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Here’s what rustic decor is not.



Techy. (well, sometimes… modern rustic decor is trending)

Rustic style decor is a nature-inspired approach to design. It’s anything but boastful and loud. Do you like the authentic beauty of natural materials? How about a relaxed vibe around your home? If yes, then you’re a prime candidate for rustic style decor.

The key idea built upon rustic decor is to bring the outdoors in. And that’s easy to achieve with a few of these elements listed in our Ultimate Guide to Rustic Decor.

Let’s jump in.

The Setting

rustic style homes with grandiose views

I said that there are easy ways to achieve rustic decor.  Well, this isn’t one of them. You either have a home with a nature-filled view, or you don’t.  If you don’t, it’s ok.  I’ll get to the easier-to-create options next!  Keep reading.

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Rustic Style Modern Farmhouse

When I think about a rustic home, I imagine a cabin nestled near mountain valleys with a running brook and abundant wildlife. Other people may visualize a coastal home with beach views, a french cottage with surrounding gardens, or the classic rustic farmhouse style in rolling pasture lands of the midwest.

Any home that mimics nature with its setting and outdoor views begets rustic. Architecture styles vary but the theme of the setting breathes rustic disposition. Some of those architecture styles include Tuscan, Southwest, Coastal, Mountain, Ranch, Farm, and Hacienda.

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Rustic decor pairs beautifully with big windows and robust views of the local landscape. So, if you have the option of building a new rustic style home, seek out a location with an emphasis on the essence of nature.

Take a peek at these envious settings.

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Rustic Style Color Palette

the overarching theme

The broad color palette of rustic decor is the overarching theme for any of the following design elements.  In other words, pick a color theme and stick with it throughout all of your rustic design decisions.

There are two primary schools of thought.

Light & Airy. Earthy shades in light, washed-out colors. This often includes contrasts of wood (light & dark colors) and reflective metals in rooms with plenty of natural light.  The overall look teases with a monochromatic style. It’s relaxing and easy on the eyes.

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Dark and Subdued. Dark wood, furniture & fixtures set the tone for this type of rustic space. But it’s brightened with a healthy dose of sunlight. This is an ideal canvas for accents of robust color like terracotta, turquoise, yellow, and green. Classic and rugged.

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Check out the color palettes of these rustic style homes.

Rustic Wood Beam & Stone

ceilings & walls that tell a story

Wood ceiling beams. Wood-paneled walls and floors.  Stone walls and accents.

Rustic Decor. All. The Way.

Just browse through the beautiful pictures below to see the gallant ways that nature lives indoors.  Reclaimed wood adds warm accents as ceiling decor. (Also, it’s easy to incorporate this idea in rustic farmhouse design.)  Those same beams double as indoor and outdoor columns.

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Wood planks serve as wall embellishments and flooring. I’m a big fan of mixed textured in flooring choices – wood flooring paired next to terracotta tile.  Each is earthen and add a rugged personality to any space.

Check out some of the stone walls.  They are functional and beautiful.  This easily suggests rustic decor.  Think about the stories a home can tell when hundreds or thousands of stones have been mortared in place piece-by-piece.

Rustic Style Flooring

terracotta tile, concrete tile, & more

As I mentioned above, wood and terracotta (Saltillo tile) are a go-to choice for rustic style flooring.  Choose Saltillo tile from a variety of colors & finishes and patterns. This is a durable and low-cost rustic flooring option.

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Manganese Saltillo Tile Flooring in the Octagon Pattern with Accent Cement Tile

Saltillo tile is a type of Mexican terracotta tile.  It’s natural clay available in a few Saltillo tile colors.  Traditional Saltillo is most common for rustic homes. Yet, don’t miss out on the versatility of Manganese Saltillo and it’s warm chocolate, gray, and terracotta colors.  Lastly, the Antique Saltillo floor tile finish offers a non-slip solution with its textured surface and old-world look.

Learn more in our Ultimate Guide to Saltillo Tile Flooring.

Cantera stone offers a natural and easy to maintain choice for outdoor patios and around pools. If you’re considering Cantera stone for flooring, expand the concept to any columns, fireplaces, or other stone features.  Cantera is a hand-carved stone that serves both beauty and function.  Check out some beautiful Cantera stone fireplaces a little further down in this article.

