Modern farmhouse interior design: The complete guide
Add character to your home with these modern farmhouse interior design tips.
Whether you're in a city high-rise apartment or living the country life with chickens as your neighbors, you can embrace the modern farmhouse style.
This guide will show you how to create the perfect modern farmhouse atmosphere, whether you're just looking to add a touch of the trend or planning a full-scale remodel. Discover what makes modern farmhouse interior so inviting, get ideas for your own space, and learn the essential elements of modern farmhouse decor that'll help you create a contemporary, cozy space.
What is modern farmhouse interior design?
Let’s start with the most foundational question of all: what makes a modern farmhouse interior?
At its essence, modern farmhouse style is exactly what the name suggests: a meeting of rustic, country-style with more modern, contemporary elements. When it’s done well, modern farmhouse perfectly blends these contrasting styles into a cohesive, charming look.
Think stones and weathered, rustic wood next to stainless steel and marble or granite. Natural fibers and textures are juxtaposed with clean horizontal and vertical lines. The space is designed to feel big, bright, and open. The result is a cozy, relaxed, and natural feel that maintains a high-end elegance.
And while the style has the word “modern” in it, Becc Burgmann, founder of Becc Burgmann Interior Design explains that it’s nothing new: “The modern farmhouse interior style is [a] style that I think has always been around and popular, but it hasn’t been until recent years that it’s been defined as a style in itself.”
“There is a lot of distressed wood, older pieces ie antique bronze accessories like lamp bases, industrial style lighting, matte black balustrades on stairwells, wooden floors, etc. Then there is the Scandinavian aspect such as the style of furniture, the rugs, coffee tables, and especially plant options in wicker baskets, etc to furnish the spaces," adds Burgmann.
8 Modern farmhouse interior ideas
Now that you’ve understood what the essence of this style is, let's check out these eight farmhouse decor ideas for how you can incorporate it into your own home.
1. Wood flooring and paneled walls
One of the most prominent elements of modern farmhouse style is wood, both in flooring and on paneled walls. Organic, natural materials are foundational when it comes to this type of decor, creating a rustic, country feel, almost like you did your own flooring with trees from your land. As Burmann explains, “Natural hardwood flooring is more authentic in the modern farmhouse style simply for its rustic, weathered, and worn-in appearance. This adds a real authentic country farmhouse element to this style. The scratches and divots add character.”
Paneled walls, also known as VJ paneling or shiplap, are another important design feature in the modern farmhouse style. Paneled walls give that farm-esque barn door look, and consist of wooden boards running horizontally along a wall. Common in barns and sheds, they add another authentically homespun energy to a modern farmhouse home.
If you have exposed ceiling beams these can also add to the farmhouse vibe.
2. Scandinavian and mid-century style furniture
One of the main ways to bring a modern feel into your farmhouse home is to use Scandinavian design elements, especially regarding the furniture you choose. The clean lines and minimalist feel of Scandinavian mixes perfectly with the farmhouse aesthetic. When it comes to colors, we recommend sticking to greys, beige, and slight pops of color like yellow, burnt orange, and green.
“The greys can often come out in the couch fabric, rugs can… comprise of a geometrical pattern ie a cream rug with thin black lined diamonds, pops of burnt oranges and yellow in the accessories such as cushions and plants such as fiddle leaf figs,” says Burmann. This can also be balanced with a more farmhouse vibe by using elements of distressed wood in smaller furniture pieces like coffee tables and side tables.
3. Utilize contemporary elements
Of course, modern farmhouse interior design isn’t about trying to make your home look like it’s straight from a 19th-century farm. You’ll also want to bring in contemporary elements to your room design to maintain a feel of sophistication. In contrast to the traditional farmhouse design, which focuses on relaxation and comfort, “Modern farmhouse design takes those elements and adds more sophisticated features such as sleek lighting, glossy accents, and smooth lines. It's less rustic, more sophisticated, and uses contemporary design elements like stainless steel appliances and granite countertops,” explains Channa Alvarez, interior designer at Living Spaces.
4. Use contrasts by mixing old and new
As you’ve probably been able to pick up on by now, modern farmhouse interior design is all about contrast. That’s what makes it so unique and interesting. And one of the main dualities you can play with is combining the old and the new, especially when it comes to accessories. “For example, the coffee table may have new coffee table books, a new black ornament, and a new wooden bowl. On the wall however may be old horseshoes, an old wrought iron piece from a cattle yard, or an old tin milking bucket that’s now being used as a pot for a plant,” says Burmann.
When it comes to finding unique decor pieces and interior design ideas for your home, you’ll be able to shop all over the place from modern retailers to yard sales and antique stores.
“Antique stores are terrific for finding quirky pieces to take home and display somewhere. Not everything has to be old as the natural aged character of the home brings this already, but accessorizing with old and new creates a great balance," adds Burmann.
5. Embrace imperfections
One of the best things about leaning into a rustic feel for your decor is that flaws and signs of aging are welcome and celebrated. When it comes to wood, the more weathered and banged up, the better. Exposed wood beams and live edges are great. And older accessories are expected to show their age even if it means having some rustiness or staining. In short, you can embrace imperfections in this design style. So don’t worry about having to fix up that vintage mirror you found at an estate sale. When it comes to modern farmhouse style, it’s perfect the way it is.
6. Use lots of space
Something that separates modern farmhouse style from traditional farmhouse style is the focus on maintaining a sense of spaciousness and minimalism with high ceilings and open plans. Unlike a traditional farmhouse, which might have lots of little rooms, nooks, and crannies, a modern farmhouse space is best when it feels open and flowy.
