After a long day at work — or school, for your children — everyone wants to come back to a house that is warm and cozy, even if it is just to snuggle up in front of the television and watch some Netflix till you fall asleep. The style in which your house is decorated can make a big difference in whether it feels comfortable or stark and alien-ish. For example, many people are turning towards metal accents and modern furniture when it comes to decorating their houses, but this can lead to the house feeling a little colder than you may want it to feel.
On the other hand, elements like wood, exposed brick, terracotta and others tend to give the house or apartment a warmer look. These also make up the basis of the rustic or farmhouse style of decorating your homes. If you have been wondering if there was a way to get your hands on the ultimate guide to the rustic or farmhouse style for your home, you have found yourself in the right place. However, before delving deeper into the different aspects you need to pay attention to when trying to master the rustic style, let’s try and understand what this style entails.
What Is Rustic Interior Design?
In the past, especially before the Renaissance, the style of decor that was found on most structures laid more emphasis on the facade with ornate interiors, which was primarily associated with the Roman Empire. The rustic style of interior design, however, did not originate in that period of time. Instead, it is a form of interior design that grew in the grassroots without much of a thought to the style and design it talked about. Rustic interior design was more closely linked to what you had easy access to — for example, wood and other natural elements — instead of the refined and ornate look that had become popular in the Roman period.
The rustic style is what you would have seen if you went to a government office in the rural United States and the landscape around. You’d see a lot of rough textures, which were probably left out without much of a thought. Now, however, a lot of effort goes into giving a space that kind of unfinished look that is natural. The emphasis is on employing local craftsmen to add a degree of ingenuity to your home or space — maybe even an Airbnb — that will start a conversation without being overbearing in your personal space.
If you are looking for some characteristics that you can look out for when setting up a house — or room — in the rustic style, try to keep an eye for the use of natural materials that don’t particularly feel new, some exposed beams and attics, colors that range from browns and terracotta to grey, black and others. Look for rough textures and furniture that is almost always wooden.
Is Rustic Style the Same as Farmhouse Style?
When you are looking to understand the rustic style, a common misconception that arises is that both rustic style and farmhouse style is the same when it comes to interior design. The main point where the rustic and farmhouse styles coincide is the use of wood. When it comes to furniture, flooring, walls and more, wood is the predominant element used. Both of them look to offer you a cozy feeling with a country home vibe where you’d be chilling by the fire as you sip on that cognac — or a hot chocolate if you’d prefer that.
There are, however, some major points of difference between the rustic style and the farmhouse style of interior design, which can sometimes get lost when you club both under the same category. First, the rustic style involves a more unfinished look. If you choose a rustic style of furniture, it is more likely to retain its roughness and have a more natural finish. While both styles like the grain of the wood, it will be relatively more pronounced in the rustic style of decorating. A lot of the furniture in the rustic style is made from natural cuts of wood, maybe even distressed so that the wood can speak for itself.
The farmhouse style is a little different, as it is relatively more subtle in its use of wood. The corners are more rounded and the polish is more evident than it is in the rustic style. The pieces of furniture that come under the categorization of farmhouse style are usually better finished — in some cases, with more designs — than the pieces of furniture that will come under the rustic umbrella.
How Do I Make My Apartment/House Have the Rustic or Farmhouse Look and Feel?
If you are looking to incorporate the rustic theme in your house or apartment — yes, it is possible — there are some elements that you need to pay special attention to. As was discussed before, natural tones and the use of wood forms the basis of rustic style decorating. First and foremost, look at the current state of your room or apartment and try to figure out which existing items that you own are in line with this theme. If there is too much metal — specifically steel and other shiny finishes — you may want to consider donating or selling it off to make room for more natural materials.
Too much metal
Rustic home decor doesn’t always have to involve putting wood all around yourself. It is important that you try to diversify in terms of the materials you use around the house. While the floors are usually wooden to add a degree of warmth, you can play around with materials like leather and suede when it comes to couches and similar pieces of furniture. A lot of your furniture will be made out of wood — almost always with a natural finish — but you can also try to put in some wrought iron or rusted finishes if you are looking to add some metal for rustic home interiors.