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Cement Tile Backsplash with Wood Flooring

Talavera tiles are attractive options for accents and decorative wall spaces.  Talavera tile potentially veers toward hacienda-style, so be particular with any colors or styles of patterns. But within the right context, Talavera, hand-painted Mexican tile, is a fitting element for rustic decor.

Finally, if you’re gunning for rustic decor with contemporary style, consider Cement tile. Reminiscent of old-world encaustic tile, there are (literally) hundreds of options in traditional and contemporary themes. Geometric patterns influence the feel of rustic decor with a modern touch of clean lines and grounded touch.

Textiles in Rustic Decor

varied textures & colors

With so much stone, wood, terracotta, and other hard surfaces, textiles play an essential role in rustic home decor.

Use natural fabrics like burlap and canvas to maintain a consistent rugged theme in your home.  If it feels earthy, looks earthy, maybe even smells earthy, use it.  At its core, rustic design uses natural and organic elements.

It’s easy to “soften” rustic homes through the addition of beautiful fabrics, window treatments, and floor rugs.  And while earthy is a must, don’t be scared to punch it up with some splashes of accent colors – pillows, cushions, and upholstered furniture.

Woven baskets add even more texture and serve useful storage functions, too.

Rawhide rug? Yes! It checks all the boxes for rustic decor including soft texture, natural materials, organic smells. 😉

Rustic Stone Fireplace

a key ingredient to rustic style decor

There’s no better focal point in a living room or bedroom than a fireplace. Gone are the days of run-of-the-mill fireplaces.  Now, the fireplace is a fearless statement for any room.

The most common choices are Cantera stone fireplaces.  Cantera is a hand-carved stone, so any design comes to life with the talent of skilled masons and artisans.  Most people are happily surprised to learn that Cantera stone is a budget-friendly, affordable option for a rustic style fireplace.  With a variety of colors, prospects for a custom fireplace are plentiful.

Bricks and loose stones are other prominent choices for rustic fireplace surrounds. Similar to Cantera, there are many color choices for either blending or accenting an overall rustic decor color theme.

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Lastly, a timber wood mantel is a go-to choice for turning a traditional fireplace into something more rugged.  Cedar posts, reclaimed wood, and wood with carved patterns are first-rate styles adding to the rustic style decor of living rooms, bedrooms, and outdoor living areas.

Hardware & Lighting

matte & mixed metals

Lighting and hardware are the jewelry of a space. And these are two things that are usually easiest and most affordable to change in homes. If you can’t accomplish anything else in this post, lighting and hardware renovations at least gain the influence of rustic decor.  Every little bit counts.

Let’s start with lighting!

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Here are a few types to consider – Antler light fixtures, decorative lamps, and sconces made from iron and copper, wagon wheel chandeliers, wrought iron chandeliers, and western or southwestern style sconces (horses, stars, cowboy hats, & Kokopellis).

Hardware is another easy fix adding rustic charm to your home. Consider your choice of metals for knobs, handles, drawer pulls, light plates, and door handles.  These are design elements where it’s safe to “play.”

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If you’re a hunter, check out antler style drawer pulls. Like the reclaimed vibe of farmhouse style? Decorative barn door handles are a growing trend.  Plus, Mexico is known for adding to rustic decor through copper and wrought iron handles, knobs, and hinges.  That’s right! Hinges are an overlooked aspect of decoration. Embellish those hinges for added personality.

Get inspired by these photos with hardware and lighting as part of rustic decor.

Rustic Style Furniture

rugged & oversized

Common characteristics of rustic style furniture include oversized, rugged, rough, aged, and casual.  This is the next most natural (& easy to achieve) element to boost rustic charm. Balance the edgy style of a room with an inviting attitude through furniture selections.

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Wooden bunk beds are functional and commonplace in mountain or hunting lodges. Rustic in Spanish Revival homes means wrought iron or copper table tops with stone pedestals. Oversized wooden chaise lounges in rustic French country design pair up beautifully with colorful textiles and throw pillows. A large, plank dining table (indoor or outdoor) echoes surrounding wooden beams and columns.

Furniture is about making statements and letting personality flow!

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