Interior Design Style Guide: Modern Farmhouse

Published on
April 4, 2023
Written by

Like strolling through a local farmers market or drinking a glass of mason jar moonshine, the modern farmhouse design style delights in its homey comfort and country charm. And in the aftermath of a global pandemic and looming economic crisis, I think we’re all looking for ways to return to the (in retrospect) warm and cozy simpler times of yesteryear.

But how did this traditional interior design style get labeled “modern?” Why is it so popular among urban city-dwellers? And now that Fixer Upper is gone, where can I get my Waco farmhouse fix?

The Look

The word farmhouse connotates a large living space where people work, cook, eat, and socialize.

Similarly, the modern farmhouse interior design style blends practical functionality with old country chic. Pieces are sturdy and worn, made of hard-wearing materials like wood, stone, and iron. But unlike the traditional farmhouse, they also retain a certain air of sophistication, like modern fixtures and sleek metal accents alongside rustic tables and weathered leather chairs.

Its neutral color palette adds warmth while maintaining an elegant look--think whitewashed shiplap and exposed brick fireplaces. And of course, no modern farmhouse is complete without some vintage accessories. But again, everything needs to be functional and long-lasting--and above all, provide some warm and cozy feels.

The History

The modern farmhouse style originated with--you guessed it--farmhouse living. And it has evolved through the centuries.

Farmhouses were obviously not about aesthetic appeal, and their inhabitants cared more for storage and easy maintenance, with daily life centered around a big kitchen. And staple farmhouse furniture relied on sturdy materials like wood, stone, steel, and iron.

Over 100 years later, in 1989, Rachel Ashwell made farmhouse style fashionable with her Shabby Chic shop in Santa Monica, complete with vintage furniture, white slipcovers, and humble decor--a definite departure from the financial excesses of the ‘80s. And during the ‘90s recession, the style provided homeowners with a cheap, DIY-able design option, all the while harkening back to simpler, more comfortable times.

Sure enough, after the 2008 crash, people once again looked to the farmhouse design style for much needed comfort and simplicity. HGTV networks started airing programs that were DIY centered, with an emphasis on restoring the old. Fixer Upper then debuted in 2013, showcasing rustic pieces, cozy living spaces, and definitively modernizing the farmhouse interior style for new audiences. Then in 2016 the New York Times used the phrase “modern farmhouse” to describe one interior design firm’s use of reclaimed wood, antique pieces, and minimalist style. A couple years later Ashley Homestore launched their Mane + Mason modern farmhouse line, delivering the look to a massive audience.

It may have taken a couple hundred years to penetrate the interior design world, but now that it has, the modern farmhouse style is here to stay.

Quick DIY Tips

As marketing strategist for BoldRM, here are my modern farmhouse design 6 tips for making a big impact with little money.  

  1. Incorporate natural elements: One of the hallmarks of modern farmhouse style is the use of natural materials such as wood, metal, and stone. You can bring this into your decor by using natural wood accents, stone surfaces, and metal hardware. For example, you could create a DIY wooden sign with a farmhouse-inspired saying, or install a barn door using reclaimed wood.
  2. Mix vintage and modern: Another characteristic of modern farmhouse style is the mix of vintage and modern elements. To achieve this, you could repurpose vintage items like old milk crates or galvanized buckets as planters, and pair them with modern accents like clean-lined furniture or contemporary lighting. Repurpose older items by using vintage ladders as shelves, or by transforming mason jars into light fixtures.
  3. Choose a neutral color palette: Modern farmhouse decor tends to use a neutral color palette of whites, creams, grays, and muted earth tones. You can achieve this by painting walls or furniture in these colors, or by using neutral textiles like linen or cotton for curtains, pillows, and throws.
  4. Use texture: Texture is an important element of modern farmhouse style, and you can add it to your decor through textiles, natural materials, and DIY projects. For example, you could create a DIY macrame wall hanging or a chunky knit throw, or add texture with a jute rug or woven basket.
  5. Bring in greenery: Plants are a great way to add life and freshness to any decor style, and they work especially well with modern farmhouse style. You could create a DIY planter box for a window sill, or hang a collection of succulents in macrame holders. Just make sure to choose plants that thrive in the light conditions of your space.
  6. Create a cozy atmosphere: Finally, modern farmhouse style is all about creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. You can achieve this with soft lighting, cozy textiles, and rustic decor elements like candles or lanterns. You could also create a DIY centerpiece using natural materials like branches or dried flowers, or display a collection of vintage bottles or jars on a windowsill.

The modern farmhouse interior design style has been around for centuries, but has gained popularity in recent years due to its warm and cozy atmosphere that provides a sense of comfort and simplicity. Its blend of practical functionality with old country chic, vintage accessories, and neutral color palette creates an elegant and sophisticated look that is appealing to many urban city-dwellers. And with the rise of DIY culture and the availability of affordable modern farmhouse decor options, it's easier than ever to incorporate this style into your home. By following these quick DIY tips, anyone can create a modern farmhouse space that is both inviting and stylish without breaking the bank.

Share this blog:

More Blogs

Let's get your property staged and sold, fast.