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Modern Rustic Furniture:

What's Your Style?

With so many décor ideas, styles, and choices, it can be quite overwhelming. There are many questions to ask yourself when it comes to decorating your home. Chief among them is, "What style reflects me and my personality?". If you're looking for some help narrowing down the perfect style for your space, you've come to the right place. This article is part of our "What's Your Style?" series, created to help you achieve an aesthetic that's tailored to you. Keep reading to learn more!

Table of Contents

Is Rustic Modern style for you?
Do you love taking vacations to cozy mountainside cabins? 
Are you looking for a style that's simultaneously trendy, yet timeless?
Do thoughts of warm, welcoming colors and a comfortable, family-friendly living space intrigue you?

If you answered, "yes" to any of these questions, then Modern Rustic (also called Rustic Modern) is a great fit for you!

Be sure to browse the rest of our store, offering the highest quality modern rustic furniture! We also ship throughout the contiguous US!

What is rustic modern design?

This design style is centered around peering into the past in order to inspire the future. This style invokes an honest, unstudied feeling reminding us of simpler times.

This style is heavily inspired by the environment around us – it’s the physical form of a compassionate love for the natural world. Much like its cousin, mid-century modern, Rustic styles are all about bringing nature into the home. Rustic spaces often incorporate a heavy use of natural colors and large windows that serve to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors.

natural roots

Rustic Modern is a combination of several styles, including industrial, mid-century, and of course, rustic. The Rustic furniture style came about in the mid-late 19th century as many rural families opted to move into cities to pursue factory jobs introduced by the American Industrial Revolution.

Although many Americans happily adapted to their new ways of living, many were nostalgic of days gone by. Such were the members of the Transcendentalist movement. 

This philosophical movement was heavily influenced by German Unitarian philosophers and was centered around these ideas:

  • Self-Reliance
  • Individual conscience
  • Intuition over reason
  • Unity of all things in nature

Many influential writers of the time were Transcendentalists. The works of John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, and Ralph Waldo Emerson were incredibly popular at the time and heavily emphasized having a closer connection to nature. These ideas were then brought to life by Rustic furniture design.

Originally produced in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, rustic furniture used natural materials and emphasized their natural forms. Old Hickory Furniture Company was then established in 1890, allowing for the mass production of Rustic furniture. This style surged in popularity when it was adopted by the Great Camps of the Adirondacks and was later on adopted by the National Park Service.

modernization

As time progressed and new styles came about, furniture makers began to experiment with styles. Materials and technology brought about by the late Industrial Revolution and World Wars led to the creation of Industrial and Mid-Century styles, which were later incorporated into new "fusion" designs.

With a plethora of new design ideas, makers were able to experiment with combinations of styles, bringing forth an era of Transitional design, which includes styles such as Mid-Century Modern, Industrial Modern, and Rustic Modern.

Rustic Modern defining features: getting the look

Flagstone Elements

Looking to make your space feel like a sophisticated, yet cozy woodland estate? Here are some of the main characteristics that define Modern Rustic Furniture:

  • An emphasis on natural elements. Wood with a raw, unfinished aesthetic is heavily featured within this style.
  • An organic foundational form augmented with sleek, geometric shapes for a more modern look.
  • Earthy, neutral color palette - warm browns, creams, and shades of green form the base
  • Weathered materials - look for distressed leathers, metals with a light patina, and anything with a vintage feel to it.
  • Mid-Century influences - whether the piece itself has mid-century characteristics, or you're adding an accent piece, mid-century has a profound impact on elevating a rustic space

Don't feel like you have to incorporate all these features. It's always important to create a space you feel proud to call home. We do, however, recommend using these elements as a general guideline to achieve a quintessentially rustic look.

Form

For the traditional rustic style, the primary goal is to bridge the gap between nature and man. You'll see a heavy use of organic forms - wood tops retain their curvy live edges and metals have a flowing structure rather than a more rigid one.

Avoid overly-sculpted, machined pieces; opt for handcrafted furniture instead. Artisan made furniture adds personal touches that simply aren't found in mass produced pieces and adds uniqueness to every piece.

Of course, a Rustic Modern piece will have modern elements to create that transitional look. Sleek, straight lines and more structured forms add to its organic foundation to produce this style.

Be careful to not go overboard with the incorporation of these pieces - the more structure you add to the space, the less rustic it is.

Focus first on natural-looking pieces, such as our Melbourne Rustic desk or the Nottingham Live Edge Dining Table. Once the overall aesthetic of the room is established, look for more modern-looking pieces to accent the space. These add a contemporary flair to the room without drawing too much attention away from the rustic aesthetic.

function

Like a ranch house, many rustic pieces have a deep history and often use reclaimed objects and materials.

