Modern farmhouse styles have become incredibly popular in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Modern farmhouse designs combine the rustic charm and organic materials of traditional farmhouse looks with modern shapes and design elements to create spaces that feel at once warm, comfortable, and inviting.
If you’re thinking of giving your dining room a modern farmhouse makeover, then consider the following expert tips, which will help you style your space from top to bottom. You’ll also find plenty of photo inspiration to inform your own unique look.
Key elements of a modern farmhouse dining room
Modern farmhouse designs combine traditional farmhouse looks' rustic warmth and simplicity with more modern elements. For instance, in a modern farmhouse dining room, you might find classic farmhouse elements, like shiplap walls, vintage lighting, and a barn door, paired with clean, modern furniture and home decor, like modern dining chairs or a jute rug and a fresh neutral color palette.
Modern farmhouse looks also tend to emphasize simplicity and functionality, so you won’t find lots of elaborate home decor or furniture in most modern farmhouse spaces. Instead, you’ll find the perfect marriage of pared-back form and function.
And the beauty of modern farmhouse looks compared to traditional farmhouse spaces is that you don’t need all of the built-in rustic elements that traditional farmhouse designs require. “While many of us long for high-beamed ceilings and a true farmhouse feel in our homes,” says Robin DeCapua, owner and designer at Madison Modern Home, “we may be stuck with standard-height ceilings and a more basic architectural frame. But with a modern farmhouse look you can create a fresh farmhouse feel without the built-in architectural elements.”
1. Start with neutral walls
Neutral paint colors are a staple of modern farmhouse design because they make it easier to focus on the organic materials, textiles, and accents that make this look so appealing.
Neutral color palettes also make a space feel more expansive and airy, which is a nice complement to the open floor plans and indoor-outdoor living spaces common among modern farmhouse designs.
Painting your walls a warm, creamy white will give you a blank canvas on which you can build out your design ideas.
Beige and warm gray are both great paint wall options. You can also opt for white to give yourself a blank slate. According to Robin DeCapua, “Painting your walls a warm, creamy white will give you a blank canvas on which you can build out your design ideas.”
2. Opt for a rustic table
Once you decide on a neutral color scheme for your walls, it’s time to figure out the centerpiece of your dining room design—the dining room table.
This is where you can really lean into the rustic side of modern farmhouse design. Robin DeCapua recommends that the dining table “is made of natural materials and features a bit of a rustic feel. Weathered wood, light oak, and pine are good choices.“
And if you opt for a rustic dining table, consider pairing it with modern farmhouse decor pieces, like a sleek vase or table runner.
3. Create contrast with chairs
Since modern farmhouse dining rooms emphasize functionality, it’s helpful to play with contrasts among the functional elements to create a more visually interesting look. And dining chairs are a great way to do just that. For instance “A lighter wood table looks great paired with dark chairs,” advises Robin DeCapua.
Contrasting different aesthetics is also an effective approach. “You can veer toward mid-century modern if you want that urban farmhouse look, or go with a Windsor back chair for a vintage-y feel.”
4. Add muted accents
While it might be tempting to pair your neutral color scheme with lots of bold accents, that’s counter to a true modern farmhouse look. If you want to stick with this particular aesthetic, then you should opt for more subtle and muted home decor.
“Remember that farmhouse style is almost completely neutral,” says Robin DeCapua. “But feel free to add just one or two subtle muted pastels. Underneath it all, either a neutral textured rug or a cowhide will complete the room.”
5. Keep it simple
Elegant simplicity is a defining tenet of modern farmhouse design styles, so when in doubt, lean more minimalist than maximalist. But simple definitely doesn’t have to be boring; it just means being thoughtful about the home decor you choose.
For example, “Do you have a corner that's feeling a little empty? A tall fiddle leaf fig in a rustic basket is just the ticket to fill out your space,” says Robin DeCapua. “And if you have room for a console table, then place a simple ceramic lamp on top of it and add wall decor, like a large piece of art or round mirror above.”
That said, if you have a lot of home decor and knick-knacks that you can’t bear to part with, then open shelving is a nice solution that will showcase your items in a clean, contained way.
6. Don’t forget the tabletop design
Since the dining table is the focal point of most modern farmhouse dining room designs, the way you decorate the tabletop can make a major impact on your overall aesthetic.
“An oversize vase with a tangle of greenery works well,” says Robin DeCapua. Additionally, you can opt for a sleek table runner paired with a modern decorative bowl or candle holders. Pretty placemats and serving trays can also elevate your look with form and function.
Modern farmhouse dining room examples
1. Elegant farmhouse
This modern farmhouse dining room pairs warm, natural wood accents and other organic materials with elegant lines and compelling contrasts to create an ultra-dynamic design—the centerpiece of which is a gorgeous reclaimed wood dining table.
