Modern Farmhouse Exterior: Paint Colors & Design Elements That Work

Some trend-spotters are saying the modern farmhouse exterior is on its way out, and while a few farmhouse design elements have become passé, on the whole we disagree. Of course part of what’s behind this trend’s staying power is the fact that farmhouses have been around for centuries. The style evokes the feeling of no-fuss comfort and safety, an idyllic place for your family to relax after a long day at work. That’s something we can all relate to, whether that work is being done in a barn, in the fields, corralling little ones, or seated at a computer.

Read on for our recommendations for how to achieve a timeless modern farmhouse exterior design (and what to avoid in the process).

Considering a modern farmhouse exterior design for your home, but not sure it’ll work with your current structure and building materials? That’s what we’re here for! Our virtual exterior design service helps you envision your home with a new exterior design before starting on the project. And our expert designers can offer guidance if you’re choosing between two styles, or simply aren’t sure where to begin.


Virtual exterior design rendering of a modern farmhouse style home panted in Simply White

Trademarks of the Modern Farmhouse Exterior

Modern farmhouses tend to be painted in white or off-white colors. The monochromatic white farmhouse style is popular and can look fantastic on houses with lots of different textures and plentiful depth and dimension. Modern white farmhouses also frequently use high-contrast black trim and accents. In addition to white, we’ll sometimes add in blue-grays, greens, and complex medium- to dark-toned neutrals. On the whole, neutral color palettes are common.

While a mixture of building materials are often used in a modern farmhouse exterior design, one hallmark of the style is vertical siding.

Next, front porches are common on farmhouses. We tend to use wood columns to support the front porch awnings of the modern farmhouses we design. And we love a welcoming wooden front door with lots of windows for a farmhouse.

Finally, go-to modern farmhouse exterior lighting styles include warehouse-style sconces and wall lanterns. However, we also like to incorporate modern lighting options on these style homes, too.

Virtual exterior design of a two-story modern farmhouse painted in Alabaster with near-black shutters

Virtual exterior design of a modern farmhouse style home with Seapearl cladding and Raccoon Fur trim

Modern Farmhouse Exteriors: What Works

Keeping in mind the word “modern” should help as you make your design decisions. Making use of vintage items like exterior lighting can work, but we recommend integrating them with house numbers in a sans serif typeface or a modern porch railing to balance it out.

If you’re thinking of updating your siding in a farmhouse style, James Hardie is a fantastic vendor that we turn to all the time. Their fiber cement siding is one of the most durable siding materials you can choose for your home exterior. Plus, it comes in a wide variety of siding styles and colors to suit all sorts of uses.

Virtual exterior rendering of a modern farmhouse painted in Urbane Bronze, Natural Choice, and Risposo Beige

Modern Farmhouse Exteriors: What to Avoid

The whole sarcastic ‘live, laugh, love’ internet meme pokes a jab at the farmhouse-inspired interior design trend of using signage as decor. And it’s true, we don’t recommend putting signage all over your front porch. Your guests shouldn’t need to read a sign to know that they are ‘WELCOME’. More than one sign? Overkill. Always remember the law of diminishing returns.

Furthermore, the inherent architecture of some home styles simply doesn’t lend itself to a modern farmhouse design. Spanish Mediterranean homes — or really any home with an orange clay tile roof — often look great with an off-white paint color and black accents. But they won’t feel like farmhouses. Similarly, the embellishments  found on Victorian and some Romantic era homes don’t jive with the simple farmhouse vibe.


Virtual rendering of a two-story home designed in a modern farmhouse style

The Final Word on Modern Farmhouse Exteriors

Love it, hate it, or entirely apathetic (though if you’re the latter, why did you read this far?), the modern farmhouse exterior is here to stay. Hopefully the pointers in this article will help you decide if this style is right for you and for your home.

Ready to make over your home’s exterior in the modern farmhouse style — or looking for a different style entirely? We’re here for you! Our expert designers are comfortable working with modern and contemporary homes, ranches, and so much more. Learn about our virtual exterior design services here, or dive right into making your exterior dreams a reality today.