Design Inspo

What Is Modern Farmhouse Style?

Let’s do a dive deep into what the modern farmhouse phenomenon is and how to make it work with your home’s interior decor.

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You’ve seen the Fixer Upper-inspired “shabby chic” signage in home interiors, and you may have even installed a sliding barn door over an entryway. You may think you know everything there is to know about farmhouse decor (thanks, Joanna Gaines), but do you know what separates a modern farmhouse from its traditional past? Could your very different interior design style ever gel with this look? 

We have the answers! Let’s take a deep dive into what makes modern farmhouse design … modern, and discover ways to bring the farmhouse aesthetic to your home — no matter what design style you have

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How To Make the Farmhouse-Style Modern

Joanna Gaines coined the term modern farmhouse to describe a style rooted in the traditional farmhouse culture of America’s past but built around functional, relaxed, and sleek spaces. Her vision took off and started a craze! I guess there's just something about the cosmopolitan edge of  rustic spaces that are very attractive to today’s homeowners.

Curate Authentic Pieces

The modern take on this home decor style differs from the traditional farmhouse by taking the practicality of mix-and-match furniture that’s durable enough to stand the test of time and streamlining your decor by including a few choice pieces. An uncluttered space lets these authentic pieces have their moment. 

Let that apron sink, a must for the modern farmhouse kitchen, shine by keeping the rest of the room light and bright with light reflective paint and wood. In the same way, the smooth lines of your modern bathroom can be the perfect backdrop for a galvanized trough sink. 

Choose Pieces on a Grander Scale

Today's farmhouse furnishings are on a larger scale than those of years past because ... well, humans are larger. Add to that the lifestyle change: where a day of work often culminates in lying on a plush, comfy couch for a little streaming time to decompress. You can see why the small, less padded, upright pieces of the past just won’t cut it. 

Since your pieces will be larger, consider editing the furnishings and decor in your home to streamline traffic flow and bring visual calm to your space. 

Add in Modern Metals

While you can appreciate the warmth of old-fashioned craftsmanship of natural materials, don’t rule out modern design elements like the use of metal in structural elements and furnishings. 

Sleek wrought iron stair railings or uncluttered metal window casings can bring your traditional look into this century. Just keep your use of mixed metals down to no more than two or three types — remember, we are going for relaxed calm here.

Create a Modern Uniformity in Design

Incorporate natural farmhouse materials in a subtly modern way that gives your variety of materials a uniformity of design. Your materials will still be natural but include modern adaptations. 

For instance, the natural stone you’d once see in the modern farmhouse living room fireplace is still going strong. Now, it can also translate to kitchen countertops with a less-traditional glossy marble waterfall edge. 

The warm wood of the classic farmhouse style was usually a hodge-podge of types and finishes layered in over the years. In contrast, today’s modern farmhouse is designed to keep the chaos of varying shades of wood to a minimum

Follow this trend by keeping your rustic, wide plank flooring consistent throughout your home. When you do find yourself with a mix of woods, consider painting some a fresh milky white. 

Use Old Architectural Features in a New Way

Farmhouse interior design mood board
A farmhouse design mood board created in Spoak by Amanda Friemel

Keeping uniformity of color and materials in mind, fill your home with natural materials used in functional and very visible ways for a genuine modern farmhouse look

Expose Your Wood Beams

The exposed timber beams of yore were often covered in later decades with new manufacturing technology to hold in heat. Uncover their beauty and let ceiling beams take center stage. 

You can even borrow the look and install faux beams to bring the farmhouse look to vaulted ceilings. 

Be Creative With Barn Doors

We already mentioned the ubiquitous sliding barn door (and that’s a look that screams modern farmhouse the Joanna Gaines way), but sourcing barn doors to replace builder-grade doors with a track system isn’t the only way to give a nod to this fresh style. 

Using reclaimed, natural wood for DIY projects is a huge internet favorite because the wood grain and texture add warmth and visual interest to modern interiors that may feel cold and lifeless. You can follow an online tutorial to turn your barn door into a large dining table for a holiday feast that gives your dining room the feeling of storied age.

Enjoy Shiplap More Than One Way

You may have seen enough white-painted shiplap to last a lifetime, but don’t let any recent connotations cloud your enjoyment of this timeless interior solution. 

It may not be necessary for weather-proofing your home, but the lines this treatment introduces to your space can make a room feel larger while injecting more country style. Try running your boards vertically, rather than the traditional horizontal way, to make rooms feel taller. 

