9 Ways to Give Your Farmhouse Design a Modern Twist

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Farmhouse design can sometimes feel a bit "been there, done that" since it has been around for a while. But the truth is, farmhouse style has grown up a lot.

Now, modern farmhouse is the new offshoot, which includes unique updates to the more traditional farmhouse style. While the overall look is still rustic and cozy, there are some new design tweaks that you can make to allow your home to feel more up to date. Think: unexpected hues, accent walls and gray wood.

Try these nine spins on farmhouse style for a fresher look:

1: Add Modern Light Fixtures

White Farmhouse Kitchen Sink

White Farmhouse Kitchen Sink

This white farmhouse kitchen sink gets a modern makeover with chrome fixtures and a large, matching black and metal pendant lights above.

Photo by: Lindsay Salazar Photography

Lindsay Salazar Photography

This traditional farmhouse-style kitchen feels completely different with the addition of two modern pendants. Mixed metals, like the chrome cabinet pulls and brass light fixtures, also bring a fresh take on the space.

2: Create an Accent Wall

Feminine Bedroom Boasts Fun, Floral Wallpaper

Feminine Bedroom Boasts Fun, Floral Wallpaper

Gray wallpaper with a fun floral print in pink and green sets the tone for this chic, feminine bedroom. Black, white and gray furnishings add lovely contrast and keep the space from appearing too busy.

Photo by: Susan Gilmore Photography

Susan Gilmore Photography

Try using a bright wallpaper to create an accent wall in your home. Bedrooms are perfect for this, as you can quickly upgrade your space by dressing up the wall behind your bed.

3: Paint Interior Doors

Home Office With Updated Farmhouse Style

Home Office With Updated Farmhouse Style

This bright, transitional home office in a modern farmhouse features beautiful white built-in bookshelves, black French doors for lovely contrast and a dark-stained farmhouse style desk. A burnt orange rolling desk chair and gold accessories add to the stylish space.

Photo by: House of Jade Interiors

House of Jade Interiors

You can instantly add some modern style to your space by painting your interior doors a dark color. Black is always a great pick; however, other colors, such as a charcoal gray or an inky blue, would also work well.

4: Add Updated Artwork

Modern Cottage Bedroom With Black Fireplace

Modern Cottage Bedroom With Black Fireplace

Floating white shelves serve as a modern interpretation of traditional built-in bookshelves for an airy feel. The contemporary black fireplace creates a nice juxtaposition with the white walls.

Photo by: Blackband Design

Blackband Design

Modern farmhouse style often includes updated artwork. Gone are the whimsical painted signs, which are slowly but surely getting replaced with sleek, black-and-white photography or graphic abstracts. In fact, switching out your artwork is actually one of the easiest ways to kickstart your modern farmhouse upgrade.

5: Go Gray

Black and White Modern Farmhouse Bathroom

Black and White Modern Farmhouse Bathroom

The homeowners preferred a more space-efficient bathroom that would flow with their rustic yet modern farmhouse. The white wall-mounted toilet, sink and medicine cabinet pop against the dark tile, and the white subway tile in the shower balances the white fixtures in the room.

Photo by: James Netz

James Netz

Wood has always been a part of farmhouse style, but even traditional wood is getting a makeover. Gray wood is currently trending in all sorts of modern farmhouse spaces. It manages to keep the same rustic quality as more traditional wood hues, but it offers a fresh and unique look. You can try gray wood in a smaller spot in your home first, such as a bathroom, if you want to see how it will fit in with your space.

6: Opt for Unexpected Colors

Turquoise Door on Remodeled California Farmhouse

Turquoise Door on Remodeled California Farmhouse

Beth Dana Design took on an extensive remodel with this early 1900s Santa Barbara farmhouse. The turquoise front door provides a jolt of color on the porch, which has barn-style lighting, a metal bin overflowing with firewood and a galvanized planter. Architectural elements include board and batten siding and a bead board ceiling.

Photo by: Beth Dana Design

Beth Dana Design

You can really modernize a space by using an unexpected color. This turquoise front door adds a completely different spin to the front porch of this more traditional home. Your front door is a great spot to set the tone for your home, and using a bright hue outside can really set the stage for your unique space inside.

