Rustic living room ideas are currently having a moment in the spotlight – and for good reason. This interior decor trend strikes the perfect balance between cozy and homespun; like an escape to the countryside without leaving the city limits.
Hoping to put some modern rustic ideas to work in your own living room? We've selected the essential aspects of rustic decor – these practical, expert-approved tips and ideas will ensure your home reflects the chic and modern aesthetic while still maintaining a cozy and understated appeal.
Rustic living room ideas – sit back and relax with these modern country schemes
With a nod to the past, but firmly rooted in the present, these rustic living room ideas offer a simple way to achieve a timeless aesthetic.
1. Start with a blank canvas
If you think white living room ideas are only reserved for ultra-modern homes, think again. Surprisingly, a predominantly white decorating scheme is the ideal blank canvas for a rustic living room.
Avoid a white space from appearing too clinical or sterile by decorating with neutrals. One important aspect to consider when decorating with a white color palette is to bring in as much texture as possible as it creates interest and layers –important factors when strong living room colors are out of the picture.
'Texture can determine how a modern rustic room looks and feels, so invest in plenty of raw materials alongside natural reclaimed wood, linen, wool – and elements of greenery,' says homeowner Lauren Meichtry, founder of Elsie Home (opens in new tab).
2. Clad your walls with weathertight shiplap
Shiplap has long been popular in coastal areas – particularly the north-east coast of the States – but used inside it creates a light, casual space resonate of farmhouse and beachside decor, as demonstrated in this rustic living room scheme. Paint your wall paneling in a muted color palette that complement the creams, taupes and whites commonly found in modern farmhouse living rooms.
Keep the rest of the scheme simple with materials often found in nature. ‘The designs used here depict scenes of the natural world, all inspired by the countryside,' explains Yasmin Smith, Head of Design at Blendworth (opens in new tab).
'Using fabrics in a similar inviting color palette, alongside neutral linens and natural textures, helps the scheme to remain "organic" at its core and echoes the landscapes that inspired it, perfect for use in a rustic setting.’
3. Go for maximum texture
Texture in interior design is crucial if you want to create a rustic living room that is also contemporary yet cozy. Quite simply, without texture, your space will fall flat. It's vital to look at the room as a whole and bring an area together with mixed materials for vibrancy and warmth.
Don't automatically assume that a lack of color will make a room feel cold. White, teamed with plenty of texture and natural fabrics and wooden surfaces, can look instantly appealing, like in this modern rustic living room idea above – while dark living room seating will make a room feel cozy, not small.
4. Layer a black living room with tone and texture
Daring and decadent, black living room ideas might not seem like an obvious choice for a rustic living room, but once mastered, they can add an elegant confidence to your space like no other color. Like white, all-over black decorating scheme will act as a blank canvas for layers of texture and subtle hints of color.
Painting your living room (including the ceiling) black is a beautiful way to create a cocooning space that is sharp yet cozy, as this modern rustic scheme, designed by the Ivey Design Group (opens in new tab) shows.
Tone and texture are essentials components in getting this look right – remember that the most successful rustic interiors combine movement and depth – with tactile pieces thrown in to create an interesting narrative.
5. Light up a rustic room
When it comes to rustic living room ideas, the living room fireplace becomes not just another design element but a main focal point, so discovering the perfect addition can elevate the room from one that is purely practical into a space full of ambience and conviviality.
Rules of symmetry say that a modern living room should have a fireplace that sits in the center of a wall – but that’s not always necessary, especially in a rustic setting. Clad entirely in stone, this statement design combines the best of modern technology with a farmhouse feel. By having the fire to one side, it's also easier to switch off and focus on the fire when lit, plus as it's nearer at eye level – once seated – it allows for a more natural visual connection for those in the room.
6. Go for a predominantly brown scheme
The nuances of a brown color palette are often underplayed but one look at this modern brown living room shows how complex and interesting this shade can truly be when done right.
‘We’re seeing a lot more taupe, tan and rust colors coming through this year,’ explains Charlie Marshall, founder of Loaf (opens in new tab). ' These tones are ideally suited to a country setting, and can be softened with neutral off-white living room paint ideas as a backdrop.'
This season sees a return to simple living room design choices and restrained color palettes. Plus, the desire to embrace nature has moved from the greens of the forest to an earthy palette of fossil tones.
7. Create a cozy spot for hibernation
Cozy living room ideas are pretty much top of most people's lists at the moment – for obvious reasons, when you consider that the most used space in a home is the living space. Rustic furnishings should be practical and, above all, comfortable – particularly in the most utilized room the home. Therefore, flexibility is vital.
'Rustic, eclectic furniture and notable accessories not only make your home more welcoming, they're a great way to express your personality,' says Sam Baldry, head of design at Swoon (opens in new tab).
8. Lay down a rug for warmth underfoot
If you can only add one item to your rustic living room scheme, an area room rug is a design-savvy choice.
One of the easiest ways to add interest, warmth and texture to your rustic living space is to introduce a versatile – and instantly changeable – rug. More flexible and cost-effective than a carpet or other form of fixed floor-covering, rugs offer an excellent way to soften a rustic stone, tiled or timber floor, and can also be layered onto soft floors to define zones in an open-plan living room. And, when it comes to style, it can add a whole layer of character to any room.
‘Think of your rug as a piece of art for your floor,' says Linny Moss, creative director of Knots Rugs (opens in new tab). 'If you are a traditionalist at heart, choose a selection of simple yet timeless pattern and color scheme that will evolve with your space.'
9. Combine modern rustic with cozy, laid-back elements
From effortless living room color schemes to quiet rooms to retreat to, rustic living room decor should be functional and, above all, comfortable – particularly if all you crave is a soothing space. Therefore, texture in interior design is key, and is often used to great effect when planning a cozy living room full of modern rustic features.
'Textures help to keep a space from feeling flat or one dimensional, making them optimal for farmhouse and rustic living room schemes,' says Tiffany Leigh, of Tiffany Leigh Design (opens in new tab).
For a multi-layered look, tactile weaves look beautiful when layered against the luxurious feel of Merino wool throws or rough-hewn timber to give a rustic room some depth – and sense of history and purpose.
10. Take an outside-in approach to decorating
Echo the beauty of coastal getaways with by inviting nature into your rustic living room. Rustic style can be a lot more design-led than you might imagine. Forgo the notion of weathered furnishings for a contemporary take on rustic farmhouse living room aesthetic.
This coastal living room – designed with modern living in mind – was crafted to offer warmth in the winter and serenity in the summer. The aim was to create a lounge that was calm and considered yet restrained and not overly decorated – less is so often more when it comes to rustic living room ideas.
What makes a living room rustic?
To recreate a rustic living room, you need to start with the basics. A neutral scheme will be inspiring and add depth to farmhouse decor. It’s important to consider texture, whether through pattern, such as a bouclé or linen fabric, or by mixing finishes, like a matte wall with gloss paint on the ceiling. These elements create interest that will make neutral living room ideas sing.
Living room furniture and soft furnishings should have a relaxed, lived-in feel – think woven wicker, weathered wood, bleached linen and reclaimed materials – while natural details add a beach house or farmhouse element, from pebbles and driftwood pieces to seashells and subtle hints of greenery. We suggest that you take a less is more approach when it comes to planning a rustic living room scheme.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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