The ultimate checklist for modern rustic style – 10 steps to create this classic look

It's time to embrace modern rustic style in every room in the house, check out our expert advice below

Modern rustic interior design style
(Image credit: OKA/Farrow & Ball/deVOL)

Modern rustic style is here to stay and it's easy to see why – it's warm and cozy, yet contemporary and authentic, a style of opposites that work wonderfully together. 

It has the simplicity of modern design teamed with the rustic charm of raw materials, slubby textures, and a color palette that invites you to ground yourself in earthy shades of taupes, russets, caramels, and oatmeal. 

With the help our some of our favorite interior designers, we've created the ultimate checklist for modern rustic style that shows you how to put the key interior design elements together.

The ultimate checklist for modern rustic style

A white and gray modern rustic kitchen sink and cabinets designed by deVOL

(Image credit: deVOL)

Modern rustic style is a really fabulous scheme to introduce to your home, Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director at OKA explains, 'It really is timeless and it’s such an easy aesthetic to bring to your home with it being so versatile. The secret to finding a modern rustic balance is to think about the materials of the pieces you have in your home and to make sure it’s a balance of distressed woods, textured linens, metal framed furniture and stone pieces, which will bring the aesthetics together.'

For the ultimate checklist of modern rustic style have a look at our top interior design style ideas below that cover color, texture, accessories and wallpaper in every room of the home. 

Choose the right color palette

checklist for modern rustic style, modern rustic style living room, oatmeal shiplap and pale grey drapes, gold framed pictures, chestnut armchairs, oatmeal pillows, fall foliage

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Modern rustic style exudes a quiet calm and this is much to do with the beautiful grounding color palette that shows it off so well. 

Think soothing caramels, russet, stone, oatmeal and taupe, but you can also add in some shades of gray and jet black to that. Metallics also work, consider brass, copper, and gold to add extra warmth to your scheme. 

Bring in the warmth of wood

checklist for modern rustic style, kitchen with wood cabinets and floor, white marble countertops, black stools, pumpkins on island, beams, open plan shelving

(Image credit: Rincon Road)

One of the benefits of a modern rustic scheme is that it works in most settings – whether it's a farmhouse style home or a more contemporary space, the inspiration is the same.

'When designing a modern rustic kitchen I draw inspiration from the outdoor surroundings. I love using natural materials, wood, stone, and metal; keeping the walls a soft white really lets these materials take center stage and creates a beautiful backdrop for vintage finds,' says Melinda Trembly, principal designer at Rincon Rd.

'I decided to go with a minimal glass fixture with clean lines so that they almost disappeared into the space. I wanted to keep an open feeling and not block the views to the mountains out of the kitchen sink window.' 

headshot of Melinda Trembly
Melinda Trembly

Melinda Trembly, principal designer at Rincon Rd. based in Carpinteria, California,  is the founder and creative mind behind Rincon Rd., an interior design studio and lifestyle brand with a focus on offering clients a slower-paced lifestyle and reconnecting them with their roots.

Source vintage pieces

checklist for modern rustic style, open plan living dining space, retro furniture, green couch, wood floors, vintage doors on cabinetry, black surround

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

One of the key words for modern rustic style is authenticity and this can be found in flea markets and antique shops. Look for the really unusual pieces that are full of character and will add charm to your scheme. 

To contrast the warmth of the knotty wood add some darker shades to your scheme, Patrick O'Donnell, brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball explains, 'The darker and moodier end of the color palette resonates so well with our decorating tastes and needs, from deep, architectural greys and tobacco tones to dark jewel-toned greens, blues and purples.'

Patrick O’Donnell
Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O’Donnell has been bringing his impeccable eye for color to Farrow & Ball since 2012. Over that time, he has been a showroom manager, global color consultancy manager and now brand ambassador. However, he is best known as the much-loved face of Farrow & Ball on social media. 

