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Farmhouse Tables: Family Memories Made-to-Order

Farmhouse Tables - Family Memories Made to Order

About Farmhouse Tables - Family Memories Made to Order

Reclaimed Barn Wood Farmhouse Table American Windsor Chairs

Early History

The Country Farm Table has come a long way from its humble origins.  Earliest mentions date back to the ancient Greeks.  They were used in medieval castles where meals were taken in the Great Hall.  All the inhabitants of the castle crowded around a long narrow table, seated on rough wooden benches.  Its close cousin, the refectory table, was used in monasteries and seminaries.  Designed to be portable, the table consisted of large planks of wood laid across a trestle so that it could be picked up and moved away when the meal was finished.

The American Farmhouse table evolved to meet the basic needs of the early settlers.  They were usually made from slabs of Eastern White Pine, the most plentiful lumber available in Colonial times.  Structural timbers were converted to table legs or trestles.  Families and farm workers were usually seated around a basic bench or two.  The lumber they used was not cured or kiln dried, forming cracks and twists as it air dried.  The soft pine quickly showed the wear and tear of daily use.  The table served many purposes – a place to eat, a handy workbench, a baking board, a countertop for canning and preserves.  But most importantly, the rough-hewn table was a place to gather at the end of a hard day’s work on the farm.   These antique Colonial Farm tables are hard to find today, and can cost thousands of dollars.

As towns and cities developed — and the population became more affluent and sophisticated – the humble farmhouse table was soon replaced by the formal, polished dining room table that was often reserved for special occasions and company.  Nevertheless, many families continued to gather around the farmhouse table in the kitchen, where meals were a family affair.

A Nostalgic Return to a Simpler Time

Once again, the country farm table has come into its own.  Particularly suited to today’s informal lifestyle, the farmhouse table evokes memories of a simpler time – the comforts of home, the aroma of a meal cooking on the hearth, the family sharing stories at the end of a long day.  Valued for its clean, classic lines, these simple wooden tables fit almost any environment from urban sophisticated to country rustic.

Catering to every taste and income level, farm tables can be divided into three tiers.  Tier One is the most basic – the mass market table that is generally manufactured off-shore.  Not always made from full planks or even from real wood, some Tier One tables have plastic finishes.  They are mass produced and are available in a limited number of sizes, styles, and finishes.  Considered a good ‘starter’ table, it is priced to be affordable.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Tier Three – the authentic antique farmhouse table.  They are difficult to find and often considered collector’s pieces or museum quality artifacts.  Though highly prized, they are often not available to fit today’s size requirements.  Built to fit old, small rooms, many antique tables are too narrow or too small for today’s larger-sized dining rooms.

Sitting right in the middle is the growing Tier Twomade-to-order farmhouse tables – balancing all the best of old and new.  Hand-crafted and custom made, contemporary country farm tables offer options of complete customization not widely available in the past.  Bench-built by specialized furniture craftsmen and artisans, these tables can be produced to your specifications at an affordable price.

Select Your Size

The first – and some say the most important choice is size.  Tier Two made-to-order tables can be made in any size to fit your space and offer maximum seating flexibility.  Long…rectangular…square…round…oval…design a table that suits the dimensions of your room and fits your lifestyle.  Tables can be sized for a traditional dining room or for a kitchen nook with freestanding chairs or with benches.  It can even be made to fit built-in window seats or banquets.  Today’s farmhouse tables can be made with company board extensions to accommodate extra seating – a nod to the original extension tables of yore.

Choose Your Wood

Tables can be made from traditional pine or from premium woods such as rustic cherry, maple or oak.  A good farmhouse table is made with long planked construction used by early craftsmen.

Still more options to choose from – new wood or old.  Custom tables can be made from reclaimed weathered boards, including old English pine or reclaimed American barn boards.  Though somewhat more expensive, reclaimed wood tables are the closest you can come to an authentic antique.  Nail holes, saw marks and other imperfections add to the charm of a reclaimed wood table.  In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the use of reclaimed wood eliminates the need to cut down a new tree – the ultimate in recycling!

Customize Your Options

Our ancestors had few options for the base of a farmhouse table – a trestle or a turned leg would suffice.  But today, choices abound.  In addition to the traditional trestle or turned leg, country tables can sit on a round pedestal, a stretcher base, tavern base or the upscale double-pedestal trestle table.

Still more choices!  Select the thickness of the top and choose whether you want it planked or seamless construction.  Even table-top overhangs can be adjusted.

Add the Finishing Touches

Farmhouse tables made from new wood are generally hand-distressed to provide the character of a well-aged reclaimed wood table.  They can be heavily distressed for a rustic look or lightly distressed to impart a more refined aura.  Tables can be finished in any color or stain, or in a paint/stain combination.  Custom paint and stain options are normally available for an extra charge.  Rubs, glazes, peels, washes and even crackle options are some of the finishing touches that make your table unique.  Environmentally friendly finishes with clear top coats provide safe and durable finishes.

