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Ideas for Rustic Interior Design

A rustic interior design vibe is the best!

A rustic interior design vibe is the best!

Rustic Interior Design

Rustic interior design draws its inspiration from natural elements and textures, creating a comfortable, welcoming feeling that envelops you the minute you step in the door. Use as many of these rustic interior ideas as you like. With them, you can bring the spirit of the North Woods into your home almost as fast as you can say, “Throw another log on the fire—it’s time for hot chocolate and a game of checkers!”

Rustic Style Elements

  1. Earthy Color Palette
  2. Warm Wood Accents
  3. Textural Stone Features
  4. Comfortable Fabrics
  5. Handcrafted Furniture
  6. Natural Accessories
Look for colors that echo what is found in nature.

Look for colors that echo what is found in nature.

Color Palette

Let’s begin by building your rustic color palette. These colors will be your guide as you choose fabrics, surfaces, finishes, and furniture for your space. An earthy palette totally in tune with nature is ideal. Browns, rusts, greens, grays, and neutral shades will fill your home with a sense of the great outdoors while keeping it warm and cozy.

That’s not to say that you can’t inject your room with other colors to create a specific mood. For example, pops of bright colors interspersed throughout a rustic room will provide a sense of energy, rhythm, and visual interest.

Wood ceiling beams, whether real or faux, give any room a rustic feel.

Wood ceiling beams, whether real or faux, give any room a rustic feel.

Natural Wood Accents

Nothing says rustic like natural wood accents. These ideas are sure to give even the most contemporary room a rustic vibe.

First of all, avoid wood paneling—the look is just too dated and will overwhelm a room. Wainscoting is a great compromise that is always in style. Natural wood wainscoting looks great in a study, great room, or even a bedroom.

Rough-hewn wood flooring is almost a must for a rustic home interior. The warmth of a wide-planked wood floor layered with gorgeous plush rugs is irresistible! Prices of real wood flooring got you down? Psst! You can find great deals on wood laminates that will fool even the most discerning eye!

Do some snooping and find local sources for reclaimed barn wood. It’s the perfect choice for furniture pieces, fireplace mantels, and even flooring!

If you are blessed with high ceilings, consider rough wood ceiling beams to recreate the look of a rustic lodge. Oversized wood beams don’t come cheap, so try faux wood beams to cut material and labor costs. Polyurethane or extruded foam beams are lightweight and much easier to install and are a fraction of the price of real wood. I promise I won’t tell a soul that it's not the real thing!

Reclaimed wood and stone are key elements in rustic interiors.

Reclaimed wood and stone are key elements in rustic interiors.

Stone Features

Feeling overwhelmed with wood surfaces? Create a sense of balance by using stone features in your rustic environment. Create a stone accent wall, backsplash, hearth, or fireplace surrounded with stone veneer. If you are adept at vertical tiling surfaces, stone veneer products offer a cost-effective way to add the look of real stone to any room.

You can also opt for river rock veneers if you prefer smooth versus rough textures. River rock surfaces are suitable for a foyer or bathrooms floors and even shower enclosures.

The rich, natural colors of this flame stitch chenille would be perfect for throw pillow or an upholstered chair.

The rich, natural colors of this flame stitch chenille would be perfect for throw pillow or an upholstered chair.

Textiles and Upholstery

You are obviously not going to use silks and chintz for your rustic interior. So, what’s the best fabric to convey that casual and natural feel you want to achieve?

For large upholstered pieces like sofas and chairs, durable cotton duck or canvas is a logical choice. Better yet, commission slipcovers made from these natural, easy-care fabrics. That way, you won’t need to worry about dirt and spills. Just toss them in the wash, and they’re good as new!

You can also look for furniture and pillows covered in nubby synthetic fabrics like chenille. They wear well and can be pre-treated with a stain guard for easy spot cleaning.

What rustic cabin or lodge would be complete without throw blankets? Camp blankets in rich stripes. Paisleys or plaids will add lively patterns to solid-color upholstered pieces. Another suitable choice is faux fur—a single throw or a couple of pillows is all you need.

Leather is also a great idea for upholstery. It looks right at home in a natural setting. It is comfortable and develops character as it ages. Deep, rich tones with a distressed finish add an authentic touch to your rustic interior. And there’s nothing like the fragrance of real leather for a sensory boost!

Choose large area rugs that provide texture, color, and softness underfoot. Just imagine exotic wool Dhurrie, Ikat, or Kilim rugs used around the house. If you want a literal take on the rustic theme, you can find beautiful braided and rag rugs that harken back to colonial or pioneer days.

Curtains should be made from substantial fabrics like velvet, heavyweight cotton, or linen—preferably lined and interlined to keep the winter chill at bay. Of course, if you live in a milder climate, you can go with lighter-weight fabrics in solids and patterns that coordinate with your rustic color palette.

