The Basics of Modern Farmhouse Style

A dining room and living room with built ins.

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Comfy, cozy, and full of charm, modern farmhouse style is as popular as ever. Shows like HGTV's "Fixer Upper" showcase this chic style in all its comforting glory, and people are still 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. For the past few years, people have been looking to embrace tradition and surround themselves with things that make 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 style 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 like a neutral color scheme and smooth lines. Modern farmhouse is all about mixing comfortable furniture with salvaged materials like reclaimed wood. Antiques are right at home in modern farmhouse interiors, but none that are too delicate to touch. Everything is tactile and tangible. Most of all, modern farmhouse style is cozy without being cluttered.

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

Common Elements of Modern Farmhouse Style

In every modern farmhouse home, you'll find a combination of some of the below elements.

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

Get the Modern Farmhouse Look

The key to achieving the modern farmhouse look 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 that invites 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 in order to stay true to the look, try to keep the overall color scheme neutral, with light colors. Contrasting black elements add a bit of edge.
  • Be sure to use a variety of textures to give the look some depth. Mix woods and metals and combine fabrics like cotton, canvas, wool, chenille, or whatever else you like. Since modern farmhouse style is largely made up of neutral colors, you'll need a mix of textures to keep the space from looking flat.
  • 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.
  • 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.