Rustic Interior Design: Types, Characteristics, and History

Rustic interior design started from humble beginnings. Rather than its own style, it was a way of life featuring local building materials.

If you find beauty in the imperfect and like incorporating nature into your home, getting a rustic look will be easy to achieve. Here’s the history of rustic design, modern styles, and characteristics.

The Origins of Rustic Interior Design

Rustic interior design

Rustic interior design originates from the first home builders. Rather than importing supplies, people had to use whatever they could find to build houses, which meant using local raw materials.

An early example of rustic design is the log cabin, which dates back to 3500 B.C. Builders would cut down trees near their home site and turn them into logs they could stack horizontally. They filled the gaps between the logs with mud, clay, and wood chips. The inside of the homes featured rough lumber walls, often with wooden ceiling beams.

In other areas, primitive builders used stone or clay for home construction. Even then, wooden frames and ceiling beams were a standard feature.

Today’s rustic design focuses on the beauty of raw materials in their imperfect states, with an emphasis on handmade items and simple furniture.

Here’s a list of different rustic styles of interior design:

Characteristics of Rustic Design

Embrace a natural style by including these characteristics of rustic design in your home.

Opt for a Raw Wood Finish

Natural wood is a staple of rustic design. While leaving wood bare is sometimes impractical, you can use a sealer or wax that gives it a natural, matte finish. Consider wood for most furniture, such as dining tables, coffee tables, and dressers.

Add Rough Wood Ceiling Beams

Rough wood ceiling beams are a staple in rustic interior design concepts. If you already have them in your home, leave them unpainted. If you don’t have any, consider adding faux wood beams to your ceiling.

Choose Natural Materials

Choose natural materials for permanent finishes in your home, like flooring, cabinetry, and countertops. Wide plank wood flooring, real wood cabinetry, and stone or concrete counters are ideal.

Use a Rustic Color Palette

The rustic color palette is earth-toned with white, cream, browns, blacks, greens, and blues. Choose a white or warm neutral for the wall and weave in other earth-toned hues.

Go for Comfortable but Simple Furniture

Choose simple but comfortable furniture unless you’re after a Japandi or modern rustic design. Large wooden tables, big leather sofas, and comfy recliners all work.

Layer Textures

While one of your main textures should be an abundance of wood, you can also add jute or sisal rugs, bamboo shades, animal hide rugs, and plants.

Incorporate Bronze or Matte Black Metal Finishes

Two of the most popular finishes for rustic design include oil-rubbed bronze and matte black. Use these finishes on cabinet handles, drawer pulls, and light fixtures.

Examples of Rustic Interior Design

Use these pictures of rustic interior design as examples for your next project.

Rustic Kitchen Interior Design

Rustic Kitchen Interior Design
Envision Home Photos

Rustic interior design is wood-heavy, as witnessed in this kitchen. The floors and walls have an unfinished look, contrasting with the cabinetry. The blue-gray cabinets add a touch of modernity to the space.

Rustic Living Room

Rustic Living Room
Copper Leaf Interior Design Studio

Large leather sofas are a hallmark of rustic living rooms. The space features an earth-tone color palette full of warm browns. The wood floors and stone fireplace add to the natural look of the room.

Rustic Bathroom

Rustic Bathroom
Habitat Post & Beam, Inc.

Many wood tones and textures work together in this rustic ski lodge bathroom. The copper basin sink adds interest, while the floors help lighten the space.

Rustic Bedroom Example

Rustic Bedroom Example
Gerber Berend Design Build, Inc.

The designers of this room kept things simple, letting the texture of the wood walls and ceiling be the star of the space. The simple bedding works well, while the animal print pillows and throw blankets pay homage to the style.