It's not uncommon to see water pails repurposed into sinks, wire baskets formed into lights, and bicycles turned into tables. These pieces bring their prior lives into the look and each tells a story of their own. 

Incorporating a recycled piece like this unique console table provides a great opportunity to add your personality into the space. Having unique pieces is what truly transforms a, "house" into a, "home."

Function is also where Rustic and Industrial styles overlap. If you're torn between the two aesthetics, why not incorporate a few Industrial Modern pieces into your rustic space or vice-versa. Feel free to incorporate another accent décor like folksy wall art or personal knick-knacks that you've acquired over the years - you want your space to feel cozy and welcoming after all.

materials

The main material used within Rustic Modern design is reclaimed solid wood. Our choice of wood is reclaimed teak wood.

The wood used for rustic pieces usually has a raw, unfinished look. This design choice serves to add a story to every piece - the story of the tree's life from which it was made. Wood's natural characteristics are integral in forming an organic foundation for the space. This is illustrated through varying grain patterns and naturally-occurring imperfections such as knots and mineral deposits. These form as a result of the conditions that the tree has endured and the things it has experienced.

In addition to a raw finish, rustic wood is oftentimes lightly weathered to create a well-lived, worn look. This adds a charming element to the piece while retaining its overall durability.

Other materials like raw iron are worked into rustic designs. Whether cast or forged, iron is a great material to add contrast to the space while retaining an organic aesthetic. Over time, the iron will form a beautiful, natural patina layer as well!

When it comes to fabrics, animal hides are heavily featured and used for furniture upholstery, rugs, and blankets. These add an element of comfort and coziness to the home. If hides aren't for you, then opt for hardy natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and wool, or a top-grain leather. Feel free to use these fabrics to add a splash of color or use muted colors for a more traditional aesthetic.

texture

Rustic furniture is rough to the touch. There are no perfectly smooth surfaces in nature, after all. 

It's important to note that, although the furniture has a raw wood finish, that doesn't mean it's left unprotected. A clear sealant like our catalyzed lacquer finish should be applied in order to ensure that the piece will be long-lasting and durable.

Rustic modern pieces aren't all rough - just as the materials contrast, so do textures. Both metal and wood bases have smooth finishes in order to provide variation when juxtaposed with rough table tops.

When it comes to upholstery, opting for natural linens provides some hardiness and allows for wear-and-tear, which adds additional rustic notes over time. Avoid delicate fabrics like silk, lace, or velvet - their refined, fragile textures are hard-pressed to find a place in a rustic space.

color

The main color palette for a rustic space should be warm and earthy - different hues of brown, olive greens, and stone greys are your best friends. All you really need in order to nail this palette is materials with natural finishes - the rest takes care of itself!

Don't feel confined to just those colors, though! Add splashes of bright colors to breathe life into the space. Reds, yellows, oranges, and blues aren't just great accent colors, but they're also found in biomes all across the world! Just as they have a place in the environment, they have a place in rustic décor.

However, avoid incorporating too many different colors - doing this will make the space feel overwhelming. A good rule-of-thumb is to stick to 3 main colors. Following a tri-chromatic color scheme creates variation and visual interest without making the room seem too busy.

Looking to add some Rustic Style to your space? Here are some tips:

Rustic Modern Living Room

Our Chiavari Living Room Collection with a Custom Live Edge Coffee Table

  • This style offers a TON of flexibility. Incorporating pieces in other transitional styles can shift the room from a more traditional rustic feeling to a more modern hodgepodge of styles.
  • Add some rugs to the space to make it cozy! For a more traditionally rustic aesthetic, opt for animal hides. You can even add oriental tapestries in to give the space a bohemian flair to it!
  • Add some folksy art and other wall décor to add an element of comfort into the space.
  • Lighting provides an excellent opportunity to add some personality into the space! If you want to branch out, consider adding some unique lighting to spruce up the room.
  • Add in some nature-inspired outdoorsy décor like or something unique like this intriguing recycled bike art.
  • Proudly displaying your souvenirs is a great way to personalize your space and give it a well-traveled aesthetic.
  • Go green! Adding some indoor plants in the space is not only a great way to improve indoor air quality, but also one of the best ways to bring nature indoors - what's more natural than a plant after all?

Check Out some of our RUSTIC MODERN PRODUCTS!

Mapai Mid-Century Modern Dining Table

Mapai Mid-Century Modern Dining Table

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Nottingham Modern Live Edge Bed

Nottingham Modern Live Edge Bed

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Grandby Mid-Century Modern Live Edge Coffee Table

Grandby Mid-Century Modern Live Edge Coffee Table

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