Rustic is a word often thrown around a lot of design styles, so it can be hard to pin down what rustic actually refers to. You might see the term used for a home with a beach cottage vibe as well as a rambling shabby chic farmhouse! If you’re interested in creating a rustic space in your home, it’s entirely possible and you don’t have to live in a log cabin either.
What is rustic design?
Before you dive into buying pieces or repainting the walls, you need to know the basic characteristics of rustic design. Most people think of exposed wooden beams or dark, foreboding fireplaces in the lounge. While these are certainly rustic elements, you don’t have to use them if it doesn’t fit your home. Whether you are remodeling your entire home or just want a rustic style family room, here are a few main things to consider:
A rustic space emphasizes nature
This may seem obvious but rustic design emphasizes nature and borrows elements from outside. Specifically, any rustic area tends to evoke the feel of a woodsy forest or mountainside log cabin. It should be warm, inviting, and homey. Stepping into the room should make you feel relaxed and comfortable. That is the essence of a rustic space.
As you can see, rustic doesn’t necessarily mean putting wood and stone on all the walls. You can highlight specific architectural details like a cozy nook or a fireplace with rustic elements. If you don’t have a wall of stone or exposed wooden beams, you can still recreate the aesthetic with wooden furniture and inviting rugs on the floor.
Pick a warm and earthy color palette
You won’t find any bright splashes of color or a rainbow of tones in a rustic room. Pick a limited or monochrome color scheme for your rustic areas. The emphasis is more on muted, warm, and earthy tones. Neutrals like warm greys, browns, and reds are welcome here. You can add other earthy shades like olive green or terracotta as well.
Use the color of the furniture as a starting point for your color palette. Add other pieces in various tones and pick complementary colors for the fabrics. Avoid pastel tones and bright colors.
Avoid anything with a sheen or polish
Rustic design is cozy and warm, which means nothing with a sheen or polish. This means no modern materials like plastics or glossy metal. Elements made from iron or oil-rubbed bronze are the exception since they present a matte finish.
The same principle applies to fabrics as well. You will not find any silk, velvet, or other high gloss materials in any rustic space. Consider materials like burlap, canvas, jute, and cotton instead.
Rustic elements are unfinished, gritty, and handmade
Since rustic design draws inspiration from nature, you won’t find polished furniture pieces. Think wooden furniture with obvious grain or untreated/partially treated materials. You will find a variety of textures around the room.
If you’re lucky enough to find vintage pieces or items made from reclaimed wood, these will fit in any rustic space easily. You can often find sellers online who will undertake commissions for wooden furniture or decor items. It will take time but you’re likely to end up with a unique space by using handmade pieces.
Furniture leans towards heavy pieces with simple lines
Rustic furniture tends to be heavy, you won’t find any minimalism here! However, the pieces themselves are still simple and feature clean lines. This allows the natural materials to shine through, especially wood and stone. You won’t find matching sets or perfectly coordinating pieces in any rustic home.
Ideas for rustic design
You can apply rustic design to any room in the house including the bedroom and bathrooms. If you don’t want to go all out, then use furniture and fabrics to create a rustic-inspired aesthetic.
If you have a fireplace in the living room or master bedroom, it’s a great place to start. Frame the mantle with dark woods or stone tile. Use similar colors when selecting the bigger furniture like the couch and coffee tables. If you don’t have the luxury of exposed beams or stone walls, try using wallpaper or decals with a wood grain pattern.
For a master bedroom, consider using an oversize wooden headboard and frame. Use colors like warm terracotta or deep green for the sheets and window treatments. Use the color palette to make the room look rustic.
The kitchen is probably the easiest place to create a rustic feel. Use a dark wooden finish for the cabinets and avoid white countertops. Get cabinet handles and faucets in a matte finish like oil-rubbed bronze. A farmhouse-style sink with an apron front is the perfect finishing touch!