The decorating style known as “rustic chic” actually has a variety of common names. Shabby chic, farmhouse, cottage style, or country may have distinct characteristics that make them unique, but they are often used interchangeably because they all share common design elements.
Overall, rustic chic style avoids the structured, almost stuffy feel of past traditional styles and instead embraces a more natural modern lifestyle. Read on to discover the best ways to achieve a rustic chic style in your own home.
How to Transform Your Home with Rustic Chic Decor
Rustic Chic Style Tip 1: Use a light and neutral color scheme
Typically, the foundational palette of a rustic chic space is warm grey or whites. Accents tend to come from other earth-based colors, such as pale greens and soft browns. This makes sense when one considers the fact that rustic chic is ultimately a style that embraces the perfect imperfection of nature.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 2: Quality over quantity
Despite its outward and historical perspectives, rustic chic style in today’s homes is much more successful and effective when one considers quality over quantity in the pieces themselves. Look for sturdy, well-crafted furniture to ground the space. Even if the pieces are worn and showing their age, if they’re made well to begin with, you’ve got yourself a great rustic chic decorating component. These solid pieces should lay a lovely foundation for the rest of the décor.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 3: Focus on simplicity and charm
Much of the appeal of a rustic chic interior is its link to the past, the nostalgia of a simpler time and life. The romantic perspective provided by hindsight of more primitive lifestyles, although probably not preferable in actuality, is actually quite charming and unique to our senses. Keep the rustic chic décor relatively simple in its color and purpose.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 4: Add repurposed pieces to your home
In a nod to past times when “stuff” was more precious than it is today, the practice of repurposing items fits right into the rustic chic atmosphere. Essentially, repurposing is when you use something in a way that is different than its original intended purpose. Repurposing is a great way to be creative and encourage sustainability.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 5: Search for unique items
One-of-a-kind pieces help to make a rustic chic space feel special and, well, unique. These types of items can be unearthed at flea markets, thrift stores, estate sales, and other places where the idea is not to appeal to the masses but instead to the individual. Look for unique pieces with distinct rustic characteristics – blemishes, roughened edges, stripped finishes, etc.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 6: Incorporate imperfect natural materials into your home decor
Much of the charm and allure of a rustic chic space is its imperfection. Anyone can buy new, but it takes a special vision to incorporate a worn piece into a fresh, contemporary space. Look particularly for decorating components that use natural wood, stone, and/or metal to achieve a countryside look.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 7: Add refinished items to your home
Along the same lines of sustainable repurposing comes the rustic chic decorating staple of refinishing items. An old trunk or piece of furniture that is scratched, gouged, or bleached can be refinished with a bit of elbow grease and love into a showstopper in your space.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 8: Vintage, weathered objects create a rustic look
Wear and tear is like a badge of honor in the rustic chic home, so show off those furniture shreds of evidence of a life well lived. Display a faded, peeling picture frame as a masterpiece, and it will earn an ultimately endearing respect. Highlight a chipped piece of cookware. Of course, you want to avoid cluttering your home with completely broken and unusable items, but don’t be afraid of integrating a worn piece or two into your otherwise working décor.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 9: Using what you have
Rustic chic style has traceable aesthetic origins in the countrysides of France and Britain, which is where the style is referred to more commonly as cottage and French country. In a rural setting, people have limited access to items, so it is more common and required to make a habit of using what you have. For contemporary decorators who enjoy being environmentally and socially aware, rustic chic checks all the boxes in this regard, limiting waste and chronic consumerism.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 10: Accessorize a blank canvas
This isn’t to be taken literally, although since canvas is an organic type of fabric I suppose you could, but for those who enjoy the rustic chic style but aren’t sure how to start, begin with a blank slate of a neutral space. Walls, flooring, and shelves will be neutral. From here, add in furniture and textiles, and artwork over time that will bring in a rustic vibe. Be sure to take your time and select pieces that truly bring you joy, not just fill your space with driftwood and rusted old keys because they fit “the style”
Rustic Chic Style Tip 11: DIY projects are perfect for rustic chic charm
A cost-effective way to bring your home toward a more rustic chic aesthetic is to DIY some stuff. Get your hands dirty with some woodwork or paint or stain. There are so many tutorials out there to create customized pieces (like modern rustic floating shelves) that will look at home in your home and that you’ll love for years to come.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 12: Focus on unexpected feminine touches
