Style & Design
Modern Farmhouse Look—Room by Room
By Susan Wagner, Editor, Country Sampler Farmhouse Style
A clean, casual and inviting look, yet one that reflects a more sophisticated attitude, modern farmhouse style is the home decor design that is perfect for the city or the country. See what elements come together to make up this trending look and how you can replicate the style room by room.
Back in the early 2010s, the term "modern farmhouse style" wasn't even showing up on Google searches, but by 2016 the phrase was skyrocketing to the top of the search lists as more and more people wanted to find out about this trending look that seemed to be the perfect crossover between rustic and refined. All of a sudden there was a style for everyone to enjoy—whether you preferred cushy couches, raw woods and natural-fiber baskets or tended toward more sleek metals, neutral backgrounds and stylized shelving arrangements. It's a look that's functional and practical, mixes old and new and celebrates your own personal touch.
So what makes up this modern farmhouse look? Very simply, it takes a comfortable relaxed look and adds modern touches, smooth lines and sleek elements. It starts with a neutral base in a large open space and brings in functional pieces, soft touches and textured elements, yet maintains an edited minimalist look. Touches of industrial design, especially in lighting, add in another design angle, and reclaimed barn wood offers a natural element to the rooms. Metals in low-sheen or matte finishes are found on fixtures or bed frames touching on the modern side of the look, while organic textures such as rattan or stone flip to the country end
If you love this look (and who doesn't!), here are the main elements that bring this style to light in every room of the house.
The kitchen is probably the one room in the house where you can truly create the modern farmhouse look. After all, large functional and friendly kitchens were a hallmark of original farmhouses. It's here where you can bring in the industrial elements while showcasing traditional farmhouse dishes. Some of the main elements of modern farmhouse style in the kitchen include:
- Deep apron sink. Traditional white cast iron is iconic, but a more hammered metal look creates a personal modern style.
- Painted cabinetry and islands. Stained cabinets from decades ago have made way for painted cabinets. Many modern farmhouse kitchens have white or cream cabinets, but a new trend is to have the bottom cabinets a different color from the top.
- Open shelving. Speaking of cabinets, one element of this design style is to forgo the top cabinets completely and opt for open shelves. These shelves are often thick wood slabs, sometimes with pipe or industrial metal as brackets.
- Raw wood. In the kitchen look for the reclaimed barn wood or other wood textures to appear as tops to islands, ceiling beams, or even cutting boards set together as decoration.
- Industrial stools. This is another place where the industrial design aesthetic comes in. Look for wood and metals blended together for island seating.
In this room comfort and personal style reigns. It is in the living room where you'll combine the soft cushiony couch with a unique old barn wood mantel or a large round farmhouse clock. Be sure to bring in textures freely. Think chunky throws, rattan or wicker baskets, or stone hearths. Some other elements for this room include:
- Natural fibers. Baskets are great functional yet decorative pieces for the living room. The fibers and colors soften more rigid lines you might find in the modern style, and extra blankets, pillows, magazines, or even knitting supplies, can be kept inside.
- Exposed brick or shiplap walls. Of all the rooms in the home, the living room is the one where an accent wall will likely have the most visibility. Consider leaving a wall exposed to the rough texture of the brick (or look into faux brick wallpaper to get the look). Shiplap—the iconic element of farmhouse style—can be replicated in a variety of ways without having to actually reside the whole wall.
- Open ceilings. If your home has a raised ceiling take advantage of it. The soaring rooms echo those large spaces of traditional barns.
- Exposed beams. Here's another spot where reclaimed or raw wood can come into play.
- Simple mantel or shelf displays. One standout of modern farmhouse styledx is the clean simple arrangement of the décor. Keep the pieces on your mantel or shelves to a minimum and let your favorite pieces stand out.
- Wood floors. Wide planks with smoother finishes add that bit of gleam that modern homes love but also keep to the casual nature of the farmhouse look.
In the bedroom, the soft nature of farmhouse style really comes forth. A large bed filled with cozy blankets, crisp linens and perhaps even a quilt sets the tone for the entire room. But although the bedding itself may be on the soft side, more modern elements can present in the form of a black wrought-iron bed or an industrial-style nightstand. Some modern farmhouse elements that make their home in the bedroom include:
- A metal or polished wood bed. Black wrought iron is the preferred metal of choice here, but a pencil post bed with simple architecture or a neutral painted wooden headboard would be just as stylish.
- Cotton or linen sheets, pillowcases and other bedding. For a farmhouse bedroom, the more the better. Think of piled-high farmhouse beds where all the kids could take an afternoon nap. A quilt could be appropriate as well, but to keep it toward a more modern aesthetic, keep the design and color scheme simple.
- Wood and metal nightstands. A combo of country and chic comes together here. One trend we're seeing more of are tables with metal hairpin legs.
Bathrooms may be small but they can still exude modern farmhouse style. Here is where functionality is the key element. Bathrooms can easily look overcrowded and messy but with sleek shelves or cabinets and wicker or metal baskets to corral toiletries, the look is clean, modern and stylish. Some elements we see a lot of in modern farmhouse style bathrooms include:
- Subway tile. Other than shiplap, subway tile may be the most iconic wall treatment for a modern farmhouse room, and especially for a bathroom. The clean white lines of the tile bespeak modern styling.
- Simple metal drawer pulls. On the cabinets, look for hardware that is sleek and not overly done.
- Round mirrors with metal edges. Hanging from a thick rope or chain, this mirror is a fashionable and functional accessory for a farmhouse bathroom.
- Claw foot tubs. These vintage-style tubs give an instant design sense to your bathroom. Nowadays the tubs come in different designs and you can find one with a bit more modern styling.
As you can see, the modern farmhouse style is a look that can work in nearly any style home and be a practical yet stunning decorative scheme for all your rooms. To help get the look, be sure to browse Riverbend Home for furnishings, lighting and more.
Country Sampler Farmhouse Style is produced four times a year. Issues are available for sale at newsstands or at SamplerMagazines.com. To learn more about the magazine, or sign up for a subscription, visit FarmhouseStyleMag.com.