Home InspirationTips AU

The basics of a modern farmhouse bedroom

By Gianna Huesch

Updated: January 8th, 2024

Snug, cosy and timeless, farmhouse bedrooms have an enduring appeal.

The farmhouse bedroom has long been popular thanks to its emphasis on comfort and simple practicality. But in recent years, the farmhouse style has evolved into something called modern farmhouse. It’s a fresh spin on rustic. And decorators say we can’t get enough of so-called “peasant chic”.

Source: Photo by Radoslav Bali on Unsplash

The evolution of farmhouse style

Classic farmhouse style mimics days gone by and draws its inspiration from the farm homes of early American settlers. Characterised by its warm, comfortable and practical nature, it features lots of natural and weathered wood. Walls are panelled, floors have wide planks. Ceilings have exposed beams and there’s lots of well-loved vintage wooden furniture.

Modern farmhouse, on the other hand, melds the comfort of a classic farmhouse space with sleeker contemporary elements. Décor is less rustic, more polished: pull back on the quaintness but keep the charm and character.

Both aesthetics rely on rough, distressed or reclaimed wood and barn-styled elements. They both involve layering texture with plenty of textiles in natural fibres and simple patterns. Both favour a minimal, neutral colour palette. But modern farmhouse bedrooms experiment with colour more.

A fundamental element of the farmhouse bedroom is the inclusion of industrial metal touches. Especially so when it comes to lighting fixtures. With a modern farmhouse bedroom, lighting can be much more contemporary and dramatic.

Another key difference is that with modern farmhouse, you mix and match vintage and modern materials and elements. This gives you the authenticity of the vintage pieces with the added functionality and style of contemporary design.

Below, our top tips for creating instant farmhouse vibes for your bedroom. Farmhouse is a style that’s so easily achieved just by drawing together a small set of very distinctive elements, as you’ll see!

1. All white is alright

White walls are a farmhouse bedroom style staple. They provide the perfect canvas for creating an uncluttered, minimalist modern farmhouse bedroom. Shiplap walls are still a very popular way to add neat lines and texture, and always spell instant barn flavour.

White ceilings and white walls are always a good combo. They make your bedroom space appear bigger (you can find an expert to help with your ceiling painting which can be a real pain in the neck!)

2. Make it farm fresh

One of the hallmarks of farmhouse style is the generous use of white, often paired with pops of sky blue. The mix of vivid blue and white is just so fresh and summery, drawing inspiration from the wide-open skies of traditional prairies. Easily style up a farmhouse bedroom by pairing white or light-coloured walls with a plain white timber bed. Add layers of freshly laundered blue and white linen, ideally in plaids or stripes.

Source: Photo by Rachel Claire from Pexels

3. Go dark and cosy

The whitewashed palette is most common for a farmhouse bedroom. But you can give farmhouse a contemporary spin with dramatic dark walls. If going for a dark wall colour or feature wall, balance it with light coloured bedding and a lighter area rug. You can also add warmth with elements like leather cushions, a weathered timber bench, or gold-toned wall sconces.

Source: Photo by Scott Gummerson on Unsplash

4. Choose a classic bed silhouette

A modern farmhouse bedroom usually has either a timber bed or a vintage-style metal frame bed, in a classic shape. Metal bedframes are often black. This contrasts nicely with white farmhouse bedroom walls and grounds all the ethereal brightness.

5. Add wood, wood and more wood

Timber bedroom furniture is par for the course for a farmhouse bedroom. But it doesn’t need to be all matchy-matchy. You can add interest through creating tonal shifts, by incorporating a variety of wood finishes. And wood grains, whether the wood is pale or dark or somewhere in between, will always complement each other.

Source: Photo by Darren Richardson on Unsplash

6. Keep it simple

The simpler the bedroom, the better. Farmhouse bedrooms are typically clean, uncluttered, practical spaces. Ideally, your farmhouse bedroom has just the essentials to create a comfy little nest. Fluffy pillows, deliciously clean and soft white linen, a useful bedside with a lamp, a rug warming up a timber floor, and lashings of bright white. A simple row of pictures, a plant and some baskets is all that’s really needed for décor.

7. Opt for a rustic palette

When it comes to colour schemes, another option is to go for earthy, country colours. Begin with whitewashed walls and add soft furnishings in muted tones, like chocolate or slate bed linen. Soft furnishings in chocolate tones complement timber bedsides, benches and timber floors. And the natural colours also help generate farmhouse flavour.

