The modern country (or modern farmhouse) design has become quite popular recently thanks to its harmonious mixture between then and now. The style adopts the cozy, rustic aesthetic of traditional farmhouse kitchens while also incorporating motifs and materials from modern schools of design.
Therefore, if you love the clean look of 21st-century kitchens but still want the openness of traditional cooking spaces, this style will be worth investigating.
We’ll start off today by looking into the primary themes that make a good design. Later on, we’ll show you a few exemplary modern country kitchen ideas to aid your brainstorming sessions!
The Spirit of the Modern Country Style
Before we delve into design ideas, let’s explore a little bit more about what “modern country” is and what it entails. It is a lot more than just a kitchen mashup between a Manhattan condo and an old farmhouse.
In the traditional farmhouse kitchen, darker color tones are preferred.
This is a motif that was born from necessity rather than choice. Early farmhouse designs used the materials they had access to, such as wood and stone. Their coloration naturally darkens the space.
Nevertheless, as standards of living improved, the color palette stuck around. From a necessity, it instead transformed into a stylistic choice.
The dark color palette hasn’t fallen out of use among those who still follow the traditional farmhouse design. You can still easily identify the style through its (often unpainted) dark-colored wood beams, panelling, and furniture. Any painted surface will use a neutral, warm tone like beige or cream to further complement the surrounding dark palette.
The modern farmhouse kitchen rejects this color palette. Instead, it embraces a significantly lighter palette. You will find details in white, warm neutrals, or light, muddy tones.
This applies to the wood panelling, details, and furniture. Modern farmhouse kitchen projects favor wood species with light, creamy tones (such as cedar or balsa) rather than darker ones.
Since modern farmhouse kitchens aren’t shy when it comes to metal furniture and appliances, it’s not unusual to see metallic accents.
But you’re not limited to white or beige. If you need a splash of color, you can choose to install furniture in a variety of colors to liven up the space. Muted colors like the dark mossy green in the design sample below work best.
This doesn’t mean brighter, more vibrant colors aren’t possible. Just know it is very difficult to incorporate bright colors into a design style that’s known for its low-key aura.
The choice of building material is the most important aspect of farmhouse design. Like we mentioned earlier, this style started with whatever people could find and cobble together from their surroundings. So, materials like wood, stone, and cotton were the primary candidates. They still are to this day.
But to be clear: you’re not constrained to the materials you find in nature. You can just as easily incorporate metal, glass, concrete, or other synthetic materials. However, since you’re shooting for a farmhouse aesthetic, make an effort to incorporate as many natural features into your kitchen as you can. It will ultimately determine the success of your remodelling work.
In addition to natural materials, use matte or non-glossy finishes for the surfaces in the kitchen. They will help you create a cozy look.
Furniture should be kept sparse. This style demands only the most essential pieces be installed in the kitchen. Additionally, you will want to limit the flourishes and decorations.
Traditional farmhouse kitchens focus on functionality rather than aesthetics. Those designers of days past chose furniture that was built less for show and more for practicality.
In the modern age, though, there’s nothing stopping you from indulging. It’s totally okay to add furniture or decorations that beautify your home. Just be careful not to go overboard with the decoration. Ideally, you should pick furniture pieces that are simultaneously functional and pretty to keep with the modest spirit of this style.
As for the stylization of the furniture, take a mix-and-match approach between new and old. Blend the two styles together to get the best of both worlds. This harmonious mixing is how the modern country kitchen gets its charm.
15 Modern Country Kitchen Ideas
Wherever “country” is concerned, wood is sure to be prominent. It is an elegant material that, with its warm color and familiar texture, is sure to feel cozier than other options. Plus, if done correctly, wood is also a luxurious material.
If you’re a fan of wooden planks and log beams, try a wood-on-wood style!
As you probably already guessed, the wood-on-wood approach simply means applying wood to every surface possible. This design from Rob Bramhall is a great example.
Besides a few details like the stone countertops and chimney, it’s almost all wood. Everything gets the wooden treatment from the floor, the kitchen island, the cabinetry, and even the ceiling and window frames.
Though it lacks variation in material and texture, you cannot deny its rustic, warm charm. If that’s what you’re aiming for, why not give it a shot?
This galley-style, modern country kitchen design from Weaver Custom Homes has a fairly unique approach: a blend between wood and natural stonework.
This is as “farmhouse” as it could possibly get, with the predominant materials being all-natural. The light colors of the base cabinets and upper-wall cabinets give off exactly the warm and welcoming air you want.
