Modern farmhouse flooring ideas don’t always require a complete overhaul; sometimes, the simplest decorating hacks can be the most effective. That said, don’t let it be an afterthought, as flooring is the foundation of any space and has the power to make or break your interior. If you’re trying to achieve that delicate modern-rustic balance, the focus should be on creating a space that manages to be both streamlined and soulful, whatever your budget.
For Australian stylist and author Natalie Walton – a master of warm and minimal modern-rustic spaces – materials, texture and pattern are key to getting it right. ‘I am drawn to time-worn timber and raw stone for no other reason than that it feels good,’ she says in her book Style: The Art of Creating a Beautiful Home. ‘Texture is another tool to establish emotion in our homes. Pattern works in a similar way,’ she explains. ‘It’s evident in marble and travertine. I can be repeating or irregular. Organic or linear… Subtle or strong. Pattern is revealed in the way a rug has been woven in various materials, from seagrass to jute, cotton or wool.’
With flooring, implementing texture and pattern could be as simple as a layering natural fiber rugs over whitewashed wooden boards. Or, looking to antique textiles to make a utilitarian space feel more welcoming. When Nashville designer Robin Rains remodeled the kitchen in one leafy Forest Hills home, she completed the space with a vintage oushak rug. These hardy, coarsely woven Turkish carpets are ideal for high-traffic areas, while their faded patterns and muted colors are a great fit for modern farmhouse floors. ’The goal for this kitchen was to create a space with a collected and furnished feel. We also wanted to bring in a sense of the unexpected.’ explains Robin.
If you’re planning to lay a whole new floor, then you can’t go wrong with rugged stone. Whether timeless flagstones or irregular designs with a more organic appearance, natural stone floors will lend your space an air of authenticity and look good for years to come. Find a few examples below, along with other expert tips and tricks to create the perfect modern farmhouse floor for your home.
10 MODERN FARMHOUSE FLOORING IDEAS
1. CHOOSE WHITE-PAINTED FLOORS FOR A LIGHT AND FUSS-FREE INTERIOR
‘We wanted Little Peek to participate in the vernacular history of the rugged Maine environment,’ says Maria Berman of Berman Horn studio, who designed this grey shingle home as a contemporary reinterpretation of the local rural and agricultural architecture.
‘From within the house, we wanted the view and surrounding landscape to take precedence, without competition from lots of wood or ornament,’ she explains. ‘We decided to keep the interior spare, and chose white walls and floors. We love how this draws the eye to the profusion of colors in the surrounding environment: the greens of the wildflowers and native plants, the changeable sky, and the reflections off the water.’
2. EMBRACE THE CHARACTER OF ORIGINAL WOODEN FLOORS
‘We chose not to change the existing floors because they had a distinctive age and character to them that worked so beautifully with the house, which is a late 1700s build,’ say Sheena Murphy and Tor Sauder of Nune Design, who redesigned this Connecticut cottage.
‘The floors and the wood beams throughout provided a gorgeous rustic backdrop, which encouraged us to embrace the imperfections of both handmade and antique pieces,’ add the duo, who mixed a few more modern designs into the modern farmhouse living room for balance. ‘We kept the colors quiet and amped up the texture to create a cocooning, enveloping feel in every space.
3. MODERNIZE A FARMHOUSE FLOOR WITH INDUSTRIAL-STYLE CONCRETE
Located on the wild and beautiful Norfolk coast, this former cattle shed is now a relaxed and family-friendly weekend retreat. At its heart is a large Shaker-style modern farmhouse kitchen by deVOL, which is a perfect match for the building’s timber-beamed ceiling and original brick elements.
‘The kitchen has the ability to feel both industrial and a little bit country chic,’ says deVOL’s creative director Helen Parker of the space, which offsets more traditional elements with a polished concrete floor. ‘It’s the mix of concrete, brick walls and soft tones in the wooden worktops and copper sink that make this kitchen such a clever combination.’
4. UPDATE A WOODEN FLOOR WITH BRIGHT-COLORED PAINT
When New York-based interior designer James Huniford embarked on remodeling this Connecticut home, he opted to paint the floorboards in an eye-catching blue hue.
‘This was a room that lacked a lot of light. I liked the idea of painting them sky blue, creating an ambiance that’s soothing during the day and calming during the evening,’ explains James, who added accents of rich red and clashing patterns for warmth and personality in this modern farmhouse bedroom. An English antique table has been repurposed as a desk, the top of which has been covered with antique fabric. The quirky stool in rope and wood is another vintage find.
