Modern Farmhouse Style & Design Guide

A Complete Guide to Modern Farmhouse Style

If you are torn between a traditional rustic style and a more modern style for your barndominium, the modern farmhouse style may be just what you are looking for.

This is a style that strikes a balance between new and old. In this post, we will go over the elements that define it in detail.

What is the Modern Farmhouse Style?

The modern farmhouse style is one that has evolved over recent years as various trends have melded together.

Modern farmhouse style layouts tend to be open. While there may be some decorative accents in a modern farmhouse interior, they are never overwhelming.

Indeed, we would say that spacious, open floor plans and balanced decorative accents put the “modern” in modern farmhouse style.

So, where does the “farmhouse” dimension come in?

A lot of the materials used in the modern farmhouse style are rustic in nature. You will see plenty of reclaimed wood, for example.

In some modern farmhouse homes, you may also see hints of other styles as well, such as Mid Century Modern or industrial.

In a way, you could think of this as the style for those who over the past few years have not been able to choose between other popular styles.

The trick with getting the modern farmhouse style to work is to not only choose the right elements, but to assemble them in the right way.

This can make all the difference in the world between whether it looks like you just threw together a chaotic mishmash or you achieved a harmonious balance.

Done properly, this style is never cluttered or crowded.

It is unified, airy, and inviting.

How Did the Modern Farmhouse Design Become Popular?

We can probably trace the origins of the modern farmhouse style trend to the same HGTV show that made barndominiums take off.

The show is Fixer Upper, and the designers in question are Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Ever since audiences were first exposed to the style, its popularity has gone through the roof.

All you need to do is load up Instagram or Pinterest, and you will find hundreds of photos that showcase this style or similar ones.

Why Choose the Modern Farmhouse for Your Barndo?

Here are a few reasons why we recommend you consider the modern farmhouse style for your barndominium:

  • Make the most of your floor plan. One of the top reasons to consider a modern farmhouse style for your barndominium is because this style is especially suited to the layout you probably already have. Most barndominiums feature open floor plans. That is exactly the type of floor plan you need to really pull off the modern farmhouse style, so why not take advantage of it?
  • A light, neutral color scheme works great in a barndo. Not only does the typical barndominium feature in open floor plan, but it also tends to have a lot of wide open vertical space and plenty of natural illumination pouring through large windows. That airy build is perfect for the white and/or light neutral color schemes that are popular as part of the modern farmhouse style.
  • Barndominiums lend equally well to rustic and modern styles. While you can build a barndominium from the ground up, quite a few of them are actually converted barns. So, it makes sense to incorporate additional rustic elements into their interior designs. At the same time, these spacious structures with their open layouts are conducive to modern styling. Being as the barndominium as a structure already has that perfect balance, it is logical to just run with that.
  • Incorporate all the style elements you have grown to love. Last but not least, you probably have spent plenty of time on Instagram and Pinterest over the past few years falling head over heels with completely different styles. The modern farmhouse look gives you a way to unify those styles under one roof. In so doing, you can have the home of your dreams without compromise. 

What Elements Define the Contemporary Farmhouse Look?

Now that you have some reasons to think about choosing the modern farmhouse style for your barndominium, you need to learn what elements define that style so that you can recreate it in your own home.

1. Open floor plans

You need to start with the right structure to begin with. If you have a building with a lot of tight hallways and enclosed rooms, you are going to have a harder time bringing across the “modern” aspect of the style.

Thankfully, this should not be a problem with a barndominium. Your spacious, open floor plan has you getting started with the right foundation for this style.

2. Reclaimed wood

The modern farmhouse style incorporates wood, and a lot of it. You get bonus points if you choose reclaimed wood, since this is more rustic. It is also more eco-friendly since you are upcycling used materials.

You can use reclaimed wood for your floors, walls, ceiling, doors, and even your furnishings.

Indeed, a few well-chosen antique furnishings can really emphasize the “farmhouse” aspect of your barndo’s style.

3. Lots of white

One commonality you will notice when you are looking at photos of modern farmhouse homes for inspiration is that almost without exception, the walls inside are white.

White cabinets and furnishings are also common. That being said, contrasting, darker tones for furnishings can work just as well, if not better.

4. Neutral colors

Along with white, the modern farmhouse style tends to include a lot of neutral colors. You will see lots of browns, beiges, grays, and black.

That does not mean that you cannot incorporate other colors as well, but you should do so sparingly and with care.

Usually when we see other colors integrated into modern farmhouse interiors, they are light blues and greens.

5. Comfy furnishings

The modern farmhouse should convey an atmosphere of comfort and welcome. One way you can do that is by choosing comfortable, practical furnishings. In some cases, this will be among the more traditional elements in your home, offering a pleasing contrast with the modern layout.