8. Have a coastal farmhouse bedroom

Pairing fresh white with cornflower, denim or ocean blue can give your farmhouse bedroom coastal flavours. Why not try a blue-painted bed in an all-white setting as a refreshing change from natural wood tones? But make sure to add in some black accents to punctuate the space, such as industrial wall sconces or pendants.

9. Try contemporary greys

You can easily update the classic farmhouse look by changing up the expected colour palette. For instance, wall panelling painted a dark cloud grey looks gorgeous against creamy bedlinen. Or, a grey colour scheme with black accents will give a modern take on classic farmhouse’s earthy natural tones or bright blues and whites.

10. Accent with colour pops

Classic farmhouse bedrooms usually have a palette of warm, natural, neutrals. But you can modernise the look with splashes of vivid colour. A little flash of bright colour, such as cheerful bursts of orange, provide lively pops. For example, a colourful rug can add energy and interest to a basic space. Or you might find a chic, coloured metal pendant lamp. Artworks, especially landscapes, are also an easy way to bring in colour and they help set the farmhouse tone.

11. Put up board and batten

Board and batten siding is a really popular choice of wall treatment for a farmhouse bedroom. People love it because it’s an easy and fast DIY and it conveys instant barn vibes–genuine farmhouses being where the technique originated.

Board and batten siding is simply large sheets of plywood with timber battens that run vertically at equal intervals. But its effect is to create character and shadow lines for visual interest. You’ll often see it painted white in a farmhouse bedroom, but you could try a modern farmhouse take on it in charcoal.

12. Aim for super cosy

Farmhouse bedrooms are ideally warm, welcoming and inviting spaces. So add in as many tactile textiles as you need. Chunky knitted throws, comfy pillows and a plush, plump ottoman will generate pleasing texture as well as make the space cosy and inviting. A handmade quilt has oodles of country cosiness, or try a snuggly sheepskin.

Source: Photo by Jen P. on Unsplash

13. Go for a rustic ceiling

A strong classic farmhouse aesthetic is an abundance of white and wood tones and rustic, exposed beams on the ceiling. Keeping beams unfinished will enhance their raw, organic look. And the warmth that beams create overhead add a lot of cosiness to a farmhouse bedroom.

14. Mix timbers

While rustic raw wood is standard for a farmhouse bedroom, don’t be afraid to mix a variety of timbers and finishes. Farmhouse bedrooms are supposed to look like they evolved over time. So it’s perfectly fine to incorporate a mix of different kinds of wood, from hand-me-down antiques to Ikea basics to op-shop or fleamarket finds. So for example, you might juxtapose a contemporary walnut bed with pale floorboards, dark skirting boards and an old, weathered wooden stool.

15. Layer textures

Incorporate a variety of materials and finishes to create a beautifully layered, textured space. Layer as many natural fibres in as you can, from the ground up. Many modern farmhouse bedrooms feature massive jute rugs under the bed. This adds a neat organic touch which you can refine with a few metallic elements, like industrial lighting or metal planters.

16. Add something practical

Farmhouse has a love of functionality. So try to focus on incorporating elements with practical features. For example, an above-bed shelf or ledge. Or gorgeous, tactile handknitted wool throws for keeping extra warm.

17. Be a little bit fancy

Farmhouse style is all about nostalgia for days gone by, so you really can’t go wrong with a dramatic vintage bed if you want to signal this aesthetic. Contrast it with white shiplap walls and generous layers of white linen and add colour pops with floral and paisley cushions. Extra points if your pillows are handmade from recycled vintage fabric!

18. Cosy up with rugs

With an emphasis on comfort and cosiness, farmhouse bedrooms often incorporate a huge area rug picking up one of the room’s accent colours. Colourful, sophisticated Persian rugs are ideal, adding extra pattern and texture to a flat space. But a plain, fluffy rug works fine too.

Source: Photo by Tina Witherspoon on Unsplash

19. Go for vintage furniture

The fastest route to a farmhouse bedroom is to find yourself an antique or antique-style timber bed. Look for something ornate or richly carved, or furniture with Cabriole legs, full of the French country charm of yesteryear. Cosy it up with snuggly throws and cushions in neutral colours. If you don’t want to add a vintage bed, consider adding vintage mirrors or chandeliers for that authentic olde-worlde charm.

