inspiration4 min read

Interior trends: what is modern farmhouse decor?

Light and airy modern farmhouse living room via Studio McGee

WordsMegan Lambert


A modern offshoot of traditional farmhouse decor, modern farmhouse decor is the brighter, sleeker version. Whilst still incorporating that relaxed feel and a sense of warmth and character, the modern farmhouse trend is more restrained, more minimalist, and more, well, modern

With some similarities to Scandi interior style, whether it’s our newfound focus on a simpler, clean and organic lifestyle or a yearning to embrace the past in what can feel like complicated modern times. Modern farmhouse decor bridges the gap between past and present for a sophisticated style that looks right at home in a contemporary or period house.

How does modern farmhouse decor differ from traditional farmhouse decor?

As ever in the interior design world, trends are not a monolith. One inspires and evolves into another. And that’s just the case with traditional and modern farmhouse decor. The original, traditional farmhouse decor is nostalgic and sentimental—it’s a celebration of the past and looks back to a bygone era. 

Whereas modern farmhouse decor is forward-facing. It’s an updated version, better suited to our modern lives and contemporary homes. It’s more minimal. There’s less fuss and fewer trimmings. There’s still that same focus on natural materials and rustic elements, but with added modern touches like glossy white marble countertops and sleek industrial lighting. There are still vintage or reclaimed elements but used more sparingly. Less is more when it comes to modern farmhouse decor.

Key characteristics of the modern farmhouse decor style

Modern farmhouse characteristic: neutral colour palette

A neutral colour palette is synonymous with modern farmhouse decor. Creating a relaxed and inviting backdrop, warming beigesgreiges and oaty whites are the paints colours to go for on your walls, whilst introducing accent colours through your furnishings. Take a look at our guide on how to style new neutrals in your home to get the look or get a better understanding of the different neutral colour palettes.

Modern farmhouse characteristic: natural elements

Natural elements are another cornerstone of the modern farmhouse decor style. The original farmhouses that inspired the trend would have had wood-panelled walls, wood floorboards and exposed wood beams.  Whilst this might be a bit too much wood for our modern tastes, you can recreate elements of it with shiplap cladding, a rustic wood coffee or dining table or reclaimed scaffolding style open shelving in the kitchen. 

Modern farmhouse bedroom with exposed wooden beams by Studio McGEE
Modern farmhouse dining room decorated in white shiplap cladding by Amber Interior Design

Modern farmhouse characteristic: industrial accents

The modern farmhouse decor trend shares some elements with the industrial decor style. It’s that balance of form and function which both trends celebrate. Mix reclaimed woods with chunky metals for a warm yet sturdy style. Think wrought iron bed frames against a shiplap cladding feature wall, black frame crittall style doors and windows, industrial pendant lighting and open shelving in the kitchen and metal trunk or recycled wood coffee tables in the living room. 

Modern farmhouse dining room with large windows and a round table photographed by Jess Isaac via Amber Interior Design
Modern farmhouse bedroom with a wrought iron bed by Studio McGee

Modern farmhouse characteristic: a mix of vintage and modern pieces

From salvaged fixtures and fittings in kitchens and bathrooms to a vintage armchair in the living room, mixing in older pieces to your modern farmhouse decor is the perfect way to add some depth and history to a modern decor trend. Mix your modern furnishings with those that have had a previous life, like a salvaged Singer sewing machine turned console table, a traditional gas stove, or a butcher’s block-cum-kitchen island. Why not try your hand at upcycling?