6 Small Space Elements That Nail Modern Farmhouse Decor

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

It’s not like Joanna Gaines invented farmhouse modern style. But she definitely raised its visibility by beaming this rustic, charming, and yet somehow fresh (at the time) look into our homes each week on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.” Honestly, before her, farmhouse vibes were achieved by putting roosters on everything and using fake sunflowers in old milk jugs as centerpieces. Or something like that, I think, but I digress.

The market may be a bit more farmhouse saturated these days, but I love seeing what small space homeowners and designers manage to do with this decorating style, simply because there isn’t room to go over the top. We could all learn a lesson in restraint from the tactful ways these tiny house and small space dwellers work farmhouse features into their overall decorating schemes.

1. Shiplap

First off, you can’t really call a space farmhouse modern without there being some sort of shiplap or paneling in the mix. And small spaces can make good on these wall treatments because, well, they don’t take up room the same way furniture and accessories do. I love what this tiny homeowner did here to achieve that country charm. You can see a sliver of shiplap on the walls in the left of this image and then a small installation of board and batten wainscoting on the right, complete with hooks and a shelving unit to create a makeshift mudroom. Total farmhouse feels without taking it to the max. So the lesson here is that wall space is a great way to work in a farmhouse touch.

2. Subway Tile

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Building on that idea, subway tile is definitely the preferred modern farmhouse backsplash. And this tiny house dweller managed to fit this feature in her galley kitchen even though the whole structure is less than 265 square feet. The way to do it? Don’t take the tile all the way up the wall, which could overwhelm a small space. Just a few tiles is all you need to get that farmhouse appeal.

3. Barn Door

And, of course, barn doors are clutch in tighter spaces to begin with since they slide, taking away the need for clearance to swing open a door. So you couldn’t possibly find a more practical way to bring farmhouse feels into your small space. A lot of people use these for their master bedroom and bathroom doors in tiny houses, and this darker stained wood adds an extra nice farmhouse modern touch.

4. Exposed Wood Beams

(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

Exposed beams are another hallmark of modern farmhouse style, and this can definitely be done in a small space too. I love the combination here of the wood clad ceiling, chunky beam and brass pendant in this kitchen/dining nook. You’d think it would read as warm tone overload in a 364-square-foot space, but the slate tiles and cool white walls and cabinets really balance the whole composition out.

5. Rustic Textiles

You may think you can’t fit a slipcovered sofa into a small space but just go with a loveseat silhouette if that’s the case. Pair it with a sisal rug, linen pillows, and black window trim, and you’re basically Joanna Gaines.

6. A Touch of Gingham

(Image credit: Ashley Petrone)

I can’t think of a more “farm” print than gingham, and this airstream reno proves that a small space can still benefit from a hit of this kind of pattern. Whether it’s wallpaper, as shown here, or a table runner or pillows, gingham always adds classic country charm.

So there you have it. Adding a dose of farmhouse charm is totally possible in even the smallest of spaces. Any other creative ideas for working these kinds of touches into tight quarters?