Modern farmhouse lighting ideas are all about creating the right ambience, as well as a functional scheme that works for your space. 'Growing up, my mother always entered the house by saying, or rather shouting: ‘Please turn the small lights on!’,’ remembers Homestedt's Anna Roberts. 'My brother and I finally got this into a routine that began with the clinking sound of mum’s key in the front door. We'd run around making sure all ceiling lights were off, and turn on every small or ambient light in the house. This felt like a huge inconvenience to us at the time, but now I get it.’
When choosing lights for modern farmhouse interiors Anna, who runs the Catskills-based design studio with husband Tom, needs to ensure their choices fit harmoniously into a blend of styles and periods. ‘For us, it's always about striking a balance so a space doesn't feel like it's too much of one thing and risks becoming themed,’ she explains. ‘The architectural style and period of the property also plays a huge part in informing the design direction.’
Anna shared their go-to lighting brand for modern farmhouse interiors: Pennsylvania-based Olde Brick Lighting. The company was founded by electrician William Eichorst, who has spent decades rewiring historic buildings. Inspired by the beauty and character of the architecture, William launched his own collection of handcrafted, handblown lights, which are ideal for complementing or enhancing the authenticity of a modern-rustic space. There’s even a collection created specifically for farmhouses, which includes everything from elegant brass sconces to utilitarian enamel pendants.
Inspired by Homestedt’s expert lighting tip-off, we asked more talented design insiders to share tried-and-tested advice for lighting modern farmhouse interiors. Discover their ideas below, from supersized pendants for soaring ceilings to contemporary Scandi-style designs and eclectic vintage finds.
8 MODERN FARMHOUSE LIGHTING IDEAS
1. DEFINE WHITE INTERIORS WITH DESIGNS IN DARK METAL
'This project sits on Wilson Lake in Alabama. When I saw the amazing plans by architects Pfeffer Torode, I immediately knew I wanted the house to have a dark and moody exterior,' says interior designer Lilly Taylor of this modern farmhouse kitchen.
'We wanted to keep the interior clean and crisp, so I balanced that brightness with some contrasting lighting. My client had these industrial pendants in storage and they were perfect for the space,' continues Lilly, who also added task lighting by the sink. 'This provides more light and balances out the heaviness of the pendants by spreading that darker accent tone around the room.'
2. CHOOSE UNDERSTATED WALL LIGHTS WITH A VINTAGE FEEL
‘To create the right ambience, lighting needs to be layered. Wall sconces play an essential part in this, ’says Anna Roberts of this farmhouse bedroom. She runs Catskills-based design studio Homestedt with her husband Tom.
'When designing a modern farmhouse, our go-to lighting brand is the family-run, Pennsylvania-based Olde Brick Lighting,’ says Anna. ‘Their Edison Opal Flush Sconce, which we used when redesigning the interior of this 100-year-old boarding house, is a great choice for a bedside or hallway light.’
3. TRY A PAIR OF MISMATCHED LAMPS FOR RELAXED BEDSIDE LIGHTING
'I was going for a design that felt laid-back yet sophisticated to match the easygoing coastal vibes of Provincetown,' says New York interior designer Alfredo Paredes, who furnished the interior of this waterside cabin entirely with finds from various flea markets across the US and Europe.
It helps that the modern farmhouse flooring is beautifully warped, setting the tone for the space. 'Every piece has history and patina, which gives the space character and makes you feel like there is a story behind each detail,' Alfredo explains. 'I find that pairing mismatched objects – like two different bedside table lamps, for example – helps convey the idea that the home has been furnished over time, with items collected from different places, which contributes to the relaxed nature of the space.'
4. CREATE INTIMACY WITH A SPHERICAL SHADE IN TEXTURAL LINEN
Natalie Walton's peaceful home is located in the verdant Byron Bay hinterland, where the Australian interior stylist created a neutral canvas with white walls and floors in concrete or wood. 'One of the easiest ways to introduce visual interest is with an oversized pendant light,' Natalie explains of this modern farmhouse dining room.
'They add form and texture as well as a sense of scale. Organic forms and round shapes are a wonderful way to offset the boxiness of a room and help make spaces more intimate, too.' Shown here is a large round pendant in taupe linen, from Natalie's brand Imprint House.
5. ZONE AN OPEN-PLAN LIVING SPACE WITH LOFTY TABLE LAMPS
Surrounded by pine forests and alpine rivers, this French chalet was a complete renovation project by British interior design firm Turner Pocock. 'The adaptable, open-plan layout adds to the sense of space, while the restful colors of the 360-degree views are complemented by rich teals and emerald greens,' say studio founders Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock, who used a pair of tall lamps with generous shades to help zone the space in this farmhouse living room.
'A beautiful distressed sideboard provided the perfect home for the two statement table lamps, allowing us to create the impression of a casual division in the room.'
6. LOOK TO CONTEMPORARY LIGHTING FOR MODERN CABIN STYLE
This Hudson Valley house is a second home for a family living in the city, so Nune Design had to be creative with the budget. 'We decided to source from as many local vintage markets as possible, and we complemented these pieces with contemporary lighting, which felt appropriate given the property's modern cabin feel,' says Sheena Murphy of Nune Design.
'This particular piece from Lambert et Fils was chosen for it's minimal visual impact. It's subtle and sculptural, and helps to anchor the table without obstructing the view.'
7. PAIR DELICATE PORCELAIN PENDANTS WITH BOLDER BRASS DESIGNS
We love the mix of lighting styles in this modern farmhouse-style kitchen, part of a project by Arianna De Gasperis of And Studios. Arianna turned to British brand deVOL for the design, which looks right at home in this painstakingly renovated 1850s townhouse in Jersey City.
Luxurious details in this rustic kitchen, such as the marble worktops and brass accents, elevate the Shaker-style space. 'Our frilly handmade porcelain pendant lights temper the luxury with their humble beauty and enchanting glow,' says deVOL's creative director Helen Parker. 'We see so many lighting schemes and it’s always the discreet and understated ones that catch our eye.'
8. LOWER A TALL FARMHOUSE CEILING WITH SUPERSIZED PENDANT LIGHTS
Located in a leafy neighborhood in Etobicoke, Toronto, this once-tired bungalow has been turned two-story contemporary home by Ancerl Studio. 'The home connects inhabitants with the outdoors, and exudes comfort for modern living,' says architect Nicholas Ancerl, who was inspired by farmhouse style and played with varying heights and volumes of space.
'Centrally located, the kitchen and dining room feature cathedral ceilings with exposed beams, warm wood accents and natural materials,' he continues. 'Oversized pendant lights complement the grand space, and add a warm glow for evenings spent around the large dining table.'
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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