7 Simple Ways to Incorporate Rustic Decor in Your Home

Jeremy Diamond

Posted on February 02 2018

interior design tips

If you’re like Colleen and I, you couldn’t be happier with home decor trends right now. Historic elements, unpainted wood, iron accents and rustic schemes fill the pages of today’s home decor magazines and shows. But let’s be honest - It’s not every weekend that you can transform your home by adding a reclaimed wood wall or sliding barn doors.

Use these seven simple and inexpensive ways to transform your space into an ode to classic American farmers and craftsman that inspire our recent rustic decor trends.

Repurpose items that are not traditional decor

One of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to transform a space in a couple of hours and on the cheap is to buy a few old, non-decor items to sprinkle throughout a room. Bring $20 to an antique store or flea market and go wild with old green or brown glass bottles, distressed buckets or even a galvanized metal watering can with some outdated company logo or insignia. Don’t be afraid to buy unique, bold and seemingly random antiques. Group several of these pieces together on a countertop, bar cart or coffee table to create an interesting and rustic focal point to the room. If you already have a focal point to the room, scatter the items throughout to transform the space in a more subtle fashion. If you’re wanting to go with a decor piece that still holds rustic style, try one of our Cultivated Candle Co. Oak Carpenter’s Candles.

simple rustic home decor tips

We transformed this vintage bucket into a small battery-powered light.

The power combo: White paint + brown wood

Color coordination is key to really make a room fit your desired feel. Make sure to consider ahead of time what color scheme is going to fulfill your personal design goal. It’s easy to pick up furniture and pieces that look great individually but, when put together, don’t produce your desired feel. If rustic is your desired look, white paint with natural dark wood is your go-to. The surfaces used to place decor should be wood and the support or structure should be painted white. For example, a table would have a white base or legs and the tabletop would be a natural, dark wood. For a hutch or shelves, the framing would be painted white and the shelves would be a brown wood.


Choose raw finishes over a polished look

This really defines the rustic look. Contemporary decor is defined by sleek, smooth and polished finishes. A rustic look is just the opposite: Raw, natural and unpolished finishes. Think about woods that have chips and missing chunks that add character, instead of take away from quality. Find metal that is left without polish and unbrushed, exposing rough details. Smooth, tightly joined and polished furniture takes more precision, time and equipment to accomplish. One of the best parts of the rustic trend is that many rustic items are less expensive simply due to their simplicity in construction. Because of this, Etsy is full of quality, rustic furniture for half the price of the same quality contemporary furniture.

Utilitarian accents are in!

Many of the rustic designs that we adore today are truly odes to farmers, shop owners and laborers of past decades. A lot of the design is derived from a utilitarian focus of previous time. The antique furniture that is sought after today originally had little to do with fashion or decor. Consider this when selecting decor and furniture for your space. Take off a lampshade on a metal lamp and buy an oversized bulb to create a unique and rustic charm. Replace normal cabinets with open wood shelves to brighten up a kitchen while keeping the solid wood shelves as the focal point. Another great example? Wheels. A worker in 1930 would put wheels, or casters, on a table or cart for one reason: They had to move it while they worked. While today, we have four large wheels on our coffee table but only subtly wheel it around to sweep.

Think chunky: Oversized design

Similar to the styling origins of utilitarian accents, chunky furniture designs began as a necessity. What construction method would a farmer use to build a sturdy work table or storage bench without sophisticated tools or weeks to build? Simple and chunky, strong wood. This thought process carries into decor today by incorporating thick cut wood instead of sleek and slim designs. This gives you the opportunity to truly see the wood grain and provides a glimpse into the tree it once was. What’s more rustic than that? An added perk to this fad is that chunky furniture has a way of visually filling a space without needing a ton of knick knacks or extras. If you go with the chunky furniture, shelving or decor route, consider a minimalist approach to the space around the piece. Let the piece speak mostly for itself!

Use reclaimed barn wood to transform your space

I promised six decor strategies that were easier, cheaper and less invasive than a reclaimed barn board wall! What a sham. I am not changing my mind and telling you that you have to overhaul your entire wall to put up barn board, but I am going to say that you can get that same reclaimed look without a serious commitment or investment. If you have a wooden staircase simply add some adhesive to the back of the wood and nail the wood to the vertical portions of the stairs perpendicular to the floor (the part of the staircase that you kick when walking up the stairs). You can even consider a barn board backsplash to give a high end, rustic look when combined with a steel, granite, quartz or butcher block countertop. This can also be incorporated this into simple decor pieces, like these vintage maps and rustic barn wood frames I made Colleen for Christmas.

rustic woodworking

Use these seven tips to slowly transform your home into a rustic heaven, one day at a time.

More Posts

Search our store