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The Rural Revolution: Bringing Rustic Design Kicking and Screaming Into the 2020s

The rustic look has long been a staple of interior design, having injected a sense of quaint yet elegant traditionalism into homes around the world for centuries. However, this much-loved aesthetic doesn’t have to be limited to traditional farmhouses, log cabins and country cottages – far from it! It can easily be fused with modern interior design principles to bring this characterful design theme well and truly into the 2020s – and we’re here to show you how.

bathroom with view on the forest

Of course, the term ‘rustic’ covers a broad spectrum of design themes – from coastal and country to ski lodges and Tuscan farmhouses – but the essential elements all include natural, earthy and rugged materials and features that can be married with modern interiors with the right know-how.

The result is a home that’s cozy, comforting and has that welcoming lived-in feel that’s not just great for you, but can also deliver that all-important mass appeal when the time comes to sell your home.

Start from the floor up

To achieve genuinely rustic-looking interiors, even in modern properties, it’s essential to layer the look at every given opportunity – and a sensible place to start is from the floor up. With the right flooring choices, you’ll have the perfect foundation to build on with furniture and other decorative elements – ensuring the end result is a contemporary rustic design that looks authentic but still has all the hallmarks of a modern home, regardless of the age of your property.

With nature at the heart of rustic design, opting for raw materials like wood is an obvious way to lend an earthy feel to the whole room. But in the theme of giving rustic interiors a modern update, why not achieve the look of traditional hardwood floors with contemporary wood-effect tiles instead?

Practical, durable and incredibly realistic, wood-look tiles deliver oodles of rustic charm without the expense and maintenance of real wood. With the added bonus of exceptional versatility, these tiles can work in almost any room of the house – from bathrooms and kitchens to bedrooms and hallways.

Layer the look on the walls

When you think of a rustic home, most of you will envisage exposed stone, an impressive fireplace and wooden beams on ceilings and walls, most of which aren’t integral features of a modern home. However, some savvy decor choices here can bring the desired texture and depth these typically rustic features bring with a more modern edge.

One idea is to add a touch of contemporary chic with a feature wall that also embodies the rougher elements of rustic interiors, using the rugged charm of split face stone tiles to lend a more minimalistic and industrial-style look. When paired with smooth walls in neutral tones, the contrast of textures, colors and themes blurs the line between old and new – creating a space that feels homely and earthy yet quintessentially modern.

Finish with the right furnishings

Speaking of furniture, your decisions here can make or break your contemporary rustic theme – as your furniture and other decorative items need to complement the raw and lived-in feel without it looking like you’ve stepped into a time warp.

The key here is to find the right blend of classic and traditional styles that work well together, while also keeping the design simple. The end result will be a space that’s light and airy with a hint of nostalgia and the clean, sleek feel of modern interiors.

Start by selecting a few bonafide rustic pieces that will serve as your focal points and pair them with more uniform items and modern materials like glass and metal that lend a clean and utilitarian feel. The room in the image above beautifully combines wooden cladding and rustic touches with modern interior features to create a living space that’s inviting and homely yet still entirely 21st-century.

Of course, mastering a modern rustic theme is also about utilizing different textures and fabrics to evoke that sense of comfort. While traditionally, handwoven rugs and natural fabrics would be your go-to here, we suggest mixing and matching new and old to bring this aesthetic up-to-date.  Think crushed velvet cushions in bright hues to inject some color into your neutral aesthetic, or a woven rug that incorporates a more on-trend pattern and palette to give your rustic interior a modern look that nonetheless celebrates the essence of rural design.

Whether you live in a city apartment or a rural homestead, we hope this post provides you with all the inspiration you need to give your home that much-loved country style with a distinctly modern vibe. By focusing on making the right interior choices that strike the right balance between old and new, you can have a nature-inspired aesthetic that’s designed for the 21st century and will never go out of style.

The above post is a guest post from Suhayl Laher. Suhayl works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.

Are you interested in finding a home that includes rustic design? Connect with a Coldwell Banker Lifestyles real estate agent today: Meet an Agent. 

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