Color plays a pivotal role in achieving the perfect modern farmhouse kitchen. The style, a favored choice for harmonizing vintage and the new, focuses on a sense of warmth, character, and connection to nature with a contemporary flair.
Modern farmhouse kitchens often start with a foundation of neutrals like whites, creams, and soft grays. These shades create a versatile canvas that allows other elements in the kitchen, such as natural wood and modern finishes, to stand out. But, that doesn't mean you're restricted to off-white only.
The trick, says Luisa Carmona, interior designer and founder of Verde, is to 'find the balance between the warmer, more traditional tones of a farmhouse aesthetic and the cooler, more neutral tones of its counterpart'.
Whether you're drawn to timeless neutrals, serene blues, earthy greens, or the richness of natural wood tones, here's a guide from designers and color experts alike to help you curate a palette that perfectly embodies the modern farmhouse style.
The best modern farmhouse kitchen color ideas
The beauty of the modern farmhouse kitchen style is that it tailors itself to many kitchen color ideas. As a design trend dedicated to creating and adding warmth, super bright shades are out. If you’re looking for inspiration, the best place to start is with nature.
'The influence of modern farmhouse style and rural living is significant in our yearning for the feeling of intimate coziness, comfort, and warmth. Colors can be curated, and the layout and design fully considered for personal taste,' explains Merlin Wright, design director at Plain English Design. 'Painted kitchen cabinets add a modern sensibility, supportive of individual choices and styling.'
'Colors for modern farmhouse kitchens tend to be quite similar to traditional kitchens, in that you still want to tap into the aesthetic of the whole farmhouse look while giving a modern twist,' says Rebecca Nokes, design director at John Lewis of Hungerford. 'White is a good canvas to introduce pops of color, and if you want to go for a bold look then earth tones can work well and add drama to the overall look so it doesn’t look too twee,' she adds.
Modern farmhouse kitchens often feature a harmonious blend of rustic charm and contemporary design, and selecting the right color palette is crucial to achieving this balance. Find the 5 best color choices selected and approved by the experts, below.
1. Whites, off-whites and creams
Decorating with neutrals forms the foundation of a modern farmhouse kitchen and help to create a canvas that allows other design elements, such as natural wood and metal finishes, to shine. 'When it comes to color ideas for modern farmhouse kitchens, neutral tones take center stage,' says designer Jennifer Davis. 'Soft whites, warm grays, and muted earthy tones create a welcoming and timeless atmosphere,' she adds.
If choosing neutrals, consider the amount of natural light in your space, as the undertones of the colors can be transformative, reflecting light and making the kitchen feel bright and airy or adding a cooler touch that feels more modern.
'Incorporating natural elements such as wooden accents or exposed ceiling beams can enhance the pared-back aesthetic while maintaining a modern feel,' adds Jennifer. 'Ultimately, the key is to strike a balance between traditional farmhouse warmth and modern simplicity, creating a space that feels both cozy and up-to-date.'
'When I picture a modern farmhouse kitchen, I think of warm neutrals accented with wrought iron or mixed metal hardware on the cabinets and drawers,' adds designer Kathy Kuo. 'Think of the palette as cozy, but clean, and with just a bit of shine in the hardware for contrast.'
Jennifer fell in love with design at a young age and has been working in the industry for over 25 years. She has developed an eye for detail and a talent for creating timeless designs. Jennifer offers a balance of creativity and forward-thinking with a structured, organized, and detailed mentality. Jennifer is driven by her deep passion for design while curating an exceptional client journey, ensuring pure delight from the very beginning to the end.
'If you are wanting to add a modern edge and some more color, consider contrasting your kitchen island with the rest of your cabinets,' suggests Richard Davonport, managing director at Davonport Kitchens.
Matilda Martin, trends specialist at Lick, agrees. 'The key to a modern farmhouse kitchen is opting for a neutral and natural color scheme, paired with darker accents,' she explains. 'This style favors lighter, neutral colours. Think warming whites like Lick White 03, earthy beiges like Lick Beige 02, with charcoal greys like Lick Grey 08.'
Matilda also suggests introducing color by way of two-tone kitchen cabinets. 'Create contrast by painting your upper and lower level kitchen cabinets in lighter and darker shades respectively, and layering on the texture with some shiplap wall paneling – it's the best way to add visual interest to a neutral kitchen,' says Matilda.
2. Earthy gray-greens
Earthy grays add a contemporary touch to the modern farmhouse palette. These muted tones create a sophisticated backdrop while maintaining a connection to nature. It's about striking a balance between modern design and rustic warmth, so look to green undertones to bring in that lived-in feel.
'A sage green, such as Vert de Terre from Farrow & Ball, provides a rich earth tone that resembles the outdoors while still having a modern feel to it', advises Luis Carmona. Ashley McCollum, color expert at GLIDDEN® paint by PPG, recommends Farm Fresh as a go-to farmhouse green that works beautifully in a kitchen – both on walls and cabinets, while Babbling Brook offers a mix of gray and green that is both relaxing and contemporary.
