The farmhouse trend exploded with Chip and Joanna Gaines and their HGTV show, Fixer Upper, though the phrase“modern farmhouse” didn’t really exist before 2015. What started as an appreciation for older homes and the simplicity of farm life has evolved into a movement as monumental as mid-century modern in just a few short years. Let’s face it. Modern farmhouse style has garnered mass appeal and for good reason. It incorporates the comfy vibe of the farm without all the kitschy clutter. It’s all about mixing comfortable but functional furniture with elements of reclaimed wood and architectural salvage. Combined with white-washed walls and cupboards, accented by cool neutral furnishings and textiles, and embellished with vintage metal fixtures, it’s easy to see the appeal.

Some rental property investors cut corners on décor and fixtures to save money. But long term successful investors know how to spend a small amount to give your property an edge over drab, basic rentals on the market. Pete Evering of Utopia Management suggests that a house with a theme and some upgraded details will not only command a higher rent, it will attract higher quality tenants who care about your home.If you’re looking to give your rental a modern farmhouse upgrade, here are some cost-effective options you should consider.

Farm/Apron Kitchen Sink

Farm sinks, which were developed before the use of running water,were designed for washing dishes and laundry but also for bathing children, which is why the sinks were more spacious. They differ from regular sinks because they are generally deeper and larger,but also because the front edge of the sink is exposed and flush with the cabinetry. This front-facing design is why itis also called an“apron”sink. Porcelain, stainless steel, fireclay, and copper are the most common type of farm sinks. They can range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars, though adding one to your kitchen could be priceless in terms of tenant occupancy. Can’t afford an authentic farmhouse sink? Try a faux drop-in model for a fraction of the cost.


A countertop can change the entire look of a kitchen.Some of the more popular options used to achieve the farmhouse look include:

  • Wood

Nothing warms up a room like wood. Oak, maple, walnut, cherry, and teak are all great choices for butcher-block counters. Eco-friendly bamboo is also growing in popularity. If maintained properly, wood counter tops can last for years.

  • Soapstone

Heat resistant and dense, soapstone is great for kitchen counters because it is easy to keep clean. Also, on the average, it is more expensive, but because scratches can be buffed out easily, it is a durable choice. One characteristic of this material is that it darkens with age. Some appreciate this, others dislike it.

  • Quartz

Made from the hardest minerals available, quartz is quite durable under the right conditions. Though low maintenance, it does not take heat well. It’s pricey but gives granite a run for the money.

  • Concrete

These counters offer the same look as granite and stone but are much cheaper especially if you pour them yourself. For a more polished look, they can also be stained.

  • Laminate

Thanks to advanced technology, laminate can now mimic wood and stone and would be considered a relatively inexpensive option.


Just as counter tops can change the look of a kitchen, doors can change the look of an entire house. Think about replacing one or more of your rental’s interior doors with a sliding barn door made from reclaimed or distressed wood. To save money, instead of wood, choose a PVC/vinyl door in white and add rustic wood accents. If you own a rental house, switching out the exterior front door will make a huge impact. If those salvaged wood double doors you’ve had your eye on forever at the antique store are too expensive, there are more affordable options out there for you to consider. Fiberglass and vinyl doors can be painted to create the effect you desire. If your rental home is white, try painting the door black or eggshell blue and create instant farmhouse appeal. ETO Doors carries some stunning solid wood doors that are perfect for the modern farmhouse style that will transform the entire look of your rental house.


Wide-plank wood floors are one of the best ways to give any room that rustic farmhouse feel.But, here’s the skinny secret on wide-wood floors. They’re not all wood. Some are engineered wood, others are laminate, which in general is the most budget friendly option unless the board width exceeds 10 or so inches. A fairly easy flooring to mount, it does have a reputation for shrinking so it’s best to have it professionally installed.

Bathroom Vanity

Have grandma’s old dresser hanging out in the garage? Sand it, stain it, and turn it into a bathroom vanity at very little cost. The drawers are a perfect place to keep towels and toiletries. Attach decorative iron knobs and a white top-mount sink for less than $100 and BAM! You just created a modern farmhouse bathroom while leaving yourself enough money to consider adding that white subway tile that’s all the rage.


A quick and inexpensive way to add a farmhouse touch to any space is to change out the fixtures. Adding industrial farmhouse lighting, which can include black iron chandeliers, drop-down wire basket lights, glass-jar inspired shades or Edison bulbs dangling from wood, will instantly create a modern farmhouse vibe. To take it a step farther, you could add wooden shelves fitted with wire storage baskets either in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. Another cost-effective idea is to add adhesive tin backsplash change behind the sink counters. Or consider a fresh coat of white paint or new glass-paned doors to make a noticeable difference without investing in new cabinets.

The truth is, making your rental more appealing with a modern farmhouse vibe, doesn’t have to drain your bank account. Changing a few small details could attract more renters and might help you to secure a higher rent. Who knows, maybe you’ll even score a thumbs-up from Chip and Joanna.