If you’ve long admired the style of a modern farmhouse kitchen, especially the ones you see on Pinterest and Instagram, but you’ve never been sure how to create the look in your own home? Well then, this post is for you!
The modern farmhouse aesthetic has always resonated with me, given my upbringing that combined both city and country living. I’ve written about it before here. And for the most part, this design style has very much reflected our lifestyle the past 8+ years living in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia.
One of the main reasons I’ve been so drawn to this particular style, is that it’s a modern take on traditional country, but with a farmhouse feel. What’s the difference between just regular country style and modern farmhouse, you ask? For me, modern farmhouse style really plays on the rural lifestyle aspect, where functionality precedes prettiness. It also has a cleaner, more streamlined aesthetic than your typical country style.
Design elements like dutch/stable doors, stone and aged timber, barn doors, mudrooms, oversized farmhouse sinks, vaulted ceilings and lots of wall cladding/panelling. It’s less “frou frou” and slightly more utilitarian and masculine.
So, how can you get this look in your kitchen? Here are my top 5 tips to creating that modern farmhouse kitchen:
Tip #1: Interior wall cladding/panelling
Shiplap, beadboard, tongue and groove, or board and batten. Wall cladding, for me, is the foundation of modern farmhouse style. Whether it’s the walls, the ceilings, or both, this is the element which I find adds that modern farmhouse character that most new and existing homes can be lacking.
Plain old gyprock is, well, just that. Plain! Wall cladding (or panelling) adds texture, depth, character and visual complexity without dominating. Painted white, it’s your perfect backdrop to create a modern farmhouse.
I have a particular penchant for shiplap and v-groove, as they’re the updated version of traditional tongue & groove or beadboard. V-groove is self explanatory (a simple “V” groove!) and shiplap is comprised of a square u-channel groove (called a “shiplap” joint) that overlaps with the previous board or sheet.
It can be run vertically, or horizontally, and makes the BEST kitchen splashback if you use the fibre cement sheets (like we have done above in our most recent renovation), because they are waterproof, heat resistant and dense! They give a much softer look than tiles (which are a “hard surface”), and can also be painted over if you want to update the colour. I’m going to do a separate post about fibre cement sheets soon because they are so practical and look so good. It’s without a doubt the best splashback we’ve ever had.
The below two images are our most recent home (and renovation) and I loved this place so much. I’m working on a “before and after” post to show how we transformed this home from an early 80’s ugly ducking, to a fresh modern farmhouse. Stay tuned for that! You can see a lot more on our Instagram.
Tip #2: Timber – au naturale and raw
Whether it’s in the form of timber benchtops, flooring, cabinetry or just some lovely wood accents around the kitchen, make sure you go for raw, oiled or satin finishes. Now is not the time for highly polished, glossy or perfect looking timbers.
Sure, many of us do select new timbers when renovating or building. Just make sure your new timbers have than rustic, raw or earthy qualities. You want the timbers to feel like they carry some patina and age with them, reinforcing that old-farmhouse-meets-new feeling. Reclaimed is best if you can get access to it, and I particularly love that reusing old timbers are better for the environment over consuming new.
The same should also be said for any metal accents – think matt black, aged or unlacquered copper and brass, and brushed nickel. Anything that’s new and highly polished gives off a sense of “newness” and doesn’t fit that gently aged look you’re aiming for. There’s always exceptions to that rule, but as a guide, stick to matt, brushed or unlacquered metal finishes.
Below are some old farm gardening tools I’ve owned for many years, which we used to style Louise’s home for a photo shoot. I love how they look on her beautiful white v-groove walls. These actually hang on the wall at our current home and they make great wall art instead of paintings!
Tip #3: Natural stone benchtops/counters
Similar to the above, I personally prefer the natural stones over man-made/manufactured stones. They’re authentic, develop a beautiful patina over time, and I can always tell the difference between real and faux. Although, I understand everyone’s lifestyles are different and this can impact whether many choose natural stones over man made.
If marble’s not your jam, and you don’t want man-made stones, consider Belgian bluestones, honed or leathered granites, dolomite, soapstone, quartzite and concrete.
My lovely friend, and design client, Louise Keats, used the stunning ‘Super White’ dolomite in her incredible modern farmhouse kitchen (which is featured throughout this post). I absolutely love the busy veining and deep charcoal grey tones. It’s such a perfect contrast to an all-white kitchen and disguises etching a little better than many of your mainstream marbles.
Both the antique oak champagne bucket and vintage demijohn (above) are available in our little Cottonwood & Co store, located inside the Robertson Cheese Factory. The antique oak champagne bucket looks super cute here in Louise’s butlers pantry!
Our good friends, Mr & Mrs Munro , also did their own concrete benchtops in their gorgeous farmhouse kitchen too. You can see a snippet below but I’ll get more photos for you as I just love their kitchen! It’s the epitome of modern farmhouse chic and they did a lot of it themselves.
We used both honed Cararra marble and honed black granite in our two most recent home renovations. Both of which are timeless classics and I love the subtle veins of Carrara marble. We also used white Caesarstone in our most recent laundry renovation (below). It’s certainly a was very user friendly and very good option for a laundry or mudroom. I’m definitely excited to try some other stones for our next renovation, however.
I love the magnificent kitchen at Terragong, Jamberoo (a luxury Bed and Breakfast), which I’ve posted about before here. I took these photos a few years ago when I visited it’s lovely owners, Simon and Darryl, and this is still one of my favourite kitchens. It’s has such an authentic, old American farmhouse vibe (despite being brand new) and I particularly love the benchtop!
Tip #4: Butler/farmhouse/apron sink
A classic farmhouse/butler/apron sink is a staple of the farmhouse kitchen! They look particularly good when placed in front of a window looking out over beautiful countryside. Farmhouse/butler sinks are absolute work horses and make washing up (or hiding dirty dishes!) an easy feat.
These days there’s quite the variety of farmhouse sinks to choose from (natural stone, porcelain, and metal versions), which all look terrific, especially when paired with beautiful tapware.
Tip #5: Shaker or V-groove cabinetry
What would a modern farmhouse kitchen be without shaker cabinetry?! It’s a classic style of cabinetry that never dates and always looks good. A white shaker kitchen is a perennial favourite, but it doesn’t mean you also can’t have coloured cabinetry to create a beautiful modern farmhouse kitchen. All shades work, but I suggest keeping it in the muted or murky tones for an optimal farmhouse aesthetic.
The other cabinetry style I love is v-groove, because it’s a modern take on the traditional country kitchens. It’s a slightly more contemporary look but feels very at home within a modern farmhouse and you can go lean your design towards a more traditional look with beautiful hardware, or more contemporary by going without hardware.
I really loved the Scullery at our former home (above), as it was such a worse horse room. The honed black granite counters were a great antidote to the more high maintenance marble in the kitchen, and required no special treatment.
The scullery was where a lot of the mess would end up, as well as where we housed many of our appliances. It meant the kitchen could, generally, be kept cleaner and a lot tidier as a result!
We did this renovation in 2014 and I still love this design today!! The engineered oak floors were from Preference Flooring. Black dual fuel oven and cooker was an Ilve. Still my favourite oven we’ve ever had! Custom matt black tapware was Astra Walker. Linen curtains from Restoration Hardware. V-groove cabinetry with black hardware from Restoration Hardware. Cararra marble counters.
I hope this post has given you some ideas and inspiration in designing the modern farmhouse kitchen of your dreams!
There are, of course, many other elements that go into creating that perfect modern farmhouse kitchen. However, if you start with these top 5, you’re more than halfway there!
Feel free to ask any questions or if you want to know any product sources, drop me a line below.