But the best part of this design is definitely the incorporation of natural stones in the guest-facing side of the kitchen island. Together with the concrete countertops and the stone walls on the other side of the kitchen, it brings a sense of uniformity and sturdiness to the place.
Granted, grey stones might not be as warm or welcoming as wood. And that’s where the lighting comes into play. As you can see, the designers have strategically placed warm-temperature ambient lighting everywhere — most notably, on the underside of the kitchen island. The role of the warm lighting is to soften the stones’ color profile, giving them a warmer, cozier look.
It is a good trick to learn if you plan to introduce stones into your kitchen design in the future.
3. Industrial Style
In contrastAs opposed to wood-on-wood or stone-on-wood style, if you lean more toward modernity, consider furnishing your kitchen with an industrial motif. Basically, on top ofaside from the normal wood and masonry design features, throw metal into the mix, as well.
The result is a very modern-looking kitchen. Nevertheless, it will still be relatively country-esque with softer, more organic features like wood and natural stones scattered about. This design from Holder Parlette Architecture and Landscapes is a decent take oncase for this approach.
Note the dark metal lighting fixtures and the rust-colored metal chairs. They seem as if they couldn’t possibly fit into a country kitchen, but strangely, they do. Instead of looking out of place or cooling down the space with their sharp edges and dark color tones, they actually accentuate the kitchen.
The trick to infusing dark, industrial-esque furniture and details into your country kitchen is to utilize a neutral color palette throughout. If you take a gander at Holder Parlette’s sample, white and black are the chief colors. Other shades like cream or beige are there, but they are few and far-between, mainly limited to the floor and roof joists.
The neutral palette of the kitchen makes it easier to justify black or dark-colored furniture. It allows them to blend into the overall look of the kitchen instead of standing out too much.
4. Pay Attention to the Flooring
Picking the right type of flooring to complement the aesthetic you’re gunning for is just as important as picking the right furniture or paints. As expected, country styles — even modern ones — lean toward wood flooring. Depending on the color palette you selected for your kitchen, the coloration of the floor timber can be different.
Dark to medium-tone wood floors are quite popular for more classically leaning country kitchens. Considering this style uses natural materials like wood and stone, dark timber is easier to blend.
In designs that lean more toward modernity and industrialism, you’ll find that lighter tones are a lot more popular.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use light-colored wood for a traditionalist project or vice versa. So long as you can blend the floor coloration with the rest of the kitchen, there won’t be a problem.
You’re not restricted to wood, either. You can select tiled floors or other types just as easily. The design below uses porcelain tiling for the floor. Despite the fact that it isn’t a traditional flooring material for a country kitchen, it is still effective at accentuating the space. The tile doesn’t diminish the rustic feel of the kitchen at all!
5. Wooden Range Hood
If you’re leaning toward a more traditional look, one of the most problematic things that you will have to deal with is the range hood.
All range hoods are cast from metal, so they can look very out of place in kitchens built mostly from natural materials like wood or stone. Worse, the sheer size makes hiding a range hood almost impossible (and it wouldn’t be safe to hide it anyway).
Fortunately, there’s a solution for that: wrap it in a decorative wooden casing. That’s exactly what the designers from Burge Building Consultants have done to mask the range hood in this sample.
In some cases you can purchase a wood-clad hood directly from the manufacturer. They are a little more difficult to find than the normal metallic models, but they’re well worth it if that’s your target aesthetic. Alternatively, you can contract a woodworker to build a shroud that’s custom-fitted to your current range hood.
Of course, there are still plenty of metallic details like the refrigerator and the oven. But by blending your range hood in with the whole rustic theme of the kitchen, the design becomes a lot more consistent.
6. Choose Warm, Dim Lighting
When it comes to lighting, rustic-oriented styles like modern country kitchens lean toward warm-tone lighting. Coziness is the selling point of the style, after all. Pick light bulbs with color temperatures ranging from 2,700K to 3,000K.
Warm light complements wooden details and softens the colder, sharper materials and textures like marble, stone, and steel.
There are plenty of beneficial psychological effects, too. In much the same way that a fireplace feels incredibly relaxing and assuring, warm lighting tricks your brain into similar emotions. It “speaks” to the human body’s circadian rhythm, making you feel more relaxed.
