This article appears in the premiere issue of The Farmhouse Movement magazine. We enthusiastically invite you to learn more about Timeless Truths Of Healthy Homes at www.farmhousemovement.com. Story and Photography by Darlene Weir. Interior Designer and Design Expertise by Fieldstone Hill Design.

The Farmhouse Movement is one that touches every corner of our hearts. It wiggles its way into our lifestyle, and, before long, we realize that if we are truly to live simply, we need to address how we co-exist with our “stuff.”

Embracing farmhouse design is not about replacing everything in our homes with shiplap, antiques and repurposed wood. Farmhouse design returns us to the basic marriage between functionality and beauty. It is about editing out those things we don’t need, storing the necessities, and displaying the beautiful tools that help us to weave through our days with ease.

As I gaze around my own farmhouse, I see four key elements that define the farmhouse feeling our space imparts. With a new perspective and some focused effort, your home can have that farm-simple feeling.

1. Gather Around One Table

The farm table. It is the quintessential and key ingredient to farmhouse d├ęcor. It should be welcoming, and it should seat a whole host of loved ones.

But have you considered this? Historically, going all the way back to farming days, families gathered around only one table. There were no breakfast nooks, breakfast bars, or kitchen tables. There was simply the farmhouse table. One place where the family would knead their bread, eat their meals, study their school books, and read their Bibles.

Having only one table, or one main table, is a secret ingredient to “togetherness.” Everyone is ushered into the same place, each meal. Each coloring book moment, each homework struggle, each family meeting, each calendar comparison, each craft project — each is documented around the same memory-filled table.

That one family farm table is the heartbeat of the farmhouse, and that table contains more precious memories than can be counted.

2. Functional Beauty

‘Beauty before function,’ you may have heard. Not in a farmhouse. In farmhouse style we demand both beauty and function, without compromising one or the other. The beauty of the well-designed farmhouse originates in quality materials, simplicity of form, and usefulness.

Why eat off of homely platters when you can serve your family meal on simple white ironstone? Why hide heirlooms when you can place your daily fruit in that lovely favorite bowl, right on your counter? Why have an ugly plastic citrus press tucked away, when you can have a gorgeous countertop tunner made of copper? Our daily necessities can also be items of delight.

Upgrading to functional beauty does not need to happen overnight. It can happen a bit at a time. And, for the sake of keeping life simple and for blessing others, find an amazing organization to donate your original items, eliminating clutter. No one needs two citrus presses, but someone could be richly blessed by one of yours.

3. Built-ins

Built-ins are a staple item in farmhouses. In early American history, homesteaders knew how to craft basic cabinets and closets that would protect their treasures. A bench here, a cubbyhole there, an under-stair nook; each one tucked into a corner of the farmhouse opens to reveal a bit of hidden storage.

Built-ins are amazing for creating that farmhouse feel because they provide much-needed practical storage; they keep rooms tidy and simple; and they can be tucked into any advantageous, available space. They help to create a clean line for the eye.

Take a look at our home and your storage needs. Do you have a corner or an unused space that could benefit from a built-in? Look for creative ways you can integrate a lovely built-in or two into your home for that farmhouse look.

4. No Wasted Space

Do you have any rooms in your home that never see any foot traffic? Perhaps you have a dining room that only is used three times per year? Or maybe you have a great bedroom that never sees any guests? Maybe you have a large foyer that simply takes up room, but no one stops in it for more than a minute? Those rooms are wasted space.

They key to eliminating wasted space in your home is to identify the culprits and then repurpose them in some way. Add something to the room that gives you a reason to go into it or simply change its purpose.

For example, let’s say that you have a guest bedroom that is rarely used. Make better use of this space by changing the room to a library or much-needed craft room. You can still host your guests on those rare occasions, but not at the expense of an entire empty room. Or even easier, keep the guest room as is, and add a small desk or workspace, so that this guest room now doubles its function as an “away space.”

Add a piano to a foyer (but only if someone plays it). Add a coffee station to a sitting room and arrange the chairs to encourage adult getaway space. Get creative and get ruthless. The space in your home is precious, and each room should truly get used.

For bring more farmhouse into your house:

Add in beautiful, simple things. Take out anything superfluous. Edit until you can breathe freely. Keep things basic but be sure they are lovely. Make your home work for you in a functional way that supports your family ideals. You are well on your way to farmhouse style.