A farm table made from reclaimed wood will be the focal point of the room.

A farm table made from reclaimed wood will be the focal point of the room.


Avoid purchasing an entire furniture collection. You can pick two from the same collection, but keep things interesting by mixing pieces. Also, use a variety of wood tones. If you like light wood, go with pine, poplar, and birch in a room with neutral upholstery colors for a lovely monochromatic effect.

Reclaimed wood furniture is a great eco-friendly way to add rustic charm to your home. To me, there's nothing more striking than an oversize harvest table crafted from old lumber. You can buy these natural treasures ready-made or contract with a local carpenter to create a custom piece of furniture. Accents of wrought iron will make your reclaimed furniture pieces all the more special!

Use log and twig furniture with a measured hand. You don’t want your rustic theme to end up looking too kitschy! Instead, incorporate a couple of faux bois chairs or tables as an elegant twist on traditional handcrafted log furniture.

Decide which direction you want your rustic interior to take and have fun accessorizing.

Decide which direction you want your rustic interior to take and have fun accessorizing.

Rustic Home Accessories

Let your imagination run wild with this one. You can go in a number of directions depending on your personal preferences.

Is your rustic dream home a hunting lodge? Faux or naturally harvested antlers make great chandeliers, wall accents, and even sculptures. A pair of riding boots and an urn filled with silver-handled walking sticks add a classic touch to a rustic hunting lodge.

What about a ski cabin? Vintage snowshoes, skis, and poles are fun accessories that can be picked up at your local antique mall. Also, hit up local “junk” shops for vintage ski photographs. Go online and purchase reproductions of old travel posters with a ski theme for big impact, colorful artwork.

Thinking more along country lines? An oversized grapevine wreath above the fireplace makes an eye-catching statement. Handcrafted twig picture frames add a homespun touch to your country cabin. Baskets are a wonderful way to add rustic texture and give you plenty of extra storage. Plein air paintings bring local woodland landscapes right into your room!

© 2012 Linda Chechar

Start a Conversation!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on November 18, 2012:

Thanks faux, glad you enjoyed this Hub!

faux beams on November 18, 2012:

Love the rustic interior, though if done poorly it can look old and cheap. These photos show it done right, I like the kilim rugs. The ceiling beams are a must also!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on October 05, 2012:

RTalloni, rustic interiors are the perfect fit for the fall and winter seasons. I think a trompe l'oeil cabin wall effect would be dreamy. Great idea! Hope you have the chance to do it! :)

RTalloni on October 05, 2012:

A really nice look at rustic interior ideas. Heartwarming rustic décor is especially appealing in the fall season. One day I would like to paint walls to look like the interior of a log cabin--trompe l'oeil style.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on September 22, 2012:

It is such a cozy look, Dolores. There are so many versions of rustic style from which to choose. You can go from kitsch to elegant to modern within the rustic genre. That's one of the reasons it such a popular decorating style, I suppose. Thanks so much for your comment. Enjoy your weekend!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on September 22, 2012:

I love the rustic look and often check out decorating magazines and catalogs like Restoration Hardware. I like the European rustic which uses a lot of architectural salvage and decorative items from nature. It looks so cozy.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on September 15, 2012:

Teaches, that house you describe sounds wonderful! Thank you for the read and your thoughtful comment. Have a great weekend!

Dianna Mendez on September 14, 2012:

I decorated our third home in the rustic look. It was at the foothills of the mountain range in Virginia and it seemed appropriate. I do miss those times when we had a roaring fire and the place seemed like a ski lodge. Great post and suggestions for making a home rustic.

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on September 14, 2012:

Isn't that poster great? Out of all the rustic interior types, I think I like the hunting lodge look the best. Not animal heads on the walls and skins on the floor -- much more like a refined Ralph Lauren Home look! :)

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on September 14, 2012:

Leah, that is certainly a good direction to go. It won't take much to bring that ski lodge feel into the family room with those wonderful beams as your inspiration. Good to hear from you!

Om Paramapoonya on September 14, 2012:

This style is not for me, but my mom loves it. She has a bunch of rustic-looking wood furniture. So I think she'll probably some of these ideas. I love that picture of a vintage ski poster, by the way. What a cool polar bear! lol

Leah Lefler from Western New York on September 14, 2012:

Our family room has rustic beams and I haven't been able to decide how to decorate it. I love the idea of vintage ski posters!

Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on September 14, 2012:

Happy you enjoyed the ideas, Carol. It was a fun Hub to write. Rustic does take a certain mindset and the interior "bones" to pull the look off successfully. I once had a rustic living room when I lived in Colorado -- what better place! Doesn't really translate to the Las Vegas Valley, though! ;)

carol stanley from Arizona on September 14, 2012:

I love rustic but could never really pull it off. Your photos are lovely and you have great ideas here. Thanks for sharing and a vote UP.