How Modern Farmhouse Design Can Improve Your Fireplace

If you’re looking into one of the trendiest design styles of the year, you may be wondering “What is modern farmhouse style?” While you’ve most likely seen rustic farmhouse style – sliding barn doors, reclaimed wood, exposed beams, old window frames, wicker baskets, lanterns, vintage books, wreaths, farm plants, and other items that remind you of country living – there’s a new twist on that popular look. It’s called “modern” or “classic” farmhouse style, which marries both traditional country design and chic cosmopolitan design to get the best of both worlds.


Photos by Kelly O'Roark


With a cosmopolitan design style, there’s lots of metal, marble, and tile instead of reclaimed wood, coupled with sculptures and geometric vases as opposed to wreaths and farm plants. When you take select pieces from both to provide a perfect balance, you get a stunning design style that suits almost any preference. Since the majority of adults (especially those with children) don’t live in the heart of a downtown metropolis or on a secluded farm, but rather, somewhere in between like a quiet suburb, this design style speaks to that middle ground where homeowners can have truly have it all (in terms of design style anyway).


If you’re looking for modern farmhouse ideas, what better place to demonstrate that than one of the best focal points a room has to offer? Here’s how to decorate a fireplace with this popular design style.


1. Choose a Large Country Décor Piece with a Cosmopolitan Finish (or Vice Versa)

As mentioned earlier, old window frames are a popular staple in a rustic farmhouse design and are usually made of reclaimed or barn house wood. To give it a modern twist, choose a large window frame, but find one that doubles as a mirror and has a metal finish. This particular mirror is the perfect combination, as it looks like an arched window, but has a sleek look with the black metal frame.



Decorating with mirrors is a great way to project a unique look instead of going for the traditional route of placing a large painting above a mantel (or headboard, buffet table, etc.), and in this particular scenario, it turns the bland fireplace into a stunning focal point.


2. Mix and Match Smaller Decorative Items from Each Design Style

When looking for modern farmhouse décor, you’ll sometimes find pieces that embody both rustic and modern, while other pieces will be one or the other. This can be seen in the décor on the mantel, as the pillar candles, vintage books, and sculptures complement the framed mirror while achieving a balance of both farmhouse styles.



The candles have a color scheme that’s commonly found in both modern and traditional décor, while the books have a more rustic vibe, and the sculptures are more contemporary. Again, it’s all about balance, so it’s good to have some décor pieces that carry both characteristics, and then one or two pieces that are each strictly rustic and cosmopolitan.


3. Mix and Match Larger Decorative Items from Each Design Style

On the hearth of a fireplace, be sure to choose larger decorative pieces that again, capture the charm of the rustic farmhouse design and the sophistication of the modern one. On the left side of the hearth is a wicker basket with a faux fur accent blanket. This is a textbook example of marrying the two farmhouse styles seamlessly, as the wicker is associated with country living, and the faux fur throw is reminiscent of a cultured abode. The contrast is striking and fits well together, especially since white and taupe are popular color choices in both traditional and contemporary color palettes.



On the right side of the hearth stands a tall geometric vase with eucalyptus branches, with a lantern and pillar candle next to it. Since a rustic farmhouse usually has houseplants that look similar to vegetation, eucalyptus branches add an urban twist. The floor vase is a traditional décor item but has a contemporary vibe with its geometric angles. Lanterns are a staple in rustic farmhouse décor, as they pay homage to the prairie days when farmers got up before sunrise to milk the cows by the light of these portable lamps. This lantern has a modern edge with its metallic frame and unique geometrical design, while still maintaining a rustic feel with the old-fashioned source of candlelight.



While it can be a bit tricky at first, modern farmhouse fireplace décor or general room décor can be easily implemented with the proper balance. When shopping for your decorative items, take a pen and notepad with you (or use the “notes” section on your smartphone) and keep track of everything that you’re purchasing. It may even help to take pictures of each piece as you go so that when you’re ready to put it all together, you won’t end up having a farmhouse design style that’s too rustic or too modern. Instead, you’ll have a look that’s just right – a cozy, inviting space that exudes both country charm and city chicness all at once.


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