20. Add paintings

Prop some portraits or landscape paintings on a picture railing. It will add plenty of personality to a minimalist modern farmhouse bedroom setting. And paintings are a super easy way to tie all the colours in your scheme together. You could also evoke the natural beauty of the land with beautiful print images of horses, cows or sheep.

21. Add a barn door, but make it modern

Love barn doors but don’t want to look too generic? You’ll find black barn door has more of a modern edge than a white one. The trick with modern farmhouse is to tweak traditional elements in a contemporary colourway. It’s about being a bit more daring and adventurous than sticking to ‘tried and true’.

22. Luxuriate in a four-poster bed

More in the classic farmhouse vein are antique (or repro) four-poster beds. Keen on the four poster bed concept yet prefer something contemporary? You can always go for a sleek modern update with a simple, linear, dark timber framed four poster bed.

23. Add beams and sheer curtains

Even if you don’t have timber beams overhead to expose, you could think about installing just a single feature beam. Then drape romantic sheer white curtains from it.

24. Mix a plain bed with a vintage commode

Farmhouse bedrooms typically mix old and new items, so it’s neither necessary nor desirable to have a matchy-matchy bedroom suite. If you decide to go with a contemporary bed, contrast it with a retro commode which will instantly bring all the farmhouse flavour. An intricately carved antique commode with mirrored doors is elegant, delicate and practical.

25. Add industrial lighting

For a chic contemporary touch, bring in industrial light fixtures, like a striking hanging steel or iron pendant light. Or, less dramatic, white powder-coated steel sconces look amazing too. They blend well into the typically white walls of a farmhouse bedroom. Black, barn-style lamps are also a décor element that is a natural-born fit for a farmhouse bedroom. Or you might go for an elaborate, vintage, wrought-iron chandelier. Mid-century modern lighting also works well in modern farmhouse bedrooms—think Sputnik styles.

26. Make it Boho

Boho and farmhouse style bedrooms share a love of organic fibres, rich texture and a natural-hued palette. But modern farmhouse bedrooms tend to have cleaner lines and less clutter.

27. Add a windmill fan

Adding a timber windmill ceiling fan underscores the farmhouse aesthetic. Not to mention keeps things pleasantly cool.

28. Bring in some buffalo

Not the beasts–just a print you’ll see in lots of classic farmhouse bedrooms. An oversized check print, buffalo plaid just feels immediately country. Especially if made of flannel and coupled with woollen throws and knitted cushions. Crisp white linen freshens it all up. Add a jug of fresh flowers and it feels like afternoon naptime at Nanna’s (if only..).

29. Or try a modern pattern

Traditional patterns for a classic farmhouse bedroom are usually stripes, plaids and florals. For instance crisp white and blue stripes will give you a classic farmhouse look. But you can give it a modern spin by choosing more contemporary patterns, like abstract geo designs.

30. Repurpose and be thrifty

In keeping with the farmhouse spirit, salvage vintage items to use as décor. It might be an ornamental piece of a vintage metal screen door. Or, an old timber or metal stool that now serves as a bedside. Another ideal item to salvage? Vintage burlap sacks which can be turned into pillows to bolster the farmhouse look.

31. Go for clean lines

Overwhelmingly white with a few wooden accents, a minimalist farmhouse bedroom is an unfussy, clean and luxe space. Dressed in crisp white linens, cosied up with a throw and cushions, it’s easy to see why farmhouse is a much-loved decorating style for bedrooms.

Source: Photo by Cats Coming from Pexels

32. Sprinkle in a little farmhouse flavour

If you don’t want to go the whole hog with farmhouse style, you might just like to give your bedroom space a hint of modern farmhouse vibes. No need to overthink it, just pare everything back, allow as much light in as possible, bring in warm timber tones, and add white and floral bedding. Easy.

And that’s a wrap on my farmhouse bedroom ideas to help you nail this aesthetic. I love the modern farmhouse update. It’s such a gorgeous way to create a comfy, practical and timeless country look. At the same time, it takes advantage of the benefits and aesthetics of the contemporary design. Are you a more of a classicist, or do you like a modern edge to your farmhouse aesthetic? Let me know in the comments below!

Need help assembling new bedroom furniture, whether it’s a bed, daybed, dresser, wardrobe, bedroom desk or other types of furniture? Or, find the right help installing bedroom built-in wardrobes. And if your bedroom paint needs new life, why not find a local bedroom painter to spruce it up?



I'm an interiors writer living in coastal Australia and discovering all the joys of DIY renovating.

Enjoyed reading this? Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *