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From Rustic Roots to Modern Chic: The Modern Farmhouse Interior Design Style

From Rustic Roots to Modern Chic: The Modern Farmhouse Interior Design Style

Modern farmhouse decor has become one of the most well-known and hottest design trends for American households in some time. Thanks to HGTV’s popular home improvement show, Fixer Upper led by TV personality Joanna Gaines and her husband, every suburban family home has incorporated at least one or more of these elements into their decor.

Famous for its use of ship-lap, white paint, and sliding barn doors in place of regular doors, the modern farmhouse design represents a blend of minimalism with the vintage style of American ruralism into an exciting blend that invites you to sit and stay awhile.

Though as its popularity has risen, there have been cruder attempts to make this style more “commercialized” with those kitschy “live, laugh, love” signs, wall art that crudely announces to the viewer that “yes, you are indeed in the kitchen”, and an overabundance of Hobby Lobby-style bric-a-brac that dominates every available empty space in a room

If the previously mentioned style gets its way, the Modern Farmhouse style will undoubtedly age poorly and will be relegated to a simple fad. However, we CanvasPrints perfect the art of turning fleeting moments into lasting memories. When it comes to photos and decor, we want our advice and products to last a lifetime for you so your house becomes a home for the entire family!

What is the Modern Farmhouse Style

So while we may have the reality TV version as well as the more “commercialized” version of the modern farmhouse style, what exactly constituents this interior design style.

Well, first and foremost it's a blend of the minimalist style that was popularized in the early 2000s while at the same time an update on the “traditional” country design style of years past. It’s a blend of rustic charm and contemporary calmness that softens the harshness of minimalism’s more extreme aesthetics while modernizing the kitschy charm of traditional country elements like woven baskets, exposed beams, and brick walls.

Modern Farmhouse takes the limited color palette found in minimalism (think colors like cream, beige, taupe, sage, grey, and others), its use of clean lines, and intentional use of natural materials like reclaimed, natural wood, shiplap, and other barnboard details while embracing a level of cozy comfortable furniture and ornamentation in the form of textiles like metallic lamps, wrought iron accents, and other vintage accessories traditionally not found in minimalism.

How to Achieve the Modern Farmhouse Style

Achieving that cozy space with the modern farmhouse design can easily be accomplished with just a few simple fixes and tricks no matter the size or shape of the room! Whether its a dining room, living room, or bedroom, the first thing one should start when redesigning a room in this style is to settle on a limited color palette that uses warm or neutral colors, such as cream, beige, sage, or grey.

From that point, it's a matter of finding natural wood tones, the more weathered the better. End tables, coffee tables, and other furniture accent pieces will help begin to give the room that ever-familiar rustic charm. Once those pieces are in place, it's time to incorporate additional pieces that are texturally different such as pillows and blankets and other accent pieces that utilize an accent color to compliment your room’s palette. Luckily, CanvasPrints offers the ability for your to customize your own wall decor to perfectly complement whatever your design! 

After the various accent pieces have been added, the last step is to focus on incorporating exposed metal of some sort into the room to lend the room that industrial, minimalist feel that undergirds the modern farmhouse style. Great options to make this inclusion feel seamless are light fixtures and standing lamps. Be mindful, however, to match the exposed metal so that there isn’t too much visual clashing between the rest of the other elements within the room. We suggest having no more than 3 exposed pieces of metal per room.

How the Modern Farmhouse Style Differs from Other Interior Design Styles

While it's true that the modern farmhouse is a modern design aesthetic, it still is indebted to the interior design styles that came before it; most notably the “classic farmhouse style”, Scandinavian, Mid-century Modern, and Minimalism. The question, however, is what separates the modern farmhouse style from the aforementioned. Let’s break them down together! 

Classic Farmhouse

The classic farmhouse aesthetic uses a much brighter color palette when compared to its modernized form. Often choosing bright, bold, and even pastel colors over the warmer, muted hues found in today’s home. It also favors more ornate accent patterns such as floral or gingham to inflect more rusticity over the simple, modern accent colors found in Modern Farmhouse. Though a point that both styles still possess is their use of reclaimed wood and other materials to provide a textual difference throughout the room.


Besides the differences in place of origin (Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, and Finland vs the United States), many subtle differences still display a connective thread between these two interior design schools. 

Both share a love of using neutral colors, but whereas the modern farmhouse designer would incorporate warmer colors like sage or beige, the Scandinavian interior designer would still to true neutral colors like black, white, and grey. Additionally, both styles love using natural materials like wood and metal. Still, Scandinavian diverts in its choice of using natural materials rather than reclaimed materials that are more commonly found in the Modern Farmhouse style.

Moreover, both styles are heavily indebted to minimalist thinking but fork apart in their end goals. The Scandinavian design sees itself as dedicated to minimalism’s elevation of functionality above all else, contrasted with Modern Farmhouse’s prioritization of coziness over pure function.

Finally, both share a love of incorporating accent patterns into the overall design of the room, but similarly separate in terms of the types of pattern choices they make; Modern Farmhouse favors more ornate patterns that reflect the rugged outdoors like plaid, stripes, and in some cases simplified florals whereas Scandinavian designers prefer simple abstract and geometric patterns to add warmth to a room. 

Mid-Century Modern

While sharing the word modern in the name, both styles originated in differing time periods, mid-century modern in the 20th century, and modern farmhouse in the 21st century. That being said, both styles were and are considered modern for their respective times. And yet like all styles they differ in fundamental ways to reflect the context that these styles emerged from.

Modern farmhouse leans toward its neutral and warm color palette, while Mid-Century modern favors bold dynamic colors like orange, yellow, and even green! Both borrow minimalism’s love of clean lines but diverge with respect to functionality. 

Modern farmhouse style favors more traditional furniture choices that elevate comfort, while mid-century modern furniture styles favor sleek and low-profiles that are more about function than comfort per se. Both styles also favor the use of materials, however, Mid-Century Modern favored cutting-edge materials used during its time; think plywood, glass, and metal. Whereas Modern Farmhouse consciously favors older rustic texture, decorative elements, and reclaimed materials like barn boards and shiplap.


Minimalism has held such a wide influence across interior design philosophy going back all the way to the 1920s. It’s held many iterative forms; from Bauhaus, De Stijl, to 60’s American minimalism and beyond. The design philosophy is focused on the bare essentials and the holistic integration of the space.

Modern Farmhouse, like styles that have come after minimalism’s heyday in 60’s America, borrows liberally from the style in a variety of ways. Both focus on limited colors, form, and line to create a clean, spartan look while also “trading-in” minimalism more reduced philosophies of lack of accessories, ornamentation, and use of texture. Whereas, Modern Farmhouse tends to value them with comfy furniture, patterns that reflect an American pastoral sensibility, and the use of reclaimed materials that are lacking in minimalism’s desire for the bare essentials and nothing more.


With its rustic charm and simplicity refined with modern elements, the modern farmhouse interior design style versatility has contributed to its rapid rise in popularity. It’s easy to craft a simple house into a home using this style. Its sense of comfort and coziness is undeniable, but yet, this chic style has become increasingly commercialized. 

Without judicious use of its design principles, it may have the staying power of carpeted floors or that tacky 70’s style faux wood paneling of yesteryear. By following our simple, yet effective suggestions, you’ll be able to redesign any room (or even your entire house) in this style in no time!