Rustic interior design is simplistic, rugged and naturally beautiful. Some people think of it as clunky and old-fashioned, but it really is about organic elegance. A rustic interior is unpretentious, warm and inviting – a place where your family and friends will feel cozy and welcomed.
Our ancestors would probably look puzzled as to why the rustic style is fashionable today. It simply proves that everything comes full circle – that trends come and go, and someday would get in the loop again.
Rustic style was originated out of necessity in the country areas of America during the 19th century. Their log cabins and lodges had open, airy spaces with wooden beams and large columns. They used raw and natural materials that bring texture like wood, stone and canvas. The furnishings were handcrafted and made from solid wood. They used deliberately rough utensils and décor, and created their own metalwork for use in their homes. They celebrated the art of repurposing items and they proudly showcased their ingenuity.
Nature is the biggest inspiration for the rustic design style. It focuses on the elements that are raw and unrefined. If you can apply this design style to its full potential, you can have an eco-friendly home. Some of the interior styles that makes use of rustic elements include farmhouse, western, southwestern, country and of course, the lodge and log cabin styles.
To get the rustic look, or even to just add a few doses of its elements to combine in your existing home décor, here are some tips and tricks you should follow:
- Use pieces of raw wood and stone.
For a lot of people, raw wooden beams and planks are the first things that come to mind when they hear the word “rustic.” While it’s true, rustic interior is not just about wood – unless it’s a log cabin. Natural brickwork and stone are also very welcome in a rustic home. These are often used to decorate walls as an accent, or make up a fireplace. The raw texture of these elements are not covered up and polished, but they are proudly displayed as it is.
Woods typically used in a rustic interior include sturdy species like oak, hickory and beech. Imitation lumber and machine-polished, shiny wood do not suit the rustic style, instead, go for pieces that have appealing roughness to it. Reclaimed wood or rough-hewn wood are used as beams for the ceiling and walls, and some are used to delineate doorways and surround windows. Beams are left exposed. Columns in open spaces are made of rugged and textural wood.
While these natural elements are left bare, it’s best to paint the less-natural surfaces like concrete walls with neutral colors. And if you don’t have a wall that features wood, brick or stone, you may use install honed beams against your smooth walls to create contrast and add a rustic touch.
- Pick a natural color scheme.
In terms of color choices, use those you see in natural materials – and by natural, it covers those that are pulled from bark, stone and soil. Consider using hues that are earthy, like forest green, brown, gray, cream, caramel, tan, slate and caramel. Carnation, magenta and lime green may be found in nature, but they’re not a good choice for a rustic interior. Pastels and jewel tones doesn’t say “rustic” as well.
But going rustic doesn’t mean that you have to stick with brown, a bunch of other shades of brown, and dark leafy greens. You can use tones that feel traditional and familiar like amber, faded turquoise, denim blue and oxblood red. Patterns like patchwork, plaid and calico are also used in upholstery and textiles. And if you are not fond of a dark and rich color palette, you can still achieve a rustic look using light oaks and white paint. Just incorporate some woody and stony elements in décor and architectural details so the room can still look organic.
- Choose wooden furniture.
Since wood is an important element in a rustic décor, the majority of furniture should obviously be made of wood. And of course, it doesn’t involve a lot of smooth and streamlined Pottery Barn or Ikea wood – make use of the bare and handcrafted creations. Use furniture pieces that show off natural grains and knots of wood. These items are often large, heavy and not dainty, but that’s the beauty of it. You can often find rough and uneven coffee tables and halved-log benches in a rustic home. You may even use stools and chairs that are made of branches still wearing their bark. If you want to preserve your furniture better, you can stain it. You can have new and painted furniture, but you can give it a rustic look and feel by using crackle paint or distressed treatments.
- Bring in weathered metals.
Rustic style welcomes items that look weathered and worn. Aside from woods and stones, it needs metallic items with a touch of patina and a hint of wear and tear (or at least surfaces that seem to fake it well) to be considered rustic. Incorporate metals that are hammered, tarnished, distressed or has a touch of rust. Heavy and warm metals like copper, bronze, iron, brass and pewter can be used in the form of side tables, stools, bedsteads, lighting, bathroom fixtures, baker’s racks and decorative jars. Shiny and cool metals like stainless steel and chrome might look too contemporary for a rustic interior.
- Decorate with repurposed items.
The rustic style takes pride in necessity and making use of what you have. Remember, this style was created due to necessity. Reclaimed items are repurposed – reclaimed wooden doors can be transformed into dining tables and headboards, old pails can be used as DIY sink, old sprinklers can be made as a flower vase, wire baskets can be created into eclectic light fixtures, and wooden crates can be recycled as shelves, side tables, or stair treads.
- Keep textiles simple and natural.
The natural feel of rustic-styled homes is also carried over to the choice of fabrics and textiles like rugs, draperies and linens. Delicate weaves like silk and lace, and elegant fabrics like velvet and satin have no place inside a rustic interior. Choose natural fibers like linen, cotton, wool, sheepskin and burlap. Woven, plant-based fibers like jute and sisal works for rustic homes as well. Handmade quilts, even patchwork styles, can be used as rugs and throws over a bed or hung on the wall. Tablecloths with gingham checks also suit rustic dining areas.
- Don’t forget the fire element.
A fireplace is one of the most important elements that complete the rustic ambiance. If you are renovating or remodeling your house to follow the rustic style, you’d want to add a fireplace, specifically, a wood-burning one. Make the hearth rustically welcoming by having it made out of stone or brick, and create a mantel out of textured wood. The fireplace serves as gathering area for family and guests, especially during cold winter months. During warmer seasons, place a candelabra in the fireplace area to decorate. A few candles positioned throughout areas in the home also brings an easy, rustic feel to the house.
- Be simplistic with flooring.
The floors on a rustic interior are finished in only two methods: timber or stone. You can add an area rug made of soft, woven fibers. However, you can make it look more rustic by exposing the natural details of the wood or stone flooring – have them refinished if it needs a boost, but don’t paint it.
- Make a connection with the outdoor world.
Because of the rustic style’s inclination to the organic and the natural, rooms often feel like an indoor version of the outdoor world. Besides the exposed beams of wood or stone work, natural elements like twigs and branches. Display twigs in an antique vase, or make your own canopy in the bedroom by using a branch as a drapery rod. Plants must be of constant presence in a rustic room – keep them loose and lush, keeping the focus of the eyes on the greenery itself and not on the vase or pot.
- Keep it open, light and airy.
Having big windows is also one of the defining features of a rustic home. Let the indoors connect to the outdoors by giving a great view of the outside. Big windows also allow more light to come in, since the rustic interior can be dark due to heavy wooden elements. The interiors are often open area spaces wherein rooms flow from one to another. A dining room can blend into the living room, and no dividers are needed.
- Provide warm lighting.
Authentic candle chandeliers, brass lamps, metal track lighting and simple pendant lights are ideal lighting options for rustic styled houses. Perhaps, any lighting fixture that suits an industrial home would also suit a rustic home. Vintage fixtures would also go well. Make sure the lights are soft and warm, not bright and overpowering like what fluorescent bulbs emit.