Minimal – romantic – natural – modern!

A simplified pared down, relaxed version of traditional, this style is popular for many reasons. Derived from a new found enthusiasm for all things organic and farm fresh, a need to disconnect from reality during these heady times and simplify, or a general return to traditionalism in the interior design world. Akin to Modern Farmhouse, this look adds a note of retro. Whatever the reason, homeowners just can’t seem to get enough of this design style. With it a relaxed spirit that’s warm and inviting without a hint of pretension it has gained tremendous momentum in the industry and on social media.

This popular look strikes just the right balance between pastoral and refined. Modern farmhouse decor, a popularized version emphasizes comfort and casual living with contemporary sensibilities reflective of today’s lifestyle. Simple and utilitarian, yet refined, country, yet sophisticated, are cool effortless chic’s characteristics.

What this style has in common with it’s sister style – traditional, (you can read more about that) is a sense of history and permanence. Nothing trendy or impermanent is used but it is a dressed-down version that says “come stay a while”.

It is right for you if …

1. Your middle name is “practicality”

Although you don’t like the austerity of modernism, the fussiness of traditionalism is not for you either. You are more grounded and want the pretty without all the fuss. “Keep it simple and practical – but make it pretty” is music to your ears!

2. You know all the antique shops and fairs and love to make a day of it

This look is a collected look. Signs, milk glass, treasures from the past pared down in a more minimal display keep the look youthful. Reclaimed light fixtures – pendants and sconces add a note of country charm to cinch the look. You love a day combing for treasures.

3. You are a country-girl at heart.

Never-mind a dozen classic roses, give you a bouquet of posies to set your heart aflutter.

4. You are a modern romantic at heart

Enough said! You know if this describes you.

5. You like traditional things but without the fuss.

You embody the “effortless” in this namesake. Keep it simple and stylish is your mantra.

6. An apron front sink was designed with you in mind

Baking bread, arranging freshly cut flowers are simple saturday rituals you enjoy the sensibilities of even if you pick up the bread and flowers at a local market.

7. Shea McGee is your secret best friend

Her effortless ease, shy personality, and sweet look make her best-friend material for you.

8. Humble millwork details make your heart swoon

Your idea of architectural detail includes ship-lap or nickel-gap, and maybe tongue-in-groove. Crown molding is a must for most rooms.

How to achieve the look

This look, a blend between scandinavian minimalism – taking notes on wood-tones and an airy simplicity, and traditionalism – adding detail and a nod to the past, is achieved using these simple guidelines.

Simplify the details – flounces, curved and carved details all work when pared down. Keep it pretty but simplified.

Use humble patterns – ticking, small prints, dots, checks, velvet, and simple home-spun patterns with a crisp updated aesthetic. Veto anything too frumpy to keep this fresh and up-to-date.

Nothing too fussy – keep it crisp and minimal with lots of fresh white and sun-faded colours.

Add the vintage – signs, plighting: pendants, lanterns and sconces,wire baskets, vintage technology – accessories for styling. Anything that sets your heart aflutter goes with this easy style.

Layer in the millwork – crisply painted white nickle-gap or shiplap adds instant charm.

Heirloom quilts – add colour and history to any bedroom.

Studio McGee
Studio McGee
Studio McGee

If you’re still not sure whether this is your design style, take our quiz! We’ve got lots of tips for you at the end.