Country style is more popular than ever, thanks to hit shows like HGTV’s Fixer Upper that regularly feature eclectic farmhouse decor. But this new demand being generated by TV shows isn’t your grandmother’s classic, country style with dusty, pink ruffles and ceramic ducks. “Modern country” is a sophisticated, minimalist style with a comforting “home-like” appeal that attracts a wide range of ages.

From young professionals wanting to come home to a comforting environment after hours spent in an office and middle-aged people who yearn for a return to their roots outside of major cities, this rustic yet modern style has achieved popularity across generations of buyers making it an ideal style choice for real estate investors who focus on flip to rent properties. Because of the mass appeal, it’s also a great style when staging a house to sell. If hiring a professional stager is out of your budget, check out the guidelines below to help stage your kitchen and home in modern country style.

Let’s dive into the most important room in country decor and staging – the kitchen, but first, here’s a definition to keep in mind while making your style choices and picking your fixtures.

What is a Modern Country Kitchen?

Modern country kitchens (or farmhouse style) are filled with natural materials, clean lines, repurposed items, and painted wood. Quality matters, so think classic decor and a neutral palette.

Tip 1: Know the Difference Between Rustic Kitchens and Dirty Kitchens

Staging your country kitchen starts with getting everything squeaky clean. Because “sophisticated country” style is uncluttered, any dust or dirt around will immediately stand out and make things look grungy. Be sure to have the space professionally cleaned and don’t forget the around the sides and back of appliances. If you’ve recently renovated, make sure all final “punch-out” work is complete, outlet covers are in place, and it truly looks ready to move in.

While a perfectly cleaned space is odorless, most people actually associate “clean” with specific scents. Light some country-inspired scented candles before showing your place to potential buyers and spritz some air freshener. Go for light scents like “lemon,” “apple pie,” or “cotton fields” and avoid heavy florals. A kitchen full of fresh or appetizing scents will put your prospects at ease, hopefully enough that they’ll start to envision themselves cooking at the stove or hanging out with family and friends. For many, kitchen-based memories tend to be some of the strongest, so having them picture themselves enjoying this room in particular can make the difference between moving the property or keeping it on the market.

Tip 2: Keep the Furniture Simple and Classic

The arrangement of furniture in your kitchen can make or break the space. This is especially important in condos and rowhouses that have eat-in kitchens and breakfast nooks instead of full-sized formal dining rooms. Choose furnishings that leave a big impression on how open and spacious the kitchen looks, and more importantly how your prospective buyers feel when they walk in.

Modern Country Furniture Includes:

  • A set of windsor chairs
  • Classic round painted pedestal table
  • Natural wood farmhouse tables
  • Natural wood or wood and iron slated benches that slide under

To complete the look, an accent rug featuring an attractive color scheme or pattern with some spacial definition will help to anchor the eating area regardless of where the nearest wall is.

How to Choose Modern Country Artwork

Artwork and wall hangings should fit in with a country chic theme, but don’t go for dated barnyard scenes. Think light, bright, and modern to appeal to today’s renters and buyers. An abstract of flowers or landscape photography from a nearby overlook are both good choices. Mirrors, especially placed opposite a window, can help bounce natural daylight around and make it feel more like a country home instead of a city dwelling.

Things to Avoid When Buying Country Modern Kitchen Art:

  • Artwork with dated barnyard scenes
  • Loud and bright colors
  • Eclectic or contemporary pieces
  • Artwork with a conflicting theme (ex: Tuscan, Coastal, Nautical, or Minimalist)
  • Black and white pieces

Tip 3: Accessorize the Space With Food and Kitchen Gear

The trick here is to get the person to visualize fresh foods and trigger happy memories so they crave this space.  You can help to give the illusion of home cooking by laying out a bamboo cutting board, create a happy and homey feeling by hanging shiny copper pots from a rack over the sink, and tucking wooden spoons into a vintage crock. As a bonus tip, lining similar items up in a row and putting things in order of color will make it look neat and intentional instead of chaotic.  A country kitchen isn’t complete without a couple mason jars and sugar, salt and flour containers with labels.

Line your cabinets and shelves with bulk storage in clear jars. For a simple and reusable accent, fill them with kitchen staples like white rice, yellow popcorn, and dried green peas which take a long time to expire.

Tip 4: Bring the Outside In

Nothing says country like the outdoors, but it’s not always possible to fling open the windows for a breath of fresh air when you live in a crowded urban area.  By playing up natural light if there are windows and bringing the outdoors in you can help the tenant to see there is a quiet escape to a calming countryside, even if they’re in the middle of an urban jungle.  Here’s a few ways to do this based on the property’s specific situation.

If your kitchen faces the brick wall of the building next door, use wooden shades or simple curtains to cover them. If there’s no window in the kitchen, use a mirror with mullions to fake one. If your property is lucky enough to have a fantastic view or large glass patio doors, consider hanging a bird feeder outside to attract wildlife and add to the country vibe.

Bonus tip: Place the birdfeeder over grass or a garden area instead of a walking path if it is a home property so you don’t end up sweeping up bird seed before each showing and have the pathway covered in doodie.

Adding greenery throughout the kitchen, whether it’s a simple sweet potato vine climbing up the windowsill, or fresh herbs arranged in water are other options to help bring the outside in. All kitchens, no matter the size, can benefit from adding some organic plant life even if it’s just a couple of air plants attached to magnets on the fridge or by hanging a few succulents in circular glass bowls so they’re suspended in the air.

Tip 5: Country Charm and Hospitality

The final touches to make your kitchen warm and inviting is to keep hospitality in mind. Set things out that would make the potential buyer feel welcome. A bright kettle on the stove is a great way to start.  If you have time to bake or just run to a store, placing baked goods and a bottle of milk with glasses for them to help themselves on a pedestal or tray is a great idea.  If you want a classic feel because it is a family home, try adding a pitcher of lemonade with some pint-jar glasses on the table as a milk alternative. Making everything as inviting as possible may help the person touring to realize this is the right home for them.

A cozy kitchen and staging with comfort in mind can make selling your property quicker and easier. You can use the tips above and share your own in the comments below. Know someone who wants to get their home ready to sell but needs ideas for staging? Feel free to share this post with them on Facebook and Twitter.