Clunky, antiquated, a throwback to a less stylish time. These are the descriptions that come to most people’s minds when you ask them their opinion of rustic living room design. This would be a misconception though. While rustic design does hearken back to a bygone era, the turn-of-the-century industrial era, it is by no means a bygone taste.
In point of fact, rustic design is one end of scale of industrial design, the opposite end leaning toward clean lines, shining metal, and complimentary exposed brick walls. The brick carries down the range to rustic design, which emphasizes a natural look, free-form shapes, and re-purposing. Above all else, rustic design emphasizes purpose and functionality.
Embrace the history
Rustic interiors are prone to a sense of history and simplicity, a sort of roughness that’s charm is appealing in the technological era built upon glass and metal modernity. Taken with the approach of “make-do” or “make it work” as we might say today, rustic style is persistent in its use of re-purposed found objects made beautiful.
Wood, Fabrics and Distressed Metals
The rustic style relies heavily upon weathered woods, cozy colors and patterns, hand-stitched fabrics, distressed metals, and found wonders. Wood furniture will always have an appealing rough-hewn nature, worn at the edges. Sturdy, even heavy, pieces such as oak, beech, and hickory suit the rugged taste, there will be no imitation lumber or machine-polished shine found here.
Metals will likewise be worn, displaying a bit of wear and tear. Look for heavy warm metals in a hammered finish or with a touch of rust. Bronze, copper, iron, and pewter fit the order for bedsteads, side tables, baker’s racks, lighting, and fixtures. Again, no shiny finishes or cool chromes or stainless steels here, avoid anything you would find contemporary or modern.
Aim for the classic hunting lodge colors, forest green, oxblood red, faded khaki, and worn denim. That’s not to say you can’t include a few pops of lighter or brighter colors and still achieve the look, but they should be few and far between, an exception to the rule. The same can be said for the patterns when you venture away from solid fabrics, stick to the traditional pioneer patterns, such as plaid, calico, or patchwork.
Nothing conveys simply beauty like a hand-stitched quilt thrown over the back of a couch, chair, or bed post. Anything with a sense of textile traditions like embroidery or needlepoint in small details fit right in among the comfortable leather or softened fabrics.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then rustic is her second born. Rustic thrives on a sense of rework, remake, reuse. Traditionally, people found unconventional ways to make use of whatever they had access to, from crating turned into shelves and tables, to lamps from bottles and jugs. Add a few quirky display items to make your space feel authentic. Sprinkle in some of grandma’s fine china, with uncle Bert’s prized Whiskey jug lamp and you’re on the right path. And if the weird doesn’t come inherited, there’s always antique stores and flea markets to add just that right touch of vintage to your collection.
Keep browsing the images below to see more ideas to create that perfect, cozy living room style…