National Association of REALTORS

What Is the Quiet Farmhouse Look? How To Switch the Kitsch for Cozy Sophistication

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You’ve no doubt heard of quiet luxury when it comes to clothing (simple, high-quality pieces with timeless appeal). But this understated look is also taking root in the home—and when it mixes with modern farmhouse design, this home decor is an absolute winner.

We’re talking about quiet farmhouse, which combines homespun coziness with the refined, upscale accessories and materials of quiet luxury. The buzzword with this updated aesthetic is “quality,” says Cassie Hanson, owner and designer at Dae Planner.

“The overdone rustic farmhouse is tired—it’s time to move away from expected country cliches and instead emphasize restraint and enduring appeal,” she urges.

This hot trend is already taking off big-time in the kitchen, where shabby-chic milk pail stools and rusty farm implements are being shelved in favor of polished countertops and timeless light fixtures.

Ready to bid adieu to trying-too-hard rustic decor and embrace sophisticated farmhouse style? Here are seven ways to bring home the look.

1. Soft leather

Hanson is a fan of cozy upholstered seating, especially when it’s made of soft leather, and recommends that homeowners avoid any chair shape that’s too chunky or homely.

“Choose this supple material rather than rough-hewn wood stools at a breakfast bar or kitchen island,” she says.

Worried about stains? “Lean toward performance fabrics for the best durability,” she advises.

Ariel Barrionuevo, designer and manager at La Coralina Island House, agrees.

“Plush armchairs or linen-covered kitchen or dining seats blend comfort with sophistication, as opposed to the more rugged aesthetic of a metal stool,” he explains.

2. Subtle patterns

Subtle patterns

Photo by Moore House Design

Gingham and buffalo checks splashed all over the place are true farmhouse favorites, but the look is quite dizzying to view daily.

“Put these away, and opt for cotton or light wools in neutral solids or subtle plaids,” suggests Hanson.

“When you pick more muted fabrics, you’ll bring in a timeless elegance to your space and allow the natural beauty of the farmhouse structure to be the focal point,” says Barrionuevo. “Quiet luxury decor in a farmhouse is about celebrating simplicity and elegance.”

3. Aged brass

Antiques are usually placed in every nook and cranny when it comes to farmhouse accessories—and the result can skew “yard sale” rather than charming elegance. To achieve a quiet farmhouse look, aim for a patina.

A good example of this is aged brass fixtures or mirrors, says Barrionuevo. “Brass that’s rubbed or aged elevates a space and adds luxury while maintaining the cozy, welcoming essence inherent to farmhouse style.”

Other natural elements like this include vintage silver, hand-thrown pottery, and glassware, especially when mixed with “simple white china to let the textures shine,” says Hanson.

4. A marble table

Tables can also serve as a versatile canvas for incorporating rustic elements and contemporary design, bridging the gap between loud and quiet farmhouse aesthetics to achieve a level of perfect farmhouse charm.

“So skip that reclaimed wood farm table, and instead go for sleek marble or quartz on top of a metal base for an updated mix of modern and traditional,” says Hanson.

Round pedestal tables can also work in a quiet farmhouse home as “they have timeless appeal,” she adds.

5. Simple artwork

Simple artwork

Photo by Haven Design and Construction

“Farm Fresh Milk” and “Home, Sweet Home” are lovely, homespun sentiments. But many people have had it up to here with these painted wooden signs.

And since you’re not really selling eggs or butter from your kitchen window, why not hang up art that represents a new understated look that’s also attractive?

Hanson recommends ditching the kitsch and choosing “classic landscape paintings or neutral photography featuring natural elements.”

Ones to consider: a triptych of birds’ nests, a silhouette of branches in a plain vase, or “simple botanical prints in black and white,” she adds. All pay homage to nature outside without being too on the nose.

7. Scaled-back accessories

The quiet farmhouse look is in no way maximalist, but it’s also not too severe or spartan either. Instead, pare down your stuff on bookshelves, your kitchen counter, and the nightstand so you have breathing room to curate a more refined tableau.

“Focus on quality over quantity, and rather than expected country tchotchkes, seek out items from local artisans, whether they’re made from ceramic or glass,” says Hanson. And lean on natural materials, such as stone or wood, as these add warmth when used sparingly.

And don’t forget fresh flowers, plants, or other greenery, even if it’s just a few stems in a bud vase, adds Hanson. Move away from dusty dried flowers or wreaths made from sticks, and pick elegant living blooms in a simple container.