Start of main content.

Essentials of Rustic Interior Design


Essentials of Rustic Interior Design
Rustic can also be defined as "homey," which seems appropriate as it has seen a resurgence in home decor with the farmhouse trend. The essentials to capturing this design style are mostly understated, focusing on the natural beauty of each piece. All of this is what gives rustic interior design a lived-in and welcoming feel.

Natural Woods

From floor to ceiling, natural, raw, and reclaimed woods take center stage in rustic design.
Texture of wood
Texture of wood   Texture of wood
Texture of wood
  Vanity in front of a paneled wall Paneled Walls
Wall paneling is back in a big way for rustic design, but not like the dark vertical boards of many an 80’s den. A popular panel style being used in rustic style is shiplap. Shiplap is a wooden board that consists of a rabbet that allows the boards to overlap, giving shadowed inset between boards. Beadboard is another panel style that can give your room a versatile look by blurring the lines of rustic and cottage design.

Modern rustic designs typically paint wood paneling white or whitewash it to stop it from looking retro. Going with a more traditional rustic cabin look can work with the natural tones of the wood, just be sure to add lots of lighting to the room so it doesn’t feel too dark.
  Rustic style vanity Furniture and Decor
For other rustic wood accents and furniture, keep woods unpainted or white, gray, or even blue washed to allow for the grain to show through. Being able to see knots adds to the charm, but keep in mind that a knot is an imperfection in the wood and can diminish the support depending on its placement in the piece. Knotted wood elements are best for decorative pieces that won’t support other objects.

When purchasing reclaimed or recycled wood products, understand the difference. Reclaimed wood keep the same properties from the original location or use of the wood, but the wood is repurposed for a new location or piece. Only minimal changes may have been made such as re-sanding or refinishing. Meanwhile, recycled wood products are made of wood parts from other sources that are then broken down by machine-processing to make an entirely new product.
  Exposed beams on a ceiling Floors and Ceilings
Add wood beams to accentuate high ceilings or to separate spaces. If the ceiling isn’t a possibility, place a freestanding tub on top of the wood beams instead. When choosing flooring, use wide-plank boards.

Matte and Living Finishes

Robe hook
Wall register
Skip the shimmer and shine. Instead, rustic pieces feature matte or living finishes.

The modern take on rustic design tends to use matte blacks. However, living finishes have typically been the go-to for this style of decor.

Living finishes are non-lacquered coatings that continue to change over time due to oxidation and exposure to oils. These finishes include copper, bronze, and rust. Thus, the most common materials used are iron, copper, and bronze.

Slide bolt

Muted, Earth Tones and Textures

Rustic design mimics nature, so the color palette tends to be of that of greens, browns, beiges, grays, and light blues. Of course, plants and flowers are critical to embracing the natural feel, and they bring a nice pop of color. Potted herb gardens in your kitchen are one fantastic way to incorporate these. But if you don't have much of a green thumb, you can use dried flowers or succulents.

Pick textiles and accessories that are also true to nature, like woven baskets, wools, and burlaps. Arrange a “bouquet” of twigs or create long-lasting wreaths with them. Use woven and braided textiles, or go a little bolder with faux furs.

Although rustic design will stick with solids and very simple patterns, when looking to add a little more color, you might add prints from these styles that pair well with this style: French provincial, English country, Americana, or Southwestern.
  Fleur-de-lis patter wallpaper French Provincial
Many of the prints of French provincial highlight florals paired with paisleys. The fleur-de-lis is a very popular pattern. Colors still tend to be subdued.
  Plaid wallpaper English Country
Bolder colors will be found in English Country styles using primary colors, usually paired with plaids. Other patterns sometimes feature traditional farm elements, including lambs, roosters, barns, birdhouses, etc.
  American flag pattern Americana
Not much surprise that reds, blues, stars, and stripes are at the focal point of Americana design. Sometimes the hues of the reds and blues are toned down from those you may find in English Country.
  Southwestern pattern Southwestern
Mixing Southwestern style in adds some additional textures like leather and terra cotta. Colors are representative of the desert region and include some bright desert-flower hues and turquoise.
Shop Rustic VanitiesShop Hardware