• 12/31/2023

How to Add Charm With Modern Farmhouse Decor

A living room with farmhouse decor.

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Farmhouse decor has taken over interior design for years, evolving from more rustic aesthetics to a modern, clean look. Thanks to HGTV shows like Farmhouse Fixer and the ever-popular Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines, everyone is interested in bringing those elements into their homes — perhaps including you.

Let’s break down “rustic” and “modern” farmhouse decor and explain what is and is no longer trendy. Then, we can look at ways for you to bring the cozy, contemporary farmhouse look into your home.  

Rustic Farmhouse vs. Modern Farmhouse

Remember when folks adorned their homes with rustic wall art signs? You may have had one yourself that read “Love Lives Here” or “Happiness Makes the Home.” Some farmhouse enthusiasts even had signs declaring every room in the house — God forbid you forgot where the kitchen pantry was.

Then there was the heavy antique furniture, dark wood features and kitschy items of roosters and cows. 

Like all things that become the norm, this trend slipped away from home fashions. However, the farmhouse style is still very much alive and loved with a modern twist.

So, what exactly does the modern farmhouse look like? Most people paint their walls white to brighten the rooms. Cream, beige and brown are also favored colors in this home style. Other common elements include:

  • Reclaimed wood
  • Greenery
  • Wrought iron accents and finishes
  • Industrial lighting
  • Salvaged materials
  • Wide-plank floorboards
  • Cozy, comfortable furniture and textiles

The key is to be selective with your design choices. While adding barn door aesthetics or vintage pieces is still fine, you want to avoid creating clutter. A modern farmhouse is intentional and breathable.

6 Tasteful Farmhouse Decor Ideas for an Inviting Home

Adopting modern farmhouse decor is more straightforward than you think. Whether you’re transitioning your home’s interior design or upgrading the old farmhouse look, these six decorative ideas will give your home a more contemporary look.

1. Wood Paneling on Walls

Shiplap is a staple of farmhouse decor, whether you lean rustic or modern. It’s an easy DIY project for homeowners to give the house some extra character. However, not everyone is on board. 

Considering shiplap was always part of the original farmhouse look, Dallas-based interior designer Courtney Eads says it might “cheapen” or “date” the home design. Of course, it’s only one person’s opinion. However, if you happen to agree, there’s another option: Board and batten.

Board and batten is a fresh take on wood paneling. The trend uses wide board planks nailed side-by-side vertically. Then, you add a narrow strip of wood — the batten — to cover the seams between the boards. People often paint the board and batten a different color than their walls for contrast.

2. Wooden Beams

Many farmhouses have exposed wood beams for greater warmth. Facing the right direction, they can even make a room feel longer.

Ideally, your home already has wood beams you can expose. However, you can achieve the look with faux beams, too. Faux beams could be made from wood or composite materials. Laminated veneer lumber beams cost between $800 and $2,500 but are less expensive than solid wood.

It is best to hire a contractor to install the beams for you. You can expect to pay about $1,800 for someone to install 100 linear feet of faux beams.

3. Industrial Lighting

You can tastefully add plenty of farmhouse charm by choosing the correct lighting. Many modern farmhouses lean toward industrial pendants, chandeliers and lamps. 

For instance, you might want a wagon wheel chandelier in matte black metal over your kitchen or dining room table. These lights often infuse a retro feel without compromising coziness. 

A long, horizontal chandelier made with metal and wood is another excellent option over the kitchen island. Some come with mason jar-shaped glass around the light bulbs — a farm-like experience without leaning too far into the barnyard theme.

You can also purchase similar wood, metal and glass lamps for nightstands and coffee tables. For instance, a bronze-brushed metal lamp with a lantern design will warm a reading nook. 

4. Reclaimed Wood

You don’t want to include so much wood in your modern farmhouse that it begins to feel like a log cabin. To keep things fresh, opt for reclaimed wood furniture in contemporary designs.

A large coffee table is a great place for additional wooden elements and to make a statement. A flat wooden top wrapped in metal scrappings ties wrought-iron accents and barn door features into the space.

On the other hand, you might stray entirely from the typical farmhouse style with a sturdy drum-shaped table made from mango wood. 

5. Wrought-Iron Finishes

Modern farmhouse decor and wrought iron finishes go together like peanut butter and jelly. However, include wrought iron in subtle but impactful ways.

Black cast iron cabinet handles pop in a farmhouse kitchen with white shakers. They are also very simple to swap out yourself. 

However, don’t just stop at the kitchen cabinets. Add wrought iron-style privacy door knobs to all the bedroom and bathroom doors throughout the house. 

Dressers, standing cabinets, table drawers and other furniture pieces are other places you can incorporate wrought-iron pulls. You can even purchase handles with a vintage look to draw in the farmhouse style’s “older” elements. 

6. Neutral Color Palettes

What’s the perfect backdrop to all these beautiful modern farmhouse decor selections? A neutral color palette is a must. 

It is best to decide which neutral color category catches your eye — white, gray, gray-blue or gray-green fits perfectly into any farmhouse design. According to Angi, some of the best farmhouse wall colors are as follows:

  • White Dove by Benjamin Moore
  • Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore
  • Crushed Ice by Sherwin Williams
  • Bracing Blue by Sherwin Williams
  • French Moire by Sherwin Williams
  • Cromarty by Farrow & Ball
  • Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore

Some people also like to paint an accent wall in a dark charcoal color — a shade that looks particularly nice over board and batten.

Modern Farmhouse Decor Made Easy

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an HGTV pro to achieve a tasteful modern farmhouse. You can easily incorporate this interior design’s most prominent decorative elements into your home. Take it room by room to create a flow that feels comfortable and inviting. 

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