The clean, elevated look has become popular, in part, because it is so affordable. It’s famous for its inexpensive materials and ‘shabby’ furniture that isn’t pricey (and even better if it’s been pre-swept from a local flea market). And while the aesthetic’s rise has benefited from timing (more on that below), it has struck a chord with nostalgia with its local audience.
“I think farmhouses are a big part of American vernacular, and that history makes them instantly familiar and relatable to many homeowners,” says New York-based designer Robert Stellen, who designed his barn-style home about two decades ago. “There is also a modesty and simplicity in the design of farmhouses that really suit a comfortable and easy life. I imagine a lot of homeowners find themselves particularly drawn to that as well.”
And while modern farmhouse style has waned recently, it still has an important influence on contemporary, relaxed interiors. Here’s everything you need to know.
Modern farmhouse interior design explained
What is the modern farmhouse style?
Contemporary country-style spin with traces simple design (Think spare rooms and white paint on the walls), the modern farmhouse blends rustic decor with nods to the “shabby chic” era but with cleaner lines. The aesthetic is a relaxed and low-fuss approach to interior design, with appreciable warmth.
“I think the attractive and also important thing about the farmhouse style is that it has a sense of authenticity – which to me means that the materials and the ambiance have to resonate as being authentic,” says the Alabama architect. Jeffrey Dungan (Opens in a new tab).
Sure, you could describe the modern farmhouse aesthetic as a notable, modest style of design; The look highlights honest materials in simpler times, and the humble homeowner can get their DIY updates done with their own hands.
Where did the modern farmhouse look come from?
While the style refers to early American farmhouses, which were available for practical reasons, the modern farmhouse has become one of the biggest interior design trends of the past decade.
“I think the modern farmhouse style started because people were actually repairing old farmhouses with modern materials, and then it started to resonate with other homeowners because it has the warmth and charm of old features and the possibility to live in modern amenities,” the designer says. Leanne Ford (Opens in a new tab)one of the early stars of the movement.
Any history of the modern farmhouse’s rise would be limited if Chip and Joanna Gaines, who rose to prominence after the 2008 housing crash, were left out. As HGTV stars, they popularized modern farmhouse style with their show, “Fixer Upper,” which debuted in 2013. The friendly duo touted an unmistakable, easy-to-implement formula—like the addition of shiplap walls—that has become a ubiquitous presence throughout recent home renovations in the United States.
Does this mean the entire aesthetic has been lifted on cable TV? not necessarily. The movement’s bedrock still finds its roots in places where farmhouses are part of the landscape.
“The modern farmhouse and barn trend originated about ten years ago – although we didn’t necessarily consider it a trend at the time,” says the interior designer. Michael Del Piero (Opens in a new tab), indicating the strong presence of the style in areas with a history of agriculture. “We found our clients in the Hamptons embraced the aesthetic, as barns and farmhouses are available here and the updated version seems appropriate. The open, light-filled spaces are a great backdrop for mixing modern elements with more classic pieces, and overall neutral tones allow us to layer textures and patterns.”
What does a modern farm space look like?
The farmhouse’s modern interiors are infused with whitewashed walls, wide wood floors, and reclaimed materials. In architecture, you don’t need an actual farm to live in this direction – but if you’re starting from scratch, there are a few key design elements.
If you had to choose one of the most popular fixtures for modern farmhouse style, it’s the timeless farmhouse sink, an essential element of rustic kitchen ideas. “When it comes to the latest kitchen trends, there is no doubt that the farmhouse, or apron sink, is one of the most popular choices for modern farmhouse aesthetics,” says Lauren Williams of Washington, D.C. MV . Architects (Opens in a new tab).
You’ll also find an emphasis on reused spaces, such as terracotta, somewhat of a luxury for homeowners who don’t necessarily work in the fields. Sondra Zabrosky, an architect at the capital’s design-and-build firm, says, four brothers (Opens in a new tab). “Although it’s been a recent trend of pursuit of minimalism, as Americans we tend to own a lot of things, and if you don’t make a home for your things, you’ll end up with a pile of coats on your kitchen table.”
However, simple ideas are definitely a feature in modern farmhouse interiors, often with open layouts, neutral (if not white) color schemes, spare (but not too spare) rooms, and a mix of new and old furniture.
What’s new in modern farmhouse style?
Of course, the modern farmhouse aesthetic that was propagated on television was bound to run into hurdles—the massive popularity had received opposition lately, with many figures in the industry claiming the movement was out of fashion. With that, the basic aesthetic elements continue to resonate and adapt. There is now an elevation in farmhouse bedrooms as a way to create a comfortable environment to aid sleep.
“It’s becoming a phenomenon, and we’re seeing changes in style,” says interior designer Michael Del Piero. “The material has evolved (maybe less than shiplap) and the shape itself looks much wider.”
You’ll find that today’s farmhouse-inspired interiors embrace a touch of more color, often updating the signature. white Wood walls in a dark shade, or combine farmhouse living rooms with fine furnishings.
“I think the evolution of ‘farmhouse style’ has evolved primarily through a process of modernization: the introduction of more subtle details, newer materials, and contemporary amenities,” says Robert Stellen. (Opens in a new tab). “Of course, in a modern farmhouse, all these sophisticated hubs interact with an architectural vernacular that has a very ancient past. So it really is a game between old and new that helped the Modern Farmhouse style become what it is now.”