simple and functional decor

Photo: Modern Farmhouse Style (Weldon Owen)

Pare Down

Modern farmhouse style is interpreted in different ways in different countries. Take Scandinavian design, for example: There, the farmhouse look is more about letting the materials shine in unfussy ways, such as the simple wood planks in this nearly whitewashed floor. Plus, furniture that's functional and beautiful—a hallmark of Swedish design—meets the requirements of both modern and farmhouse styles. You'll also note that Scandinavian pieces are designed to last—which is very much in tune with the farmhouse aesthetic of utility. Scandinavian farmhouse also pares down any accents—one or two rustic bowls, for example, instead of an overwhelming collection.
neutral sofa and coffee table

Photo: Modern Farmhouse Style (Weldon Owen)

Practice Restraint

In modern farmhouse homes, restraint comes in all forms. There's color—here, neutral yet warm hues of beige with a bit of white and subdued blues—as well the understated yet clever coffee and side tables, which both draw inspiration from organic elements.
leather armchairs

Photo: Modern Farmhouse Style (Weldon Owen)

Contrast Material and Silhouette

The warm brown leather of these armchairs speaks to barnyard saddles, while their midcentury lines nod to a decidedly more refined sensibility. That push-pull is apparent throughout this gorgeous room—try incorporating items with mixed heritage to amplify both modern and farmhouse themes, or at least arranging pieces of both styles so they contrast nicely. For instance, have rustic ceiling beams? Hang a sleek, metallic pendant to play off the beams' more homey vibe.
apron-front sink

Photo: Modern Farmhouse Style (Weldon Owen)

Focus on Fixtures

Believe it or not, your faucet matters. From a graceful arch in gleaming chrome to a weathered style inspired by farmyard water pumps, there are a wealth of choices in mount and type. Don't forget the sink: Popular apron-front models are a fun farmhouse update, while undermount sinks (which drop into the counter without a rim) feel distinctly modern.

Your sink can provide nice contrast against other elements in your kitchen. Here, an apron-front option has a historic vibe, while crisp white tile and stainless steel fixtures and appliances keep things current.
shelf with toys, plants and china

Photo: Modern Farmhouse Style (Weldon Owen)

Embrace the Melee

We tend to think that farmhouse must be industriously tidy, and modern must be severely minimalist. The truth is, both spaces should feel lived in and loved. If that means the paint on your china storage stays chipped and your Windsor chairs never quite seem to marry up with your elegant linen light fixture, or if—oh dear—guests can see your washing machine, so be it. Focus instead on the touches that make the space homey to you: a beloved and bright toy, miniature offerings from the pumpkin patch, an artful mess of Black-Eyed Susans, and a cool pitcher of milk waiting to be enjoyed.
natural fiber loofah and comb

Photo: Modern Farmhouse Style (Weldon Owen)

Bring in Natural Fibers

Plastic rules in most modern bathrooms—you'll see it in loofahs, combs and brushes and surface sponges. A lovely way to introduce some farmhouse ethos is to use natural bristles and sponges instead, and even display them in simple dishes and trays for all to see.

From Modern Farmhouse Style. Copyright © 2017 by Weldon Owen. Excerpted with permission by Weldon Owen.