60+ Ways To Bring Modern Farmhouse Style Home
Rustic yet refined, modern farmhouse blends old and new in masterful ways, creating fresh yet timeless interiors. Here are some ways to incorporate the look into your home, whether you live in the country or the city.
For country superstar Johnny Reid, a porch swing suspended by rope is a favorite spot to play a tune or two on his farmhouse near Nashville. He and his wife, Jennifer, bought the property in 2011, and it’s now home to their four children and three dogs.
Lanterns and beadboard are farmhouse staples. Jennifer sourced the lanterns through a lighting company she follows on Pinterest — these two were custom made to suit the dimensions of the island.
A pecky cypress ceiling and shiplap walls add rustic texture to the dining room, while a chandelier and cremone bolt hardware inject a little French flair. Dimmers are key to setting the right mood throughout the home, says Jennifer. “Rachel told the contractor we needed a dimmer on every light switch, much to his dismay. She told him, ‘When you walk into a room in this home, the lighting should make you want to kiss someone.’”
The painting of a horse was the springboard for the living room’s soft white, cream and beige palette. Exposed wood beams and a stone fireplace give the relaxed room a note of grandeur. With kids and dogs in the house, Jennifer chose outdoor fabrics for the furnishings that would get the most use and had the coffee table treated with an easy-care finish. “If I couldn’t wipe it, I didn’t want it,” she says
Sliding barn doors naturally are a recurring motif in farmhouse style. A horse barn on the property was turned into Johnny’s recording studio, with a door that’s a nod to the building’s original use. Jennifer had the idea to paint the reclaimed wood on the barn’s vaulted ceiling and walls white. On the right, a doorway leads to the upstairs where two bedrooms can house visiting musicians.
In Johnny’s recording studio, he notes, “Almost every piece of 100-year-old wood that we cut out of the barn was reused. I wanted to maintain the original charm because it’s such a huge part of the property.”
High on a hill, less than two hours and a world away from Toronto, is designer Sarah Richardson’s country house, Starlight Farm. Millions of viewers who tuned into designer Sarah’s addictive HGTV series Sarah Off The Grid know quite a bit about the home, especially when it comes to solar grids, wells and foundations, but the real attraction was Sarah’s take on colorful, contemporary farmhouse style.
Mudrooms are essential in country properties, when the walks can be long and mucky, particularly in spring and fall. Each family member has their own closet, plus a basket stored on open, accessible shelves. A cowhide-covered bench provides seating.
Antique balusters are used as supports for the pool house console, made from leftover deck lumber.
When designing a modern farmhouse, take a page from the great outdoors. In the sunroom, throw pillows have patterned fabrics inspired by the woodsy setting. “This house is meant to feel connected to the natural landscape,” says Sarah.
To give a farmhouse a sense of history, Sarah uses architectural salvage — in the living room it’s a fragment of an antique Egyptian column set above the fireplace. “The fragment was a touchstone for what the character and feel of the house would be,” she says. The living room’s sofa, chairs and side tables are symmetrically arranged around the classic fireplace, which is raised to make it visible from both the kitchen and dining room table. “Symmetry creates a sense of balance, calm and order in a room,” she adds.
The kitchen is the heart of a farmhouse, and this island has lots of spots to dine and prep food. Who wouldn’t want to pull up a stool here to shell peas or shuck corn? Luxe touches — like hammered and solid brass panels on the island and above the stove — elevate the country quality.
Country living means ease and durability, but Sarah never skimps on style. A durable marble “rug” — installed in the high-traffic area between the kitchen’s sink and stove — has a mosaic detail at both ends that’s reminiscent of fringe.
Farmhouse homes celebrate family, and the dining room should reflect just that. Statement ceiling treatments, like the dramatic star-like compass rose — a recurring motif on the farm — visually defines the area on the open-concept main floor. The simple white covers on the seat and back cushions of the rattan chairs bring a relaxed, indoor-outdoor vibe.
Pick mellow, classic colors for a timeless appeal. “Since this house is for forever, I wanted it to be dressed in a palette that I would never tire of,” says Sarah of the principal bedroom’s calming, ethereal neutrals. She used a carved, architectural fragment from a church to create a canopy effect above the bed and added contrasting wall panels and an antique silver-plated chandelier to emphasize the ceiling height.
Textured walls, such as barnboard and battern, are farmhouse staples that lend interest and add a sense of architectural history to the space. A simple wooden fireplace mantel and painted board-and-batten walls impart a cozy country feel to the den just off the principal bedroom. A softly textured rug and a monochromatic mix of patterns bring a sense of relaxed luxury.
