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Has the modern farmhouse trend gone too far?

Chip and Joanna exploded onto the scene over a decade ago, and home decor may never be the same.

What was once reserved for 100-year old homes with southern charm in rural areas has now spilled over into every design element you see now, regardless of location or proximity to an actual farm.

Now, of course, if you saw my viral bathroom makeover, circa 2019, you know I fell hard and fast for this modern farmhouse trend, and while I’ll always love this bathroom, do I still consider it timeless?

No! There are elements that are timeless, but most of the room is not, unfortunately.

In today’s post I’m going to look at my own misgivings with the modern farmhouse trend as well as several other examples. I’ll also give you examples of modern farmhouse style that I think are timeless.

The modern farmhouse trend gone bad: too much black on exteriors!

If you’ve been noticing new construction homes lately, you know, they all look very similar to what you see above.

In my opinion, this is just too much black and not a timeless look. It’s hard to pull off stark white contrasted with jet black and have it look good. Unfortunately, in most cases it just ends up looking too harsh.

Notice how everything is black–the garage doors, door, soffit, fascia, and windows. It’s too much!

If you like the black and white trend, this is a better option:

There’s a good bit of black here, but it isn’t overwhelming like the exterior above. I like this direction much better and if you ever tire of just white and black you can easily change the front door color and add shutters with a color or even some window boxes for color.

There’s some debate about whether or not black windows are timeless. I tend to think yes and no. In the above photos they are a bit trendy, but I still do like the look

Here’s an exterior that I think is timeless if you really like black windows:

Here’s what I like about this as opposed to the first two images–One, the brick and black windows aren’t such a stark contrast. Rather, the greige brick and window trim looks very good with the black windows. To me, this is as timeless as it gets when going with black windows.

Here’s another timeless exterior using black, but not going overboard:

You can’t argue with classic red brick and black accents. This exterior was relevant decades ago and it will be the same way decades to come.

What about the all-black exteriors? Those have really taken over lately. Let’s look at a few examples:

The exterior above has popped up everywhere lately. While I think an all-black exterior looks okay in an urban setting with an urban design, this is a more traditional look and unfortunately, the black looks very trendy.

The wooden accents help a smidge to warm this up and not leave you feeling like you’re visiting Gru’s house, but nonetheless, it isn’t enough to save this one.

Here’s another mostly-black exterior. I tend to like this one considerably better than the photo above, but it’s still too much black for me. Still if you enjoy black exteriors, I’d encourage you to go in this direction, rather than the first photo.

Here’s an exterior that used black, but incorporated enough other elements to give the home a timeless look:

You’ll notice how the copper works to really warm up this exterior palette. Coupled with the warm stone, this is a classic and inviting look.

Modern farmhouse overload in kitchens

Kitchens have really embraced the modern farmhouse movement, and as someone who looks at real estate listings weekly, when viewing new construction or recent remodels the image below is what you’ll see a good bit:

Is this kitchen timeless? No!

It’s trendy all the way. Black hardware, faucet, range, range hood, lights, etc. There isn’t any color or character in this kitchen.

If you just purchased a new build and your kitchen looks like this and you don’t like it, here are some suggestions:

  • Change the hardware to unlacquered brass
  • Change faucet to a polished nickel or chrome
  • Paint the range hood white
  • Consider painting the island white or another color
  • Bring in warm wooden tones–think barstools, lights, accessories
  • Accessorize with copper (this adds so much warmth so quickly!)

Here’s a kitchen that still has a lot of black in it and a lot of that farmhouse vibe, but is much more classic:

Do you see how quickly the brass warms things up? Even the countertops are much warmer, which really helps to make this kitchen less trendy and more timeless.

The modern farmhouse movement migrates to bathrooms

Let’s examine my faux pas first:

Now, this one of the first projects we did in our current home and I will forever love it for that reason, but I wish I had pulled the farmhouse design back a bit.

I would have done some black, but not black hardware or black grout (see below). I would have incorporated brass and would have used polished nickel for the plumbing fixtures for a more timeless look.

Here’s a bathroom that still looks like it’s from the modern farmhouse era, but it’s much more timeless:

I would have done polished nickel nobs and plumbing fixtures, but otherwise, this bathroom works much better. Notice the subway tile isn’t stark white, but rather more of a cream, so it doesn’t contrast so severely with the black grout.

Modern farmhouse takes on fireplaces

With most of us living in homes that had extremely dated fireplaces, it was inevitable that the last trend would migrate over to our fireplaces, too. Now, I’m all for updating dated spaces; especially fireplaces.

I’m just not sold on the all-black fireplace look. Let’s take a look at Exhibit A:

Some people will love this look. However, in my opinion, it’s very cold and depressing looking. It’s just too much black and if you’ll notice, the rest of the room is decorated in a dark charcoal, just adding to the overall depressive vibe.

By now you know, I enjoy decorating with the color black and while I refrained from using black to update my 90s fireplace (see below) I do think that you can use it in a timeless way.

The photo below is a perfect blend of modern and timeless and is the right way to do black with a fireplace:

You can observe that only a portion of the fireplace was painted black and the dark color was balanced out with a timeless brick and, of course, the pretty millwork painted in an off white really helped to soften the space. The black is repeated in the coffee table and rug and the whole room is just absolutely stunning.

Now, here’s the thing though with painting your fireplace black. I say, if you are absolutely dying to do it, go ahead. After all, it’s just paint and it can be easily repainted when your style evolves or changes.

This is a much easier thing to experiment on than splashing your whole home in black or all of your kitchen cabinets or perhaps even all of your appliances!

Finally, black made its way to accent walls. Let’s look at an example:

Do I think this black accent wall is trendy? Yes, I do, because there’s absolutely no denying that black is majorly popular right now. However, just like with the fireplace, this really doesn’t bug me. It’s a tiny space and can easily and inexpensively be repainted.

The black is also considerably softened up by the fabrics and rug in this room, so it works to give a good balance to the space.

If this is the vibe you like, I say go for it. You can always repaint and change out the throw pillows down the road.

I hope you enjoyed this post on the overuse of black with the modern farmhouse movement. If you’re in the process of designing a new build or renovating your home, consider some of the points above if you want to design a timeless space.

Have a question? Feel free to ask away in the box below!

Thanks for reading!


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