How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

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. For the most part, this design style has very much reflected our lifestyle living in the beautiful Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
The stunning modern farmhouse kitchen of my friend, Louise Keats. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co.

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.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design and photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

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.

Run it vertically, or horizontally. It 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! You get 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 plan 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.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design and photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Pictured is the beautiful kitchen of my friend Louise Keats who has used a combination of v-groove boards and white subway tiles. Such a beautiful combination. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co

These two images below are our most recent home (and renovation) and I loved this place so much.  We really transformed this home from an early 80’s, ugly ducking, to a fresh, bright modern farmhouse.  You can see a lot more on our Instagram.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
The kitchen in the Alan Pye Cottage at Huka Lodge. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

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 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. I particularly love that reusing old timbers are better for the environment over consuming new.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
The spectacular kitchen at Terragong, Jamberoo, where they’ve used rustic timber beams in the great room to create that original, old world farmhouse feel. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

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.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Kitchen of Louise Keats. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

In the image below are some old farm gardening tools I’ve owned for a few 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!

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Home of Louise Keats. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co

Tip #3: Natural stone benchtops/counters

Similar to the above, I personally prefer the natural stones over man-made/reconstituted 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.

But what if marble’s not your jam, and you don’t want reconstituted stones? Consider Belgian bluestones, honed or leathered granites, dolomite, soapstone, quartzite and concrete.

My lovely friend, and former design client, Louise Keats, used the stunning ‘Super White’ dolomite in her incredible modern farmhouse kitchen. I just 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.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Cabinetry by Reid Brothers Furniture. Super white dolomite in the kitchen of Louise Keats. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

Both the antique oak champagne bucket and vintage demijohn (above) are pieces I’ve collected. My little antique oak champagne bucket looks super cute here in Louise’s butlers pantry!

One of my lovely Instafriends, Chloe from Boxwood Avenue, has written several blog posts here, here and here about how she did their white concrete counters. I personally love the look!

Good friends of ours, Mr & Mrs Munro , also did their own concrete benchtops in their gorgeous farmhouse kitchen too. You can see a snippet below and I just love their kitchen! It’s the epitome of modern farmhouse chic and they did most of it themselves.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Kitchen of Mr & Mrs Munro. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

I’ve 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.

A favourite kitchen of mine is 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. It’s still one of my favourite kitchens. It has such an authentic, old American farmhouse vibe (despite being brand new) and I particularly love the benchtop!

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
The kitchen at Terragong, Jamberoo. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co.

Tip #4: Butler/farmhouse/apron sink

The classic farmhouse/butler/apron sink is a staple of the farmhouse kitchen! When placed in front of a window looking out over beautiful countryside, it makes such a statement. 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.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Kitchen of Louise Keats. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design and photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design and photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design and Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co

Tip #5: Shaker or V-groove cabinetry

What would a modern farmhouse kitchen be without shaker cabinetry?! A classic style of cabinetry that never dates and always looks good. White shaker kitchens is a perennial favourite, but that 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.

Other cabinetry styles I love are v-groove, because it’s a modern take on the traditional country kitchens. You’ll find there’s a slightly more contemporary look to a v-groove kitchen, but feels very at home within a modern farmhouse. You can lean your design towards a more traditional look with beautiful hardware, or more contemporary by going without hardware.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Butlers pantry of Louise Keats. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Kitchen of Louise Keats. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design and photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design and photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood & Co
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood and Co. Image above: Maree Homer Photography.

Another area I really love in the modern farmhouse aesthetic is a Scullery. Like the one at our former home (above). Talk about a worse horse room! Honed black granite counters were a great antidote to the more high maintenance marble in the kitchen, and required no special treatment.

Our scullery was where a lot of the mess would end up, and it’s where we housed most of our appliances. That definitely helped to keep our kitchen clutter free and clean.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood and Co. Photography by Maree Homer.

The v-groove kitchen (above) at our first home which we renovated in 2014. I still LOVe this design today!! 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. Cabinetry hardware from Restoration Hardware. Cararra marble counters.

How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
Design: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood and Co.
How To Create A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen - Cottonwood & Co
The Kitchen in the Alan Pye Cottage at Huka Lodge. Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski / Cottonwood and Co.

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.

Nicki xo

Join the Conversation

  1. Farmhouse fabulousness! What a brilliant and timely eclectic selection for me to purview whilst finalising my own Gippsland farmhouse kitchen plans. Sure to make changes now. Bravo 👏

  2. Hi Nicki
    Could I ask what marble was used for the floors inside and out ? Thanks heaps Fairlie 😌

  3. Corrine Haselden says:

    Hi Nicki, Where did you source the island stools in Louise’s kitchen? Thank you!

    1. Hi Corrine, Louise got those stools from Canvas & Sasson. 🙂

  4. Thanks for this really helpful article- such beautiful kitchens! and so nice to see some Australian examples!
    Could you please tell me where the windsor dining chairs in Louise’s kitchen were sourced from? Ive been looking everywhere for something similar!
    Thank you!

  5. Finally!!! We have found our style! We have just bought 25 acres in country NSW and planning to build! Modern farmhouse is us! Could you please help us with modern farmhouse facades?

    1. Hi Melissa, board and batten, as well as traditional timber weatherboard, are my favourite modern farmhouse facades. Hope that helps and good luck with your build! Nicki 🙂

  6. Claire Morris says:

    Hi
    I love yourWork!!
    Would you mind sharing what colour/ brand white paint you tend to use?
    We have just sampled Dulux “White on White” in the lounge room we are giving a makeover and it seems to throw a grey/ cold undertone? unless its because we are painting over a beige currently on the walls?