Scattering warm white lighting fixtures around the kitchen will make you feel more at ease while you’re working. And if you entertain guests around the kitchen island, the lighting will make it easier for everyone to enjoy the evening.
7. Make Full Use of Natural Lighting
While we’re on the topic of lighting, the best kind of light for a farmhouse kitchen — traditional or modern — is natural.
Farmhouses in the past didn’t have the luxury of ample electric lighting. As such, they relied mostly on natural lighting. Though electric lighting is no longer a problem in the 21st century, you should still take full advantage of external lighting. The reason? It opens up the space and makes it feel a lot broader.
Openness is part of that inherent farmhouse design charm. You can highlight it by adding as many windows to your cooking space as possible.
Bonus points if you live somewhere with a direct view of nature. Large windows — like the ones pictured here, courtesy of Harrison Homes, LLC — will give you and your guests the opportunity to appreciate the natural splendors outside.
Natural lighting is economical, too. You don’t have to run the electric lights as much. It will make a positive impact on your monthly electric bill.
8. Replicate a Sense of History
One of the many charms of a farmhouse design is the old-world feel it offers. Replicating and strengthening this sense of history is actually quite simple. All you have to do is add period-appropriate furniture pieces and antique decor to the space. Vintage, well-loved souvenirs can also enhance the lived-in feel of your kitchen.
Take a look at this wood-on-wood kitchen design from R.A Nelson.
It follows a more traditional motif than other designs we have featured so far. Every piece of furniture is made from wood aside from the metal appliances. The marble countertops further enhance the “au-naturel” focus of the design.
But the most remarkable part of R.A Nelson’s design has to be the smart introduction of period-appropriate furniture, fixtures, and decorations. The island chairs wouldn’t look at all out of place in a country house’s kitchen from the early 1900s. The same goes for the chandelier hanging over the dinner table as well as the classical painting over the cooktop.
The design doesn’t use many such decorations, but they managed to make a strong statement nevertheless. It is an important trick to keep in mind while you’re decorating.
9. Use Period Architectural Details
It is easy to add a lived-in, historical feeling in your kitchen through furniture and decorations. However, if possible, use period-appropriate architectural details as well. It is a lot more expensive, but when done correctly, the results are orders of magnitude more effective.
Period-appropriate architectural details are things like timber beamed, vaulted ceilings or wooden and stone supporting pillars. In other words, details that inspire an old-timey aesthetic.
Speaking of vaulted ceilings, here is a very good design from HighPoint Homes.
The timber ceiling is incredibly impressive. Since it is not a very common design in houses today, it may also be pretty awe-inspiring for visitors when they first enter your kitchen.
The all-wood ceiling is complemented further by wooden details throughout the house, such as the floor and window frames. A mixture of warm and natural lighting further makes the timber shine.
But unless you’re going for a wood-on-wood approach, you should balance out the colors. Counteract the warmth of the timber by using lighter paints. In the sample here, white is used for cabinetry and walls.
10. Add Curves to the Kitchen
Like we explained earlier, the traditional farmhouse style doesn’t allow for many grand flourishes. As such, furniture pieces and structural details tend to be very square-ish and unrefined. If this isn’t your style, though, you can add curves to the kitchen to soften up its sharp edges.
One good way to do this is to add a curved island, like in this kitchen design from LuxeMark Company.
The island’s unusual shape immediately draws the eye. Though it breaks the clear-cut design of the kitchen, it is not damaging.
Thanks to the genius use of color and material, the island blends right into the kitchen. It gives the island the ability to work its magic of softening out the sharp edges of cabinetry and appliances without looking too out of place.
This elegant crescent shape enhances the island’s function as a gathering place, as well. When it’s arranged in this manner, everyone seated around the island will have a much easier time seeing and conversing with others than they would around a more traditional rectangular island.
But you’re not limited to the kitchen island alone. There are plenty of other ways to add some curves to your design. In this sample, i4design, LLC utilizes round-seat bar stools and industrial spherical chandeliers.
11. Introduce Luxury Materials
Despite the core tenets of the modern country style being modesty and minimalism, you’re still allowed to bring some grandeur into your cooking space. One of the many ways to do this is to simply introduce luxury materials into the space.
In this design sample, KGA Studio Architects has struck a perfect balance between rustic and elegant. The space is indeed minimal and “country.” Nonetheless, it sends a clear message from the very first look that the owners have refined tastes.
The kitchen island’s countertop is made from a blend of white marble and rich, dark wood. Together with the brass faucet that services an undermount sink, the countertop alone exudes opulence in spades without being gaudy.