7: Use Open Shelves

Living Room, Detail

Living Room, Detail

Custom shelves in the King home, as seen on Fixer Upper. (after)

From: Fixer Upper

Photo by: Rachel Whyte

Rachel Whyte

Open shelving is a great option for modernizing your space. Using rustic wood for your shelves keeps you squarely in the farmhouse style, but the openness of the shelves makes for a fresh take.

8: Paint a Pretty Pattern

Vibrant Green Porch

Vibrant Green Porch

A surprising lime green painted ceiling makes this porch feel funky and bright. Bold lines on the floor and in the outdoor furniture give the space structure and balance.

Painted floors are another common choice for farmhouse-style homes. A fun way to update this farmhouse go-to is to paint a pattern on your floor, like this back porch. The black-and-white pattern helps the porch feel completely unique.

9: Add Industrial Touches

Living Room Bar Seating

Living Room Bar Seating

After removing a built-in in the living room new bar seating is added space between the family room and kitchen, as seen on Fixer Upper. (after, interior)

From: Fixer Upper

Photo by: Julia Robinson/Getty Images

Julia Robinson/Getty Images

If you're unsure what other styles you can mix in your farmhouse home, industrial is a great place to start. Industrial pieces tend to have a vintage look, but they also tend to be less trendy. These industrial stools, for example, pair perfectly with the more traditional farmhouse-style space. Industrial chairs at a traditional farmhouse dining table is an easy place to start.

Rustic Meets Refined: 15 Ways to Add Farmhouse Style

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Sun Country

Interior Designer Heide Hendricks'€™ color sense hits the perfect pitch in this kitchen. "The surrounding meadows filled with Goldenrod and Black-Eyed Susan helped choose the colors," she says. Hendricks collaborated with her husband Rafe Churchill on this country home for a family of four. Cabinetry painted in Farrow & Ball's 'Babouche' yellow compliments the dark grey of custom-fabricated soapstone sink and counters. Added to the softly textured white of rubbed plaster walls and ceilings, and vintage plumbing and light fixtures, the space feels traditional, yet fresh.

Modern Rustic

Covering one large wall with 100-year-old barnwood gave this master bedroom instant farmhouse appeal. Designers Leslie Calish and Gayle Leksan of LMK Interiors then furnished the space with a mix of transitional and contemporary pieces, creating a fresh, modern look. Combining disparate elements is the key to the room’s success. "The wood and the steel sliding-door hardware add that farmhouse flavor to an otherwise clean design," they say. "The right mix keeps a space feeling current, not contrived."

Texas Charm

Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV's hit show Fixer Upper helped a Hillsboro, Texas couple transform a once-neglected 1920s home into a welcoming, family-friendly haven. The home's come-on-in attitude starts in the foyer, where Joanna treated the space to a pale gray-and-white color palette, then added character with distressed flea-market finds like the framed chalkboard and plant stand. 

Light Touch

Old-fashioned farmhouse interiors may have been cozy, but they were also often dark. Today’s approach to farmhouse design combines many of the style's classic elements — wide-plank wood floors, exposed beams and rustic wood furnishings, with a much brighter take. Here, H2 Design + Build created their own interpretation of a modern farmhouse in the heart of Medina, Washington. In the dining room, Katie Hackworth paired an old farmhouse table and iconic Louis ghost chairs creating a casual but elegant space as well suited to a late night dinner party as it is to a weekend birthday celebration.

Project Central

When Stacy and Jonathan Anderstrom bought their 1998 farmhouse, they liked its simple lines but felt the house was a little "bland". So Stacy, a stay-at-home mom and lifelong DIYer, set about infusing the home with personality, adding fun touches like stenciled numbers on the staircase and shelving to display quirky collections. A mix of modern and vintage furnishings and accessories completes the personal — and not at all bland — look.  Tour more of the home that was featured in HGTV Magazine

Photo By: David A. Land

Back at the Ranch

To give an open-concept ranch home in Northern California a look and feel that would "embrace indoor-outdoor living and support an active young family," designer Jennifer Robin MacDonald of Jennifer Robin Interiors turned to a deft mix of natural elements. "We used a blend of textures and materials like linen, rope, hide, jute, metal and reclaimed wood," she says. "The interiors marry clean lines and rustic elements for a relaxed, organic home."