According to Robin DeCapua, “The custom-made reclaimed wood dining table is from an LA local craftsperson at Candidate Wood. We chose large black-framed cream upholstered chairs to stand up to the heft of this statement piece.”
The dining room is also filled with thoughtful accents. “A vintage black Chinese altar table is the perfect size to place two large brass drum tables under. A lamp, oversized neutral art, a bust on a stand, and a window pane mirror finish off the space.”
2. Mid-century modern meets farmhouse
The beauty of modern farmhouse looks is that they can be easily integrated into other minimalist aesthetics that prioritize functionality, like mid-century modern design.
This stunning space combines modern farmhouse furniture and home decor, like a textural table runner and natural wood table, with airy, mid-century modern-inspired dining chairs, creating an inviting, layered look.
“The dining area is sandwiched between the living room and kitchen, affording us just enough space to work with a large wooden dining table,” says Robin. “We kept the farmhouse theme going with our simple tabletop decor and added a cowhide rug underneath. We love how this room melds two distinct styles and manages to please everyone in the process.”
3. Classic industrial farmhouse
Windsor-back chairs are a staple of classic farmhouse design, and when painted black like this, they rock a modern flair. Meanwhile, a variety of greenery and wood tones ground this dining room design with rustic warmth, while a stunning chandelier punctuates this dining space with a fresh, contemporary vibe.
According to Robin, “A lot of reclaimed wood was used in this project, and we were really pleased with how different wood tones can play well together if they're unified by one element.”
4. Subtle farmhouse flair
This is another example of how to add multiple styles to a dining area to create a unique look. This dining room design combines traditional elements, like tufted dining chairs, with a warm, neutral color palette and modernized farmhouse accents, like the chandelier. There are even some contemporary home decor pieces thrown in, such as the vase.
“Sometimes, as an interior designer, you need to put a slight spin on a concept to satisfy a client,” says Doreen Amico-Sorell, interior designer and founder of Sorell Interiors. “For example, this client liked the farmhouse style but didn’t want it to be too ‘farm-y’. So, I started with furniture with clean lines and a modernized wagon wheel chandelier, and I accessorized it with décor. The client was ecstatic.”
5. Farmhouse focal points
If you have an architectural element in your space that you love, like these gorgeous double-story windows showcasing a beautiful view, then you can use it as a focal point around which to build the rest of your dining room design.
With its clean lines and ladderback chairs, this dining room set provided the perfect mix of modern and farmhouse.
“This dining area design was influenced by the homeowner’s passion for modern farmhouse style and their desire to preserve the breathtaking views but improve privacy and light control,” says Doreen. “With its clean lines and ladderback chairs, this dining room set provided the perfect mix of modern and farmhouse.”
6. Farmhouse functionality
The best interior designs are as practical as they are gorgeous, especially if you have little ones in the house. This modern farmhouse dining room features breezy slipcovered dining chairs that look great while being protected from the dirt and debris that often accompany a household full of kids and pets. And they sit around a stunning solid wood dining table that serves as the centerpiece of the design.
“For this farmhouse-inspired dining room, we started with a beautiful solid wood farmhouse table. As the clients have children and a little dog, we decided to slipcover the dining chairs so they could be easily washed. Black pendant lights and white walls complete the classic farmhouse look,” said Jil Sonia McDonald of Jil Sonia interiors.
7. Light and airy farmhouse
Unlike traditional farmhouse designs, which tend to be on the heavier side, opting for a modern farmhouse look paves the way for a lighter and airier design that still incorporates the textural warmth of traditional farmhouse aesthetics. For instance, this modern farmhouse kitchen and dining space feels all sorts of light and breezy without sacrificing a farmhouse feel, thanks to a mix of industrial, modern farmhouse, and minimalist elements.
“We wanted to pair modern clean lines with the warmth of classic farmhouse touches in this dining room design,” said Jennifer Davis. “The homeowners gravitate toward the farmhouse style but we also wanted to incorporate some fun industrial touches that would be easy to swap out someday if their style changed.”
8. Coastal farmhouse
This modern farmhouse design incorporates coastal elements, like multiple blue accents and warm wood finishes, that give it a fresh, beachy vibe. But it also features plenty of farmhouse touches, like a modernized farmhouse light fixtures, jute area rug, and natural wood console table.
“In this dining room, I added a reclaimed English beam console table with two lights, which provide low-level lighting that creates a nice ambience,” said Julia Dempster, founder of Julia Dempster Design. “I also added greenery in painted clay pots to give a grounded, earthy, and rustic feel.”
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