While much of the concept of rugged and rustic is masculine, a great way to introduce balance and put the “chic” into your rustic chic décor is to add unexpected feminine elements. A chandelier, for example, maintains the palette but brings a definitive soft glamour to a space. The hybrid effect is charming and appeals to all, both male and female alike.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 13: Place driftwood around your home
Many people probably place driftwood as the #1 component of rustic chic décor, actually. The raw, roughened appeal of exposed and weathered wood, whether it’s actually driftwood or not, appeals on a very real level in the rustic chic space. Use plenty of natural wood in your rustic chic space. It looks homey and comfortable and evokes the sentiment that all are welcome here.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 14: Incorporate wrought iron pieces
As a historic complement to and decorative contrast to wood, iron has a solid background in the countryside and tends to age appealingly. Incorporate wrought iron in the details of your rustic chic space if you don’t want to jump in completely – a lamp here, a wall sconce there, or an antique farm tool there.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 15: Natural textiles can be used anywhere in your home
Even delicate fabrics lend a useful layer to the potentially heavy rustic chic style when they are of a natural weave. Look toward linen, cotton, jute, wool, leather, and other organic fabrics to provide not only an earthy visual element to the space but also a tactile one. Mix the textiles of throws and pillows and furnishings to really bring out the rustic chic character of your space.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 16: Look for faux natural objects
Sometimes, it’s easier to fake something in décor than to actually use the original. If you have access to objects that may not be all-natural but that have the look or vibe of a natural element (think faux bois wallpaper, hammered spray paint, or organic-themed ceramics), feel free to incorporate them into your rustic chic space with confidence.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 17: Find a spot for a cozy nook in the corner of a room
While many of these ideas so far involved smaller decorations, if you are looking to create a really rustic home, think about bigger projects that you could take on. We love adding a cozy reading nook to a spare corner in your home, whether that’s in your living room, playroom, or home office. For a rustic, chic look, focus on using wooden materials to build this corner and then add soft cushions to create a more comfortable environment. You’ll love spending time here after a busy day of work or during the weekends, and it will soon become one of your family’s favorite spots in the house. Check out Elisabeth Heier via Style Curator for more inspiration about creating a cozy nook in any home.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 18: Add wood paneling to any room in your home
If you are looking to make your bedroom more warm and inviting, consider redecorating with wood paneling. Look for dark and lean wooden panels for a more polished rustic aesthetic. You can consider adding this design to any room in your home, and you’ll find that it is a really cozy addition to your house or apartment. We usually recommend darker wood panels for a bedroom, but elsewhere in your home, you may like to add lighter and brighter wood panels. Try to look for more weathered wood panels to try and create the rustic look you are after. While this would be quite an ambitious project, it is one that you could consider doing by yourself. What Hannah Did Next shares this DIY project that’s very budget-friendly and which can be adapted to fit the rustic look you are trying to create.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 19: Place a copper bathtub in your bathroom
When we think about rustic chic homes, one room that we often forget to think about is the bathroom. If you are lucky enough to have space in your bathroom for a large bathtub, consider adding a freestanding copper bathtub. This is one of the best rustic chic touches you could add to any home and will also make a practical addition to your bathroom. After a busy day running around after your family, there’s nothing better than reading your favorite book and pouring yourself a hot bath. Wayfair has this stunning copper tub that comes in a few different finishes and would look amazing in any bathroom.
Rustic Chic Style Tip 20: Bunk beds in your children’s bedroom or guest room
A children’s bedroom is another great space to continue with the rustic theme. We love adding bunk beds to children’s bedrooms and think that a set of wooden bunk beds would be the perfect rustic addition to any home. If you have a guest bedroom and regularly have young family members to stay, this would be a fun treat for them on their next visit. Make sure you add cozy bedsheets and throws to the beds to finish off the rustic look. For the best results, try to find bunk beds that can be fitted into a corner of the bedroom for the classic camping look. These bunk beds from Wayfair would be a great set for any young child’s bedroom.
It’s not as challenging as you may think to transform any home to make it look more rustic yet chic. Just because you are opting for the rustic look, it doesn’t mean that your home will look any less stylish or organized. With all of these rustic chic style tips listed above, you’ll be able to completely transform any room in your home and create a cozy and warm space that you love spending time in with your family and friends.