When it comes to choosing a modern farmhouse wall decor, there’s a fine line between quirky and out of place. Playing it safe, however, can result in a somewhat lackluster space. If you choose art that’s too bold or contemporary, your pieces could undermine the aesthetic you’re trying to achieve; too obvious or traditional, and your interior could end up feeling cliche.
As with any design or art purchase, we always recommend opting for pieces that really speak to you when trying to create a unique and personal interior. The confusion of style, epoch and provenance applies to art and wall decoration as well as to furniture, lighting and textiles.
New York interior designer James Huniford — whose own weekend home is a carefully restored farmhouse in The Hamptons — agrees. “It’s important that my home is comfortable for me, my family and friends… but it’s also a laboratory, a place to experiment with how fabrics and objects with an artisanal character feel alongside more refined ones. It’s about taking elements from different eras and not letting their use be influenced by their history, but instead finding a common harmony.”
But if you’re specifically looking for something that will fit harmoniously into an existing scheme, having a little guidance can help. Modern country style is usually achieved through a restrained juxtaposition of old and new. So where to start when choosing wall decoration?
Perhaps the easiest way is to add landscape art or photography, which creates a direct connection to the great outdoors. Another option is to opt for contemporary art in colors taken from nature’s palette. Or follow James Huniford’s example and adopt all manner of vintage pieces, including agricultural and industrial, to add interest to your walls – from antique maps to weathered oars and old wooden grain sifts.
8 MODERN FARMHOUSE WALL DECOR IDEAS
1. MAKE A WALL FUNCTION FROM AGRICULTURAL ANTIQUES
In designing the guest bedroom of this airy Hamptons home, James Huniford hung a selection of 19th-century wooden grain sifters on the wall, creating an eye-catching feature from these humble, locally sourced vintage finds. Of course, this approach also works well for living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms in modern farmhouses…any space you want to tackle.
“I love this minimalist installation that uses objects as art. Since the house is near a large farm, I wanted to bring in some farming elements,” says James. Complementing the sieve arrangement is an early American folding table and other industrial parts, including a grain shovel and metal gear chain.
2. GET CREATIVE WITH IMAGE PLACEMENT
When interior designer Glenn Ban redesigned this cozy porch in his Hamptons cottage, he chose a simple seascape as a nod to the home’s coastal location. With limited wall space, he hung the picture above two windows, above the Donald Judd-inspired daybed that fills one side of the white-painted porch.
“The room has windows on three walls that let in a nice ocean breeze,” says Glenn. “The art above the daybed looks beautiful and also reminds me that all spaces can feel layered, even if they are quite utilitarian in purpose.”
3. CHANNEL COTTAGE STYLE WITH PASTEL COLOUR
If you’re short on space and fancy some color, a cocooning color scheme could be an ideal way to add interest to your walls rather than risk cluttering a room with too much decoration.
This Berkshire country house was renovated by London-based interior design firm Turner Pocock, who painted the walls and ceiling of one of the modern bedrooms a soft and soothing pink.
“We wanted everything about this cottage to be comfortable and simple,” say designers Bunny and Emma. “The pink color we used in the bedroom is an archival color from Farrow & Ball called Potted Shrimp. We especially love how the chalky finish enhances the sense of calm.”
4. CREATE – OR COMMISSION – A MODERN FARM MURAL
“We wanted the interior to be unique and artful, but not gimmicky or cliche in any way. The location and landscape are the star here,” says Steven Johanknecht of Los Angeles studio Commune Design, who renovated this 100-year-old California cabin in the Santa Anita hills.
The designers drew on a variety of different influences in the redesign, including historic American cabins, European chalets and Shaker-style interiors. “The bedroom walls feature a hand-drawn motif inspired by Navajo carpet patterns by decorative artist Nic Valle,” says Steven of the mural, which complements the painted wooden bed frame with its olive-green hue.
5. ADDING CHARACTER WITH ARCHITECTURAL RESCUE
“This cabin looks older now than it did when I got my hands on it,” says interior designer Leanne Ford of the 19th-century frame home she restored in Los Angeles. “The area that this bedroom was in used to be outdoors, but we expanded these small spaces to make them part of the interior,” adds the designer, who has an indoor-outdoor look with stone floors and a rustic aesthetic -preserved feeling.
“I found these beautiful old glass doors and hung them on a barn slide behind the bed and then painted them to blend in better,” she continues. “I love all shades of white paint, but bright white would have been too modern here, so I went with a really warm antique white to match the cabin.”
6. TRY PLAID WALLPAPERS FOR HERITAGE AESTHETICS
“When we first saw this little spare bedroom, the existing bed really took up the space,” say Christina Valencia and Kele Dobrinski of Studio Colossus Mfg., who renovated this Lake Tahoe home.
“We knew we wanted to add something during the remodel that could draw your gaze up and fill the space with visual interest. This traditional checkered wallpaper had the balance of camping and modern that we were looking for.”
The design duo loved the palette so much that they also covered the bed in blue-toned linens. “We placed two caramel colored reading lamps above the bed for a subtle contrast.”
7. BUILD A WALL OF NICELY ORGANIZED STORAGE
In her backyard office, located on the site of an old horse stable, Hudson Valley architect Annie Mennes designed a wall of streamlined storage that’s as stylish as it is functional.
Annie, the founder of Garrison Foundry Architecture, took her design cues from East Coast farmhouses and Scandinavian interiors. “The office is simple and utilitarian, with a modern-rustic vibe,” says the architect, who sourced the custom floating shelves from a mail order company and painted them Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White to match the walls.
“The idea was to hide everything in the white wall unit,” explains Annie. Color-coordinated folder boxes and a painted pegboard complete the project.
8. REFERENCE NATURE WITH ABSTRACT LANDSCAPES
The owners of this converted cattle barn in Wighton, Norfolk, turned to British custom kitchen company deVol to help redesign their once-ramshackle barn. “Anyone who has been to North Norfolk will know what a special place it is: wild and beautiful, with amazing beaches,” says Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL.
“Our shaker kitchen here is large on scale, yet feels cozy and homey,” she adds – the ideal vibe for a modern country kitchen. “And we love the original artwork placed throughout the space; These vast landscapes really add to the feeling of being in the wilderness near the sea.’