How to get it right
By Sunshine Menefee
The term rustic modern seems to be everywhere these days in the design world. But what exactly is it? How do I balance these seemingly opposite styles? While these two styles may seem very different, they both have a common thread: simplicity. It’s about connecting with nature while taking a classic, minimalist approach. Marrying them into one cohesive design is easier than you think.
What it is
Modern rustic is a well-planned blend of clean lines and textured surfaces. Keeping with the modern tradition, floor plans are open and windows are abundant. Furniture and accessories are carefully curated and have more structured shapes. The rustic side brings a warmth that some modern interiors lack. It focuses on weathered textures and warm colors by adding in natural and reclaimed elements. Think, 100 year-old ceiling beams over a leather Eames chair.
The floor plans for these spaces are open and airy. Kitchen, living, and dining rooms often one large space to make the home feel larger and connected with nature. High ceilings, often with exposed beams, are another trademark. Natural light is often maximized with tall and numerous windows.
Natural wood and stone are big design elements in a modern rustic space. Slate, brick, and rock are often seen here. Brick walls are left uncovered to showcase the beauty and craftsmanship. Or old bricks from factories are reused in a new home. You won’t find highly glossed wood in a rustic modern home. New wood is stained close to its natural color to enhance it’s details. Most often, you’ll find reclaimed wood that has been weathered and takes on a rich appearance. Wood floors from a dilapidated farmhouse bring instant warmth to a new home. Ceilings are covered in wood or beams as well. Balancing all that wood are slick concrete and shiny quartz countertops. Metal fixtures and handles keep things from straying too far into the rustic side.
Textiles are a big element in this design style. The more natural or textured something is, the better. Wool, sisal, cowhide, and linen are the mainstays. If you find any silks, they will be hand-loomed and knobby. Patterns are kept to a minimum and usually feature ethnic prints in subdued colors. To balance the rough textures, smooth leather and velvet are brought in to keep the modern aspect.
Saturated, earthy colors are the shades of choice to make the space feel tied to nature. Pine green, rich brown, royal blues, and dark reds set the backdrop for the crisp white that make the space open and airy. Mix clay, white, and warm colors to make a space feel inviting.
Modern homes are all about technology and a modern rustic one is no different. While things may have an antique look and feel, homes like this still have all the luxury and tech of contemporary homes. Rustic does not mean outdated. Mixing high-tech with Kitchens are outfitted with stainless steel appliances and sleek cabinets.
The use of small decor objects is unnecessary and adds clutter to this style. Large statement pieces take center stage while knickknacks are kept to a minimum. Curated pieces that have personal meaning are featured. A mix of dark and light metals are often used in accessories and lighting fixtures. Items with heavy visual weight are also common, such as woven baskets.
The clean lines of modern and mid-century modern furniture keep this style fresh and balanced. Classic pieces with neutral upholstery that is comfortable are staples in modern design. Pieces tend to have simple shapes and use throw pillows for added comfort and color.
Pull it all together
Balance. It’s the key to a great design. Having the right mixture of modern and rustic can be difficult, but is doable. Look for materials that have a worn and rich texture with neutral colors. Don’t worry about having all wood tones matching. Contrast is celebrated in this style. Big ticket items, like sofas and cabinets should be simple and unadorned. They should also be solid colors. Bring simple patterns in with accessories and accent pieces. Don’t forget that every surface tells a story. Reclaimed materials are perfect for this style. But keep things up-to-date with technology.
All of these design elements come together to create a warm and inviting space that is also sleek, modern, and luxurious. Striking a balance is what it’s all about. Pairing crisp lines with rich textures and reclaimed pieces keeps a modern rustic home grounded in nature while making use of today’s technology. Mixing new and old creates a space that makes you never want to leave.