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Tips for Creating a Modern Farmhouse

March 09, 2022
Exterior of a black and white Brookfield Residential home in the Austin, TX area

While the modern farmhouse style seems to have only come around in the last decade (thanks Chip and Joanna!), designers have been replicating the look and feel of early American farm homes for much longer. What started as “classic country farmhouse” morphed into its feminine counterpart, “shabby chic,” and has now evolved into the popular “modern farmhouse”. Following the ultra-modern glam and contemporary design style of the early 2000s, modern farmhouse has brought a sense of warmth and simplicity.

Characterized by sleek lines mixed with a cozy country aesthetic, neutral color palettes, layered textures, and natural materials, modern farmhouse is an inviting and comfortable style that can be perfectly tailored to reflect your personality and unique taste.

Let’s explore some tips for creating your own modern farmhouse.

Gray shiplap wall in the great room of Villa 3 at Barefoot Lakes in Denver, CO

1. Keep it light and bright

One of the defining features of modern farmhouse is light and bright, neutral paint colors. The intent is to create a cozy and relaxing space so you don’t typically find dark or bold colors. Instead of a stark white, choose cream, soft beige, or even gray for that contemporary freshness that defines the style. Keep the color tone the same from room to room for a more cohesive feel to help blend everything together. Try layering within the color family with graduated tones that create subtle nuances in each space. This neutral color scheme creates an easy backdrop for seamlessly changing décor and furniture as your take on modern farmhouse evolves.

Home decor at Marigold at New Haven in Ontario Ranch, CA

2. Use textures (and lots of them!)

One of the key components of modern farmhouse style is the feeling of warmth and comfort which is most easily evoked with the use of textures. You can mix a variety of textures throughout different applications – furniture, flooring, décor and accent pieces, and wall art. Mix woods and metals and combine fabrics like cotton, canvas, wool, or chenille. Since one of the main elements of modern farmhouse style is the use of neutral colors, mixing textures is a great way to add dimension and keep your spaces from looking flat. Texture doesn’t have to be limited to the textiles you use; you can play with texture on your walls and even your ceiling by adding beadboard, shiplap, or wainscoting. Try it out in smaller spaces such as your powder room as an accent wall behind your sink or vanity or apply it to all the walls for a more dramatic effect.

Kitchen and dining area in Ovation 2 at Barefoot Lakes in Denver, CO

3. Bring in modern elements with industrial accents

When you think of modern farmhouse, you most likely picture a light, neutral home with black accents. Black fixtures, including lighting, plumbing finishes, and cabinet pulls, are a great way to add modern touches to your farmhouse décor. Use Edison lightbulbs to bring a vintage touch and warm glow to your space. Industrial doesn’t have to mean only black or metal accents – try incorporating raw or natural elements like exposed wood beams or brick accent wall. You can even blend the two with your furniture pieces by using chairs with a metal base and wood seat. Modern farmhouse is less rustic than country farmhouse so you can easily incorporate modern stainless steel appliances and sleek lighting without detracting from the cozy aesthetic you’re trying to achieve.

Modern farmhouse kitchen in the Harvest Portfolio at Barefoot Lakes in Firestone, Colorado

4. Play with contrasts

The essence of modern farmhouse is contrast itself – mixing the old with new – so contrasts are a must-have in your space. Color is a great way to achieve this look. While black is an excellent juxtaposition to the light and bright neutral backdrop, you’re not limited to this single color. Experiment with midnight blues, deep greens, and charcoal gray for your own unique twist on contrast. You can also bring in contrasting elements through the use of décor pieces and furniture. Contrast sleek kitchen cabinets with open wood shelving and a farmhouse sink. Bring in that “worn-in” charm with pieces that have a classic, old-fashioned silhouette. While vintage accessories and antique pieces are important, don’t overdo it. You want your space to feel cozy without being cluttered so a few well-placed accessories are all you need to complete the look. Be sure to stay away from cheesy pieces that will end up collecting dust – you don’t need a sign that says “farmhouse” to convey your intended design.

Brown leather chair and natural wood dresser in a Brookfield Residential home in Northern California

5. Incorporate organic materials

One of the design trends for 2022 is biophilic design – incorporating the good feelings we find in nature into our home. Add some greenery to your space with plants suited for the indoors such as ivy, pothos, and spider plants. They’re a great way to decorate empty corners or spaces you don’t know how to use while adding visual interest and texture. Using wood throughout your home is a staple of modern farmhouse and one of the best ways to do it is with your flooring. Not only does it give your home an elegant feel, but it’s easier to clean than carpet. If you’re not sure real hardwood will hold up to your household’s wear and tear, there are other options such as engineered hardwood or luxury vinyl planks that are more durable and water resistant. If your budget doesn’t allow for a full flooring remodel or you’re not ready to make that full commitment, sprinkle in wooden décor such as crates or an antique wheel. Live edge tables or reclaimed wood accent walls are also great ways to bring the outdoors in.

Built ins and shiplap home decor at Marigold at New Haven in Ontario Ranch, CA

Modern farmhouse is all about comfort. You want your home to feel warm and inviting and nothing should look like it’s too fragile to touch. It should be a space where people want to gather, enjoy a meal together, and then cozy up to create lasting memories – who wouldn’t want that?

If you’re looking for more design advice, homebuying insights, or moving tips and tricks, the Brookfield Residential blog covers it all. Be sure to follow along for more!