All About Modern Farmhouse Style

Traditional design offering comfortable, inviting spaces with a modern touch

Modern farmhouse styled kitchen with white walls by wooden dining table and metal furniture

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Comfy, cozy, and full of charm, modern farmhouse is not going out of style anytime soon. Designers like Joanna Gaines of "Fixer Upper" have showcased this chic style in all its comforting glory, and people are flocking to the look. In many ways, it grew as a response to the minimalist trend that was popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. Modern farmhouse design allows people to embrace tradition and surround themselves with decor that makes them feel good—but with a modern twist reflective of the times. 

If you want to get the modern farmhouse look, here's what you need to know.

What Is Modern Farmhouse Style?

Modern farmhouse design evokes feelings of warmth and comfort. It's traditional without being fussy, classic without being like a museum, and comfortable in a way that makes you want to put your feet up and stay a while.

While classic farmhouse style evokes homesteads with plenty of vintage furnishings and traditional fabrics, modern farmhouse style is a bit less rustic and adds more contemporary touches, such as a neutral color scheme and smooth lines. Modern farmhouse is all about mixing comfortable furniture with salvaged materials, such as reclaimed wood

Antiques are right at home in modern farmhouse interiors, though they shouldn't be too delicate to touch. Everything should be tactile and tangible. Most of all, modern farmhouse style is cozy without being cluttered.

KG designs modern farmhouse

KG Designs

Common Elements of Modern Farmhouse Style

In every modern farmhouse home, you'll find some combination of these decor elements:

  • Reclaimed wood
  • Barnboard details 
  • Big comfortable furniture
  • Architectural salvage
  • Pine furniture
  • Wrought iron accents
  • Wide plank floors
  • Vintage accessories
Rebecca Rollins modern farmhouse

Rebecca Rollins

Get the Modern Farmhouse Look

The key to achieving a modern farmhouse interior and exterior is all about comfort. Furniture should invite you to sit down, and nothing should look as though it's too fragile to touch. There's a down-home feeling in modern farmhouse decor that should invite a sense of laughter and fun.

  • Start with a color palette of warm or cool neutrals (cream, beige, silver, sage, and gray all work well), and then layer in some natural wood tones. Look for salvaged woods that have some wear and tear whenever possible. Scratches, knots, and nicks add to the authenticity of the look.
  • Feel free to use colors you're fond of as accent pieces. But to stay true to the look, try to keep the overall color scheme neutral with light colors. Contrasting black elements can add a bit of edge.
  • Use a variety of textures to give the look some depth. Mix woods and metals. And combine fabrics, such as cotton, canvas, wool, chenille, or whatever else you like. Because modern farmhouse style is largely made up of neutral colors, you'll need a mix of textures to keep the space from looking flat. For example, in a modern farmhouse living room, you could add texture with upholstered furniture, pillows, curtains, and even wall art made of wood or metal.
  • Layer in some mixed metals by way of light fixtures, hardware, and architectural details like railings. As a general rule, it's best to use no more than three metals per room. For instance, in a modern farmhouse kitchen, you might have complementary metals on your appliances, cabinet hardware, and lighting.
  • Use organic materials to keep the space feeling as though it's connected to the outdoors. Wood floors and architectural details are best, but also consider introducing stone, wicker, rattan, sisal, and other natural materials wherever it makes sense.
  • Accessories are an important element, but under no circumstances should you overdo it and try to squeeze in too many. A few well-placed accessories that are given room to breathe are all you need to complete the look.

Modern Farmhouse Interiors vs. Exteriors

A modern farmhouse exterior often has some combination of the following elements:

  • White paint (can be painted brick, siding, etc.)
  • Potentially board and batten or x-shaped trim that's reminiscent of barns
  • Simple front door—often a double door and/or a door with windows or sidelights to let in extra natural light—that's commonly stained wood or painted in a subtle color
  • A black, gray, or metal roof
  • Not overly ornate trim
  • Potentially shutters
  • A simple rectangular structure, possibly with additions that are also rectangular
  • A large front covered porch
  • Many windows
  • Modern versions of rustic lighting, such as a streamlined lantern
  • Neat and simple landscaping

The modern farmhouse exterior complements the modern farmhouse interior in several ways. For one, the windows let in lots of natural light to make the interior feel bright, inviting, and comfortable. The simplicity of the exterior also sets the tone that the house isn't too fussy or stuffy, which is carried through inside with the uncomplicated modern farmhouse decor. And the typically large front porches—or wraparound porches—show that the home is a place to gather. Plus, the clean lines of the exterior also complement the uncluttered nature of the interior, which helps to modernize the whole look.

Large modern farmhouse exterior

PC Photography / Getty Images

Example of a neutral modern famrhouse exterior

Amber Pierce Designs

Frontal shot of a modern farmhouse exterior

PC Photography / Getty Images

White paint and black trim used in a modern farmhouse exterior

Andrea Davis / Unsplash

How Modern Farmhouse Compares to Other Styles

Modern farmhouse is similar to country style. However, while country tends to lean a little toward kitschy, modern farmhouse retains a certain level of sophistication. Country also relies heavily on accessories while modern farmhouse keeps them to a minimum.

Industrial farmhouse style has become an offshoot of modern farmhouse. As its name suggests, it draws inspiration both from farmhouse and industrial styles. Industrial style by itself plays up raw architectural elements, including metals, wood, bricks, glass, and concrete. And it uses relatively dark neutral tones.

The main difference between modern farmhouse and industrial farmhouse is that the industrial version tends to use darker finishes, mixed metals, and live-edge wood. Modern farmhouse, on the other hand, tends to be whiter and brighter.

FAQ
  • What is the modern farmhouse look?

    Cozy, contemporary, clean, simple, rustic, and comforting; these words encompass the modern farmhouse style. Expect to see neutral colors, reclaimed wood, shiplap, and big comfy furniture.

  • What is the difference between modern farmhouse and country style?

    Modern farmhouse style is similar to country style but uses white or light neutral colors with a cleaner, more contemporary look, while country style includes bright and pastel colors, and floral or gingham patterns. Both styles use reclaimed wood, pottery, metals, and baskets in their decor.

  • What wall paint colors are used in modern farmhouse style?

    Neutral colors, including whites, are used on the walls in the modern farmhouse look. Other colors include grays, beige, greige, tans, blues, and greens.