Cozy interiors evoke a feeling of the fall, dark evenings, and cool weather. But having modern rustic home décor doesn’t need to be limited to the autumn months. You can create a rustic home design no matter the season that fits with your style and home’s aesthetic. So whether you’ve recently purchased an A-frame house and want to create the perfect cabin interior or want to add a rustic feel to your loft apartment, we’ve got you covered.
The experts have weighed in and are here to give you their best interior design tips for the perfect modern rustic home design. From furnishings and color schemes to art and fabric choices, your rustic interior is just a few steps away.
Don’t make everything match – contrast is key
Earthy tones and wood furniture are hallmarks of a rustic home design, but you want to make sure that not everything matches. It’s important to have contrast in your space, whether that’s with metal, chunky knit fabrics, or a pop of color to break up the neutrals.
“At The Striped Barn, we love rustic style,” says owner and designer Carrie Bachmayer, “there’s nothing like a worn, distressed, mismatched style that is also current, trendy, and carefully curated. But to pull off the perfect look takes a combination of styles. Here’s our secret – don’t ever let your pieces fight with each other. When you place them, surround them with opposite textures, patterns, and neutral colors, allowing them to be the star. And remember, less is more, you don’t have to fill your space with every rustic piece you can find, showcase your favorite, carefully curated pieces.”
Local Furniture Outlet’s, Aaron Masterson says, “It’s best to use natural woods with raw or unfinished steel to give a modern but asymmetrical look to balance the room. Modern rustic room pieces shouldn’t match, but instead, complement each other with different colors and textures. Building around a unique piece of furniture found during a vacation or road trip will create a story and will make it truly your own.”
“Whenever you walk into a room or a space, and you’re overtaken by a sense of heritage and history that has been communicated through a carefully curated collection of antiquated furniture, fixtures, and fabrication, you’re in the midst of a rustic design style,” says KOVI Home Decor. “Rustic can be achieved through the affectionate usage of worn and distressed leathers, rusted metal, weathered woods, and peeling or chipped paint. The styles that commonly leverage these ‘rustic’ design elements are American Vintage, English and French Country, and Italian, Tuscany-inspired interiors.”
It’s important to use contrasting textures and finishes in a rustic home design. Tina Bupp of Bupp Woodworks & Designs, comments, “When decorating with a modern rustic theme, we like to incorporate a lot of different elements and textures. We use décor inspired by nature, including different types and species of woods, flowers, leaves, metal, and rocks. Species of wood with more character, such as spalted maple or walnut, can add lots of warmth to the room. Adding a distressed finish to a modern piece of furniture will achieve that rustic look. A statement piece including a river table or wall art featuring preserved flowers can bring nature inside and is definitely a conversation starter. Using live edge wood with unfinished or black steel gives it a modern twist.”
Incorporate earthy colors
Warm and earthy colors are a great way to design a rustic home interior that lasts all year. Think sage greens, cloudy blue-grays, chocolate browns, and rusty reds. For example, Aesthetic Living comments, “Modern rustic designs focus more on warm and earthy colors like grey, beige, brown, and green. The colors are muted and add a touch of greenery and natural elements to your place. While the greens can be added by introducing live indoor plants and the grey through an accent wall, we suggest you add the browns to your modern home with its rustic wooden beauties.”
And for Down Shiloh Road’s Dempsey Hankins, there’s one word that sums up a rustic home – cozy. “Creating a warm and welcoming rustic style home is really all about one thing: cozy. You can easily give any space a rustic, cozy vibe by simply using warm earth tones. Using warm earth tones and natural materials such as wood or jute really do a lot to cozy up a space and make any guest feel at home.”
Located in Bozeman, MT, and Jackson Hole, WY, JLF Architects comments, “Honest materials and a connection to place are hallmarks of our architecture – and of rustic style in general.” Their principal Logan Leachman continues, “We’re known as pioneers in the use of antique, reclaimed timber and locally sourced stone. Incorporating these rustic, time-worn materials with their natural blemishes worn by axes, adzes, boot heels, horse hooves, and the elements—what we call ‘perfect imperfections’—brings a sense of character, permanence, and inherent history to our designs. When we’re done, the idea is that the house has always been there.”
And art gives you the opportunity to branch out from the earthy colors you’re using. Brenda Olson Art says, “When building a rustic-inspired home, many people choose natural finishes, including wood floors, wood paneling, and stone. With the artwork and décor, you have an opportunity to add personality and color that complements those natural materials. Wall art that is inspired by looking out your favorite window at the cabin, can give you the feeling of being on vacation all year long. When you add accessories, like pillows, you can choose nature-inspired motifs with a bright and modern twist to brighten up your space.”
Rustic home décor brings the outdoors inside
Embracing nature and weaving it into your home’s design is an easy way to create a rustic look. There are many ways to go about this using art and furniture.
Swati Goorha Designs, speaks to this, saying, “Wabi Sabi is the Japanese art of embracing transience and imperfection. This principle is becoming prevalent in interior design, focusing on accepting natural imperfections of material and emphasis on nature-inspired materials and finishes. There are multiple ways one can incorporate environmentally friendly finishes. For example, by using Limewash paint for the walls, natural fabrics like linen and cotton for window treatments, and upholstery. Using uncoated metals that patina over time adds character to a space. Lastly, natural wood finishes to cabinets and case goods are a great way to bring a rustic vibe to your space.”
