how to transition from farmhouse decor to traditional touches // grandmilennial decor how to get grandmilennial decor design look

How I Transitioned Our Home from Farmhouse Style to Traditional

Our home has seen a lot of home decor styles over the past 11 years. When I first bought this home just months after beginning to take date Benjamin, I wanted to decorate with an East Coast vibe with farmhouse and some industrial. Industrial!!! Why?? I rarely had any of that around but I thought the flagstone floors and concrete countertop forced me to go in that direction. Anyway, I dropped the industrial because my pad is not a swanky brick loft in the city, and I went toward the farmhouse look – as we all did thanks to Joanna Gaines showing us how easy and appealing it was!

As the years have gone by I’ve begun to refine my style and what feels like home to me. That meant slowly replacing items as we could afford, and that process realistically took 2 years. 

Now my style is grandmillenial meets traditional or what I summarize is elevated estate sale finds (as a designer described his own style on YouTube). This is what feels comfortable in my soul and feels like home. Sure I might redecorate but I can’t see myself veering in another direction of style anytime.

If you are trying to transition out of the farmhouse home decor to a more traditional look or any other home decor style, here are the steps I took to start. And of course if you love farmhouse, then keep it, as always I believe in doing whatever feels like home to you is the best. This post is more about transitioning from one style to another but for this example it will be farmhouse because that’s my personal experience.

Recognize the pieces that make your home look farmhouse

The burlap lamp shade on my polished nickel trophy lamp didn’t go, as well as the wood side table. You don’t have to replace everything because if it’s all from the same style it looks boring, but replace the items you won’t miss, first. 

The ceiling fan was something I disliked heavily because it looked craftsman for my home. I replaced it with a gorgeous fan that is contemporary but blends in well with my traditional decor.

After most pieces were replaced and felt done, I kept the mango wood cabinet in the back. 

You can see how the pair of blue and white lamps on the new console table (which is a Chinese alter table) changed the room. It made it more elegant and formal which is what I wanted. It is also open so my tiger footstools can now be seen!

Before - Our front room living room in the middle of transitioning from farmhouse to traditional. It felt stuck but it took years to find the right pieces.
After - swapping the lamps and the console table!
Before - pretty modern farmhouse look
Greenfield green sherwin Williams green paint Diana Elizabeth powder room guest bath - cole and sons Hampton roses wallpaper
Today - added wallpaper and painted the vanity green and swapped the knobs for a traditional look

Don’t overlook light fixtures and ceiling lights

This lighting system was from Pottery Barn 10 years ago but it was too industrial for my style today. I had replaced a basic white track lighting system as soon as I moved in and though it was an upgrade it blocked what I wanted to show on my mantel.

My friend came over and had some truth serum in her (yes a little alcohol does the trick! And I loved it!) she kindly said that needed to change quite a few things in my home including these ceiling lights! I jumped on it!

Don’t be afraid to bring an honest friend over that you trust to give you feedback! It will help you freshen up the space with new eyes.

Before - we replaced the ceiling mount fixture because it was too industrial

Here’s the after! 

I called our electrician and now I feel like you can really focus on the mantel! I would probably prefer sconces on the wall but with the lights already in the ceiling this seemed like it was fine and it is directional.

I bought the LED dimmable lights here on Amazon. We have them in Benjamin’s office too. They are bright!

After - changing the lights it feels like the fireplace can shine as traditional!

Add finials or embellishments 

This open-air garage and railing was done by Jerrod of Hill Farm Design who is an incredible carpenter and can do it all. You can read about it in this blog post.

We love it, and after a few years I was looking at it wondering how I could make it a bit more traditional so I looked for post finials online. The problem with a white and black home is it can look farmhouse if lacking certain touches. Yes it can look timeless, but it depends on the structure of the home.

I would paint my home a warmer cream white instead of Alabaster if I were to do it again. Thankfully my house isn’t pure white where it reads green/blue when the sun sets, but I would want it a little creamer. I’m glad I have the red brick to balance out the home.

Before - Right after our garage was done. It was great but I decided a few years later to add finials to make it look more traditional.
open air garage ideas flat roof garage before after - how to transition from farmhouse decor to traditional touches
After - adding post cap finials
open air garage ideas flat roof garage before after - how to transition from farmhouse decor to traditional touches
open air garage ideas flat roof garage before after - how to transition from farmhouse decor to traditional touches

Another example, if you saw our backyard reveal it was a drastic change! Jerrod also built this fence for us in two days with his brother Luke. The backyard design was by Kami of Collective Design + Build.

