Is Modern Cottage The New Modern Farmhouse? We Say Yes

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WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on November 7, 2023

Like us, you’ve probably noticed a new design movement unfolding online and IRL. It involves sink-into-me furniture, organic textures like linen and wood, and vintage accents (like Persian rugs) alongside edgier sculptural pieces. It’s a little country, a little modern, and there’s a lot to love about it. We’re calling it “Modern Cottage,” and it’s basically a chicer, more elevated interpretation of farmhouse style

Don’t get this confused with cottagecore, which is much more whimsical (and involves all things floral). Rather, Modern Cottage combines the rustic and welcoming sensibilities of countryside living with contemporary twists that feel undeniably cool. The end result is a liveable, original space that prioritizes warmth, comfort, and style. 

Ahead, find everything you need to know about the trending aesthetic, plus tips and inspiration directly from our lead designers.

modern cottage dining room
Design by Brady Burke, Havenly lead designer

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The evolution of “Modern Cottage”

First things first: Where did Modern Cottage come from? As mentioned above, this emerging aesthetic takes inspiration from classic farmhouse style, which is warm, homespun, and comforting. But true to form, this look has evolved considerably and has only gotten more elevated with each passing year.

  • The 90s: Farmhouse masqueraded as “shabby chic” during this iconic decade. Think: florals, ruffles, and lots of distressed white furniture. 
  • The early 2000s: Enter the ubiquitous and universally loved Pottery Barn era (who could forget the apothecary table from Friends?). This iteration was all about rustic woods, heftier furniture, brand-new pieces designed to look old, and all of the canvas accents.
  • 2010: This is when things got a bit more industrial, thanks in part to Restoration Hardware. Enter exposed lightbulbs, clean and modern lines, elegant neutral palettes, and even more reclaimed wood.
  • 2013: This year was all about Chip and Joanna Gaines and their hit show, Fixer Upper. They pioneered (pun intended) a new flavor of the farmhouse aesthetic — one with plenty of rustic heart, lots of vintage finds, and clever DIYs. Currently, when folks think of farmhouse, they think of Joanna Gaines and Magnolia.
  • 2022 and beyond: There’s a new kid on the block: Modern Cottage. It’s got all of the heart-warming and rustic accents that you know and love, but with a much-needed edge. It’s like rock-and-roll and country combined, with iconic designers like Leanne Ford leading the way.
modern cottage living room
Design by Melissa Wagner, Havenly lead designer

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Why we’re loving it

This aesthetic is truly a best-of-both-worlds situation: it combines the hospitality, comfort, and rustic warmth of farmhouse style with the edge and sophistication of modern design. Rather than being too much of one thing, it thrives on contrast. Think: a vintage wooden bookshelf lined with antique books framed by a marble plinth coffee table and a bouclé accent chair. It’s equal parts welcoming and aspirational; liveable and original; cozy and unequivocally cool. It embraces imperfections and feels perfectly “lived-in” without being too kitschy.

modern cottage bedroom
Design by Vivian Torres, Havenly lead designer

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How to pull off “Modern Cottage” in your home

While design almost always defies categorization, there are a few unifying elements that tie the Modern Cottage aesthetic together. To pull off the look in your space, consider our notes below:

  • Cozy, sink-into-me furniture (specifically slipcovered sofas and chairs)
  • Rustic and reclaimed wood for organic warmth
  • Natural textures like linen, straw, jute, and shearling
  • Neutral colors like whites, beiges, blacks, blues, and even moody sage
  • Vintage decor and family heirlooms (especially rugs and artwork)
  • Mixed metals, especially brass alongside matte black
  • Artisan accents like bowls, vases, and other collected pottery
  • Subtle patterns, like a hint of plaid or floral
  • Chips, cracks, and flaws in furniture and decor for a well-loved vibe
  • Minimal and simple, but warm
  • Foraged greenery and fresh flowers
modern cottage
Design by Kelsey Fischer, Havenly lead designer

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Inspired to give the Modern Cottage aesthetic a spin in your own space? Our designers are standing by to help you pull together ideas and curate all the pieces you need to pull it off. Get started with our style quiz.

Words by Kelsey Clark