In the kitchen above, designed by Jessica Helgerson, she paired a gray-green painted in-frame kitchen with a tiled backsplash, hood and oven in a complementary color scheme. The dark wood kitchen countertop helps to add warmth alongside brass hardware.
Ashley McCollum is a Marketing Manager and color expert for PPG’s Architectural Coatings business in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to joining PPG in 2017, Ashley's career was heavily focused on color and visual merchandising for retail environments. Ashley earned her MBA in Marketing/Management from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.
3. Rust reds
If cool tones are not colors you're interested in, push the envelope a bit and embrace tones of taupes, shades of merlot or rust red kitchen ideas. A far cry from neutrals but with the right shade and finish, you can marry the contemporary and traditional hallmarks of modern farmhouse.
'We love rust colors; deep red-browns against a bronze accent handle. Richer colors can add instant depth to a room and the light plays off a more surface as opposed to an off-white, for example,' explains Tom Rutt, interior designer and founder of TR Studios. 'Shadows are more apparent and that creates intrigue and a space in which we want to settle and inhabit for longer. If bold colors are a step too far, however, try pairing them with classic chalky whites or a soft taupe,' he advises.
'I love to see kitchen spaces drenched in color, across woodwork, walls and kitchen cabinetry,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene. 'Neutral cabinetry and surfaces can be brought together with the simple addition of a unifying color. Muscovado from Little Greene, inspired by pure and unrefined muscovado sugar – is a rich, deep, warm, earth-red and will deliver a warm glow that is perfect for a country kitchen aesthetic,' she adds.
Tom Rutt has worked in the offices of Norman Foster and Michaelis Boyd before founding TR Studios in 2015.
4. Soft blues
Soft pastels, such as pale blues and greens, bring a refreshing twist to the modern farmhouse kitchen, injecting a sense of tranquillity and playfulness. 'If green isn’t your thing, consider other shades you would naturally find in the great outdoors,' says Richard Davonport. This is ‘farmhouse style’ after all.
'Muted shades of blue offer the same type of appeal to a room,' agrees Luisa Carmona. 'De Nimes from Farrow & Ball has a down-to-earth, more traditional look while its more muted tone lends itself to having a more modern appearance,' he suggests.
Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams says: 'I love going for light blues where homeowners would usually use white. So instead of going for an all-white kitchen, try a muted grayish-blue like Stardew paired with a whispery soft green like Sea Salt. This color pairing works well with cream or beige cabinetry and to really bring this aesthetic to life, homeowners can also add in hints of black for a dash of modernity,' she advises.
Introduce pastels through accessories, kitchenware, or a statement kitchen island color to add visual interest without overwhelming the space.
Luis Carmona is the owner and lead designer at VERDE Interior Design. With almost two decades of experience in the creative space (interior design, advertising, and marketing), Carmona gets to blend his many passions into one design studio, offering services to commercial and residential clients in both Houston and Dallas.
5. Natural wood tones
Embracing natural wood tones is essential for achieving the authentic modern farmhouse feel. Whether it's in the form of wooden beams, flooring, or countertops, these elements infuse warmth and a connection to the outdoors.
Lick's Matilda Martin suggests bringing color to a modern farmhouse kitchen by incorporating natural elements in your decor. 'Countertops are a great place to do this,' she suggests. 'Choose between glossy marble, dark granite, or rustic wood –gorgeous when contrasted with lighter or dark lower cabinets and white subway tiles.'
'Terracotta, stone, or exposed wooden floorboards are all great options for creating warmth and texture too,' Matilda adds. 'Or, opt for brushed copper or brass cupboard handles and light fittings - all of which help bring an industrial feel to your kitchen, a key component of modern farmhouse style.'
One way to embrace wood is with accents like a big farmhouse kitchen table, open shelving or free-standing pantry or larder cupboards to enhance the organic feel and add little splashes of texture and tone.
'Once you select the main color for your kitchen, balance out the palette with the use of black or grays to bring in the modern aesthetic,' advises Verde's Luis Carmona. 'Whether it be in countertops, backsplash tile or an accent color in the space, this will add cooler tones, adding a touch of modern wherever needed.'
A well-crafted color palette is the key to achieving the modern farmhouse kitchen style. By combining timeless neutrals with contemporary accents, you can create a space that is not only stylish but also exudes warmth and character. Whether you opt for classic whites, earthy grays, or soothing pastels, the key is to strike a harmonious balance that reflects your personal taste and embraces the essence of this beloved design trend.
'However, you choose to style your modern farmhouse kitchen, it should ultimately make you feel like you’re tucked up in a warm home on a cold and miserable day,' adds Richard Davonport.
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Charlotte is content editor at Homes and Gardens, having joined the team the week before Christmas 2023. Following a 5 year career in Fashion, she found herself working at many women's glossy magazines including: Grazia, Stylist and Hello and most recently working as Interiors Editor for British heritage department store Liberty. Her role at H&G fuses her love of style with Charlotte's passion for interior design, and she is currently undergoing her second home renovation in Surrey - you can follow her journey over on @olbyhome
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