Some home design trends never go out of style. Contemporary, traditional and industrial design will always have a place. The same is true with rustic decor.
Understanding the elements of rustic decor can help you make key changes that will transform your space into your ideal rustic retreat. But first, let’s look at what we mean when we talk about rustic design.
What Is Rustic Decor?
Rustic style is inspired by nature, and that’s reflected in the textures and colors that it uses. It emphasizes natural, rugged beauty, and feels warm and organic. Oftentimes, when people hear “rustic,” they think of dark, heavy colors and materials. However, today’s color palette has expanded to embrace lighter, fresher colors. This contemporary approach provides all the benefits of the unpretentious rustic ethos while allowing for a brighter, more modern feel.
Whether you like your rustic decor traditional or contemporary, there are many ways to implement it into your home design.
Rustic Decor Ideas for Your Home
While you can create a rustic theme for your home regardless of your setting, it always helps to have a setting that’s close to nature. Whether that is near water, surrounded by trees or nestled in the hills, a natural setting helps ease the transition from the outdoors to the rustic, natural-feeling interior.
Even if you’re not surrounded by nature, there are things that you can do to help create that transition. Consider adding some rustic touches outside the home, such as wood columns on your porch or patio, stone accent walls or a stone fire pit. Reclaimed wood items and repurposed elements all contribute to the rustic feel, and you can look for natural items that help set the stage for what’s inside. Then, once you step inside, here are five ways to create that rustic look.
- Wood Wall Panels
Rustic wood paneling for walls is an immediate way to make a statement with your decor. Raw materials are central to rustic decor, so wood paneling that doesn’t look overly manufactured is a must. One of the most popular ways to get that look is through the use of reclaimed wood, which has become extremely popular for virtually every room in the house.
Get the look of reclaimed wood without the expense by installing faux reclaimed barn board panels. Because it’s available in three colors — brown, rustic and weathered — you can choose the hue that best fits your overall design. Although it’s made from lightweight, easy-to-install polyurethane, it has the appearance and texture of real wood rescued from old barns. It even has nicks, nail holes and the grains of vintage wood to make it feel truly natural.
- Rustic Wall Decor
Once those walls are complete, what you hang on them is an important finishing touch. Designs made from non-shiny metal, photos printed on barn boards and floating shelves made of wood are all ways to carry out this theme. To lighten up the space, look for whitewashed shelves or frames; they will provide that natural look without feeling too heavy.
Adding a fireplace mantel in either faux or real wood is another great way to lend rustic appeal to a room. Mantels can be mounted above a fireplace or installed as a stand-alone decorative shelf. If you’re using wooden beams as part of your rustic design theme, adding a complementing mantel can help tie it all together.
- White Tones
Rustic wooden walls won’t necessarily work well in all rooms, and you may also want to lighten up some rooms by incorporating white tones. White can be an unexpected way to carry out the rustic design theme, but it can serve as a neutral palette to showcase colorful or darker decor. White walls offer a fresh, bright and versatile canvas, while white design elements such as throws or pillows contribute a modern feel to the rustic theme.
When using white, incorporate lots of texture — such as thick sheepskin rug, faux animal hide or a chunky knotted blanket — to keep the cozy tactile element that makes rustic design feel so inviting.
- Rustic Bathroom
No matter how large or small, bathrooms offer many opportunities for exploring the rustic design element. Weathered bathroom cabinets paired with wood plank flooring create a back-to-nature feel that can be complemented by a natural stone wall. Frame a shower or bathtub with wood or stone to create a true getaway, then finish it out by adding a rustic barn door.
- Wooden Beams
Rough-hewn wooden beams are one of the hallmark characteristics of rustic design. They immediately add rustic charm to any space. Large, chunky beams can evoke the feeling of nature, and provide an anchor for the rustic theme.
There are many different ways to incorporate them into a room; they’re great as a way to frame a ceiling, and they can beautifully accent a white color palette. They can help define the space by framing doors, windows and fireplaces, and are an effective way to warm up a sterile, open space to create a comfortable, cozy environment.
Adding Finishing Touches to Your Rustic Decor
As your rustic retreat comes together, keep your eye out for smaller items that will help bring out the character of each room. Found objects, such as driftwood or interesting stones, can get a second life as decorative pieces. Think of repurposing current objects, too; a wire basket can become a light fixture; a weathered stump becomes an end table. The idea is to keep it natural, organic and comfortable.
As you create your rustic retreat, don’t be afraid to mix and match styles. Mid-century modern furniture, for example, can pair surprisingly well with rustic themes. Look at nature for inspiration and find what attracts you — then don’t be afraid to see how you can bring that natural element inside.