For all practical purposes, when most of us think of the country kitchen table and chairs we could just as well be talking about the farmhouse kitchen table. The names seem to be so interchangeable that there is no difference in furniture design or style, only in our references.
While technically, there are no differences in modern day terminology, many who grew up on the farm remember the rectangular table more than the pedestal style. The square shape was easy to find, and easy to build — something the farmers often did. With larger families growing up on farms, often there was the need for a bench to fit all the kids onto, rather than taking up space with individual chairs.
However, as shown below, either the pedestal table or the rectangular table can be considered.
Examples of the Farmhouse Kitchen Table Design:
Click the picture for larger image and purchase information.
When discussing the farmhouse table vs. the country table, if there is a singular distinction in the table itself, it would be that while the styles may be the same, true farmhouse tables often appear a little rougher in finish. Of course, the examples shown are well finished. Farmhouse styling, in the real, is also heavier in overall appearance.
For that reason, I always prefer to look for farmhouse kitchen tables in used furniture stores, thrift stores or at auction. Ordinarily, one can find the best farmhouse tables in rural areas where the originals may be — on the farm. Looking at the table with the bench seat to the left is distinctly different from the tables shown above.
Often chairs will not be sold with the table, if purchased from a used furniture store or at auction. Even the sturdiest of chairs have a hard life on the farm. But, that is the beauty of this style table. A bench or mismatched, but complementary, dining chairs will work as well as anything. Often, in the farm setting, extra chairs were pulled up to the table from throughout the house if company arrived for Sunday lunch.
By now, it should be obvious that true farmhouse kitchen tables are headed straight for shabby chic. After all, shabby chic styling is all about good solid pieces that complement one another.
Do not be afraid of buying a farmhouse table that has been painted. Just take a thin knife edge and run it around the edge of the table about a centimeter from the top. (Do not make a deep mark.) We are just checking to see if the top is veneer. While good farmhouse tables and chairs are solid wood, some of the furniture that came into being in the 1940’s and 1950’s in the U.S. had a veneer finish. Unless extremely experienced in veneers, it is not recommended buying used furniture that has a veneer finish.
Farmhouse vs. Country
In today’s retail market, the terms describe one and the same. In the world of furniture dealers, used and collectible, there is a slight difference in the overall style.
- Country is a little more delicate and refined.
- Much of the farmhouse style is rough hewn and designed for lots of people (children) to be crowded together on a bench.
- Farmhouse is heavier.
- If looking for shabby chic, look for farmhouse if the area of placement will hold it.