When it comes to rustic domestic decor, the emphasis is on comfort. Many people believe that just because you need to add a degree of naturalness to your decor, it cannot be comfortable. Invest in good linen that is made out of cotton, linen and wool, or choose those opulent leather and suede elements to ensure that it gives you the feeling of home.
Finally, incorporating some stone or rock-based designs as well as elements that would primarily be found in the outdoors or in your garden is a great way to make your home feel more rustic.
What Does Every Rustic House/Home Need for Style?
While it is difficult to simply round up all the things that you need for the perfect rustic-style apartment or house, having a good sense of aesthetics can really help in putting together a ton of different elements that most people tout as rustic style decor. Keep in mind that just throwing together everything that is made of unfinished-looking wood is not going to give you the perfect rustic home — it needs to be done tastefully.
If you are looking to make a subtle change with your existing creative scheme, try to replace any overtly modern-looking elements — like that huge black and white rug with geometric shapes — with something that has more earthy tones, like an antique silk rug. This has the potential of changing the vibe of the entire room. Similarly, you can invest in some expensive pieces or visit a local thrift store and check out Craigslist for things that are in perfectly good shape but are being thrown out by people for myriad other reasons — they may be relocating!
Add some wooden elements to the living space, either in the form of tables, chairs and big furniture or just small accents like antique wooden hooks for hanging coats. If you are tired of instructions that talk about wood, you may also want to switch out the harsh blue and white lights in the living space for something with yellow tones. A lot of lamps placed around the room will help you emulate the feeling of a cozy lodge in the hills.
What Is a Good Color Palette for a Rustic Style?
While many people are under the impression that the rustic color palette is very limited and sticks only to the brown side of things, this is as far from the truth as possible. Instead, the emphasis is on rich, earthy tones that go well with your wooden furniture.
No one is going to deny that there are a lot of shades of brown in the perfect rustic household. The flooring is probably wooden. The doors may have a dark wood finish. The furniture may all be made out of natural-looking wood. However, all the monotony that can sometimes set in because of the excessive use of browns needs to be undercut by rustic accent colors. Instead of the silver that is common in modern setups, go for dull shades of gold that work well with wooden finishes. You can also try some deep burgundies and dull oranges for a touch of color.
If you are finding yourself confused about rustic paint schemes, it is always better to stick to the basics. As the furniture and the flooring — which will be discussed in more detail in the next section — are both going to be on the darker side, the walls should be kept relatively lighter. Instead of opting for a stark white, choose colors that have a tinge of cream in them for a more natural and rustic look. While you may be tempted to experiment with loud colors to add a degree of drama, that is best saved for smaller trinkets around the house and not the walls of an entire room.
What Is the Best Flooring/Finish for a Rustic Interior?
The flooring that you choose to go for while redecorating your space — house, apartment or room — can make a huge difference in how the final product will turn out. Other than the walls and the ceiling, the floor is a major element that you can concentrate on when you really want a new look. If you are looking for some rustic flooring ideas that are capable of elevating the entire look of the house, you have found yourself in the right place.
- Hardwood Floors — If you are a purist who just wants the real deal, the best option in front of you in terms of flooring is hardwood floors. While you may be tempted to look at those brand new, shiny finishes, try to source the wood for your floors from older installations that have been reclaimed or even specific types that have been finished in a distressed look or with stains and different color washes. This adds a degree of authenticity to the rustic look of your floors.
- Engineered Hardwood Floors — If you are looking for a relatively cheaper option — when compared to hardwood floors — but still want to retain the expensive look, you can try engineered hardwood for your flooring. This hardwood is built using layers of ply that are bonded together. The topmost layer here is usually made using premium wood and can be finished in whatever way you’d like your regular hardwood floors to be finished.
- Laminate Flooring — There are many times when regular flooring just doesn’t cut it with the rustic style decor but you find yourself lacking a budget where you can go in for hardwood floors. For such instances, laminate flooring seems to be the perfect solution to all your problems. With advancements in technology, the laminates available are of such high quality that you may not be able to tell the difference easily.
- Luxury Vinyl Tile Flooring — This is a relatively newer option where the luxury vinyl wood-look planks are designed to give you even the smallest details that you’d find on a piece of wood. The best part about this type of flooring is that the maintenance is minimal. Just keep your vacuum cleaner and a damp cloth handy and you’d have a beautiful looking floor for years.