    1. Hi Claire, I have used a few whites, including Dulux Vivid WHite which is basically a stark white and won’t throw anything. I am really liking Dulux Natural White at the moment and painting our little cottage that colour. Otherwise i’m the worst person to ask about paint as I never spend much time on paint and usually pick it within 5 minutes at the paint store!:-)

  7. Corrine Haselden says:

    Nicki,is the super white dolomite honed or polished! Thank you so much for this post. We’re building a new home and you gave me so many ideas!

    1. Pleasure Corrine! So glad it helped and has given you lots of inspiration! Louise’s superwhite is honed. It’s absolutely stunning. Nicki xo

  8. Hi there!! We are gearing up to build our Australian Homestead! I feel like I have a million questions lol but I’ll start with the farmhouse sink! All I have heard is they chip easily, Mark, and have a tendency to break your dishes if you plop them in the sink! I have 5 kids, and love the farmhouse white sink but need to be practical with this… they’re so expensive compared to other sinks, I want the look but need a sturdy option?
    Ps insta account for our build is happily_ever_homestead 😉

    1. Hi Melany, how exciting about your build! No I absolutely loved our farmhouse sink and never had any chips or issues with it at all! You can buy rubber mats that go inside if you’re worried about dropping something and it breaking but truly that can happen if in a stainless sink. I got ours from Restoration Online and highly recommend them! Cheers, Nicki xo

  9. Hi Nicki, such a helpful post thank you! We are nearing the end of our kitchen renovation and up to choosing handles/knobs for our shaker doors – are there any rules on this? As in knobs for doors and pulls for drawers which a lot seem to do. We have brushed nickel tapware so thinking of that finish for hardware but some of the drawer pulls look very commercial. Any tips on where to buy? Also rangehoods – what’s your view on stainless steel canopy style/ I can get it powder coated to match the wall colour or considering using panelling?? What did you do in Louise’s kitchen? I really need to employ your design skills- let me know if you have time!!

    1. Hi Carolyn, how exciting you’re nearing the end of your reno! There are a few rules with hardware, and one is to keep your metal finishes similar and no more than 3 but I often think 2 metal finishes is best as looks a little more natural. The other is placement which is always centred for drawers. You also have options of mounting the hardware in the middle of the panel or on the top of drawer style, but this will depend of firstly on the hardware and how thick your door panel is (most are 18mm thick) as the screw may be too long or not long enough. Most common would be to mount the hardware on the top of the style, but if your hardware is quite substantial in size, you might be better to mount it in the panel.
      Have a look at https://hepburnhardware.com/ , https://www.keelerhardware.com.au/, or try newbie https://www.nobleelements.com.au/collections/all
      Hope that helps! N xo

  10. Esther Kelly says:

    Hello Nicki, I’m blown away! Finally I have found my dream kitchen and everything that goes with it, VJ, Ilve stove and brass. The best part is that’s it’s Australian. My mood board is complete. We will be renovating soon (in our retirement)and your ideas are modern farmhouse fresh. Would you be good enough to let me know where I can purchase the lighting you have on your photos, the brass pendant, black kitchen wall sconces, glass wall sconce. We’ll be popping in when we’re down that way.
    Kind regards,
    Esther
    Port Macquarie

    1. Oh Esther I’m SO happy this post has inspired you so much and sounds like your renovation is going to be absolutely gorgeous!! So our brass pendant lights were from Restoration Hardware in America. THe black wall lights in Louise’s kitchen were Robert Kitto with the shades being from Schoolhouse Electric in the US. Hope that helps and good luck with your build! Nicki xo

  11. Rachel Lowe says:

    We’re building soon and I would love to use your fiber cement back splash idea. However I can’t seem to find the right product anywhere.Can you tell me specifically what you used? Is it a panel or do you have rip boards? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Rachel, of course! Happy to help! We have used both HardiGroove and CSR Cemintel Vertical Edge before. We used the Cemintel Vertical Edge on our most recent renovation. It comes in 1200 wide sheets with varying heights and your everyday Home Hardware or Mitre 10 should carry it but they may need to order it in. Hope that helps and good luck with your build! N xo

  12. Lorraine Elderhurst says:

    Louise Keates kitchen is a hands down for me, I absolutely adore it.
    Have renovated miners cottages, a fishermans cottage, a farmhouse or two and built a Queenslaner from scratch with mainly restorer barn second hand stairs, windows and doors. My husband even built the cabinetry out of oregon himself and a magnificent french farmhouse island with dovetail draws(thats just a hobby of his)
    I like the modern farm house look as it combines the new with theold

    1. Lorraine how lucky are you to have a hubby who can build such beautiful, traditional cabinetry for you?! I love dovetail joints and traditional details like that. And you sound like you’ve done your fare share of renovations! I’m completely in love with Louise’s entire home- more to show of her home in upcoming blog posts! Nicki 🙂

  13. Oh Nicki…. this was an absolute treat and joy to read. I honestly don’t know which kitchen renovation I love more…. A true testament that good classic design never goes out of style. Can’t wait to see what you have in store next.

    1. Oh Crystal, thank you for that lovely compliment! And I completely agree with you! I absolutely adore Louise’s kitchen and wanted to share a bit more of it because it’s such a perfect example of a modern farmhouse kitchen. I also love the kitchen at Terragong, Jamberoo too. x

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