Beyond Shiplap: What to Look For in Modern Farmhouse Style


There's a design trend that's a big favorite, one that speaks to our Midwest roots: Modern Farmhouse. It combines the clean lines of contemporary design with the more rustic traditional farmhouse style.

Modern Farmhouse uses natural textures and materials, like wood, leather, and galvanized steel, but the furniture and fixtures have the cleaner, sharper lines of modern design aesthetics. Some of the materials may be reclaimed, like barn siding and beams, and some of it may be brand new, like the steel or concrete tabletops and countertops. And it's notable for its use of solid, soft colors with splashes of color coming from accent pieces.

Everything is warm and inviting — cozy, even — not minimalistic and sharp, like Scandinavian designs. And best of all, in Modern Farmhouse, the furniture and fixtures look equally at home in an urban townhome as they do in a rural farmhouse.

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And while the trend may be especially known for the white-painted shiplap paneling trend that Chip and Joanna Gaines started a few years ago, it's so much more than just shiplap.

The Modern Farmhouse kitchen might include painted white cabinets to brighten up a room, as well as traditional-looking drawer and door pulls, a deep farm sink, and a natural wood- or concrete-topped kitchen island big enough for family and friends to gather around while you prepare dinner.

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In the living room and family room, we typically see softer, lighter grays and blues, or even some white, on the walls and the bigger pieces of furniture. There are no rich reds or vibrant greens here. Everything is subtle, but not colorless.

We're also seeing some home owners use black trim on their windows instead of the traditional white or natural wood trim. The black complements the actual wood in the room, especially the doors. The windows actually stand out because the oak pieces are not consumed by all the wood in the room.

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As we head into the dining room, you'll find a dining table that's often made of reclaimed wood. It's heavy, and has a lot of character to it, whether it's nail holes and knots, or even a Dutchman or patch to fill in a large knothole. The edges are soft and rounded over, as if they have been worn by years of family meals around the table. 

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The upholstery designs are solid fabric colors, usually grays and blues, but there's also brown and black leather, like in this Brooks leather lounge chair.

And in all the rooms, there is a nice balance in both the look of the design and the color scheme. There's not too much of one thing, like all wood furniture or all gray upholstery and no accent color to balance it out. Nothing is crowded and there's not several pieces of furniture all fighting for space, but it's not so sparse as to seem nearly empty either. 

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Your accessories provide the pops of color, which means you can even swap out things like throw pillows or smaller area rugs to change with the seasons or your mood.

There's also plenty of texture throughout the rooms. You'll want to run your hands over the silky matte finish of the tabletops or snuggle into the cozy fabrics of the couch, or sink into leather upholstery of the chair as you read and relax after a long day. 

Modern Farmhouse is minimalist, but it's more than stripped-down bare essentials. Modern Farmhouse homes are meant to be lived in, not look like a museum, so you have a clean, but usable look. It's a home where you want your dogs, cats, and kids to sit on the furniture. 

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To see how you can turn your home into a Modern Farmhouse home, check out our whole Modern Farmhouse collection on our website, including tables and chairs, sideboards and stools, artwork and clocks. Or if you have any questions or need advice, please contact us at support@parkergwen.com or visit our website for more information.

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