, however, think about tones, shades, and contrasting textures. Leather sofas, for instance, pair well with natural fiber or shaggy, faux-fur rugs and throws.
Keep in mind that the ideal living room set for your farmhouse is situational; your preferences, lifestyle, room layout, and even climate will all inform your decision. With so many factors at work, consider making a list of your specific requirements, so that nothing gets overlooked. Each of these five essential components—comfort, utility, style, color, and life—are equally important. An incredibly comfortable set that breaks within a year is as pointless as a set in the perfect style and color that doesn’t provide enough seats for the whole family.
At the end of long, hard farm days, you want your entire family to feel comfortable simply relaxing and enjoying your home together. Though it’s the only furniture, selecting the right set can make all the difference in creating this sense of security. Moreover, when you’re choosing to spend the money for a completely new set of living room furniture and gain the many benefits that come with it, you don’t want to make the wrong call.
It’s often quite helpful to have another family member who uses your living room regularly to weigh in when you begin to narrow down your options from the thousands instantly accessible online. Another opinion doesn’t necessarily need to alter your decision, but it’s better to have someone you trust flag any potential issues or conflicts you might have overlooked. For example, a floor vent placed directly behind an intended sofa spot might change your planned arrangements.