Decade-young modern farmhouse aesthetic shows no sign of fading

by Judy Stringer

It’s been 10 years since celebrity designer Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” brought the modern farmhouse aesthetic into vogue, yet this design style is far from dated.

In May, in fact, wallpaper designer Hovia labeled modern farmhouse as the most popular home décor style in the U.S., after analyzing Google Trends data across over 575 search terms related to 25 design trends, and a July New York Times article argued that modern farmhouse is the defining style of the era.

Local interior designer Dean Gerbasi agreed, saying the modern farmhouse aesthetic is still “all the rage” in Northeast Ohio homes, and for good reason.

“It’s simple. It’s clean. It’s cozy and inviting. And it’s easy to live with because it’s not really busy,” noted Gerbasi, who works with clients from his base at Pine Tree Barn in Wooster. “You can easily layer on holiday décor, for example, without worrying about how that might blend with your everyday design.”

Gerbasi said modern farmhouse takes the rustic, vintage edge of the classic farmhouse style and adds more contemporary touches, such as a neutral color scheme and sleek lines. He broke down three main elements of today’s modern farmhouse for those looking to get in on the trend, or perhaps just soak in a little extra design inspo. 


If there is any evolution in the modern farmhouse space, it’s in color, according to Gerbasi. Traditionally, the backdrop for this design style included neutral, off-white and gray palates with pops of color – mostly natural greens, he said – woven in.

“There is a distinct move away from grays, however. We are seeing more beiges, cream colors, more in that off-white category, and gray is moving to more of an accent color,” Gerbasi explained.

Pink and blue pastels are also making a debut in the accent category, although aloes and eucalyptus greens remain in favor, too.

“While the main colors are still neutrals, I feel like people now are not afraid to add touches of a light blue, light green, light peach or rose tones into the design, which you didn’t see so much of in the past,” he said.


Natural fabrics, like linen and cotton, help create rooms with that modern farmhouse charm. Stylish choices include sisal rugs; ticking fabrics, which make nice duvets and pillow covers in the bedroom; and burlap, whose uses range from table runners and chair covers in the dining room to valances in kitchenettes and wreaths on the front door.

“Synthetic sheepskin is another fabric that is getting a lot of attention,” Gerbasi said. “It’s soft and fuzzy with that natural gray or natural beige color of a sheep and can be found on accent pillows or as a throw on a chair. It’s a very cozy, cushy fabric.”

Also, when designing your modern farmhouse space, focus on texture over pattern. Think raised tone-on-tone stripes on a throw pillow or 3D embossed rugs.  


Finishes are where more of the fun comes into play for this rustic-meets-contemporary style.

Reclaimed wood, for example, is a go-to modern farmhouse element that can be used in a variety of ways, including as eye-catching paneling for an accent wall in a living room or as a headboard in the master bedroom. Large, hanging light fixtures made of wrought and cast iron, meanwhile, create a “stripped down, industrial” version of yesteryear’s dining-room chandeliers, Gerbasi said.

In the kitchen, pair that traditional cabinet – painted white – with sleek, modern bar pulls and an industrial-looking faucet. Update natural wood furniture, like a pine coffee table, with black wood stain. Consider introducing stone, wicker, rattan and other natural materials wherever it makes sense.

“The overall look,” he added, “should be these clean lines but still very cozy and welcoming.” ∞