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Key Differences Between Modern and Classic Farmhouse Plans

  • 4 min read

Key Differences Between Modern and Classic Farmhouse Plans

If you scroll through Pinterest or Instagram for beautiful homes, you are likely to be flooded by picturesque images of farmhouses and country living. Rustic elements like vintage furniture, reclaimed wood, antique accent pieces, large furniture pieces, barn doors, ample cabinetry etc, are just some of the characteristics of the farmhouse style homes. Be it nostalgia, a love of antiques, country living, nature, open spaces, there are countless reasons why people love the idea of farmhouse country homes.

Before you finalize on farmhouse plans however, you need to consider many questions. Do you want a farmhouse plan without garage or with a garage? Would you rather live in a small, modern farmhouse, a ranch style farmhouse or a classic or traditional farmhouse. There are key differences between the design styles of what you call classic or traditional farmhouse plans and modern farmhouse designs. Let’s take a look:

Classic farmhouse design and modern farmhouse design are two distinct styles that share some common elements but differ in terms of their overall aesthetic and approach to design. Here are some key characteristics of each:

A throwback to the past

Classic farmhouse design essentially draws inspiration from the farmhouses from the 18th or 19th centuries. It takes a leaf out of the rural architecture handbook and as such uses themes, elements, colors, materials etc that reflect the period accurately. 

On the other hand, modern farmhouse plans have a contemporary theme and emphasize a modern aesthetic while taking a cue from their traditional counterparts. They often combine the best of both worlds.

Choice of Materials

Classic farmhouses tend to lean towards the nostalgic, natural elements such as wood, stone, brick etc. Wood accents are a hallmark of your quintessential classic farmhouse style design. Therefore, elements like wood panels, textured paint or exposed beams are a fairly common sight.


And even though wood remains a staple in the modern farmhouse style, the style is more open to experimentation and use of eclectic materials such as metal or glass. It is not uncommon to see material like galvanized steel, or copper accents, quartz surfaces in modern farmhouse design.

Overarching theme: Simplicity versus Grandeur

While there is no one-size fits all approach to design, modern and contemporary architecture tends to keep the focus on simplicity and minimalism as much as possible. In terms of farmhouse style, you can err on the side of being too minimal. It is a fine line to balance in terms of creating a simple, sophisticated yet purposeful decor.

Classic farmhouse style provides ample opportunity to add more complexity and character to your decor. You can house vintage paraphernalia to the shelves and line the walls with trinkets that add to the overall narrative of your cozy farmhouse look.

Color Scheme 

As you may have noticed, classic farmhouses tend to have a muted and earthy color palette with an abundance of whites, creams and subdued colors dominating the landscape. This choice of serene colors helps build the timeless and classic ambiance.  

However, in the modern farmhouse, it pays to depart from this color scheme and add a dash of daring. You can opt for darker tones, contrasting themes and contemporary shades that highlight the classic elements of farmhouse style design.

Luxury and Comfort

Classic farmhouses are designed to exude comfort and vintage warmth. The use of vintage furniture, wooden beams and old-school floor plans are a hark back to a bygone era. 

Whereas, the modern farmhouse is all about functionality and the open concept of living. The design incorporates elements of contemporary comfort, often with a touch of the industrial like metal accents, exposed pipes etc. to add a hint of modern design.

Furniture Style 

The choice of furniture and statement pieces also reflects the design philosophy for each. Traditional farmhouse furniture follows more of a purposeful chaos philosophy while modern farmhouse design is sleek and more streamlined. 

Classic farmhouse furniture often features rustic elements, distressed and weathered finishes to create the old-world charm. Elements like turned legs, intricate details and ornate craftsmanship evoke a sense of nostalgia and craftsmanship. In the modern farmhouse however, you will find comfortable seating, plush cushions and clean lines.

A common staple in both styles is the farmhouse dining table, often a focal point for the design. For a modern look, it is preferable to use a single tone farmhouse table with a clean frame and sleek chairs. Classic farmhouse tables are typically larger, with a bit of character with plank style tops and a dash of bold color. 

Last but not least

There may be distinct differences in both modern and classic farmhouses but they are both inspired by the concept of family life, communal living, and one-ness with nature. One can find many common themes and elements across both rustic and modern farmhouses, albeit with their own interpretation. The important thing to remember is to pick a style, prioritize your family’s needs and be consistent in your choice of decor, theme and colors.

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