Modern Farmhouse Decor, Is It Really Me?

Modern farmhouse decor is a style that I admire. I had planned to use it in our updated beach house, but I’m not sure it’s really me.

When we first began the beach house remodel project, I created a mood board and am sharing photos from that with you today. As we get closer to the end of the remodeling project and I begin to source items for the house, I’m struggling to understand if this style is really me? Let me explain my dilemma.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Cabinets
Photo by Semihandmade

The photos I am sharing today are what I have found as my inspiration photos and I love the look. The kitchen photo above includes the actual appliances I chose for the beach house. I kind of like this kitchen and was thinking of using this similar style for our beach house.

I think.

Yikes, I need help.

Make it Pretty

Modern Farmhouse vs Traditional Farmhouse

Modern Farmhouse Decor Office
Photo from Scout & Nimble

The photo above is one that I love. Now, this isn’t my usual farmhouse-style and I just want to be sure this is what I want.

But now that the beach house remodel is becoming real, I want to make sure that the beach house I am going to decorate feels like our house, and not someone else’s.

If you have ever tackled a big project like this one, this is something everyone goes through. The decisions are big ones, am I making the right choices?

Winter Farmhouse Kitchen Decor

I love everything about our home in Pasadena, a traditional farmhouse built in 1915. That might sound a little bit crazy, a 100+ year old farmhouse in the Los Angeles area, but yes, it is exactly that! The house was originally built in 1915, when Los Angeles was not the sprawling metropolis that it is today. It was built as a wedding gift to a beloved daughter. The daughter was gifted the home and surrounding land, as a nest egg, for her future family.

The home has only been owned by two families over the years. Luckily that means that the gorgeous structural bones of the house have been respected and the architectural features are original or created based on the original.

What Does Modern Farmhouse Decor Mean To Me?

Modern Farmhouse Decor with Black Rods
Photo from Plank and Pillow

When we embarked on the remodeling of our beach house, there was not any architectural integrity to respect (it was built in 1976), so I am in the process of tying to create it. Thus, a modern farmhouse/beach house design idea was born.

Because our beach house remodel is almost a complete overhaul of the house, I used mood boards to help keep me on track so that every room was cohesive. I loved the concept of modern farmhouse style which combines the sleek clean lines of contemporary design, which is perfect for the beach, with the warm and cozy farmhouse aesthetic.

The Staircase

There are so many decisions to be made about this house. My current project is to decide on the style of the staircase. We have two staircases to redo and I am considering using the style of the Modern Farmhouse Stairway pictured here.

What do you think?

Liveable Modern Farmhouse Decor

One of my favorite things about our beach house, pre-remodeling, was that the house was so livable. No one freaked out when the damp and sandy dogs got on the couches. The house was small and cozy and each room was decorated in beach colors … turquoise, aqua, and sand. It really was the perfect beach house. Cozy. Easy. Comfortable.

Modern Farmhouse Decor
Photo from The Creativity Exchange

Our family has grown, quite literally. Our boys are now all adults, out on their own and we have been so lucky to now also include my daughter-in-law, who I adore. So, this beach house remodel is about having a grown-up, more adult beach house.

I think the house needs a little more sophistication, but still, one where everyone is comfortable curling up on the couch with a little sand lingering on their feet. A home that will accommodate the continued growth of our family with grandchildren someday!

New is always uncomfortable. Until it is no longer new. So I am sinking into this new world of modern farmhouse decor knowing that while it will be more modern, the cozy and warm elements of traditional farmhouse style will be there too. Those traditional touches are what will make it feel like our home. No longer new, but comfortable, and very much us.

As I check, recheck and check again the photos from my mood boards to confirm my decisions and navigate through choosing surfaces, flooring, and lighting, I am a little out of my comfort zone. The modern farmhouse decor elements are a little sleeker, the lines a little smoother and there is lots of black in the mood board photos. Eeeeek! Ok, I’ll calm down about black, I promise.

To be honest, I would love your thoughts in the comments below. Please!

Modern Farmhouse Decor Ceiling Detail
Photo from Chris Loves Julia

I am starting to fall in love with the lighter woods and gray-toned woods that will mix beautifully with the sage green and tan color palette I have chosen. I have vowed that there will be no chippy white furniture at the beach house!

Well, maybe a little bit.

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My Comfort Zone is Quite Literally Comfort

Modern Farmhouse Decor Primary Bath
Photo from The Creativity Exchange

As I write this post, I am beginning to lean into how to combine these two aesthetics of modern and traditional.

It’s all about using them to create comfort. I will choose lighting that is thoughtfully placed in just the right spot so that I can curl up on the more modernly shaped couch with one of my favorite beach reads. I can adopt sleek and uncluttered as a precursor to having a grandbaby safe house.

As planned, I will hang the antique chandelier, that I found at the flea market in France and carried home in my suitcase, in a place where the crystals will reflect the sunshine and create little rainbows on lighter-colored wood.

Sleek and comfortable, yes, sleek and comfortable.

Modern Farmhouse Decor Bathroom
Photo from Style Me Pretty

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Inspired by an Apartment in France

Settling In on Our First Day in Provence France

The gorgeous apartment that we stayed in while we visited Provence serves as a lovely inspiration for the marriage of traditional meets modern. While the building itself was built in the 18th century, our apartment was modernly appointed with features like concrete countertops and a Joybird couch. They lived together in beautiful harmony.

If I stay focused on the feeling that I want to create in the beach house, I am confident that I can blend modern farmhouse decor and traditional farmhouse decor and maybe create a whole new style!

