Meg Ryan made the rustic farmhouse aesthetic in her living room ultra-chic with this color trick

The actress found the sweet medium between cozy and chic – and architectural experts say this balance is possible for all

Meg Ryan
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Designing an ultra-chic yet farmhouse-style home may have always felt somewhat unachievable – but Meg Ryan has shown it's more than possible to bring both aesthetics together as one. And the secret is as simple as a fresh paint job.

The actress, who worked with Santa Barbara-based Becker Studios in her monochromatic kitchen, continued this black-and-white palette into her open-plan living space. Architecturally, the room has an industrial farmhouse aesthetic – complete with high wooden beams, a textured brick wall, and a large fireplace, but Meg has brought them into the contemporary day with one key tool: paint. 

While many traditional farmhouse spaces exhibit a natural color scheme, keeping wood and bricks in their original hue, Meg drenched the area in a pure white shade with black accents – creating a modern canvas without sacrificing rustic textures.

The combination of traditional materials with a contemporary room color scheme strikes a bare balance between two distinct decorating styles – and it's a technique that hasn't gone unnoticed by architectural experts, who say we can do the same.  

Architectural director Giovanni Scippo explains that ensuring our home has natural materials (like Meg's exposed bricks and wooden beams) is the most impactful way to create a rustic aesthetic, and color is the quickest way to bring them into this century. 

However, in many cases, adding new beams or designing a new wall is no easy feat – but Giovanni says it's possible to get the look by starting with a white base and bringing in rustic furnishings instead. 

'Opt for wood furniture and embrace textures like woven fabrics. They add character and warmth to the space, which can help tone down the monochromatic color scheme,' he says. 'You could also choose hardwood floors for your home, as they add a bit of contrast and enhance your monochrome colors, making the room warmer and more inviting.'

Architectural director
Giovanni Scippo
Architectural director
Giovanni Scippo

Giovanni Scippo is an experienced designer who has an in-depth understanding of the challenges to expect when outsourcing for CGI projects. Together with his UK-based team, they set up a studio that works harmoniously with clients to create architecturally smart spaces designed for the future. 

And it's certainly easy to follow Meg's lead (and Giovanni's advice) and begin with a bright white living room. This hue has a 'timeless' quality, admired by almost every designer – and its versatile ability to work alongside materials and furnishings of every style only emphasizes this further. 

'White living rooms can serve as a great backdrop for any color,' says designer Mary-Lynn from Mary-Lynn Ring Design, LLC, who also recommends incorporating wooden or metal pieces to create a chic-rustic look. 

'These materials have a color, but we recognize them as a particular material before we notice the color they bring to the décor,' she says. 'They’re a nice way to add a bit of interest to an all-white room without adding the perception of introducing another color into the scheme.'

To tap into the look, we're starting with these picks below.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.