Rustic Home Decor Makes a Comeback

Gone are the sleek, cold lines of ultramodern contemporary decorating. The most popular styles of home decorating today emphasize the warmth and congeniality of the country. Decorators are embracing the charm and simplicity of rustic home decor, and combining it with some surprising accents.

For the last few decades, there’s been a distinct split between high-end upscale home decorating and comfortable down-home affordable décor. The high-style magazines featured glossy photos of modern contemporary homes, replete with stone, glass and steel. The colors were stark – black and white with a few slashes of brilliant tones to emphasize the contrasts and smooth lines. Meanwhile, the magazines aimed at Mrs. America around the U.S.A. offered the warm, cozy sensibility of country kitsch and homespun fabrics. Cows and chickens, hearts and patchwork quilts, rag rugs and solid wood furniture filled rooms that invited guests to sit down, take your shoes off and set a spell.

The gap has closed, and one of today’s hottest new decorating styles blends the two into a stylish, classic blend of rustic charm and high-bred functionality. This new style – call it rustic modern – features natural materials (wood and stone, wool, cotton, linen and silk) and floor plans that flow and move into each other without overcrowding. The best examples of rustic décor have the feeling of a country lodge on an estate: open, relaxing and friendly.

Want to bring a bit of rustic warmth to your decorating scheme? Here are some suggestions from top designers.

Go for the country cabin look. Wood wall paneling is back in style – but with a twist. Rustic paneling features wide planks and a rough-hewn look, with a warm, honey tone.

Country crafts can warm your whole room. Try a classic patchwork quilt on a metal frame bed, or throw it over the back of a homespun sofa. Patchwork and appliquéd pillows with a country theme can bring a hint of rustic charm to your living and sitting rooms.

Think hunting lodge. Functionality meets creativity in some of the most charming and whimsical accents. Chainsaw carved bears sit by fireplaces, deer antlers hang on walls to hold hats and wrought iron is everywhere.

The right floor can transform your entire room. Bare wood is beautiful, and fits the style perfectly, but it’s not your only choice. Stone floors softened with woven and braided area rugs, or a classic sheepskin from Australia or New Zealand can be the perfect backdrop for rustic furniture and collections.

Go Navajo. Or Hudson Bay. Woven wool throws in Southwestern designs or a classic Hudson Bay wool blanket are a subtle touch of bygone rustic charm with a masculine feel that’s perfect for this style.