The end result is a farmhouse table where memories will be made for generations to come.

Brought to you by Cottage Home – specializing in cottage furniture & farmhouse tables

Halls & Entryways


Often overlooked, the entry hall is usually where you welcome guests to your home.  Take a look at the foyer you have, taking into account the size and traffic pattern of the space, and ask yourself how you really want to use it.  Remember to consider its design and style should be reflective of the general mood you would like to create with your home!  The challenge tends to be – how do I make it both charming & useful?  Look at your decorating your hallways and staircases in the same light.

Entry Hall photo:

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Color Board: Grey & Yellow

Color Board: Grey & Yellow

Cottage color combinations can be bold and graphic or soft and neutral – that’s for you to decide!  Not sure if you can live with bold?  Try a striking yellow on a lamp or throw; accessories can be more easily replaced than furniture.

Color Board: Grey & YellowExplore yellow, grey, and cream fabrics at Cottage Home


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Design Tip: Mix & Match

Design Tip: Mix & Match

A mix of country cottage bedroom furniture is far more interesting than all matching pieces.  The styles should all work together; mix paints, stains, textures and materials for a more relaxed atmosphere.

Mix and Match Furniture | Design Tip: Mix & Match

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Staff Picks: Katie’s Dining Room

Katie's Dining Room

“I like combining styles to create an eclectic yet compatible look.  This look blends a rough, tavern style table and chairs with softer, more feminine fabrics.  By choosing two fabrics for the chairs, it breaks up the monotony and adds an eclectic element.
I want a dining room that is inviting and casual with a sense of grace.”

-Katie S.

Old English Pine Farmhouse Turned Leg Stretcher Table Frankie Upholstered Dining Chair Bristol Dusty Blue Spiroflora Mist

Dining Room Inspiration Ideas | Staff Pick's: Katie's Dining Room #reclaimedwoodtables #cottagediningroom #inspirationboards
Katie’s Dining Room Inspiration Ideas:  Old English Pine Turned Leg Stretcher Base Table in Clear Wax with Light Rough Hewn Distressing, Frankie Upholstered Dining Chairs in both Spiroflora Mist Fabric (End Chairs) & Bristol Dusty Blue (Side Chairs) with Vintage Latte finish for the legs.

Brought to you by Cottage Home – specializing in cottage furniture & farmhouse tables

Living & Family Rooms

Living & Family Rooms

When decorating a living room consider first, how often do you use your living room?  Is it reserved for company or does it get everyday use?  If you do a lot of formal entertaining, you’ll approach the design of your living room differently than if it is the center of your family life.

Whatever style you want to employ, every living room needs comfortable seating, sufficient lighting, and tables to hold cocktails or magazines.  What’s the focal point?  Does the room invite you in?  Most importantly, do the furnishings and décor reflect the ambiance you want to create in your home?

Decorating a Living Room

Camden Slipcovered Sectional

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Cottage Home – specializing in cottage furniture & farmhouse tables

Inspiration Board: Shades of Green

When decorating with green, it is often used like a neutral color to balance a room since certain shades of green, such as soft sage, can go with almost any other color.  How can you overlook Mother Nature’s use of color as a source of inspiration?  Green has also said to have meditative qualities.

Click on any item in the board to learn more about it!

Decorating with Green | Inspiration Board #cottagefurniture #decoratingwithgreen #inspirationboards #cottagestyle

Sonoma Wicker Wingback Chair 33″W x 25″D x 45″H, khaki green $735  |  Mystic I Canvas Giclee 54″ x 26″ $290  |  Carolina Large Console Buffet & Hutch customizations: 68″W x 20″D x 86″H, flush drawers, wood knobs, two tone painted, ivory with palm back $4,415  |  Green Fern Needlepoint Pillow 18″W x 14″H $165  |  Round Side Table 20″R x 27″H, turquoise $395  |  Pawley’s Island Console Table 60″L x 16″D x 30″H, lime zinger $1,495  |  Haven Hand Loomed Rug 4′ x 6′ $680  |  Stilwell Honeydew Fabric |  Carolina Wide Cupboard customizations: 42″W x 20″D x 70″H, straight base, bermuda shutter doors, wood knobs, one color painted, palm $4,645  |  Boston Map 1775 25.875″Sq $310  |  Shoreline Slipcovered Loveseat Corner Sectional $3,320

Sonoma Wicker Wingback Chair Mystic I Carolina Large Console Buffet & Hutch Hamptons Round Side Table Green Fern Needlepoint Pillow Pawley's Island Console Table Haven Sand Dune Wool Rug Stilwell Honeydew Fabric (13) Carolina Wide Cupboard Montauk Slipcovered Sectional Boston Map 1775

Brought to you by Cottage Home – specializing in cottage furniture & farmhouse tables

FAQ’s: Farmhouse Tables

FAQ's: Farmhouse Tables

Farmhouse Tables FAQs

The 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Farmhouse Tables

1. What size farmhouse table do I need?

The best dining table size for you depends on the number of people you want to accommodate, and the size of the room/area you have to work with.