This is just one of the reasons why modern farmhouse interior design is so great for family life. The open plans give “an essence of family connectedness, being in spaces that while you may be in a different area, you’re still within earshot or look of other family members… bringing members closer together and creating safe spaces to be enjoyed by every member of the family. This style is a gorgeous design style, but it’s by no means precious… there may be a football or two often kicked down the hallway,” says Burgmann.
7. Leverage neutral colors
When it comes to the color palette for modern farmhouse style, neutrals are key. Whites, creams, greys, taupes, browns, and tans are all welcome, especially when layered together. The effect is cozy while maintaining a clean elegance. Not only will a neutral color scheme crisp up your rooms in the house providing a sophisticated look, but lighter colored walls will also make any space feel bigger.
By using white or neutral paint colors, you’ll make your space feel more light, bright, and open. Plus, then the smaller pieces such as rugs and accessories will pop more against the crisp white.
8. Use industrial style fixtures
Last, but not least, a signature part of the modern farmhouse interior design look is the use of industrial style fixtures for things like lights, fans, rods, racks, and shelves. We’re talking about the look of metal, piping, exposed lightbulbs, and wood. These can be used in any room in the house. Says Burmann, “Industrial style lighting is quite popular in the pendants, for example, above the island bench. Blacks, heritage greens, and tin material are popular hues for light shades.”
How to create a modern farmhouse kitchen
When it comes to modern farmhouse kitchen design, the defining features to include are:
An open plan
A large island or large tables
Light, natural colored cabinetry
Industrial lighting fixtures
Apron Front/Farmhouse sink
Towels and aprons made of natural fibers
If you have the option, start with an open plan kitchen with an apron front sink. “The apron front sink is a dead giveaway for the farmhouse style but using a more contemporary styled apron front sink is one way to create the modern farmhouse style,” explains Jason Quint, owner of Signature Kitchens.
You’ll want your kitchen to look like a gathering place for the entire family. Use large islands and kitchen tables to encourage your family and friends to socialize in your home. The addition of benches as tables or a few bar stools around the kitchen island will emphasize the family gathering connotations of a modern farmhouse.
When it comes to accessorizing, remember to stick with a neutral color palette, leaning into the warmth of natural woods. “When I think of farmhouse I think of the words simple and clean but well worn with lots of character like your favorite pair of jeans,” describes Quint.
Wooden butcher blocks and towels made of linens or cotton are some functional home decor items that will complete the look.
How to create a modern farmhouse living room
Now on to one of the coziest spaces in your house: the living room. Here, you’ll want to create a space that is comfortable, lived in, and encourages people to gather together. Defining aesthetic features include:
Paneled walls (VJ paneling or shiplap)
Exposed wooden floors
Scandinavian-style pendant lighting
“Start with an older and distressed base, and move towards new and more modern when layering,” explains Burgmann. Similarly, you can start with a more neutral, white-leaning base color palette and add pops of Scandinavian-inspired color in the accessories. The result will perfectly blend the weathered and lived-in with the elevated and modern in a cohesive, flowing way.
How to create a modern farmhouse bedroom
Moving on to the bedroom, the room where the (design) magic happens. If any room in your modern farmhouse-style home should feel comfortable, lived-in, and cozy, it’s this one. The key features to include are:
A metal bedframe
Wooden side tables
Comfortable rugs and linens with simple patterns and muted colors
A quilted throw
Some distressed, antique pieces like dressers or benches
When it comes to colors, Alvarez suggests you “choose a neutral color palette to make your room feel fresh and open. Keep the colors simple with tones of cream, beige, silver and grey and use textured pillows to add depth.”
From there, you can add a combination of modern and rustic pieces. For your bed, you can’t go wrong with a traditional metal bed frame, which, explains Alvarez, is “sturdy, streamlined, and neutral and will offer a touch of old-world charm.” From there, adding more cozy and rustic textiles and furnishings will bring in the farmhouse feel.
Is modern farmhouse style outdated in 2023?
Because modern farmhouse interior design heavily references traditional, older styles and looks, some people might wonder if it is “out” or outdated. Well, it’s important to distinguish here between modern farmhouse and traditional farmhouse. Modern farmhouse actually aims to maintain a contemporary feel to it, meaning that it specifically avoids looking too kitschy or dated. Plus, the farmhouse elements that you include can be chosen to be classic and timeless rather than simply trendy.
Alvarez explains, “Farmhouse interior design has stood the test of time by evolving and modernizing. This style will continue to be on trend because there’s an enduring and warm-hearted element about this style. This design is supposed to look like it has evolved over time which allows homeowners to continue to make updates without completely overhauling their style.”
What are the benefits of modern farmhouse interior design?
In addition to being a popular aesthetic that many people connect with and love, there are several benefits to modern farmhouse interior design style.
First of all, it’s made to be able to stand the test of time. According to Burgmann, “You can easily change the style with time if you wish. For example, you can begin with the distressed farmhouse look, but change the soft furnishings if you wish to create a more provincial style, or even more modern look, or retro to industrial aesthetic.”
It’s also worth noting that the modern farmhouse style really promotes togetherness and bonding, helping to bring your family together with its cozy spaces and open plans. You’ll love to gather together around your kitchen island or sit in the comfortable living room.
And, of course, it’s worth noting the benefits of having so many natural elements in your decor. As Alvarez says, “Anytime you bring in a natural element like wood it bonds your spirit with the outdoors. Pairing wooden tones, with a farm table for example, with materials such as metals or recycled glass allows families to gather and feel at ease because of the overall relaxed nature of style.”
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