Rustic decor is inviting. When you walk through the door, you feel your stress melt away. Our daily lives are often fast-paced and chaotic, and rustic decor contradicts this type of living with natural materials and elements that remind us of a simpler time. While rustic decor is earthy and natural, it also compliments other decor styles like modern, minimal, western, mid-century, and bohemian. Rustic design has no wrong answers. It’s a feeling rather than a set of rules. You may not be able to precisely “define” Rustic style, but you know it when you see it. What is it about rustic design that is so magnetic? Let’s find out!
The idea of rustic design and style can be a little hard to explain. It’s easy to pick out a piece of decor that’s rustic, but what does rustic actually mean? The dictionary defines “rustic” as “relating to the countryside; rural” and “made in plain and simple fashion.” Rustic style is a type of design that is nature-inspired, featuring simplicity and earthy warmth with rugged and imperfect beauty.
Elements of Rustic Design
The biggest element of rustic design is organic. Materials like wood, stone, metals, and fabrics are used in their natural state. They are perfectly imperfect. Wood is reclaimed and distressed. Metals are galvanized and weathered. Stones have unrefined edges and are unfinished. Decor should be simple, allowing these natural materials to stand out as focal points and accents. Outdoor elements like brick and wood are exposed, the efforts and craftsmanship are displayed for all to see.
Pieces that are handmade and weathered tell a story, they have details and flaws that remind us that they were the fruits of someone’s labor. Each piece should look as if it was carefully crafted and designed. It flows with the idea of locality, of a simpler time where every item was handcrafted and built-to-last. Rustic pieces showcase quality and uniqueness. When pieces are made by hand instead of a machine, no two are exactly the same, and there is great beauty.
Individuality and Imperfections
Rustic design embraces personality and individuality. It’s about creating a space that makes you happy and is your idea of an escape from the “real world.” No two rustic styles are exactly the same. There are some aspects like raw wood and stone that are essential to rustic design, but you can make it your own. You can choose pieces that speak to you and evoke an emotional response. Each item you add helps create the narrative and tell the story of the space.
Rustic decor should be inviting and cozy. When you walk into a home or office that has rustic elements, you feel welcome and relaxed. Rustic design embraces the idea of coziness, being on vacation in a cabin the woods or your family’s lake house. It’s charming and intimate. You want to curl up on the couch and get comfortable. It’s the opposite of overly modern and minimal decor that makes you afraid to breathe. Rustic design is meant to be loved and used.
The Idea of Hygge
Denmark is often rated as the happiest place to live. If it doesn’t win first place one year, it’s in the top three. The Danish have tried to identify why they are happier than other cultures and societies. One key element is the idea of hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”). Hygge has been described as “the art of happiness” in Danish culture. Hygge is a way of life and heavily influences style and decor. The Danes are always searching for things that are Hygge and trying to make their lives as hygge as possible. Many elements of rustic decor are aspects of what makes something Hygge.
What is Hygge?
The closest word we have in English to hygge is cozy. Hygge is the feeling sitting on your comfortable couch, wearing soft pajamas, reading a good book, with a cup of warm tea, and sitting by the fire. Hygge is enjoying a home-cooked meal with friends or taking a long bath. It’s that feeling of safety, happiness, fulfillment, and comfort. Hygge is the simple pleasures in life, not about “things” or “wealth” but about comfort and enjoyment.
Important Aspects of Hygge
- Nature-inspired decor
- Raw Elements
- Natural Light
- Meaningful decor
The Love of All Things Rustic
Warmth and Comfort
One of the reasons we love rustic design is because it’s simple yet comfortable. Rustic design incorporates many Hygge elements, which is why it is so inviting and welcoming. When you come home after a long day, you want to be happy and relaxed. Hygge is all about warmth and coziness, which is easy to do with rustic design. Your couches and chairs can be well-loved and comfortable, with thick blankets to cocoon in. There’s hotels and contemporary places that are beautiful, but everything is so perfect and crisp that it’s hard to relax. Rustic is the opposite.
A major lifestyle trend over the past few years is sustainability and minimalizing environmental impact in our everyday lives. Rustic design encourages sustainability by using raw materials in their natural state, which are more eco-friendly like reclaimed wood. The emphases on imperfections and originality inspire you to upcycle and repurpose. Instead of discarding old pieces, you can reuse them and give them new life with rustic decor. An old wheelbarrow or a weathered watering can turn into the perfect rustic planters. We are drawn to rustic design because it reflects or personal values of reducing waste.
Character and Authenticity
Another key element of rustic design is how effortless it seems yet rustic decor is full of personality. Today we love authenticity and the feeling of “realness,” that is relaxing and refreshing. Rustic decor is flawed, but these imperfections make them seem more real. Each piece has a story, a sense of history. Rustic design gives us a connection to our past and explores culture. You can shop for “new” decor at flea markets and antique stores, enjoying the thrill of the hunt.
Incorporating Rustic Decor
Part of what makes rustic decor an easy favorite is there are no wrong answers. You can do rustic any way you want. Rustic design can be incorporated and mix-matched with other design styles. It’s super versatile and complimentary without being overwhelming. Rustic is simple and natural, which makes it flow easily with other decors. You can start making your space more Rustic or Hygge by adding one piece at a time or choose a section of your home, garden, or office to begin with. You can add a rustic water feature easily with the Farmhouse or Rustico Planter Fountain, and the Farmhouse Disappearing water feature kit.
Rustic design is a favorite decor style because it can take so many different shapes an angle. No two rustic designs are the same. Rustic design is about embracing the ideas of comfort, coziness, hygge, sustainability, nature, and creating spaces that make you happy and are the perfect place to relax and unwind. There is no “wrong way” to do a rustic design. It’s flexible and adaptable. You can go full-rustic, half-rustic like industrial rustic or rustic chic, or just have a few rustic accents, make the rules up as you go along!