Use tactile woven fabrics

checklist for modern rustic style, modern living room with wood walls, rug, coffee table, low slung furniture, pale gray, cream drapes

(Image credit: Yarn Collective)

This look is all about texture too, those wonderful fabrics that feel so good to touch – consider boucle, velvet, linen, and heavy cottons like calico. 

'Natural woven textiles in neutrals and rich earthy textures that range from deep mossy greens through to smoky terracotta play a huge part in a modern rustic decor scheme. Solid plain fabrics certainly take precedence for this trend over prints as there is a degree of minimalism within the trend but subtle pattern in the form or simple stripes and irregular geometrics introduced through soft sheers and weaves will bring a scheme to life. 

'A variety of tonal and tactile natural materials with their innate organic quality will create a modern rustic home that feels relaxed and serene,' says James Gomez, co-founder, Yarn Collective. 'All will be excellent choices for upholstery and drapes – and don't forget a textured rug too.'

James Gomez
James Gomez

James Gomez is the co-founder of Yarn Collective, a British textile studio designing and manufacturing a curated selection of interior fabrics for the home that marry exquisite craftsmanship with sustainable principles – that are available via US stockists. By prioritising natural and recycled fibres, Yarn Collective minimise their ecological footprint and support eco-friendly manufacturing processes, ensuring that their textiles are not only luxurious but also environmentally conscious.

Embrace natural stone

checklist for modern rustic style, rustic dining room with large stone fireplace, real drapes, round dining table and upholstered chairs, patterned tile floor, shiplap walls

(Image credit: George Spencer Design)

Homes that have original features already will give you a jump start with this fabulous look. An oversized stone fireplace will not only create a striking focal point, but could be the starting point for the rest of your modern rustic scheme in a dining room

'Combining fabric with stone in modern rustic interiors balances the rugged, organic appeal of stone with the tactility and comfort of fabric. While stone can sometimes feel cold and austere, fabric introduces visual warmth and coziness, making it particularly effective in areas like dining and living rooms, where comfort is paramount,' explains Tim Walters, managing director, of George Spencer Designs

Choose fabrics of similar tones so you get a constant color palette working across the space – muted tones of green, blue and of course stone, will do the trick perfectly. 

headshot of Tim Walter
Tim Walter

Having previously worked for several leading names in the interiors industry, including Osborne & Little and French fabric house Nobilis, Tim Walters became managing director of George Spencer Designs in 2014. As well as focusing on operations in the UK, Tim is also responsible for growing George Spencer Designs’ presence internationally.  

Bring in a slightly industrial style

checklist for modern rustic style, modern rustic kitchen, pared back style, rough wood cabinetry, copper countertop, brass faucet, open shelving, open brick wall, table and stools, terracotta tiles

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)

If you love pared back style then adopt the utilitarian/industrial element when it comes to kitchens ideas. Rough-sawn wood cabinets teamed with a copper countertop will give you a natural yet contemporary finish. Keep to a neutral color palette to let the textures be the focal point. 

'I would try to keep most small appliances and accessories to a minimum, behind simple cupboards or neatly displayed on shelving,' advises Helen Parker, creative director at deVOL Kitchens. 'Larger appliances such as a fridge and cooker can be on display, if these were stainless steel and had a more industrial feel they would be in keeping with the modern aesthetic. I would avoid colored or fancy appliances.'

Helen Parker portrait
Helen Parker

Helen Parker is deVOL's creative director. Joining in 2004 as a kitchen designer, by 2011 she had become responsible for deVOL's style, creating one-of-a-kind showrooms, sourcing antiques and gifts and designing new pieces of furniture and accessories. Over the years, she has developed deVOL's look and voice, styling all their beautiful imagery, writing for their brochures and website, and is often featured in national and international press.

Choose warmer tones

checklist for modern rustic style, living room with caramel couch, russet rug, artwork, black metal and glass coffee table, plain and print couch pillows, painted brick wall, beams

(Image credit: OKA)

When it comes to accessories for your modern rustic living room, it's about choosing the right fabrics and prints that fit the key elements of the look.