- Tile Flooring — While this may not be the more conventional option to turn to when you are looking to transform your home keeping rustic interiors in mind, new forms of tile flooring for rustic style and easy maintenance are really changing the game now.
- Plywood Flooring — The final option on this list, which may not be as widely used as the others, is using plywood — which is usually used for construction — for your floors. With plywood, each sheet has its own character, which goes a long way in getting you close to that dream rustic style home that you have been working towards.
The Perfect Rustic Style for Different Rooms
After going through the basics of rustic style interior design, it is important that you get access to a guide that walks you through all the different rooms that you may be thinking of redecorating in your house. Doing up your living room in the farmhouse or rustic style will need a different set of tools — and furniture — than your bathroom would. This means that you need to be well prepared to take on each task as and when it is thrown at you!
Before moving on to these individual rooms, let’s take a look at what rustic style furniture really is.
What Is Rustic Style Furniture?
There are a lot of pieces of furniture that you may have bought when a certain style of decor was trending — let’s say, contemporary, Scandinavian and so on. These pieces, however, don’t usually pass the test of time. Once the trend is over, or a new one comes up, these pieces are either left forgotten or just stick out like a sore thumb.
With rustic style furniture, this isn’t something that you need to worry about. Whether it is pieces made out of wood or white rustic furniture that has been painted, these elements are timeless and will work well for years after you have purchased or built them. Included in this style are elements of rustic fireplace decor that add a lot of coziness to the room that you are redoing.
Keep in mind that the rustic style revolves around natural materials and finishes that aren’t overly touched. The surfaces around the house shouldn’t be smooth and identical — they should show some character. You can also add previously used or vintage pieces and make them stand out.
While lights usually aren’t considered a part of the furniture, rustic decor lighting forms a big part of the redecorating process. If you want to give your home the kind of warmth that is usually associated with this style, you may want to try and incorporate a lot of rustic floor lamps, table lamps and ceiling-mounted lighting around the house. Rustic lighting ideas don’t need a lot of work — or for you to spend a lot of money — but can end up improving the overall look of the living space.
The living room is one of the larger rooms in the house, which can add a little bit of a challenge to your makeover attempts. However, this is also the room that will accommodate quite a bit of rustic furniture and get you tons of compliments each time someone comes to visit.
Let’s first talk about the seating options in the living room. There are plenty of rustic style sofas that you can buy online, in stores, at thrift shops or build on your own. In most cases, this sofa will have a wooden base — maybe even more wooden elements — as well as a fabric that has a very country feel to it. The usual color palette stays around browns and earthy colors but you can also experiment a little. In addition to the rustic couch and cushions, you can add a fun rustic accent chair near a window with tons of lighting.
The curtains for a rustic home should not be heavy and overwhelming like drapes. Instead, opt for light colors and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen that let in some light. Similarly, rustic decor rugs can be used to add a little bit of color that isn’t too overwhelming. You will need quite a bit of space to put stuff on so investing in some rustic sofa tables or a rustic-style coffee table may be a wise decision.
A fireplace is a great addition to rustic style living rooms but you can decide whether you’d prefer a stone mantelpiece or a wooden frame. Both look good with the rustic theme.
A lot of people don’t realize the importance of sticking to the theme of the house once they are inside the kitchen but if you have an open kitchen — like most homes in the United States — you need to pay extra attention to make it functional while looking good. If you are looking to have a rustic style kitchen in your home, you can either go for a full overhaul of the existing space or just add rustic elements to achieve the desired effect.
In the first case, try to change the flooring to incorporate wooden elements. You can redo the cabinets so that they have a rougher finish that is in line with the rustic style. Exposed wooden beams along the ceiling are always a good idea. If you just want to redo your existing kitchen, try painting some cabinets white or add wooden stools next to the kitchen bay. Putting some green plants around the space can also help the theme.
In both cases, rustic kitchen lighting can make a huge difference in changing the vibe of the kitchen. You can add some lights that hang from the ceiling but keep in mind that bright natural lighting is always preferred.