Board and Batten Keeps Things Interesting

Much as shiplap adds texture to a room, board-and-batten recalls simpler days while jazzing up a plain wall. You can’t go wrong with a classic, crisp white, but there’s no rule that says you can’t employ another soft, neutral color for your wall colors. If you like the look of country white walls, consider painting an accent wall with paneling a deeper color as a strong focal point in your space.

Be Strategic With Reclaimed Wood

Curating your rustic elements carefully will keep your home feeling fresh and modern. Use reclaimed wood (or wood treated to make it appear salvaged) strategically to have as much impact as possible without overwhelming the space with texture. 

Instead of worrying about having authentic-looking natural oak cabinetry, Keep your painted kitchen cupboards and install one long open shelf in reclaimed barn wood. Old timber can be brought in as structural support or used to craft a custom kitchen island. 

How To Combine the Old and New in Your Home

If, at this point, you’re doubtful that this new (and ever-evolving) twist on a beloved style can work with your decor, trust us — it can! Let’s look at ways to incorporate modern farmhouse design ideas into several popular interior design trends.

Clean Lines for the Minimalist

The modern farmhouse look has the same appreciation for clean lines and functionality as the minimalist style. Any design style can be minimalist if you pare down your furnishings and choose a minimal, neutral color palette, but the practicality of farmhouse style allows it to smoothly transition to minimal. 

Some pointers: 

  • Keep the lines of shiplap calming by painting all of your wall paneling white. 
  • Keep your neutral color scheme, even if farmhouse traditional, to three colors that coordinate well.
  • Edit your interiors to just the key pieces your home needs to function, allowing authentic or rustic pieces to have a sculptural effect.

Work within your floor plan by creating a layout in Spoak’s design suite of tools to experiment with how well your pieces fit together in a minimal farmhouse space. 

Industrial Style Lends Itself to Farmhouse

Since farm living brings to mind equipment and functional, heavy-duty pieces, industrial decor can easily translate to a modern farmhouse. 

  • A simple coffee table built from reclaimed wood but affixed to industrial stainless steel casters sets the tone for your industrial farmhouse look. 
  • The rustic look of drywall and paneling, removed to reveal shiplap or lath, gives a rough, deconstructed edge.
  • Industrial light fixtures (like vintage factory pendants) are right at home over your reclaimed wood table. 
  • Add a wrought iron bed frame to your modern farmhouse-style bedroom for a bit of edge.

Find Where Mid-Century Design and Farmhouse Meet

The retro mid-century decor style is right at home in your modern farmhouse home because the two overlap in their use of natural elements, appreciation of clean lines, and attention to function over form. Try upping your mid-century farmhouse style like this:

  • Include mid-century molded dining chairs around your farmhouse table.
  • Throw a retro rug design over your wide plank floor to add a dash of color and mid-century style to your farmhouse. 
  • Choose mission-style furnishings that work with the wood tones of your exposed beams and plank flooring.
  • Install wood paneling in a diagonal or chevron pattern for maximum mid-century flair.
  • Choose geometric chandeliers or globe pendants that complement the simplicity of your modern farmhouse decor.

Let Grandmillenial and Farmhouse Overlap

Bring the mismatched charm of an authentic farmhouse back to your interior design by merging the modern farmhouse decor with your grandmillennial space. This is your chance to use a neutral farmhouse backdrop as the perfect palette for charming, colorful decor elements you may have been hoarding but are unsure how to use without overwhelming your home: 

  • Keep your color palette mostly neutral with a few fun pops of color as focal points, like bright blue couch cushions in a rustic wood frame.
  • Make space for vintage furniture pieces, like rattan chairs and gingham print chair cushions, for a fresh country style.
  • Use that Victorian-era-inspired wallpaper on the ceiling of your bedroom rather than completely wrapping the room in so much color. 
  • Play up the areas where grandmillennial and farmhouse intersect by featuring traditional arts like needlepoint pillows and hanging quilts as art.

Channel That Farmhouse Aesthetic

Now that you’ve read these farmhouse decor ideas and your mental wheels are turning (we mean the industrial metal variety, of course.), start mocking up your own space with modern farmhouse interiors using Spoak’s room visualization tool

Photo Credit: (Left) Scout & Nimble


Chip & Jo Totally Revived the Farmhouse Style. Here's How They Did It | Hunker

What Exactly Is a Modern Farmhouse? | The New York Times

How humans have changed in height in the last 100 years | CNN

How the sofa changed the world | Penn Today

All You Need to Know About Exposed Ceiling Beams | Bob Vila

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Date Posted
June 7, 2023



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