Rustic Interior Design Style: Learn the Basics

Rustic stone fireplace

Rustic style interior design describes a range of styles with an emphasis on natural, unrefined elements. Popular design styles that are often classified as rustic include Southwestern, Country, Log Cabin, Lodge, Western and Farmhouse.

Rustic Style Basics

Rustic color palettes usually spring from natural sources and materials such as:

  • Leather or suede
  • Pewter or metals with patina
  • Wood floors, wooden furniture, branches, bark or twigs
  • Wrought iron or rusted metals
  • Natural fabrics like cotton, hemp, linen, wool or animal hides
  • Stone, rocks or concrete
  • Outdoor and garden elements

Southwestern Style

A Southwestern home has Native American, Spanish and Mexican influences that blend together nicely for a laid-back style. A typical Southwestern room will feature earthy colors, coarse surfaces, vibrant textiles, wrought iron, hand-crafted items, painted stoneware and terra cotta. Hand-painted ceramic or clay tiles are popular accents on flooring, countertops and wall surfaces. Southwestern colors include desert neutrals, greens and clay reds with dashes of turquoise, yellow and orange. The colorful textiles are usually thickly woven and used both for upholstery and wall art. Leather and suede are also popular upholstery materials for sofas, chairs and ottomans. Other furniture pieces are often made of distressed knotty pine.

Country Style

log ceiling

Rooms with a rustic Country style generally feature subdued colors, vintage textiles, simple furniture and down-to-earth accessories. A Country color scheme showcases time-worn, muted tones while a modern approach to country design lends itself to a richer, more colorful palette. Cottage chic is often classified as a Country style.

Ideal Country furnishings include family heirlooms, antiques and flea market finds that are plain in design with a painted finish. Fabrics on sofas, chairs and windows are usually white or cream in color, while accent fabrics are patterned with floral themes, plaids, stripes or checked designs. Accessories are usually handcrafted items such as pottery, baskets and wooden crockery.

Log Cabin and Lodge Style


No lakefront or mountainside escape is complete without a rustic log cabin retreat. Lodge style is essentially a refined log cabin and is often seen in resort or hotel getaways. A log cabin style home is built of whole shaved tree logs that are custom-fit to form the exterior and interior walls. The exposed logs and wooden beams are important to the rustic feel on both in the inside and outside of the home.

Modern log cabins are regularly sold in kits which feature all the necessary pieces to build a cabin shell. For those just wanting the look of this rustic style, try wood paneling or wallpaper that simulates log cabin timbers. Elements that complete the lodge interior include leather upholstery, earth toned colors, homey quilts, punched tin and items found outside. Log cabins and lodges typically feature hunting or fishing motifs because of their rustic locales. And don't forget the large, welcoming fireplace!

Western Style

Just like the original American pioneers and cowboys, Western style is rugged and intimately tied to nature. This style makes use of found objects like horseshoes, antlers, saddles and other rustic paraphernalia. Materials often incorporated into Western style rooms include leather, metal, and weathered wood. Furniture is usually upholstered in leather with extra details like fringe and nail head trim, but it is also regularly covered in thick, hand-woven wool textiles. Cowboy memorabilia from the 1950's can add a whimsical touch.

Farmhouse Style

Contemporary Log Cabin Style

When you want to create a comfortable, family-friendly interior, you should consider farmhouse style. This rustic style interior design encompasses many rural styles, such as French country, Italian country, English country and American farmhouse. While some of these styles are more formal than others, they all spring from lifestyles made outside city limits. Everything is a little more colorful and vibrant in a farmhouse style home. Fabrics and dinnerware feature bright colors, like yellow, red, gold and blue, along with floral or small-scale patterns. Wooden furniture tends to be big and bold with simple, yet decorative carvings. Mixing and matching is the rule here; no formal identical sets. Dried flowers, seeds, nuts and other rustic floral elements are right at home in farmhouse style.

Lived in Charm

One of the benefits of doing your home in a rustic style is the comfortable, lived in feeling that goes with it. With soft, worn furnishings and an abundance of color and texture, it's hard to find a home that a rustic style wouldn't suit. Give some thought to doing your home in a rustic theme and feel instantly at home.

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Rustic Interior Design Style: Learn the Basics