Rustic dining room ideas mostly stem from one major rule — there are no rules when it comes to design. The furniture in your dining room should also be picked keeping this in mind. If you are picking up a large unfinished-looking dining table, make sure that the rustic style chairs and benches for seating have a degree of individuality. Different pieces with different textures work well in rustic dining rooms.
Rustic table decor and the crockery and cutlery that you will be using in the dining room is another place where you can add a lot of natural materials and break any monotony. Add a rug in neutral colors — on those wooden floors — for added warmth for the room that you will be dining in. This style does not do well with symmetry or minimalism. Everything is in your face and that is what is beautiful in this context.
When it comes to lighting in the dining room, try to look for a distinctive piece that will add some drama to the room. This light can be placed on top of the dining table while the rest of the room can be illuminated by the standard lights you use around the house.
A lot of people have the option of working from home but when there isn’t a separate place for you to set up a workstation, concentrating on the tasks at hand can get quite difficult. If you are looking to set up a rustic home office, there are a couple of key elements that you need to keep in mind. First, choose a sturdy working desk that will form the center of your home office. If you have a lot of books, pick shelves and book stands that match the natural theme.
The rustic home office color scheme is another thing to consider. Stick to natural tones so that they blend with the wooden furniture and accents found around the room. While rustic office decor isn’t that tough to incorporate into your home, natural — or artificial — lighting in the room should be the main point of consideration so that you don’t strain your eyes while studying or working.
The bedroom is a part of your home that isn’t really seen by a lot of other people but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need as much — if not more — love and care as you give to the other rooms that are in the public eye. Rustic decor for bedrooms cannot be limited by any set ideas of design as it has to speak for your individual style.
Instead of opting for loud colors that don’t allow you to sleep well at night, try to pick rustic bedroom paint colors that are relatively more subtle. This way, you will be able to wake up fresher and sleep more at peace.
Rustic bedroom furniture differs depending on the bedroom you are designing. If it is the master bedroom, you can make do with large rustic bed frames but smaller beds may be more appropriate for the kids. In addition to the regular closets, rustic-style dressers can be used to give you some extra storage.
The linen that you use around the bedroom is another important aspect to pay attention to. Rustic bedding ideas are not limited to bedsheets, covers and rustic home pillows. Avoid going overboard with too many different prints and colors. Instead, choose natural tones that are soothing to the eyes. Rustic bedroom lamps will elevate the mood.
A part of the house that many people often overlook when they are redoing the aesthetics of their home is the bathroom when in reality this is one of the most important parts of a house. There are many different rustic bathroom designs that you can look at for inspiration when you’re planning a remodel of your bathroom.
The main point of emphasis in a bathroom is the fittings that you are using. If you are planning to get a bathtub, you can make it the center for rustic bathroom decor. The mirrors that you use around the bathroom can have light fixtures — made of brass or wrought iron — that make the night time skincare rituals so much easier.
Avoid using fittings that are too modern or contemporary looking and choose rustic bathroom wall finishes instead — both in terms of colors and textures. Finally, rustic bathroom floor finishes can help in pulling the entire look together.
While you may be scared of going overboard with rustic decorations, the use of rustic decorative items and accessories around the house can help you add some fun touches to the room. For example, you can visit a local thrift store to look for some vintage pieces, like an over-sized soda can or a mason jar installation, that would go well in your living space or in an area that you use to entertain guests.
With rustic decor, outdoor elements can be brought into the house to add a degree of timeless elegance. Try to put as many houseplants as you can, regardless of whether it is in your bedroom, living room or bathroom. The pop of color that they offer — especially in spaces that are predominantly brown — can be very refreshing.
Finally, as was discussed before, lighting can make or break your home — in terms of aesthetics. While natural light should be your biggest weapon, try to add a lot of rustic lamps and lighting fixtures to keep the space bright and happy.
Both the rustic and farmhouse styles of interior design are not particularly hard to emulate around the house but you need to be very careful about how you incorporate the different elements of design that are mentioned in this guide. While it may be difficult to say whether or not there can be an ultimate guide to the rustic or farmhouse style for designing your home, this piece is a great place for you to get started. If you want to delve deeper into this and get your regular dose of decor inspiration, you need to sign up to our newsletter and stay updated!