There’s nothing that I love more than beautiful modern farmhouse design. When Bobby and I remodeled our home, we updated with elements of this popular interior decor trend in a way that felt special for us and our family’s space. We took the modern farmhouse look and made it coastal and more appropriate for our lives in San Diego, but fellow blogger and decor aficionado Brooke Jones of Plank + Pillow opted for a classic look in her home in Kingsport, Tennessee, that honestly, I just can’t get enough of. I had to talk with her about how she captured that timeless look, and how to get that look in your own home.

Leonardo Da Vinci took notes on what we now call “color theory,” a key aspect of interior design!

farmhouse on hill

Plan Out Your Front Porch

Capturing that farmhouse look all starts at the front door. “Not many things scream ‘farmhouse’ like a big front porch,” said Brooke. “Porches on a traditional farmhouse are sometimes over-decorated and cluttered. So, we make sure to decorate our porches with a minimalist approach where less is more.”

This is especially true if, like us, your front porch is practically nonexistent. Keep it tidy to maximize the look of the space.

porch swing

Find Space For Dramatic Seating

With big outdoor space comes big accessories! “A porch swing is a must-have for a farmhouse. Instead of a traditional swing, Henry custom-built a comfy swing bed,” explained Brooke. “Its clean lines paired with a modern rug make it the perfect modern farmhouse swing.”

Don’t forget the patio space! Our swing seat is in the backyard and the family spends just as much time on it.

modern farmhouse

Add Some Subtle Detailing

I’m a sucker for neutrals and recently had the house repainted a warm white. According to Brooke, my choice was spot on! “If there is one thing that encompasses both ‘farmhouse’ and ‘modern,’ it’s white. But we didn’t want to go too bright with the exterior. We chose a white that had some creaminess to it,” noted Brooke. “We alternated lap siding with board and batten to add interest and dimension to the all-white exterior.”

In the 1970s, avocado bathroom suites were considered the height of excellent interior design!

modern farmhouse garage

Compare and Contrast

Think about contrast when designing the exterior of your home. “With all of the white, we needed something to pop on the exterior. Black exterior windows give a farmhouse a modern vibe and lots of curb appeal,” explained Brooke. “Also, the grille pattern is important. The simpler the pattern, the more modern your house will look. We chose a simple four-pane pattern for our windows.”

Have you listened to my podcast? Check out The Mom Confidential!

outdoor pool

I Dream of Clean Lines

I cannot stress how much I love designing on a clean palette, which might be what drew me (and so many others!) to the modern farmhouse aesthetic. “Farmhouses have always been known for having simple forms and shapes, which just so happens to be a hallmark of modern architecture,” said Brooke.

“So that was one of the main things we focused on—to let the simple lines of the house do the talking. This meant adding no ornate elements or even shutters.”

Interior designers use mirrors opposite of windows to reflect natural light and allow the space to feel brighter, bigger, and more open.

modern kitchen

Bring the Outdoors Inside

Pick and choose colors, textures, and elements that will work together, not necessarily match. “Not everything should be white. We used wood elements throughout the home to create contrast and warmth. Every modern farmhouse needs wood accents paired with the light color palette,” noted Brooke.

“We added wood accents with custom-made DIY beams, floating wood shelves in our kitchen, and a wood range hood.” The wood elements in my home only make the space feel warm and inviting, which is so important for me and my family.

double doors

Bring Some Textures to Otherwise Plain Walls

Some people love brightly-colored walls or demure wallpaper, but I love shiplap and Brooke agrees! “A modern farmhouse wouldn’t be complete without shiplap. In the planning process, shiplap was a must! Our shiplap is knotty pine, which means there are knot holes and imperfections, which was fine with us. The old look paired with modern is a great mixture.”

Take a look at my modern farmhouse reveal with Arhaus to see how I included it in our family room.

Interior design in the 17th and 18th centuries could be deadly! The paint used to contain poisonous elements such as lead and arsenic!

barn door bathroom

It’s Not a Farmhouse Without a Barn Door

When decorating, doors can throw a wrench in your plans. Maybe they open in an awkward space or take up too much of a room’s interior. Barn doors can minimize space, make a statement and add character to a room. We had our barn doors made from reclaimed wood and Brooke opted for a DIY approach! She how she made these DIY sliding barn doors.

Check out all my decorating tips over on the City Girl Gone Mom Pinterest board!

dining room

Give It a Modern Touch

To keep your design from looking full-on farmhouse add modern accents. Industrial lighting, hardware, and fixtures can keep everything from looking too old-fashioned.

“We used a lot of matte black lighting with brass accents and a few wood fixtures to add the right amount of modern,” explained Brooke. Pick the metal that works best for your aesthetic or mix and match! There are no hard and fast rules.

Good interior design involves elements of psychology. For example, trying to “trick” the eye into thinking a room is larger than it actually is.

staircase railing

Add on More Metal

When your staircase is by the entrance you want to make a grand impression! “We went with a simple black industrial metal railing,” said Brooke. “We love the clean, modern lines it created in the foyer, and it goes perfectly with the windows and lighting.”

Remember to keep a balance of modern and classic, but ultimately, this is your home! Add or change up elements as you want!

farmhouse quotefront porch

All photos courtesy of Brooke Jones of Plank + Pillow.


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14 thoughts on “10 Tips to Designing a Dreamy Modern Farmhouse”

  1. I am looking for warm white for the exterior of my home I’m getting ready to build and your white looks exactly like what I’m after! Do you mind sharing what color of paint you used and possibly what color your gutters are? Thank you so much!

  2. Can you please let me know where the metal industrial railing came from? Love them and we are thinking about doing the same thing.

  3. Can you please let me know the details of your landscaping please! The names of the tall green trees, and the small green bushes. Thank you!


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