Photo By: Paul Dyer

Scandinavian Style

To give this serene master suite a warm, country atmosphere in keeping with its farmhouse setting, designer Lindye Galloway covered the ceiling with reclaimed wood. A pale, airy color palette and furnishings with simple, elegant, Gustavian-inspired silhouettes complete the look, creating a space that's at once refined and rustic.

Gut Rehab

When Charmaine Cooper and Chuck Codd first saw their Waco, Texas home it was the definition of a wreck, with no running water, scary wiring and dirt-covered floors. But with the help of Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, the couple were able to transform the former fright into a farmhouse-style delight, adding convenient elements like a custom-built center island to the kitchen alongside charming country touches like exposed ceiling beams and galvanized metal fixtures and furnishings. See more of this Texas charmer that was featured in HGTV Magazine

Photo By: HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC

Sensitive Restoration

Updating an old house takes a certain finesse. The trick is to respect the architecture without making the spaces look like period rooms in a museum. In the design of the bathroom of a restored 19th century farmhouse, architect Kate Johns hit the perfect balance between yesterday and today, using new materials to create a period-appropriate — yet fresh and modern — look. "We used a custom vanity designed to look like a farm work table with a marble top. Painted wide beadboard paneling and a recessed wood-framed medicine cabinet with industrial galvanized steel lights complete the aesthetic," she says. The team also restored the original wide-plank wood floors.

From Drab to Delightful

A 1960s ranch house might be the last place you'd expect to find farmhouse-style decorating, but, if so, you clearly haven't met Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. When she and Chip were called on to update this once-dingy suburban Texas home, they treated it their signature charm offensive. Case in point: The dining room, where exposed beams and wide-plank wood floors create a warm backdrop, a long vintage table and metal chairs offer plenty of seating for casual gatherings and bright red barn-style pendants add a fun pop of color. 

New England Classic

To give this renovated Vermont kitchen its instantly recognizable farmhouse look, Cushman Design Group used a mix of traditional design elements: Simple cabinets with Shaker-style detailing; bead-board paneling on the walls and island; and an apron-front or 'farmhouse-style' sink. Details like the chrome plumbing with porcelain accents, glass-front cabinets, wood countertops and simple metal lighting fixtures complete the effect.

Photo By: Susan Teare

Updating an Heirloom

Inherited from her grandfather, this Marlin, Texas home had sentimental value to Sterling Zan and her husband Casey, but had fallen into a sad state of disrepair after sitting empty for more than a decade. Enter Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. The pair worked their own brand of magic, taking the house down to its studs before rebuilding from the inside out and, in the process, filling it with southwestern charm. In the living room, wood floors and knotty wood windows and doors create a strong rustic flavor. Sleek leather furnishings keep the look light and modern. And strong southwestern patterns on the rug and artwork add a regional accent. 

A New-Old Farmhouse

Set on a hilltop at the end of a long winding dirt road in Sharon, CT, this weekend retreat could easily be mistaken for a renovated 19th-century farmhouse — exactly as the owners and their designer, Rafe Churchill, intended. "The owners wanted a house with the restrained beauty and pragmatism of the New England Shakers,"€ says Churchill. "This house strikes the perfect balance between beauty and functionality, old and new: combining carefully curated furnishings, crisp colors and durable finishes with net-zero sustainable building technologies. This guest room, for example, provides simple comforts: a beautiful chair, a comfortable bed and a stunning views of the surrounding countryside."

Fine Vintage

In a Portland, Oregan bathroom remodeled by Hammer & Hand, Alice Design & Domestic Arts used white-washed pine paneling to create a rustic backdrop. Penny tiles on the floor and a mint-green vintage cabinet added quirky farmhouse style to the updated space.

Texture and Personality

Any house — even a plain-vanilla suburban ranch — can take on farmhouse flair in the hands of Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. In this open-concept living room, the pair added texture and interest with wood floors, an exposed wood beam between the living space and kitchen, and a show-stopping stone-faced fireplace. A mix of casual wood furnishings and more formal upholstered pieces creates a look that's comfortable but elegant enough for entertaining. 

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