What is a Modern Farmhouse?

Gone are the days of the cookie-cutter ranch homes of the 1960s, today’s homeowners are looking for a unique, uncluttered and simple approach to
residential architecture that pairs down the floor plan to include only the bare necessities, and relies on texture rather than color to create its iconic style. These concepts are the heart and soul of the Modern Farmhouse.

Many architects and designers alike blame home and garden, and fixer upper television shows  for the advent of this unique residential style, but no matter who you credit for its creation, the Modern Farmhouse is a sensation sweeping the nation, and everyone looking to build a new home is falling in love with its style and undeniable personality. But, before you just select a Modern Farmhouse plan, do you know what makes a Modern Farmhouse truly what it is? There are several key characteristics that make a Modern Farmhouse all its own.

modern farmhouse

EXTERIOR

Gables & Roof Pitches
Modern Farmhouse style uses a gable roof in a steeper pitch than a typical home built in the last two or three decades. Perhaps it’s a popular feature because of its ability to create higher, more dramatic vaulted ceilings, in turn, opening up the interior spaces and making them feel larger. When steep gables aren’t being used, then a flat roof is often added to the mix.

Exterior Finishes
Although simple in overall design, subtle texture really takes a prominent role in the look and feel of a modern farmhouse. Board and batten (also called clapboard siding), vertical and horizontal siding, a steel roof, and even a small amount of brick or stone combine to create a modern farmhouse that feels fresh and new, yet still feels like a modern-day version of its former timeless self. 

Color
Most often white is the color of choice for the exterior, but gray and other neutral colors are also popular for both interior and exterior. Black and natural wood also have a role in the finished look. Color takes a supporting role to all of the texture provided by the various siding styles being used. 

Unique Exterior Footprint
Farmhouses of the past were usually rectangular in shape and built simply in order to quickly create a dwelling for a family ready to work their land. Construction had to be done around the growing cycles, so the design was modest and straightforward. Today’s Modern Farmhouses still have a common simplicity similar to their past counterparts, yet many have varied roof lines, an L-shape, or the look of multiple buildings, which promotes additional natural light in the interior because there is more exterior wall space for extra windows and doors. 

large covered front porch

Large Porches
Often referred to as “outdoor living spaces,” large front and back covered porches are common and an important feature offering additional living space for dining, entertaining, or relaxing. Add a sleek porch swing, or updated rocking chair in black, or a vibrant color and these porches are less “Grandma’s house,” and more current with the time. 

windows with black frames

Windows
As discussed, windows are an important design element. Typically, double-hung and seen with black framing that stands out against the stark white exterior and interior finishes, windows play an important role in keeping the home bright, friendly and open. Traditional double-hung style keep the design grounded to its original roots.

INTERIOR

Simple & Minimal
A modern farmhouse has a laid-back personality that’s bright and inviting, and promotes a simple lifestyle. Homeowners want their homes to be a refuge from their cluttered daily lives. Between traffic, email, social media, and other constant distractions, a Modern farmhouse is meant to be a peaceful, inviting retreat, somewhat like a sanctuary that shelters from the outside noise. Even the floor plans are designed to maintain a sense of openness with generally very few walls. Larger windows for added natural light, and larger spaces for effortless daily living like spacious mud and laundry rooms are quite popular. Think clean and functional.

white color palette in great room

Color Palette
Neutral by nature, the interior of the modern farmhouse mimics the exterior by sticking to a neutral color palette that’s bright and airy. In addition to the most popular color, which is white; soft gray, beige and blue is often used to promote a sense of calmness.

laundry room with barn style door

Architectural Interest
With the popularity of using reclaimed wood and other architectural elements from buildings of the past, it makes perfect sense that Modern Farmhouse style incorporates these unique features. From rustic timber beams and rafters, to the current favorite wall paneling affectionately called “Ship Lap,” although the overall color palette may be white or neutral, rustic elements can be found for architectural interest. Even steel and polished concrete have found a place in this style because of their industrial look and durability.

modern farmhouse kitchen

Kitchen Design
A modern farmhouse kitchen is the heart of the home. It is a
place where family will eat, socialize and relax. Typically, these kitchens are open to the surrounding living spaces, have a neutral color palette, which of course is usually white. They incorporate several windows, Shaker-style cabinets, white marble or quartz countertops, subway tile, Industrial-style light fixtures, a large island for cooking and casual dining, and open shelving with almost-Utilitarian dishes and glassware. Think uncomplicated, and less “your grandmother’s flowery china pattern.”

Home Decor
Home accessories are not matching, more complementary, but with character. Modern Farmhouse décor uses carefully placed, thoughtful accessories that add personality to a space. The decor mixes sleek, modern accessories with timeless ones. Artwork may be the one thing that adds a special pop of color. The majority of the texture comes from throw rugs, and the fabrics used on the sofas and chairs. Bold light fixtures, and natural wood floors are a must, and if you’re looking for a sleeker vibe, then steel, wrought iron, and other metals can be added to create a more Industrial feel.  

bedroom with barn door into bathroom

Barn Doors
Besides being a stylish space-saving option, barn-style doors are a rustic addition when using natural wood, or paint it white and add black hardware for a cleaner look. Either way, “barn doors” are a staple in Modern Farmhouses and offer plenty of character while taking up less space.

rustic barn doors

If you’re enthralled with Modern Farmhouse style, you are not alone. This style is the darling of residential architecture today and it’s easy to see why. It combines so many wonderful features to create something so utterly simple and effortless. Thoughtful, subdued, smart, and functional all meet their match with the invention of the Modern Farmhouse, and we think it was about time. 

20 thoughts on “What is a Modern Farmhouse?

  • October 8, 2019 at 8:09 am
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  • January 6, 2020 at 5:52 pm
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    Designers are noticing subtle shifts. Edison bulbs are losing favor, as homeowners realize that while a raw bulb may look pretty, staring directly at one is not terribly appealing. And color seems to be making a comeback — green kitchens! “The modern farmhouse is evolving into something a little bit more global,” Ms. Bikoff said. “It could be Balinese, it could be Chinese. It could be a little bit Italian from the ’.”

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  • March 5, 2020 at 9:05 pm
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    I love everything about this article. I’m obsessed with sliding doors, and how they look on modern farmhouses. It gives the house such an updated look with an antique feel! Thank you for sharing!

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