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How to Modernize a Farmhouse-Style Living Room

JULY 11, 2022

If there’s one thing we love, it’s a great room refresh! Decorist Designer, Ellen Fleckenstein, turned a traditional farmhouse-style living room into a gallery-worthy modern masterpiece with a few simple tricks.  Working with a small budget and a big vision, Ellen radically transformed the living room using paint, accessories and thoughtful, customizable art from Minted to give the space a fresh new look.  By keeping the existing furniture and sticking to an artful, minimal color palette, Ellen turned the farmhouse-style living room into a cool, modern space.

The living room has good bones and wonderful natural light but the sage green above the fireplace, though pretty, kept the room rooted firmly in Farmhouse.  Ellen opted to “dip” the room by painting the walls, ceiling and wood beams in the same bright white to make the art and accessories really pop.  By updating the classic features of the room with contemporary colors, the resulting makeover is fresh and exciting.

We challenged Ellen to create an Artful Home – unique, collected and lived in – featuring Minted Customizable Fine Art. Together with a Minted fine art specialist, she recolored, rotated and cropped the art to feel custom-made for the space.  Contemporary neutrals keep things feeling cohesive. 

Ahead, we sat down with Ellen to learn how she took the room from traditional farmhouse to impossibly cool without breaking the bank.  Keep scrolling to see how she did it using Decorist’s Accessory Refresh service and Minted Customizable Fine Art.





Q: How do you use art to refresh a space? 

A: You can change the whole feel of the room with art! Oftentimes I begin with art and pull from it to create the new palette for the space. In this design, taking the prints black and white and doing closer crops instantly modernized the room.


Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about the art you chose for this living room?  What are some considerations when buying art? 

A: As an artist myself, I take curating the art for a space very seriously. I want each piece to have a timeless appeal because art is an investment. I also look for compositions and colors that are compatible with the room because I want each piece to add to the aesthetic. However, the most important thing is that it resonates with my client. Since they will be living with it, I want them to love the statement it makes.


Q: What did you like about Minted's Customizable Fine Art

A: I loved being able to play with the composition and color schemes! (Being able to zoom in or change the layout so it would better suit my needs as a designer for the space). The artist's are handing over some of the creative process to the owner of the print. I could see a customer feeling very proud that they helped create the very piece they own. It makes it more custom!


On the piece above, titled Awaking, Ellen worked with a Minted fine art specialist to invert the color palette, taking the piece from light and bright to modern and dramatic.

With the Paran Bloom 01 artwork pictured above, Ellen made even more customizations to really suit the space.  The Minted fine art specialist helped Ellen transform the art to black and white before flipping the image horizontally and cropping the bloom for a more abstract feel.


Q: When taking a room from one style to another, what are some simple tricks? 

A: The first step is always editing, we remove everything that doesn't reflect the new style we have gravitated toward. In this space we wanted to modernize it, so we removed the old farmhouse accents and brought in bolder and more graphic pieces in a monochromatic palette. We were able to keep all of the old furniture because our base was neutral enough to transfer from one style to another. I went with a bright white on the walls to help the space have more of a gallery feel.


Q: Keeping budget in mind, what are some easy ways to transform a space without breaking the bank? 

A: First of all, choose quality main pieces that are timeless. Then you can always change up the accessories when you grow tired of them. In my own home I change out the decorative accents seasonally just to freshen things up so I don't get bored. I'm always adding to the mix with a new pillow or throw that catches my eye. The easiest and most affordable change is the cost of a can of paint. Taking this room completely white dramatically changed the look. Finally, you can never go wrong with mother nature. Cut some fresh branches outside and you have an instant sculptural form to fill the space, it's ever changing and it's always free.


Q: How do you make sure that the room feels fresh when keeping existing furniture? 

A: Editing is just as important as adding elements to a design. I always start with a blank slate and just furniture pieces we wish to keep. When you remove the old, this helps you see the possibilities for the new in a whole new light. From there, you selectively add in some items that will have more presence in the room. This could be through color, items that have a new scale, etc... When you create dominance with these newly added items, the older furniture pieces disappear and just become the base, the canvas for everything else to pop against. 


We can’t get enough of Ellen’s refresh. Feeling inspired to refresh your own space?  Try our Accessory Refresh and make a big impact with a few light touches.


* Every product is independently selected by our stylish, expert designers and we only use an affiliate link on items we love, and would include regardless.  We may receive a small commission on things you buy through our links. 

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