Modern Farmhouse Architecture and Design - Explained

Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
Architecture
By Alex Mikayelyan July 19, 2021

Blending and combining are often the key to some of the most beloved design styles out there. Styles like the mid-century modern or the biophilic Bohemian are great examples of this concept in interior design. It’s about finding a pairing that creates something greater than the sum of its parts. The combination of modern interior design with the cozy features of country living makes for a very unique style, one that brings together the best of both worlds.

As the name implies, the modern farmhouse style utilizes the sleek practicality of contemporary design elements and combines them with the cozy atmosphere of the countryside or cottage interior. At first, it seems to be an unlikely combination. But when everything falls into place and there is enough balance between the modern and the rustic, a gorgeous juxtaposition is created where the two opposites complement each other. 

The Roots of Modern Farmhouse Style

The History of How the Modern Farmhouse Design Came to Be

The History of How the Modern Farmhouse Design Came to Be

When talking about farmhouse design, what usually comes to mind is the classic European architecture, originating from Germanic and Scandinavian nations. This style was even more popularized in the United States by European settlers in the 1700s.

The farmhouse style itself was not created out of any stylistic desire, nor was it there to please the farmer’s tastes in interior and exterior design. The classic farmhouse design, with all its building materials, colors, textures, and ornaments, came out of necessity and practicality — which is to be expected from a down-to-earth farmer. 

The modern cottage is a more contemporary take on this rustic design. Modern farmhouse was popularized in the early 2000s as the sleek and minimalist contemporary design made its way into the hearts of homeowners. One could say that this design streak was an answer to the often sterile, minimalist open-concept design of contemporary interiors. 

How to Recognize Modern Farmhouse Architecture and Design

Integral Elements of Any Modern Farmhouse Design Interior and Exterior

Integral Elements of Any Modern Farmhouse Design Interior and Exterior

The modern farmhouse seamlessly combines the modern with the rustic, and thus several key elements help identify and differentiate the style from others.

Sleek Textures

What Textures You Can Expect to Find In Modern Farmhouse Interiors

What Textures You Can Expect to Find In Modern Farmhouse Interiors

When it comes to textures in contemporary homes, one key element to achieving a modern design is with sleek elements. Modern homes have an abundance of smooth textures, such as glass, steel, and concrete. In more classical or cottage designs, the texture is typically quite rough as natural materials, like brick, stone, and wood normally are. 

While you should not cover your entire home with smooth, artificial textures, a modern farmhouse interior should have some sleek surfaces to bring out the modern aesthetic. Implementing smooth surfaces into a rustic space can serve to brighten a room. While the floor, walls, and furniture can be made of rustic materials like wood, brick, and iron, but even just a cool marble countertop can be enough to bring in a distinctive modern gleam to it all.

Modernized and Retrofitted Features

Modern Farmhouse Elements That Ooze Tradition

Modern Farmhouse Elements That Ooze Tradition

Practicality is an element that both modern and farmhouse interior designs have in common, though in different ways. The concept of practicality in the classic farmhouse design refers to the concept of “form following function”. 

Retrofitting and making the best of what is available is a sentiment that both design styles can feature. Centuries ago, the very original farmhouses were built with practicality in mind as opposed to style or design. The same can be said about the minimalist modern design, which aims to maximize practicality while making the design less complex in the process. 

For example, a bathtub is a very basic bathroom feature by nature and there are definitely far more functional bathing units on the market than a legged copper tub. But by modernizing and retrofitting it, homeowners can make the best of what they have. Other examples of retrofitted features that suit the modern aesthetic include reclaimed wood furniture and old fireplaces that have been renewed to fit a modern living room.

Classical Exterior with Modern Features

What You Can Expect to See From a Modern Farmhouse Exterior

What You Can Expect to See From a Modern Farmhouse Exterior

Several features can give a modern farmhouse-style home away just by looking at it. Although, at first sight, the typical modern farmhouse looks no different than any other farmhouse or cottage-style building you can find in most suburban areas. It has classic features such as an angled roof, porch, and exterior cladding.

What differentiates a modern farmhouse from any other farmhouse exteriors is the modern features it utilizes. The details may be subtle, but they are there in the materials used; for example in the use of darker, non-wood, and steel-like window frames nestled in very traditional cladding. Classic farmhouses would have big, wooden frames. Contemporary windows, however, utilize modern materials such as fiberglass, vinyl, and aluminum. Another more modern material alternative to blend into a farmhouse exterior is asphalt shingles, which are newer building materials and are more durable and waterproof than classic roofing choices. 

How to Design Your Modern Farmhouse Interior

The Essentials of a Modern Farmhouse Dining Room and Kitchen

The Essentials of a Modern Farmhouse Dining Room and Kitchen

Implementing the modern farmhouse style into your interior is a matter of combining and blending until you find a ratio that works. The key here is to find a balance between the modern and the rustic which suits your tastes. One style is always going to overlap the other by just a little bit. But this can be adjusted to your tastes depending on which side of the design spectrum you prefer: the sleek minimalism of modern design or the traditional rustic vibe.

Neutral Colors

Cabin or Cottage Ceiling Design Ideas and Inspiration

Cabin or Cottage Ceiling Design Ideas and Inspiration

Soft whites, greys, silver, and beige colors come to mind when creating a modern farmhouse-style interior. This aspect of the design can be more attributed to the modern elements, as rustic interiors would typically utilize warmer natural colors and textures which are more bright.

Just because you are using a neutral pallet does not mean they have to be monotone. Use both warm and cold neutral colors to keep everything from looking homogenous. To accentuate the interior, use darker tones in very specific areas that you wish to effectively emphasize. The living room in the image above would be a lot plainer if it wasn’t for the dark brown ceiling beams which add a nice accent to the bright room.

Rustic Materials

Everything You Need to Create a Modern Farmhouse Interior That is Sleek and Cozy

Everything You Need to Create a Modern Farmhouse Interior That is Sleek and Cozy

Rustic materials are always some of the most recognizable features of any interior or exterior. As sleek or smooth as the design of an interior may be in a modern farmhouse you will surely notice the brick, wood, wrought iron, or reclaimed wood that may appear in a room. When it comes to rustic accents, these materials are perfect for creating that homestead vibe.

Implementing them into your modern farmhouse home will further accentuate the homey appeal of the interior. Find furniture made of wrought iron and reclaimed wood, especially if the wood is local. Nothing says “countryside cottage” like utilizing the materials and textures that already exist around your home. But remember: since this design aesthetic is a blend of two contrasting styles, you should not go overboard with these textures. They should not overpower the calm that the modern elements are aiming to achieve in your interior.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan