If you have looked at style guides or home decor blogs lately, chances are you’ve come across the word “rustic”. But trying to define “rustic” when it comes to home decor can be difficult, and feel abstract. This is because rustic goes beyond a single style and is constantly combined with other looks.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Rustic aesthetic and decor holds its roots in the American craftsman style and is defined by a natural look. Inspired by nature itself, rustic tends to appear aged, rough, and earthy. Simplistic and organically derived, rustic is unique in its moldability. From industrial to farmhouse, to modern and contemporary, a rustic influence can complement any style. In this article, we’ll explore the elements of a rustic bedroom, figure out how to identify rustic style, and use it in your own room.
Rustic is not a strictly traditional style, however, it’s commonly used with traditional elements. So while the term “modern rustic” can feel like a bit of an oxymoron, it’s actually one of the most popular ways to use rustic in a blend.
Take, for example, this bed frame, a modern rustic look with industrial elements.
This frame beautifully maintains the natural rustic look of unfinished wood, however, the milk crate looking slats and boxy shape call for more industrial vibes. Together, this combination marries the idea of city and nature, creating a bohemian look.
Side Tables & Accessories
Bedroom decor comes down to so much more than the bedframe. Choosing a high-quality mattress and an eye-catching bed frame are always a good way to go, but they’re not the only or most important element of the room. In rustic style, focus on linens, textures, and accessories. Look for fabrics that are natural and untreated, like canvas, burlap, and cotton.
With accessories, look for things that come back to nature, whether it be a plant or an arrangement of faux flowers and succulents. Choose patterns carefully and limit their usage. Patterns that are too contemporary or retro will take away from the natural look. Thick stripes like the ottoman below are a perfect way to add patterns and create a cohesive atmosphere.
Lighter Finish and Driftwood
Many times, rustic is associated with a more traditional look of heavy dark furniture, while that can certainly be your way to go, it’s not the only option out there! Look for weathered driftwood for a lighter finish. This will add a coastal airiness to your rustic decor.
Choosing to go for a lighter finish in reclaimed or weathered wood will create a minimalist look. Add in some pastel colors, soft cotton, and delicate accessories for a breezy, serene look that will invite comfort and restoration to your bedroom. Perfect for a bedroom with a lot of natural light, this look proves that simple does not have to be plain.
Bright and Colorful Rustic
Rustic styles typically emphasize natural and organic looks, however, that doesn’t mean you have to be limited in your color palette. Rustic bohemian looks call for more color than industrial or traditional rustic looks. Bohemian palettes typically include hues of yellows, reds, and greens that are brighter or bolder and may not show up in all rustic varieties. A geometric printed rug like the one below is a perfect splash of color to liven up your rustic room.
Don’t play it safe! Be bold! This traditional rustic room below has a modern twist with the use of primary colors to create a bright and energized atmosphere. The dark furniture and primary colors are beautifully contrasted with the light-colored walls and light flooring.
Dark and Heavy Traditional Rustic
As I mentioned earlier, rustic styles with traditional influences tend to be heavier, darker furniture. In a room with a decent amount of natural light, these sturdy furniture pieces will create an atmosphere of comfort and warmth. Perfect for a bedroom in a cottage or log cabin, or someone who just wants to manifest that cozy feeling.
This bedroom set is unique in that it takes a traditional rustic look and infuses it with industrial influence. The strong angles and symmetry of both the furniture and rug, wear a dynamic industrial look. While the plank styled oak and faux fur blanket are more traditionally rustic. These pieces are versatile and create a room that feels inviting.
Things To Look For
Remember, rustic styles can be all-encompassing, and stretch across a variety of other styles. How you use rustic is completely your choice, but when shopping for items to give your bedroom a rustic feel, here’s what to look for;
- Style Blend: First and foremost, decide which style you’re trying to bring a rustic element to. As we’ve seen, bohemian rustic and industrial rustic look quite different. So start with a style idea, or perhaps a room inspiration, and run with it. By blending elements of rustic with another aesthetic, you’ve already created a unique atmosphere.
- Natural Wood: Rustic by definition is meant to represent the countryside. Look for furniture that looks unfinished, weathered, or reclaimed. This will maintain your rustic feel no matter what other looks you infuse into it.
- Organic Textiles & Fabrics: Again, keep it natural. Undyed canvas, burlap, and cotton can really add to your rustic bedroom. Look for these materials in throw blankets, hand-sewn rugs, and curtains to keep the organic feel in your room.
- Accessories: My personal favorite part of decorating a room is accessorizing. Rustic looks give you so many options when it comes to accessories. Plants are a popular one, but if you lack a green thumb, opt for faux succulents and flowers for easy maintenance. Think nature, animal prints or animal decor works well with traditional and cottage rustic looks. If you’re aiming for a more rustic industrial look, find vintage or metal work accessories and poster boards. Glass jars and woven baskets work great for small storage, add a candle into the mix, and your bedside table is complete.
The key to a rustic bedroom is to take inspiration from the natural world. Rustic does not have to exist only in a farmhouse or log cabin (although there’s no problem if it does!). Rustic can encompass city life and modern or contemporary styles. Incorporate as many environmental influences as you can, and remember that nature is not simple or one-toned, so your room doesn’t have to be either.