You can also opt for wood furnishings, as recommended by Wall Beds. Co-owner and certified interior designer Laurie Rollins advises, “One way to achieve a modern rustic look in a bedroom is with the warmth of a sleek real wood bed. Real wood beds are no longer clunky, heavy, dominating pieces, rather, they’re now a functional, beautiful statement.”
Buckingham Avenue’s Rebecca Miller comments on designing your perfect modern rustic home, saying, “it’s all about bringing nature indoors and adding cozy textures. Decorate with natural elements that are evergreen or seasonal such as stone finishes or touches of greenery. At Buckingham Avenue, we love combining cozy furs with the natural texture of log cabin walls.”
Another way you can easily bring the outdoors into modern rustic home décor is through art. Kevin Murphy and Margaret Dowling-Murphy of Murphy Wood Art comment, “By incorporating rustic art into your design, it allows you to bring the “outside” into your indoor living spaces, but it’s not just for cabins and farmhouses. Mix rustic textiles like wood with other elements such as glass, wood burns, vibrant colors, landscapes, and eclectic shapes to add a chic yet contemporary flare. Natural elements can also add texture, the finishing touch that can add a cozy feel to your space.”
Art can bring a natural look to your home
There are countless ways that art can evoke a rustic and outdoorsy feeling in your home. For example, Mark Leary of Portland, OR’s Mark Leary Designs comments, “Like the wind blowing through leaves or clouds moving in the sky, mobiles offer a unique way to think about decorating. Unlike framed art that sits static on your walls, mobiles give you an awesome opportunity to add movement and energy to your nature-inspired design. When you choose a mobile with your favorite colors from nature, you truly can bring the outside in.”
Paula Keeney of Dragonfly Wood Art & Crafts talks about the balance art can create in your home, saying, “When decorating with rustic art, I like to use sets of three for balance. Don’t be afraid to mix it up with something modern or retro. It will expand your decorating possibilities.” Similarly, Pradeepa from Limewood Art suggests, “Decorate your walls with nature-themed original art. Art on wooden panels would especially complement the wood theme in rustic homes.”
Photographer and designer, Justin Driscoll highlights incorporating different types of artwork throughout your rustic home. Driscoll says, “I have three types of styles depending on the room. Some of the artwork is printed on canvas or other unframed, unconventional materials. I typically stray from canvas, but it honestly works well with big spaces. Much of the content is my photography of abandoned and rustic scenes of Western North Carolina. A majority of the other artwork is all black and white. Some of its digital fine art, and others are actual vintage film. When I can find vintage frames, inexpensively in thrift stores, I grab them and make prints that fit accordingly. Lastly, I am a sucker for vintage Americana signage – 1950-1970s beer, auto, tobacco, and Harley signs, to name a few.”
Modern rustic design can last all year long
Rustic design may evoke an autumnal vibe in your home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace the décor throughout the year. If done right, your modern rustic home décor will stand the test of time – and any future home décor trends.
Jen and Laura, owners of The Vintage Fix say, “Rustic design is all about filling your space with rich, authentic décor that speaks to your soul. The beauty of rustic design is its freedom to evolve alongside you, little by little, over a lifetime.”
Laurie Mohan Rustic Home Decor suggests, “Find a rustic look you love and purchase a few pieces you love, and know you will definitely use. If you purchase a seasonal item, think of a way to use it all year round, like taking a willow planter indoors in the fall and using it for a houseplant, seasonal arrangements, or mitten storage by the front or back door. Take it slow, and ask your favorite artisan for referrals on rustic art in the area that suits your style – they’re often connected with other artists.”
And Marlaya Ross, owner and interior decorator at Studio One Nine Design, says, “Modern rustic design is so appealing because of how warm and welcoming it makes your home. Keep your space comfortable and cozy by focusing on elements that encourage sitting back and relaxing, like a large ottoman where you can put your feet up, or big comfy throw pillows and blankets you can curl up with while you watch a movie.”
Sertao Shop’s Josh Thompson states, “There’s a growing trend in bringing natural elements into our homes in ways that are modern yet emphasized with a rustic touch. Although, modern and rustic may sound like polar opposites on the design spectrum, blending the two styles can be quite complementary. Some aspects of a modern rustic look include raw, natural elements that give an outdoor-like appeal.”
Thompson continues, “Materials such as wood and stone are highly desired in achieving the right look. In addition, a contrast between light and dark colors also plays an important role and helps in achieving rustic. When adding final touches, one needs to consider the importance of lighting fixtures. Rustic-looking light shades are also desirable as wooden light shades complement the modern rustic interior.”
Era Chandok of Mogul Interior, sums the style up saying, “Warm, and cohesive, modern rustic farmhouses are filled with casual, lived-in charm. Taking elements from the ancient architectural design, and mixing them with practical and modern fittings creates a unique statement. The modern rustic design creates a collected, fresh look, yet one that gets worn with time. Using reclaimed distressed wood, like the subtle hues of the carved wood cabinets creates a gathered over time ambiance. Using an old steel sink to convert a rustic chest into a vanity for the bathroom is a great idea. Reclaimed old doors are used to make these chests, and the woods are very earthing. Some have metals like iron and brass that balance the energy in the room by grounding the negative ions into the earth.”
Modern rustic home décor can be an easy way to create a cozy and cohesive style in your house or rental apartment. With earthy tones, wood furnishings, and art that completes the space, the possibilities are endless for the perfect rustic home design.