If you love home decor as much as I do, you probably know that the 'farmhouse chic' trend is all the rage right now. The colors red, black, and white are a big part of the trend, but have you ever thought to stop and wonder why that is?

Somehow while I was searching for Christmas decor ideas featuring red and black buffalo plaid, I stumbled down a rabbit hole about farmhouse lore and discovered something very interesting...the reason most barns in Illinois, Wisconsin, and beyond are painted red.

Why Are Barns Usually Painted Red?

Red barns contrasting a white farmhouse is a historic eye-catcher that has remained constant through today, but according to howstuffworks.com, we have European farmers to truly thank for the red barn trend. The European farmers used rusty-colored linseed oil to protect their barn wood, or they bought the cheapest paint they could afford.

As European settlers crossed over to America, they brought with them the tradition of red barns. In the mid to late 1800s, as paints began to be produced with chemical pigments, red paint was the most inexpensive to buy.


Ok, that makes sense for why the rusty red barns, (otherwise known as 'farmhouse red'), existed back then, but what about the brighter, darker red ones? Rumor has it that before farmers could actually run to Menards, Home Depot, or Lowe's to buy bright red paint for their barns, they used animal blood to tint their linseed oil. WHAT?!? Howstuffworks.com says;

Wealthy farmers added blood from a recent slaughter to the oil mixture. As the paint dried, it turned from a bright red to a darker, burnt red.

Hmm. I'm not sure how I feel about this fact, but waste not, want not, right?

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