Fresh white bedding just pulled off the line is a welcome staple in farmhouse homes. The pale green walls in the sun-drenched bedroom belonging to Sarah’s daughter Fiona is inspired by the home’s views. Is there a crisper spot to wake up in on a summer morning?
Envisioned as a serene retreat, the principal bathroom stars a deep soaker tub designed for taking in spectacular views of the forest and the fields. Walls painted in a “hush of color, the lightest shade of lavender” add to the feeling of calm.
Real estate agent and Toronto restaurateur Wispy Boivin was leading a busy city life in Toronto’s West End with her chef husband, Christophe Boivin, and two young children. But she’d long dreamed of wide-open spaces and a slower pace. When she listed a pretty farmhouse in Collingwood, Ontario, that came with more than nine tree-lined hectares, a barn, outbuildings, two donkeys and a pony, she ended up falling for it herself. But they needed to transform the little three-bedroom, two-bathroom farmhouse into a place big enough for a family of five, plus an ever-changing number of dogs.
Traditional beadboard wainscotting paired with a pretty printed grasscloth by Eskayel are unlikely but happy bedfellows in the home’s entry. The green-grey limestone floor picks up the wallpaper’s subtle hues of blue, green and black and can stand up to heavy traction from multiple little feet.
Wispy wanted the fireplace in the new great room to look like it could be original to the farmhouse. “I wanted it to look like you had busted through the wall and stumbled onto it,” she says. The furniture in the room is a happy mix of old, new and found: the tables are vintage and a new blue rug layers in cheerful color along with an eclectic collection of patterned throw pillows.
The kitchen received an update with new brass hardware, an elegant gooseneck faucet and a large, dome-shaped pendant light made from an upside-down vintage bowl. Pine flooring is a fraction of the cost of hardwood and whitewashing gives it a modern feel, but the process takes patience. “It took us forever to get it right,” says Wispy, recounting how the red of the pine kept bleeding through the whitewash.
In the dining room, a vintage baker’s rack, bought from a designer friend for $750, is a less fussy take on a china cabinet.
Trestle tables always strike the right note for establishing an authentic country vibe. In the dining room, a traditional wood table was painted for a lighter look. An assortment of mismatched chairs brings a collected-over-time feel.
Original details make a country home sing. In the casual lounge area, the home’s original Rumford fireplace is framed by salvaged wood doors for a charming note. The pastoral scenes on the toile armchairs are an ideal motif for a farmhouse retreat.
Pillowy linens give the simple country space a feeling of luxury. A blown-up album cover is affordable statement art in the mostly all-white principal bedroom.
A vintage cabinet holds extra linens in the principal bedroom. A linen ruffle curtain is casually draped over a branch. “The curtain was a splurge at $800, but the branch is from the surrounding woods,” says Wispy.
An A-frame structure drives home traditional, vernacular farmhouse framing. This contemporary farmhouse by architect Tony Round of blackLAB Architects and designer Cameron MacNeil makes the most of sweeping views of Ontario’s Blue Mountains and Georgian Bay.
A grey-blue armoire for guest coats in the breezeway is a more charming alternative to built-in storage for guest coats in the breezeway. “The armoire isn’t an antique — it’s new and locally made to our specifications,” says Cameron. “I thought it softened the area.” Carter, the family’s golden retriever enjoys the breezeway’s cool tile floors.
When two siblings asked designer Mazen El-Abdallah of Mazen Studio to make their country house as comfortable as possible, he was inspired to update the typical farmhouse formula. “There’s a beautiful simplicity in the familiar volumes of the house and its restrained palette,” he says. The architect configured the 5,600-square-foot house as two barn-like forms at perpendicular angles to each another.
The living room sofas are covered in a woven material that mimics linen and the armchairs are slipcovered with fabric that has a fleck of color for added dimension. The architect designed the ceiling with rough-sawn white pine painted the same white as the walls.
To give the kitchen subtle presence, the architect set the cabinetry into the recessed wood wall that continues into the living area. The driftwood tone of the stained oak was chosen to complement the oiled wide-plank flooring. The kitchen island and solid walnut dining table create a sense of flow. The island is a popular spot to gather around — the owners’ five kids often sit on the stools during meal prep.
Blue and white throw pillows make the seating feel extra plush. The dining table was custom made in metal and teak to seat 12 people comfortably and was surrounded by classic navy chairs that will stand up well to moisture and changing weather.
Farmhouse decorating often relays heirlooms: The bench in the mudroom originally belonged to the homeowners’ parents. Mazen offset the heirloom piece with round rosewood hooks to add a playful element. “They’re different colors and sizes, and they animate the space,” he says.