Rectangular Tables (36″ – 42″ wide)

# of people seats comfortably workable
4 4ft  
6 6ft 5ft
8 8ft 7ft
10 10ft 9ft

Round Tables

# of people seats comfortably workable
4 48”R 42”R
6 60”R 54”R
8 72”R 66”R

Extensions can be added when additional seating is needed.

To determine the maximum table size for a room, it is best to plan a clearance of 36” around the table for chairs.  The minimum clearance is 27”, but this can feel tight.  For banquette applications, you should consider either a trestle or pedestal table to avoid seating interference with a table leg.

For additional information, please see our Dining Table Seating Guide.

2. What kind of wood is used to make a farmhouse table?

Farmhouse tables can be made out of a wide variety of woods.  The most popular are pine, old reclaimed pine, and cherry.  Final selection is usually a balance between appearance, durability, and cost.  Many people are concerned with the hardness of the wood as softer wood can be more susceptible to dings.  However, the harder the wood, the higher the cost – therefore, distressed tables have become increasingly popular.

A rough guide to the hardness of different woods:

New Pine 350-400
Poplar 550-600
Old Pine 650-700
Cherry 900-950
Maple 900-950
Oak 1250-1300

3. What is the most durable finish for the top of a farmhouse table?

Water Glass Test on Farmhouse TableA stained or painted finish with a clear top coat is the toughest, and most durable, surface for a farmhouse table top.  Water marks take longer to form, and, since most clear coats are water-based varnish, water marks will usually disappear when they dry.  The disadvantage to this finish is, if the surface is scratched, it will require professional repair to fix the damage.  Of course, if the table top is distressed to begin with, minor marks just increase the character of the table top and do not stand out.

Higher quality finishes usually include several coats of clear finish, and can be ordered with a lower gloss satin sheen, which looks great on a farmhouse table.

Regardless of the final finish, place mats, coasters, and hot pads are recommended for a wood table top to keep from creating water or heat marks on the surface.

4. Should I buy extensions for my farmhouse table?

Extensions are usually available for farmhouse tables, either center extensions or company board extensions, which designed to be inserted in the ends of the table.  To maintain to look of the long planks used to make traditional farmhouse tables, and to avoid a split in the table, company boards are the preferred extension option.

If extra seating is only needed once or twice a year, you may want to consider using spare tables to accommodate guests instead of investing in extensions. If you plan on entertaining often, extensions increase the size of your farmhouse table by 3ft, providing seating for everyone at the same table.

Farmhouse Table FAQs | Company Board Extensions

5. How do I care for my farmhouse table?

Place mats, coasters, and hot pads are recommended for daily use of a wood farmhouse table to keep from creating water or heat marks on the surface of the table top.

The top of your table is relatively easy to maintain.  Spills of cold liquids (juice, sodas, etc.) can be easily wiped with a damp cloth.  DO NOT USE HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS (Pledge, 409, etc.) on any wood farmhouse table top.   USE ONLY a damp cloth.  This is all you should have to use for the daily maintenance of your table.

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Rooms To Love: Red & Turquoise Office

Rooms To Love: Red & Turquoise Office

The mix of bold turquoise and red paired with more natural elements make a statement in this office nook.  We love the windowseat – perfect when you need a break from work!  What’s the secret for a great windowseat?  A straight or curved window recess; it’s that easy.  Not-too-large is better if intimate is the goal.

Rooms To Love: Red and Turquoise Office


Brought to you by Cottage Home – specializing in cottage furniture & farmhouse tables

Dining Rooms & Kitchens

Dining Rooms & Kitchens

When decorating dining rooms, remember that dining rooms tend to be for more formal meals, while the kitchen table is not only where you and your family break your daily fast, it usually functions as a project center, homework supporter, and is generally the most utilized surface in your home.  Whatever the style you want to achieve in your kitchen, the kitchen table needs to be able to stand up to wear and tear!

Depending on how you want to use your dining room, keep in mind you and your guests will probably linger over meals in this room.  Are your chairs comfortable?  Do you have adequate seating?  Is there a cabinet to hold your china & glassware?  Can the lighting be dimmed?  This is your chance to create a true dining experience.

Decorating Dining Rooms & Kitchens

Reclaimed Barn Wood Dining Table

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