This motif can be seen all over the kitchen: a blend of expensive materials and gold color tones from the second marble island on the other side, to the white wooden base and upper-wall cabinets. Even the structural parts of the kitchen like the wood-panelled floors and the wooden roof beams echo elegance.
While it is certainly a good way to showcase your classiness, exercise moderation. If you add too much, it can easily backfire and turn gaudy.
The key to showing off with a modern country kitchen is implicit value. Its richness shouldn’t be shown in an “in-your-face” fashion. Rather, it should be suggestive — one thing that the sample above did excellently.
12. Get Creative with the Backsplash
The backsplash has to be made from stone or tiles.
Wood is porous, so flying grease can stain it very quickly. It’s also flammable, of course, which would make it a fire hazard if used as a backsplash. Common plasterwork is another no, as it also stains very easily.
With this being in the case, the backsplash is a great area to exercise your creativity. There aren’t many design faux-pas that you have to avoid in this area. It is possible to follow the traditional route and use ordinary red bricks and cement, like in this design from Bryan Construction, Cabinetry & Woodwork, Inc.
But there’s nothing stopping you from pursuing a more modern backsplash design, either. The cross-hatched, subway tile backsplash here will serve a modern country kitchen just as well as it would any other.
It all depends on whether you would like your kitchen to follow a modern or traditional style. Pick whichever kind of brick or patterned tile suits your fancy. Just make sure that they can blend in with the rest of the kitchen.
13. Use Baskets for Storage
Instead of cabinets or drawers, try a more natural storage solution: baskets!
Wicker baskets are definitely rustic. Having one, two, or several around the kitchen will surely give your space a more farmhouse-like feel. Plus, they will add some interesting texture to your overall space, too.
These baskets can be slotted into open shelving like so. Or, alternatively, there are plenty of cabinet models that let you mount baskets on sliding rails. You would be able to use them pretty much like you would a drawer.
Aside from looking pretty, wicker baskets are great for storing produce. Vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients that need to be exposed to open air can go in these. The material is air-permeable enough that there’s no need to worry about them spoiling early.
14. Incorporate Bolder Colors
While the color palette for the modern country style is quite subdued, you’re allowed to add a few splashes of colors here and there. If you dislike black, white, and wood-beige color schemes, here are a few ideas to try out.
The cabinetry in this sample from Stephen Shutts Design is painted a deep royal blue. When combined with gold accents from the brass handles, lighting fixtures, and other decor, the result is extraordinarily elegant without being too over the top.
Like we mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is possible to incorporate brighter colors. However, it’s not something that many designers do. Bright colors are very difficult to pull off in this design style.
The keyword here is difficult; it’s not impossible.
If you’re a fan of yellow, this design from Hendricks Churchill may be your cup of tea.
The key to this design is a light color palette from the get-go. The designer used a very light-colored type of wood so that those details don’t clash with the sunflower yellow cabinets and kitchen island.
The windows are surrounded with a little extra yellow while the rest of the wall is a bright white. Once again, the designer has taken steps to minimize clashing as much as possible.
In addition to the clever use of colors, the kitchen here is also very brightly lit. Plenty of windows let in light from outside. Yellow is a light-hearted color that typically doesn’t look very good in dark, enclosed spaces. That’s yet another reason why the design looks so natural despite yellow being such a rarity in country kitchens. The space itself just makes the color work!
15. Oversized Kitchen Island
Got plenty of empty space in your kitchen that’s itching to be used up? Consider putting in an oversized kitchen island.
Country/farmhouse style is meant to highlight sociability. The kitchen isn’t just a place to work; it’s also a social hub where family and friends can gather. An oversized island can help with that because it naturally becomes an easy gathering place. You can dine, converse, and play in the kitchen.
With this design, the kitchen island essentially becomes the heart for the kitchen (and possibly the home itself).
Thanks to the rustic wooden chairs, the island can be used as a dining table or a guest receiving and entertaining area. Not only that, but the undermount sink on the other side makes the island into an extra working surface as well. Its large size means multiple people can pitch in and help prepare meals at once.
A modern country style is a brilliant way to make your kitchen pop. With its excellent blend of modern convenience and rustic country charm, this aesthetic can easily transform your kitchen into the most beautiful space in your house.
We hope some of these modern country kitchen ideas have given you a spark of inspiration to take to your next meeting with your designer and contractor!
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.