Sue Jones from OKA says, 'For example, if you’ve got an earthy colored linen sofa which brings a soft, warm aesthetic, I’d pair it with a metal framed coffee table which brings a clean-lined contrast and that modern twist. A few simple accessory swaps can really help to achieve the modern rustic style, whether it’s a fringed linen couch pillow instead of a floral print design or a soumak weave rug in aged terracotta in replacement of a deep pile rug for a more polished look.'

Look out for artwork too in color scheme and pieces like trays and glassware that will add a tactile element. 

Use wallpaper with a nod to nature

checklist for modern rustic style, modern rustic bedroom with beams, brass bed, blue print pillows, tiger and leaf wallpaper, cream drapes

(Image credit: Divine Savages / Always Sunday Boltholes)

When it comes to creating a modern rustic bedroom there are several elements that will help to achieve a modern rustic interior – and according to Jamie Watkins, co-founder at Divine Savages, 'With wallpaper we suggest choosing designs influenced by the natural world.'

'Our Faunacation paper features tropical palms, lush foliage and wild cats and creates a bold nature-inspired backdrop, whilst its muted tones of pastel pink and blue add a contemporary touch. Pair the wallpaper with geometric print textiles for a striking contrast – the combination of these elements works harmoniously against the traditional oak beams of a cottage, blending modern and rustic aesthetics seamlessly.'

Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy
Jamie Watkins

Divine Savages specialises in creating exquisitely crafted wallpapers, fabrics, accessories and limited edition art prints for the brave and bold. It was founded by husbands Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy in 2017. Taking inspiration from history, culture, fashion and the natural world to create an eclectic mix of influences, Divine Savages has, to date, created myriad designs whose personalities come across just as much in their names as they do visually.

Mix and match your finishes

Modern rustic bathroom with dark green tiles

(Image credit: Future/Kasia Fiszer)

There's definitely an eclectic design element to modern rustic style, something that makes it so accessible if you love to show your personality through your interiors. 

This clever walk in shower perfectly blends modern style with rustic elements and in a period property. The sleek jet black fixtures and fittings juxtapose the original features in the rest of the room.  Yet the muted green tiles tonally match mocha walls and help to pull the scheme together. 

Keep things neutral and let texture be the focus

checklist for modern rustic style, living room with neutral elegant scheme, oatmeal couch, rattan coffee table, textured cream rug, cream painted floorboards, beams, shutters, vintage sideboard

(Image credit: The White Company)

If you love an elegant feel then modern rustic style will suit you too. The same elements work – textures, a muted color palette and one-off finds, as Mark Winstanley, chief creative officer at The White Company explains:

'It’s good to choose pieces that will add character and gentle texture. I love a combination of natural materials and finishes. From timber, stone, sisal floors or rugs to touches of greenery that bring hints of the outside world in.'

Source furniture from flea markets and antique stores, they will immediately offer that weathered rustic feel, then team it with modern lamps and artwork.

'Throughout a home ceramics, textured bowls and greenery can create lovely focal points,' adds Mark.

Mark Winstanley
Mark Winstanley

As chief creative officer for the past twelve years, Mark Winstanley is the creative custodian of the business and the driving force behind bringing the brand to life working across all platforms of the business from print to online to retail and international expansion. Mark works closely with The White Company’s owner founder, Chrissie Rucker OBE, from product development to transforming the business into one of today’s most successful British lifestyle brands, globally. 

Our ultimate checklist for modern rustic style will certainly inspire you to introduce this fabulous look into your home, and the beauty of it is that it works in every room – from the bathroom to the bedroom, living room to kitchen. 

It gives you freedom to create a home that's full of character, textures and a calming yet grounding color palette. 

Sophie Warren-Smith
Contributing Editor

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.