When it’s all done, we’ll have to figure out what this new style should be called!

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145 Comments

  1. I think farmhouse is ugly. Not being rude but honest opinion. Now I do like Belgium style because it’s more elegant. I always say decorate how you like. You’re the one living in home.

  2. Sorry I am getting to you so late, had the week from heck haha. I feel like some of this look will be out sooner, but I feel the waterproof floorings that are engineered will be perfect for a beach house. I think the clean looks in you story board also work for a nice uncluttered look that may be nice to escape to because with less clutter you can relax more. I also feel that the beach house should be a bit more modern because of where its at. When I think California beach house I think very differently from when I lived and traveled on the East coast, New England, Newport R.I. South Carolina and even Florida. Thank being said I have never been to California, so what do I know. I think the thing I hate about engineered floors that everyone is putting in where I live in Naperville IL, they don’t look real when you get away from real floor, and go into the grays or whites. Maybe you can find something that mimics a wood that would be found in California and that would give it a natural, realistic feel. Try to stay with things that you would normally find in California at the beach. Stay away from that faked beach décor, find things that you love and speak to you and make you feel happy. Have fun!

  3. i liked most of your pictures to focus on modern farmhouse (i am not absolutely sure what constitutes “farmhouse”)….. but when i saw the bare wood floors, my first reaction was to get rugs!!!!! they would certainly provide coziness! i am on a turkish rug kick right now…. i just love looking at them on-line… my only other reaction was in response to the dining room chairs that you appeared to pick out for the beach cottage…. i thought that they were a bit formal… maybe something a bit more casual would be appropriate, especially when the young grandkids start showing up!!!! all the best with selecting the home details that make you happy…..

  4. Hi Leslie,

    Modern farmhouse is beautiful but I too wonder if it will be dated in time. (Although that’s an excuse to redecorate I guess.). Your primary home and Waco AB&B are beautiful and timeless.

    Why not think about doing a classic timeless look look with a few touches of the French Provenance as the highlights. This way you have something a little different to enjoy when you visit the beach house.

    Whatever you decide upon, I’m sure will be beautiful.

    Hope your recovery is coming along nicely.

  5. I too am not a fan of farmhouse/modern. It gives off a cold industrial feeling. Don’t misunderstand, I like pops of black just not everywhere! The coziness you exhibit in the Waco and Pasadena home are beautiful. When I think of beach house, I do not think of farmhouse/modern. It, to me is too stark and you just don’t get that “comfy,cozy” feel. I think of sand, seashells, aqua water and beach glass. You have great taste but why did you beer off to this path? Hope I not overstepping but you asked for options so this is my opinion.

  6. Sounds like my opinion may be in the minority, but I think the look and colors you’ve posted on your mood board would work beautifully in a coastal beach home. They are light and airy and perfect for the beach! You can always ‘cozy it up’ with rugs, throws and pillows; I would avoid any schoolhouse lights. To me, it doesn’t look too ‘farmhousey’.

  7. Going a bit more modern at the beach house sounds great. I love the black against the lighter woods. Also, since your boys are grown and will probably inherit eventually, the more modern may suit them better? I also think a vacation house should also be a vacation from your preferred style so that you appreciate your primary house on your return!

  8. Love your photos, I don’t think it will be cold at all because you like a lot of warm accessories. I hope you you will not do the same design you have done in your other 2 houses and carriage house just because they are familiar and the “usual”. It’s sort of a one note wonder thing. These photos are pretty and updated as well as clean and a little more upscale.

  9. P.S. I will also mention that I am starting to roll my eyes every time I see a beach house decorated in blues, turquoise, shells, rope, boating accessories, etc etc. It is so lacking in creativity. Cookie cutter. predictable.

  10. I have found my myself asking some of the same questions. Blending styles to me is the perfect solution. It gives your spaces your personal touches with the new and old. My home is a modern farmhouse build with the traditional big porch. The modern farmhouse style is no sterile and industrial for me. Although I love some aspects of it. One thing that I did in my new home is stuck to the tradition wood balusters, square pickets, and newels. I did not go with iron spindles. Just about all of my neighbors have iron spindles and I see it going out of trend at some point. I like the look of it but not the look for my new home. My decision was based on looking at the staircases for older farmhouses over a 100 years old. One thing for certain, the wooden staircases were timeless and still beautiful. Cabinetry, floors, lighting (for the most part) and appliances should all be up with current times. Old chandeliers are timeless and adds character and charm. You have done so well in your current homes finding that right balance between the two. I know your beach home will be stunning like your other homes. I cannot wait to see more.

  11. Why not do a setup of something that is more in line with your traditional concepts. In other words, instead of having the modern staircase railing that looks like cables or rods going horizontally or diagonally along with the staircase, have the railing that is a simple square or round little post and paint it black? (like the image of the staircase from Plank and Pillow that you included) So, the feel is more modern and edgy with the color but the style is more traditional like you are accustomed to.

    I think the light woods will be something that you will grow to love – I think I am as well! Then using some subtle black here and there to help ground the lightness will feel comfortable. I love, love, love the look of that top kitchen image you have in this post and almost pinned it for my own kitchen revamp. If I was working with a new build or a complete remodel, I definitely would probably lean in that direction. With loads of dark wood and oak family heirlooms that we have, however, I don’t think that would work with what we already have, though. Plus, if the look doesn’t feel comfortable, it can easily be changed with a simple coat of paint. As always, paint is an inexpensive and quick way of making something seem new! So, my advice is to go with a style you like and are comfortable with but give the new colors and finishes a try!

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