6. Mid Century Modern furnishings

An alternative that we see pretty frequently is Mid Century Modern furnishings. Some of these are built for comfort, and others not as much.

How did MCM elements find their way into the modern farmhouse style? Probably on account of their sheer popularity in recent years.

Regardless, they can integrate in surprisingly well. Perhaps it is because even though they were the cutting edge of modern style when they came out, they give us a bit of a retro throwback vibe today. So, comfortable or not, they are always comforting.

7. Wrought iron

Just as MCM has found its way into modern farmhouses, so has the industrial style.

The main contribution we are seeing from that style is the presence of lots of wrought iron.

It is especially popular for staircases and chandeliers. You can also find it on furnishings such as bed frames. We should note that it is the simpler style of wrought iron that is common in modern farmhouses, not the ornate style with all the fancy scrollwork. That being said, we expect that would work fine with this style too, in moderation.

8. Shiplap

Adding to farmhouse vibes in barndominium homes with this style are shiplap interior walls.

Generally, you are going to want to go with white for your shiplap. The simple horizontal lines of shiplap convey a rustic tone without adding visual noise, which means they fit equally well with the modern elements of the style.

Plus, horizontal lines can emphasize the openness of your layout. This should probably at the top of this list as it is one of the most common design styles of this aesthetic.

9. Patterned tiles

Patterned cement tiles on kitchen and bathroom floors can integrate nicely into the modern farmhouse style.

The most common color scheme is probably black and white. But we have seen patterned tiles in other colors as well that fit well with the look you are trying to achieve.

10. Stone or brick

Just as shiplap can add textural interest to interior walls, so can stone or brick.

Typically, only one of the walls in a room will feature exposed brick or stone, with the others being regular drywall or plaster.

You can either go with the natural stone or brick color, or you can paint over them with white to match your other walls so that only the texture differs.

11. MCM or industrial light fixtures

When you are choosing furnishings and appliances for your modern farmhouse barndominium, you will want to pay special attention to the light fixtures you choose as these can be an integral part of the look.

Two popular choices are light fixtures with an industrial style and light fixtures with a Mid Century Modern style.

The right fixture can not only serve as a focal point of illumination in your kitchen or sitting room, but also as a stylistic focal point as well.

12. A moderate amount of decor

Along with thinking about what specific items you should put in your home to achieve the farmhouse modern style, you also need to think about their quantity.

Actually, you have a fair amount of leeway when it comes to what types of decorations you choose, so long as you get the right balance.

If you go overboard on decorations, your house is going to look crowded. And if a lot of them are rustic, you are going to get too far away from the “modern” part of the modern farmhouse style.

On the other hand, if you have too few decorations, your home will look more minimalist than you want. Remember, the goal of the modern farmhouse style is to not just look modern, but also comfortable and welcoming. If your home is too minimalist, it will be too austere to achieve this effect.

13. French doors

What do modern farmhouse doors look like? Well, you have plenty of options, but the most popular at the moment are French doors.

What about sliding barn doors in the interior? You might think that you would see these a lot, but it seems that they are not as big a trend for this particular style as they are for some closely related styles.

Nevertheless, since you will be building a barndo or converting an actual barn into a barndominium, sliding barn doors can work well with the theme for your home while still fitting in with the modern farmhouse style.

Rather than leaving the natural wood grain exposed, you might want to consider a coating of gray, black, or white paint to give them a more contemporary and elegant appearance.

14. French windows

Not surprisingly, just as French doors are popular for modern farmhouse homes, so are French windows. In fact, if you are going with French doors, they are the most logical accompaniment.

Ideally, you want the windows to be large. They should let in lots of light and offer views of your surroundings.

15. Exposed timbers

Another popular feature in modern farmhouses is exposed timbers. These can be in the great room, the kitchen, bedrooms, or other rooms in the house.

You can paint your ceiling white, and leave the timbers themselves with their natural wood grain. Doing so creates a pleasing contrast, and draws the eye to the ceiling, emphasizing their decorative nature.

16. Subway tiles

White subway tiles for the backsplash can make a satisfying complement to the design of a modern farmhouse kitchen.

You can even repeat the use of subway tiles on your bathroom walls.

17. Industrial stools at the counter

Industrial-style stools at the kitchen counter are popular in modern farmhouse homes. In fact, they can coordinate well with your industrial light fixtures.

18. Long tables

If you have the space for it, consider installing a long table in your dining area. This will work best from a practical standpoint if you have a large family or frequent guests, but stylistically, it is a lovely touch regardless.

Build and Decorate Your Own Modern Farmhouse Barndominium

For those who cannot decide between rustic and modern styles, the modern farmhouse look is the perfect blend of elements.

If you are ready to get started with your barndominium project, click on any of the links below to visit our recommended builders.