What Is Modern Farmhouse Style?

Tired of the minimalistic aesthetic that dominated interior design trends for so many years? You're in luck. Modern farmhouse style is here to provide a warmer and more inviting alternative. According to Homes & Gardens, the modern farmhouse style achieved prominence in 2020, and doesn't look like it's going anywhere any time soon. This style, in a way, offers the best of both worlds because it combines the coziness of a more rural country look with a modern sensibility that elevates it and gives it a contemporary aesthetic. As designer Anna Beeber says, "Today, the modern farmhouse is a celebration of the historic form, updated with interiors that embrace a contemporary design perspective," adding, "The relationship between the old and the new must be considered and work in tandem with one another — the harmony is essential."

Additionally, designer Emma Sims-Hilditch explains that modern farmhouse is perfect for people who are seeking the sense of comfort found in a traditional country-style home, but who "also want their home to be practical and to work for their needs." In this article, we'll explore everything you need to know about the modern farmhouse style, explain the difference between a classic farmhouse and a modern farmhouse, and give tips on how to achieve it in your home.

What is a modern farmhouse?

The term "modern farmhouse" can refer to a style of building or an interior decorating style. In terms of house styles, a modern farmhouse refers to a home that is inspired by the traditional farmhouses found in rural America. When it comes to exteriors, you'll typically see white painted siding. Vevano Homes' Director of Design and Product Martha McNamara says, "The main color for the farmhouse style is definitely white, reminiscent of the whitewash commonly used in traditional farmhouses. White, or other neutral tones, help draw attention and enhance other colors and textures you're using."

The interior décor style known as modern farmhouse is achievable in homes with or without modern farmhouse exteriors. In fact, you can even find modern farmhouse décor in contemporary condos. It evokes memories of a simpler time and displays an appreciation for classic craftsmanship, according to Bob Vila. While the furnishings in a modern farmhouse-style home may be reminiscent of those found in 19th century farmsteads, they don't actually have to be vintage. There are plenty of options for modern furniture and décor items that are inspired by the farmhouse aesthetic (via The Spruce).

Classic farmhouse vs. modern farmhouse

There's a key distinction between the classic farmhouse aesthetic and the modern farmhouse style. While classic farmhouse style leans towards a maximalist sensibility, the modern farmhouse aesthetic has a more minimalistic look that's in line with contemporary interior decorating styles. The classic farmhouse aesthetic took things literally, offering barn-style doors, shiplap walls, and faux rustic accessories. The modern farmhouse, on the other hand, features a mix of old and new, with a streamlined look that feels totally current.

While the classic farmhouse trend has been around for years, the modern farmhouse look has only become popular more recently. Lucy Harris of Lucy Harris Studios explains the origins of the classic farmhouse trend. "After the recession in 2008, people didn't want to look like they were spending a lot of money," she told The Spruce. "What came about was people still wanted to be out together, go to restaurants, but they didn't want to be the flashy ones." This led to restaurants changing their décor style to offer a more homey aesthetic. "Restaurants started using design elements that felt authentic," Harris continues. "So exposed filament light bulbs and white subway tile in restaurants came about, and [modern] farmhouse came from there."

How to achieve a modern farmhouse style

Now that you have a better idea of what modern farmhouse style is, let's explore how to incorporate it into your home. Designer Emma Sims-Hilditch explains to Homes & Gardens, "To us, modern farmhouse style is all about creating a cozy interior with layers, pattern, and color." In terms of how to achieve the look, she has a few suggestions, saying, "One way to get this look (if budget allows) is to open up ceilings to expose the rafters and make the most of the height. Alternatively, adding materials such as limewashed timber cladding to walls and ceilings can immediately transform a room." Try embracing some of the architectural elements your home already has — like wooden beams or brick walls — rather than hiding them under plaster and drywall.

While these recommendations involve major renovations, there are also ways to give a room the modern farmhouse style simply by changing the furnishings. "When it comes to choosing fabrics, try pairing multiple patterns and materials such as a chunky linen with a smooth velvet in a similar color palette," Sims-Hilditch continues. When it comes to materials, natural is best — think wood, brick, and rustic tiles. Bring in natural textures for accents like jute, wool, leather, wicker, and rattan in order to ground the space.

Sims-Hilditch advises that home decorators maintain a limited color palette in order to prevent the look from becoming too chaotic. The easiest way to do this is to stick to a neutral color palette and try to err on the side of warm tones like cream, beige, and warm gray. Creative Director of Little Greene Ruth Mottershead explains that "Using different neutral tones from the same color family allows for layering and seamless shifts from room to room giving a sense of consistency with subtle nuances." Additionally, interior designer Kate Lester suggests using black as an accent to create a visual juxtaposition. "Adding pops of black doesn't make a space feel darker, in fact, it's the opposite! Black is the perfect juxtaposition to the crisp white and creates a perfectly balanced backdrop for rugs and furnishings," she says.

Try these ideas for yourself to create the modern farmhouse vibe in your home.