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Interior Design: How You Can Make Your Living Space Rustic

What does rustic mean?

Rustic is an all encompassing term for many design styles. It describes a design that is natural, rough, aged, and casual, so there are many styles—each drastically different from the other—that can be said to be rustic. Rustic decor has an easy and elegant style that makes it simple to create in your home.

What does rustic style look like?

The most iconic features of rustic decorating are the use of natural materials and colours. With rustic interior design furniture and architectural details are often unfinished and look as though they were brought in from outside with little alteration. The colours embodied by rustic style are deep and natural, with a relaxed and welcoming vibe.

Rustic Style

One of the defining characteristics of rustic interior design is the use of natural materials. That means lots of wood and stone (in furniture as well as on ceilings and walls), and fabrics like burlap and canvas. At its core, rustic interior design is the use of organic elements in their most natural state and has a simple, natural, and earthy feel about it. Raw materials are also common, so rather than seeing something like a sleek, glossy wooden coffee table, you'll be more likely to find pieces made from unfinished woods and stones.

What is rustic wood?

Rustic is a term that can be applied to any wood. It can refer to the condition of the wood, or the way that the wood has been prepared. Wood can become rustic naturally, or conditioned to appear rustic. Using repurposed items like reclaimed wood is a sustainable and authentic way to give your home the perfect rustic look.

How do you make wood look rustic?

There are many ways to spruce up wood to make it fit in with a rustic interior design theme. A common technique that allows you to apply a rustic design to any wooden items is to simply stain the wood, brush on some white crackle coat and sand and seal it to finish.

Rustic Wood

A slightly different kind of rustic wood can be made with sanders, chains or small hammers. This is accomplished by whipping the wood with a chain or hammer to cause random small dents and imperfections. Any damage or stress you can cause the wood to make it appear aged is going to add more ambience and character to it.

What are rustic colours?

Rustic colours are those within the more subdued spectrum of the colour palette. They are not pastels, and not overly bright. Use white to bring light into a space and contrast it with deep, warm red colours. This is the cornerstone of many rustic colour palettes, but anything with a natural look will fit as well.

What's the difference between rustic and vintage?

There are many similarities between rustic and vintage but they are still very different styles. The short answer is vintage = time, and rustic = place. A vintage interior design theme is one that uses items and decor that depicts a certain period in time, or the items themselves are aged. For instance, an old suitcase or an antique typewriter on display in the living room is an example of vintage home decor. Rustic tends to describe an outdoorsy or farm look. You’ll see outdoor elements like earth tones, unfinished wood, moss, leaves and other natural textures used in the decor. Burlap, twine, cowboy boots, plaid, linen, mason jars, handmade wooden signs, chalkboards are also items that can be part of a rustic interior design theme.

What is the difference between rustic and farmhouse decor?

Farmhouse style encourages a traditional look with a fresher feel when compared to  rustic decor. While the emphasis is still on the natural elements of the furniture pieces, it is common for colour to be used as opposed to leaving the wood in its natural state. The two styles are very similar, and they are often confused. They do have very similar design elements, and they both do a great job of bringing attention to the natural elements used to create the pieces. For example, you’ll see exposed beams in both styles, and often great care has been taken to ensure that the stain used accents the natural wood.


What is rustic farmhouse style?

There is still the emphasis on the natural look but the designs are a bit more complex in the farmhouse style. The chairs, for example, often have a spindle back and table designs are usually smooth. In addition to that, farmhouse styles are usually much lighter looking than rustic styles as well.

What is modern rustic style?

Modern Rustic

Modern rustic style is about embracing rustic charm and warmth with modern amenities. The key to a modern rustic space is an open floor plan, modern furniture, and preserved and exposed natural architectural elements. One of the main features of a modern rustic home is raw wood and stone. If you can, preserve the character and original architectural detail — you definitely want to show off that old stone wall! If you are building new and looking for ideas, think exposed wood beams in the kitchen, reclaimed wood for the dining room table, or using a stone fireplace for that perfect rustic living room look. Try to keep your furniture upholstery neutral and include linen throw pillows, jute, sisal, and hides for natural appeal.

Do sheepskin area rugs, throws and cushions fit into the modern rustic aesthetic?

Modern rustic gains much of its character by mixing the rough with the smooth, and contrasting textures. By all means spread a sheepskin over a smooth concrete floor or add a polished aluminum lamp to a knotty wooden desk. Restraint is vital; too much wood, too many sheepskins, and your home will feel cluttered and dull. As with other interior styles, plenty of tidy, open space is crucial to keeping the modern elements sitting comfortably alongside the rustic ones.

Rustic Cushions

Animal hides are the ultimate natural material and introduce loads of warmth, comfort and pleasing texture. Cowhides are exceptionally durable and sheepskin is super soft and luxurious. Use them as rugs, of course, but also as throws, cushion covers or bedspreads. As a byproduct of the meat industry, hides are abundant, and eco friendly.

How do I make my room look rustic?

The modern rustic scheme takes inspiration from textures which already exist within your home. Anything from a smooth wooden floor to an exposed brick wall forms a rich, organic backdrop. The trick is not to obscure a good thing. Let a stone wall sing out and leave a steel support in place as the proud centerpiece of a space. Feel free to choose furniture from across the decades. Family heirlooms, upcycled pieces, classic mid-century design and even the odd contemporary find can all be used to great effect.

Is rustic furniture in style?

Rustic Furniture

One thing about rustic furniture is that it tends to pair well with almost every colour and style. In addition, rustic furniture will always look appealing because an aged, worn look is part of the draw, so the furniture will never go out of style or look like it needs to be replaced. When done well, a home or room design with a rustic interior is timeless.

Where can I buy rustic decor?

Items like feathers or seashells that come straight from the natural world are prime candidates for rustic display. All kinds of unlikely bits and bobs become mini works of art once cleaned up and positioned thoughtfully. Remember the impact of house plants and fresh flowers; a small potted fern or just a few sprigs from the garden can create a pocket of natural beauty to calm the senses and put you at ease. You can explore the world of architectural salvage - wooden parquet, stone flags, old cast-iron radiators and antique paneling can all be integrated for texture and warmth. Weathered metal handles make a nice contrast when added onto a new storage unit, while enameled door numbers make a handsome display. If adding a cow hide or a sheepskin rug or throw to top off the rustic vibe, go for a high quality piece that will last many years and complement your rustic home decor for years to come.


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