Rustic Design: Bring the Great Outdoors INDOORS

Travel is a great way to broaden my design perspective, and this year I’ve certainly had thousands of miles to develop my creativity. From New York to Florida to South Dakota & Montana, many different design styles have been represented. However, a very popular trend across the board over the past couple of years is “rustic design.” While in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota or Rocky Mountains of Montana (where I happen to be camping at this moment...well, perhaps GLAMPING in an RV would be more accurate), rustic involves lots of antlers, hides, and Native American textiles, although rustic can also be interpreted as Rustic Cottage, Rustic Modern, or Rustic Country (to name a few). No matter the slant, they all have an air of “raw” materials: unstained or reclaimed wood, iron, geometric prints and fabrics or rugs with lots of texture.

Southwestern Rustic Master Bedroom

Check out Pantone’s Fall Fashion Color Report if you want to see what I mean. There are “anchoring earth tones” like you’d see in a lot of southwestern or rustic country design (Potter’s Clay and Dusty Cedar), but several strong vibrant hues, such as blues to represent the Montana sky, give the palette life. Check the gorgeous rug in a Southwestern Rustic Master Bedroom project I designed to see how a cool blue can be interwoven with warmer colors to make a piece pop.

There’s a lot more to that bedroom than the rug, too. Take a closer look and you’ll see all sorts of heavy textures, typical of the rustic style. Start with the flooring beneath it – that weathered wide-plank flooring is a perfect complement for the unfinished “log” frame of the bed. The dresser has that rough, rustic look, too. So does the mirror frame.

Southwestern Rustic Master Bedroom

But just like with a beach theme, there’s a fine line between evoking a vibe and looking like a themed room at DisneyWorld. So we’ve offset the rustic with the smooth glass of the mirror and the more modern lamps.

You don’t have to go all-in on rustic, either. Sometimes, a piece or two can evoke the mood you’re going for. I love this table that went into a client’s cottage, for example.

Install day for this fresh rustic cottage living room. I almost kept those chairs for myself...

A photo posted by Gina McMurtrey Interiors (@ginamcmurtrey) on

Or maybe you prefer a more eclectic look, like this rustic bohemian bedroom. We have some great textiles on a more traditional bed, but the rug evokes a feeling of the American Southwest, and the walls have warmth and texture. Even the artwork brings in the outdoors.

I could nap all day in this rustic bohemian guest bedroom!

A photo posted by Gina McMurtrey Interiors (@ginamcmurtrey) on


Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting more thoughts on the trend toward rustic design, including more pictures from projects I’ve worked on. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more of what I love. And leave a question or comment! I’d love to hear what you think.

In the meantime, here’s are some more inspirations for you:

I love this mix of rustic and modern from Five Star Alliance.

Dot & Bo has a great Pinterest board called Rustic Industrial Living. It’s full of stuff that mixes rustic and contemporary in interesting ways.

Check out FriendlyWall. Absolutely gorgeous pre-finished hardwood molding that can make a wall (or even a ceiling) a work of art while imparting that natural vibe.

A rustic dining room table is a great centerpiece, and SF Girl by Bay suggests pairing it with mismatched chairs to give your space an informal feel where “conversation, food, and wine just flow.” See the results here.

Having said that, I got a chuckle out of this Q&A at Apartment Therapy: Help! My Rustic Table is Too Rustic.

If you’re looking for just a touch of that industrial/rustic look, think about lighting. Check out this page with some options that combine rustic and modern.


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