In the bedroom shared by the homeowners’ two sons, fish prints that once hung in their grandparents’ farmhouse decorate a wall. “It’s nice to have that generational connection,” says Mazen. Linen skirts were made for the beds so the kids can stash stuff underneath.
Humble fabrics go a long way to instilling a homespun vibe. In the guest room, an upholstered king-size bed is topped with striped linens offers comfort and softness. “That’s what I imagine a farmhouse should be: lots of ticking fabrics with layers on a bed,” Mazen says. “We wanted to make a nice suite for visitors.”
Sarah Richardson and Natlie Hodgins designed this weekend home in Caledon, Ontario for a family with an equestrian daughter. Cozy sofas and a clean-lined flagstone fireplace make the great room the quintessential spot for a lazy weekend. Painted freestanding hutches have a country-casual charm and provide display for antlers and antique bronze copperware vessels that accentuate the high ceilings.
The sunken great room offers many spots to gather and chat or enjoy a quiet read. The change in elevation creates a quiet sense of drama that’s still cozy and inviting.
Built-in cabinets topped by Tuscan columns separate — but don’t visually close off — the kitchen and dining room from the great room. Soft green chenille armchairs enlivened by crisp white piping create cozy seating, a spot to debrief after a horse show or leaf through a favorite magazine. A cluster of brass candlesticks and a crimson-leafed maple branch clipped from outside are simple decor touches that lend impact.
Striped-back chairs with nailhead trim add a fresh contrast to a traditional turned-leg dining table. The wrought-iron chandelier is a rustic, typically farmhouse touch, while a collection of patinated pewter is perfect for a fall setting. “The floors are gorgeous reclaimed elm that’s likely over 200 years old. They were stained dark to ground all the pale colors in the house,” says Susan.
Intricate chinoiserie-style wallpaper turns the hardworking laundry room from utilitarian to charming.
In country homes, outdoor spaces are just as important as interiors. A vintage kilim in warm fall colors dresses up an al fresco dining area, adding a hit of global chic. “If you removed the tablecloth, the vignette would look flat,” notes Natalie.
Sliding barn doors with punchy white hardware add a rustic yet contemporary look to this living room.
Contrast bold colors, like the navy and creamsicle orange seen here, with salvaged or vintage wood shelves. A stack of firewood completes the modern farmhouse look.
Impactful black windows and door frames add definition to country homes.
An Aga is a farmhouse staple, and for good reason — as far as ovens go, it has timeless appeal and charm. Done here in a stark black, it has modern edge.
A limestone-topped wood vanity is finished off with bone handles. Natural and raw materials are a sure-fire way to add rustic spirit.
The pale blue wooden siding on this home has a barn-like effect.
A sculptural bowl made from felled antlers is an easy way to introduce country vibes in an unexpected way.
In former Hudson’s Bay company president Bonnie Brooks’s home, there is a strong Belgian country flair. Stainless steel accents contrast nicely against flat-front rib-cut white oak cabinet doors and bluestone tile flooring.
An aged Belgian urn was repurposed into a sink in the powder room, contrasting the otherwise modern finishes.
As with many old homes, freestanding armoires are common ways to compensate for lacking storage. In this entryway, a vintage wardrobe acts as the family’s closet.
In Kelvin Browne’s Cape Cod cottage, new and old sit happily side-by-side. Mid-century modern Bertoia wire chairs — one upholstered, one left bare — create a conversation corner with an 18th-century Chippendale sofa.
In Kelvin’s dining room, the Danish teak dining set and sideboard are a natural complement to the rich tones of the exposed ceiling and wide-plank wood flooring.
A lofty ceiling in the kitchen mimics that of a barn or heritage A-frame country house. Bead board finishes the look for a quaint and traditional counterpoint to the modern kitchen fittings below.
Crisp white pieces work well in rustic homes. Here, slipcovered armchairs and a sofa complement the mid-century modern pieces.
For a graphic look, the door and hardware in this home were painted out black, which is a nice juxtaposition to the family heirloom grandfather clock and pale wood flooring.
Part of making a heritage home or farmhouse feel contemporary is embracing (and updating) the original architectural details. Exposed brickwork is maintained while the mantel has been painted out.
At a rural homestead in Connecticut, the owner decided to keep the toile wallpaper in the hall, original to the home. A black-walled dining room provides a moody contrast to the whimsical pattern.
The Scandinavians are known for mastery of the modern farmhouse look. Here, a wood stove is updated with cool colors and light woods.
In this West Coast home, the original cedar ceiling warms up a minimalist, white-walled bedroom.
Light-colored wood accents are a nice way to tie in a farmhouse’s natural surroundings, while still maintaining a hip style.