The Rustic Home Decor Guide [Inc. Pictures and Interior Design Ideas]

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.

What is Rustic Home Decor?

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.

Rustic Decor in a Nutshell

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. These are the types of rustic home decor:

  1. Primitive
  2. Farmhouse
  3. Country Rustic
  4. Western Rustic

Let's take a closer look at these styles.

1. Primitive

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.


2. Farmhouse

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 encourages the 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.

3. Country Rustic

Country design is very similar to Farmhouse, 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.

4. Western Rustic

Western Rustic Decor is a class all to itself. Designed to evoke the American West, this decorating style uses the same foundations found in all of the Rustic styles, including open airy spaces in light colors, natural elements of the outdoors, like wooden trim, and stone fireplaces, and the use of regional and handmade items. Western decor frequently incorporates Native American patterns and colors in its fabrics and rugs, and possibly even a cowhide throw. Leather is a common element in these rooms, either as accent pieces or as upholstery, as you can see in the room below.

What Are the Main Elements of Rustic Decor?

The incorporation of nature is the most important design construct in Rustic Decor. Wooden accents, natural fabrics like cotton, linen, wool, or fur, and open airy spaces with lots of light that show off the outdoors are all key elements. Handmade, artisan, or vintage items add finishing touches that make the rooms homey and comfortable without being stuffy.

Western Relaxation

This gorgeous living room perfectly exemplifies Western Rustic. Its massive windows frame the perfect view of the mountains, which is reflected in the log cabin-style build of the structure. The view is clearly the focal point of the room, so the designer kept everything else simple. Native American type prints in red, white and blue cover the armchairs and area rug, and the small side window is hung with curtains in similar colors to ties everything together. A leather sofa the same color as the walls just blends away, so as not to distract from the view behind it. A large handmade drum plays double duty as an ultra-unique coffee table.

Read more: 14 Rustic Living Room Ideas That Will Inspire You

A Peaceful Retreat

Heavy wooden ceiling beams stand out against the light brightness in this bedroom. The natural wood of the beams and the oversized stone fireplace give this room its rustic tone, while the large bare windows keep the look from being dark and dreary. The furniture has been carefully chosen to fit into this large open space without competing with these major design elements. It is all very simple and clean, and overall the perfect place to hide away from the world!

Bathroom Bliss

Raw, aged wooden planks on the ceiling and toilet room elevate an average white tile bathroom into a Rustic dream. This is a relatively easy and cost-effective way to transform your bathroom without breaking the bank. Repurposed lamp fixtures make interesting accents to the wood-framed mirrors. A quick trip to your local home improvement store will probably find you similar items, including easy to install wood panels, and bronze faucets!

Read more: 21 Rustic Bathroom Ideas [For That Perfect Farmhouse Look]

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Vintage Window Frame

Repurposed window frames are a commonly used item in rustic decor. The vintage look with worn white paint provides a perfect frame for mirrors, which will help make any area look larger and lighter. It is also adorable!

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Wall Art

A charming piece of wall art can really make a statement in your rustic farmhouse. Look for something like this wood and metal frame 'flower' wall art from Stratton Home Decor. It is hand-designed and hand-painted, which are qualities that really shine in this type of environment.

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Mason Jar Vases

Utilizing mason jars as decorative items are very common in farmhouse decorating. These little mason jars have been mounted to rustic wooden backs for easy installation on your walls. Hang them up and fill them with fresh-cut lavender or roses from your country garden!

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You might also be interested in these 20 Rustic Wall Decor Ideas for the Living Room.

Comfort and Elegance is Key in Rustic Decor

Now that you know that Rustic Decor is not just for cabins in the woods, you can feel confident that decorating your home in this style can look classy and elegant as well as comfortable and homey. Take your time to find elements that you love and that express who you are as a family, and you can be sure that your home will be a masterpiece.

See how you can make your home more rustic with:

30 Awesome Rustic Basement Ideas (Photo List Inspiration)

23 Rustic Bedroom Ideas (Pictures, Guides and Shopping Links)

Looking for more home inspiration? You might want to check these:

Coastal Home Decor: The Complete Guide

Industrial Home Decor: A Practical Guide

Minimalist Home Decor: The Complete Guide


  1. It was helpful when you explained that rustic decor usually uses colors that are bright and natural like cream or light green. My husband and I want to buy some round nesting boxes we can use to complement the rustic decor style in the cottage-style home we purchased about three weeks ago. Thanks for sharing this info I can keep in mind to buy boxes in the right color to fit the theme of the home!

    • Hi Rebecca. We’re so glad you found our post helpful! We have plenty of posts that pertain to the rustic aesthetic — be sure to check those out for more ideas and inspiration!

  2. This is so awesome! I love how you broke everything down with materials and colors that you would recommend to tie the room together. So great! Thank you!

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