5. LAY A RUGGED STONE FLOOR FOR INSTANT CHARACTER
'My favorite feature is the stone floor. I think it’s really beautiful and gives the space a bit of a European touch,’ says interior designer Leanne Ford of the mismatched stone paving she laid throughout this home in the LA’s Echo Park neighborhood, which complements the cabin’s white-painted walls and indoor-outdoor feel. As evidenced here, modern farmhouse wall decor can take the form of anything to art or book - the key is that it doesn't look too forced. With its irregular paving, the flooring complements this vibe.
‘This is our office and library space. The stone carries all the way out to the yard, so it almost feels like we have an outdoor library,’ she muses. ‘We built in shelving and commissioned this concrete table. The juxtaposition of this shiny Sciolari-vibe light is really fun.’
6. TRY A PATTERNED RUG FOR A COZY MODERN FARMHOUSE KITCHEN
When Nashville-based interior designer Robin Rains embarked on the redesign of this modern kitchen, her aim was to create a ‘furnished’ space that felt like an extension of the adjacent living room. ‘We also wanted to bring in a sense of the unexpected,’ she explains.
‘To achieve this we sourced a faded vintage oushak rug and, instead of choosing a standard island, bought an amazing French pastry table with a beautiful marble top that shows years of use and wear. This provokes a contrast against the more refined elements of the kitchen, such as the show-stopping La Cornue range and important fixtures. This tension allows you to better appreciate and acknowledge the selections in the space.’
7. OFFSET CLEAN-LINED INTERIORS WITH ORGANIC STONE PAVING
The owners of this modernist-inspired East Hampton home had been living in a house designed in the 1960’s by a disciple of Marcel Breuer. Very sadly, the original building was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy, and so Bates Masi + Architects were brought in to rebuild a home that honored the design of the previous structure.
‘The previous home had stone floors with an organic nature, and the clients had really enjoyed how they contrasted with the refined architecture,’ says architect Paul Masi. ‘For this project we used a similar irregular stone but installed it so that the vein of the stone carries your eye from the entrance out to the view of the water’.
8. ADD INTEREST AND TEXTURE WITH A HARDY NATURAL FIBER RUG
Australian interior stylist Natalie Walton launched Imprint House to simplify the art of creating a home. Her preference for soft and muted colors, textural elements and pieces with handmade or artisanal elements contribute to a blend of warm minimalism that’s particularly suited to modern farmhouse interiors. Here, a handwoven seagrass rug enlivens the floor of this serene living room.
‘To prevent simple spaces from veering towards bland, ensure you include plenty of texture,’ advises Natalie. ‘Layer different materials to create visual appeal. You can incorporate pieces from different eras and aesthetic styles when you constrain your palette.’
9. USE PAINT TO MAKE A FEATURE OF WOODEN FLOORBOARDS
This Italianate Revival home in the Hudson Valley was brought back to life by Annie Mennes of Garrison Foundry Architecture, who enlarged the existing home while respecting its historic details. Another charming feature the studio was keen to preserve was the painted checkerboard floor in the home’s entrance.
‘The entryway floors had been painted like this previously, but we re-did them in the renovation,’ says Annie. ‘The existing douglas fir flooring was re-sanded and painted in a diamond cream-and-black floor pattern. Good taping and a steady hand is needed, but it is a really simple way to spruce up an existing floor.’
10. COMBINE TWO TYPES OF FLAGSTONE FOR AN AUTHENTIC FARMHOUSE FEEL
Located in the Cotswolds, this beautiful light-filled home has a large and airy open-plan kitchen-diner, and features two complementing styles of flagstone floor, both by Mandarin Stone. ‘In the foreground you can see our Milan tumbled limestone and behind is the Tundra tumbled marble,’ says Mandarin Stone’s creative director Louisa Morgan of this authentic-looking farmhouse floor.
‘Both materials are hardwearing stones that, once sealed, provide a classic, modern-rustic look that will stand the test of time.’
Tessa Pearson is an interiors and architecture journalist, formerly Homes Director at ELLE Decoration and Editor of ELLE Decoration Country. When she's not covering design and decorative trends for Livingetc, Tessa contributes to publications such as The Observer and Table Magazine, and has recently written a book on forest architecture. Based in Sussex, Tessa has a keen interest in rural and coastal life, and spends as much time as possible by the sea.
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