I thought adding finials to these areas as well would make it a bit sweeter. These are the finials I ordered in pine.

orchard area in backyard grandmillennial traditional backyard
Before - Our fence around the orchard. I love the look but wanted to add finials!

Doesn’t it look lovely? It is amazing how those small details can change the feel from modern farmhouse to traditional, and I’m thankful for Reese who is also team Hill Farm who came to install them and paint.

It was a small investment, and worth it!

orchard fence ideas how to transition from farmhouse decor to traditional touches
After - adding finials to certain areas on the orchard fence
orchard fence ideas how to transition from farmhouse decor to traditional touches

First step – stand in every room and take inventory.

  1. I gave a few examples but the first most important thing is to take time to look at every item in each room you are redecorating to look at what needs to be replaced.
  2. Jot it down in your notes on your iPhone so you can remember when you are out shopping or at a thrift store.
  3. Replace when you come across the right item and also make sure you only now purchase things that are in your new style that feels right.

Remember you don’t have to replace everything that is farmhouse or the style you are moving away from. I still have a lot of items in my home that are a bit cottage and farmhouse and I love them! This gives my home a more eclectic feel instead of being all from the same time period, just like I prefer.

Before - I replaced my beige couch with a more glam couch and sold the wood coffee table to a friend and the side chairs too!
how to transition from farmhouse decor to traditional touches // grandmilennial decor how to get grandmilennial decor design look
After - I changed out the rug, new chairs and found more estate sale pieces. This was taken on a late afternoon day and on iPhone so lighting is different.
Here are a few more ideas on how to transition farmhouse feel to traditional (or whatever other style you wish) –
  • Shiplap? Paint it a dark color instead of white.
  • Polish silver instead of letting it tarnish.
  • Add crystal and polished nickel (or silver) to your collection.
  • Swap burlap shades for pleated shades or colorful lamp shades.
  • Freshen pillows with chintz print or designer prints.
  • Swap rubbed oil bronze items or black hardware for polished nickel or unlacquered brass (but go easy on the brass)
  • Look carefully at your artwork and remove anything that doesn’t fit your new look.
  • Easy on the chippy things – just a few is fine but too much can look like a junk yard (I had this problem in our backyard)
  • If you have a black and white home with modern elements (like our fence, etc.) consider painting it a color or add finials or touches to make it softer with traditional elements.
  • Remove trendy molding and add classic molding and details.
  • Just remove it if you’e not sure – the rusty things, too many ornamental garden displays and sticks, just remove them and then put back what you truly love.
  • When in doubt, remove it and put it in the garage or another room just to see if you truly miss it.
Sometimes our eyes are used to the things we like and are comfortable. Having a good eye to look at why you aren’t feeling it with a piece of furniture or something looks off, it might be too modern, farmhouse, or the wrong style. 

Again, I recommend inviting a friend who has a good eye over and tell her what can be changed to get a different feeling. She doesn’t need to have the same style as you, but have confidence in her knowing the different styles and her own style is a good person to get an opinion!

Consider Furniture style and small touches

Adding welcoming touches around your home can help too! I love these brass pineapple welcome signs that are vintage. I got them from Etsy and eBay and they seem to be a match!

We have patio furniture coming soon but here’s our outdoor dining room set from an estate sale. I think it makes it look more traditional with the round backs and is also quite feminine too. 

Don’t overlook the plants and trees too, they can make a home look boho desert to English garden. I hope mine reads English garden!

This is our backyard now, waiting for new beautiful patio furniture to come end of this month. The lights are from RH and are called modern farmhouse and I think we will keep them for now! I like that the light points down not lighting up the entire atmosphere. I just wanted it to light up the path with more directional lighting.

I can’t wait to show you the new set up soon! Thanks for reading!


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Diana Elizabeth Steffen setting the table for her annual garden party


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Diana Elizabeth is an author, photographer, and obsessive thrift shopper. You can typically find her in the garden wrist deep in dirt, at a local estate sale or planning her next creative themed party. She continues to blog weekly.


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