Michele Lerner, Special to The Washington Post
Interior designers, home decor magazines and TV shows tout the modern farmhouse look as among the most popular decorating styles. But what does "farmhouse style" really mean? It doesn't mean you'll have chickens in the yard and gingham curtains at the window. We asked Ashley Moore, owner of Moore House Interiors in Tomball, Texas, to share her insight into the trendy style.
"The modern farmhouse aesthetic has swept the nation, thanks in part to influence from design icons such as Chip and Joanna Gaines and their popular TV show, 'Fixer Upper,' " Moore wrote in an email. "Truth be told, the farmhouse style has been around since the 1800s when early-American settlers began moving to the Midwest and creating small farming communities. The classic American farmhouse has received a modern twist over the last few years, but the basic design fundamentals haven't changed. Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or on a farm, you can nail the modern farmhouse aesthetic by incorporating these elements - a neutral palette, black accents, woodwork and an overall theme of simplicity."
Here are Moore's suggestions for developing a modern farmhouse look for your home:
Neutral palette: Starting with a neutral palette is a must. Colour groups such as whites, greys, creams and light beiges should be the base colour scheme in your home. One of the easiest ways to add that desired farmhouse feel is by painting the walls white. Alternatively, you can still create that bright and airy look with a light grey or even beige. With neutrals as your foundation, adding in colour through accessories and furnishings is easy and fun.
Black accents: Black might seem like a sharp contrast to the previously mentioned neutral palette, but this is how you incorporate that modern twist. Black accents such as metal doors and windows or industrial hardware and light fixtures will take your space from classic to modern. If replacing doors and windows isn't in the budget, bringing in a coffee table with black iron legs or changing out your cabinet hardware will still make a big impact.
Woodwork: The early-American farmhouses were built with wood, and incorporating this element in modern-day homes is important. Not only does it help add interest and character to your space, but also elements such as reclaimed wood can make statements themselves. You can add reclaimed wood beams to your ceiling, fireplace mantel and floors or even create custom doors. I also recommend bringing in antique furniture pieces with natural wood tones. These will add warmth and texture to your space.
You don't have to put shiplap everywhere to get that farmhouse look - start simple with an accent wall. But once you fall in love with the clean simplicity of it, you'll want to shiplap the whole house. Clients often ask if shiplap will go out of style, and our answer is no. It's been a design element for over 200 years, making it a timeless addition to your home. Adding trim around your doors and windows is another way to incorporate simple millwork in your home for that farmhouse feel.
Simplicity: The earliest inhabitants of America's farmhouses lived simply. Furniture was handmade or preserved family heirlooms, the rooms were uncluttered and served a functional purpose, and the architecture was clean-cut with straight lines. These elements all contribute to the simplicity of the farmhouse and should be considered in today's modern farmhouse style. We might not be building tables by hand anymore, but keeping your home uncluttered is a quality that shouldn't be overlooked. When it comes to the modern farmhouse, less is more.
While the farmhouse style has modernized alongside our culture, the character and elements of early farmhouses are still vibrant in today's designs. So, whether you want to replace windows and doors or update only a few small pieces of furniture, by using a neutral colour palette, black accents, woodwork and keeping simplicity at the forefront of your design, the modern farmhouse aesthetic can be achieved no matter your Zip code.