Pulling off a Modern Farmhouse Living Room
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Pulling off a Modern Farmhouse Living Room

Simplicity combined with rustic details is the key to this style.

By Tracy Kaler
Thu, Jan 20, 2022Grey Clock 3 min

Clean lines paired with rustic details are the essence of a modern farmhouse living room. But what’s the appeal of this comfortable yet timeless look?

“From the untreated woods to natural materials, there’s something relaxed and inviting about this aesthetic,” said Amalia Graziani, principal at Noor Property Group in New York. “I like the warmth of this style. When done correctly, these spaces feel durable and lived in, but still fresh.”

We turned to a select group of design pros for suggestions on pulling off a modern farmhouse living room. Here’s what they recommend.

Include Reclaimed Materials

“The interior architecture of a modern farmhouse is not the same as that of a true historical farmhouse. Rather, the interior architecture is modernized by the simplicity of the trim, cabinetry design and other design features. The furniture of a modern farmhouse can then be antique or modern, but ideally a blend of both.

“Add reclaimed beams to a ceiling by simply bolting them to the existing structure. A farmhouse-style home typically utilizes beams with a hand-hewn look, which means they have a lot of chop marks. Bolts can be visible when you want an industrial look. You can buy reclaimed beams at salvage yards.

“Flooring in a modern marking is usually a fumed white oak or other character-grade flooring. Character-grade hardwood contains some naturally occurring knots and checks within the graining of the wood. These features provide a more rustic feel.”

— Cathy Purple Cherry of Purple Cherry Architects in Annapolis, Maryland

Pair Antique Elements With Updated Finishes

“A modern farmhouse typically pairs rustic, antique elements with sleek, updated materials and finishes. Most feature the classic pitched roofline and incorporate unfinished wood and natural textiles. Ideally, a modern take introduces more light. Using larger windows or lighter, more Scandinavian-style wood will modernize a space. A high-pitched roofline with vaulted ceilings is most emblematic of this style.

“The materials best suited to this aesthetic include oak or pine for paneling. I like to use unfinished wood beams with white beadboard. Iron is the most traditional metal option, but I love using brushed stainless alongside natural woods. In terms of stone choices, I’d recommend full stone granite for fireplaces and bluestone for floors.”

— Amalia Graziani, principal, Noor Property Group in New York

Select Streamlined Furnishings

“Selecting furniture that features clean lines and appears inviting and comfortable is key to creating a modern farmhouse living room. I gravitate towards sofas that use soft, luxurious, solid fabrics with thick down inserts. The best modern farmhouse looks use neutral fabrics and plenty of texture. Mix different textures to add modernity and differentiate from the traditional farmhouse style; leather paired with velvet; gold lighting or other metallic finishes with wood details on the walls or fireplace.

“Introducing color has to be done carefully if you’re hoping to achieve a modern farmhouse look. The key is to select one colour and carry it throughout the space, creating a monochromatic environment. This streamlined look creates a sophisticated palette for the farmhouse feel.

“I love to infuse abstract art into modern farmhouse living rooms. Pretty, soft landscapes also look beautiful here. If possible, go large on the art to add character and personality to the room.”

— Andi Morse, founder and principal designer, Morse Design in Atlanta

Go Light With Colors and Textures

“The modern farmhouse look has come a long way beyond just shiplap and rustic touches. I think in today’s day and age, where it has been translated over and over again, you need to strip it down to its core and try to capitalize on those elements. This would be a mix of casual ease, unexpected charm, mixed materials and an overall sense of lightness in both colors and textures.

“I would lean toward natural fiber rugs, like sisal or jute, or if you’re going to go with a pattern, perhaps one that is simple and not too busy, typically such as a larger floral print or simple stripe. Lighting is fun, but in a modern farmhouse, I would try and almost make it disappear. Glass shades and very clean and sleek hardware are the way to go.

“Consider a more patina look for your floor lamps, mirrors, or decor items, to lend that rustic charm without going over the top “shabby chic.” Pairing a wood lattice coffee table, for instance, with a more modern and sleek iron frame armchair with ivory cushions adds an element of contrast, which feels very farmhouse to me.”

— Interior designer Georgia Zikas in West Hartford, Connecticut

Reprinted by permission of Mansion Global. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: Jan 19, 2022.

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