The ultimate guide on how to decorate your home in the rustic style

There is a wide variety of home decorating styles, one of the most popular of which is rustic decor. This style can be seen nearly everywhere, from TV and magazines, to your local department stores. Options abound, and it can seem difficult to understand not just what makes a look rustic, but how to accomplish this style in your own home. I have done the research and am happy to share all the details of rustic decor!

Rustic decor is a type of decorating style that incorporates materials that are found in the natural world such as rough-cut, or unfinished wood, stone, metals, and natural fabrics. The primary colors that are used are those found in nature: browns, grays, cream, white, greens and blues. Furniture is usually large and comfy and crafted from natural materials as well. Vintage and repurposed items and fabrics are common additions when they tie into the overall theme. Rustic decor is above all comfortable and relaxed, which makes it perfect for everyday living as well as vacation homes.

Rustic decorating is widely used and enjoyed due to its overall focus on comfortable living. It can be found in deep mountain cabins, western ranches, Southern farmhouses, and even suburban tract homes. Rustic interior design can be used by the -budget-conscious as well as those decorating luxury homes. It is all about making a home that is warm, welcoming, and relaxing. Keep reading to learn more about this amazing decorating style and how to incorporate it into your home!

When Did Rustic Decor Evolve?

Rustic decor is an interior design style that has been around in one way or another for centuries. It harkens back to the times when aristocrats had their high society city homes where they engaged in fabulous social events and large, sprawling country estates where they could escape for relaxation and the comforts of everyday living. These country homes were often outfitted in slightly more humble accouterments, handed down from generations. The rooms were decorated with handcrafted, heirloom furniture from differing time periods, upholstered in worn fabrics and the floors strewn with high-quality rugs and carpets that had seen the use of decades.

These country homes were generally designed more for function than form, as the estates they were on were the primary source of income for these aristocrats. They supported a massive number of family and staff and was often the main office for running the estate business. The kitchen, which was (and still is) the heart of the home, was large and highly functional, had plenty of workspaces, with easy access to the kitchen garden for fresh herbs and produce.

What does Modern Rustic Design Look Like?

Today’s version of rustic equally values form and function. Warm, soft colors, especially white, cream and greige (a combination of gray and beige) are used to keep the look modern and clean. The warmth of these colors contrasts perfectly with vintage or rough wooden furniture and accents. Reclaimed or vintage-looking industrial metal is frequently used in today’s designs to add a little toughness and modernity to the overall look. Light fixtures and trim are commonplace to find these materials. Exposed brick or stone is also a hallmark of this style. Windows are frequently left undressed, or hung with simple white curtains or wooden blinds, in order to allow as much natural light into the rooms as possible.

This kitchen is a perfect example of how rustic design is used to recreate the feel and look, without sacrificing modern convenience. Here a rough wooden ceiling and the reclaimed light fixture are reflected in the rough-hewn farm table. This warm wood is offset with creamy white walls with gray trim to keep the space light and airy.

Types of Rustic Home Decor

Rustic decor has a variety of subsets, depending on the personal preferences of each homeowner. We will discuss some of the most popular types and how they differ from one another, all while retaining the same easy and comforting sense of home.


Primitive Design is based on early American and Colonial living. Handmade and vintage items are preferred, and vintage Americana is commonly integrated into the look. Counter to other types of Rustic decor, this aesthetic actually prefers dark colors, like cranberry, muted navy, colonial gray. Tea-died linen fabrics and plaids in these colors fit right in. Handwoven basket, roughly crafted pottery and aged metal utensils are trademarks of the look as well.

This kitchen is a perfect example, from the simple dark wood cabinetry and shelving against cream-colored walls to the baskets hanging from the heavy wood beams on the ceiling, this room is primitive decor in a nutshell! See how small homey touches like the candle style light bulbs and linen dishtowels and gourds are used to soften the space. The blue braided rag rug is also a staple in Primitive rustic design.

Country Rustic

Country design is very similar to Farmhouse, which we will discuss next. They share the same background, but Country tends to be a little rougher around the edges than Farmhouse. It also shares elements of Shabby Chic, in its use of pretty ruffled curtains and bedding and romantic floral prints. Woven rugs are commonly used, as are repurposed antique furniture or furniture that has been painted and made to look old.

As you can see in this charming Country bedroom, a lot of white is used to keep the look light and airy. A simple antique iron bed is dressed with natural cotton bedding in softly muted blues and an old fashioned throw. The walls are simply decorated with aged wooden planks with peeling paint and a pretty wreath and delicate white tea set.

Country design can also be considered to include Old World Country, which incorporates rustic elements from English, French or Italian Country homes. The finishes here are typically rougher and more aged than those found in Farmhouse decor, as would be appropriate from cultures steeped in centuries-old history.

Farmhouse Interior Design

Modern Farmhouse Decor is easily the most currently popular home decor style on the market right now. Decorative accents to incorporate this look into your home are everywhere. Its popularity is derived from the simple fact that this look can be used to elevate a simple room into something stylish and chic on a budget or to soften the edges of a high-end home into something that is beautiful and elegant as well as comfortable and homey.

Farmhouse Decor is very similar to Country in its use of vintage and repurposed items for decorative touches. The lines of the modern farmhouse aesthetic are generally cleaner and more traditional, and it is common to have small touches of industrial metals included to keep the look current. Light, natural colors are the foundation for the walls, with wood floors that are typically more finished than Country. Reclaimed shiplap panels are a great addition to this look when possible, either painted or left raw and unfinished.

Handcrafted wooden furniture, whether new or flea market finds, or a combination of both is ideal for this look. Kitchens are large and generally have an island perfect for gathering around.

This bedroom shows how a room that could be in any kind of house anywhere can take advantage of this universal design style. A wood plank ‘shiplap’ wall was installed as a focal point and left in its natural wood state. Reclaimed wooden architectural items decorate the headboard, and a pretty wooden script has been hung over faux window panes on the other wall. Soft bedding in simple earthy cotton keeps the room neutral and is reflected in the textured rug. This room is easy and welcoming, which is what rustic decor is all about.

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