Rustic living room ideas suit many types of home regardless of whether they are located in a town, city or the countryside.
A cottage, farmhouse or barn conversion with exposed beams or original inglenook fireplace are rustic style's natural home. Yet you can still create a similar look in modern properties. They key is in how you do it.
Rustic decor can make modern living room ideas feel inviting and cosy. It's also a relaxed way to live, with rough luxe textures and tactile materials, in place of polished finishes or shiny surfaces. So it's easy to see the appeal.
'This move towards natural fabrics, comforting textures and warm wood tones is something we're seeing in more and more homes,' says Sally Wilkie, co-founder of Home Barn.'
Rustic living room ideas
Whether you live in a new build, city apartment or family home, the aesthetic remains the same - rustic style is a celebration of simple and unrefined beauty. So see how it can be incorporated into your home.
1. Play with plaid on upholstery
Wool plaid is one of those fabrics that conjurs up rustic vibes. Its proud heritage and long association with the Scottish highlands draws our minds to country castles and wild landscapes, whether we realise it or not.
Introducing pops of plaid on upholstery, or even just on cushions, will imbue your living room with a country aesthetic that can span from rustic to regal even if you're working with a small living room idea.
2. Mix earthy textures with monochrome
Rustic doesn't have to look twee or austere. It can look fresh and modern if you work in certain elements. Consider natural textures, such as a vintage tan leather Chesterfield, cosy faux sheepskin cushions and a rattan rug.
Setting these pieces against a timber-effect backdrop and teaming them with plenty of monochrome art and accessories will keep your rustic living room current.
3. Combine raw finishes and soft textures
Rustic rooms tend to have plenty of raw, earthy textures, such as timber or stone, yet this can feel a little cold or austere to some.
If you want your rustic space to feel warm and cosy, combine just a couple of raw finishes on architectural details like an exposed wooden beam or brick fire surround when thinking about how to design a living room. Then combine these with plenty of soft fabrics, such as wool and cotton velvet in warm cocooning tones.
4. Connect inside and outside
Blessed with a beautiful view? Make this the focal point with understated decor that keeps your gaze firmly outside, rather than on stand out items in the room.
Choose a palette and pieces that complement the view outside, and won't compete with it. Pale timber tones for the flooring and furniture, with soft greys that echo expansive skies will work well.
5. Bring in botanical elements
There's often an abundance of timber and earthy tones and textures in rustic-style rooms. These natural materials look gorgeous together, however to prevent them from becoming too bland, introduce botanical elements to break up layers of neutrals.
Pops of green in the form of leafy prints, floral cushions and sage green surfaces will ensure your scheme stays fresh and vibrant.
6. Introduce quirky vintage pieces
Rustic homes tend to look lived in and a little worn around the edges. There's no room for high-maintenance materials, pristine surfaces or items that can't be cleaned easily. This means unpolished timber and vintage items with a few scuffs will be right at home in a rustic living room. Bear this in mind when planning surfaces such as living room flooring ideas.
'To capture the ‘farmhouse’ feeling, be sure to utilise wood where possible,' says James Mellan-Matulewicz, creative director at wallpaper brand, Bobbi Beck. 'Natural tones work really well as base colours to achieve a modern and minimalist edge, and vintage, quirky, mismatched furniture will add to a more homely look.'
7. Choose a timber clad ceiling
Original wooden beams feature heavily in rustic living rooms, but they're not essential to a country aesthetic. In newer homes it's possible to capture country style in other ways. Timber panelled walls are a popular choice for a cosy cabin effect.
Another alternative is a timber clad ceiling. Instead of whitewashing the wood, enhance its natural tones with wax or oil to add warmth to your room.
‘Layering natural materials and textures is a style technique currently being executed by interior designers and homeowners alike to create a warm, welcoming, and soulful interior,' says Olivia Crosher, interior designer at Naturewall.
8. Keep decoration to a minimum
If you've bought, or live in, an actual rustic home, for example a farmhouse, country cottage or converted barn, less is more. Here the focus will be on letting the building speak for itself.
Leaving oak beams or brick walls exposed and other original features unadorned will allow the building's age and character to shine through. Blending these features with simple additions and subtle updates such as timber flooring, a wood burner idea and a mix of modern and vintage furniture will keep its rustic charm current.
9. Layer different types of ticking stripes
Ticking fabric with its robust herringbone weave, utilitarian origins (as a sturdy mattress cover) and recognisable striped design, will add a rustic touch to your living room. Made from cotton or cotton and linen yarns, it's a no-nonsense fabric, that's as sturdy as it is stylish.
Use ticking on upholstery, blinds, living room curtain ideas or cushions and layer different colours and designs for relaxed, rustic comfort and style.
10. Build an eye-catching log store
Rustic style evokes images of snuggling up in front of a roaring log fire in cosy country surroundings. So if you've incorporated a wood burner into your rustic living room, why not add attractive log storage ideas too?
As well as a practical solution for keeping firewood dry, an indoor log store can make an eye-catching design feature, and add natural textures and tones to your scheme.
11. Keep it timeless in white
A rustic decor doesn't have to be all about earthy tones, it can still be considered for more contemporary. Make an all-white decor feel cosy and rustic with a layered approach to texture and textiles. Try white-washing original wooden floorboards to retain an air of natural rustic beauty within the space, or add a natural rug.
To further the country-style pair slubby linens with aged metals and weather wood for furnishings and accessories. Ambient lighting choices will enhance warm undertones of the best white paint shades used on walls and floors to create a cosy aesthetic.
12. Expose characterful brickwork
Create a feature wall of sorts by exposing the original brickwork of a chimney breast. This simple task will instantly welcome a touch of rustic charm to any scheme. This grey living room proves how the rustic nature of brick doesn't have to overwhelm a more modern decor, it merely balances the look.
If removing plasterboard that has been covering up the fireplace you will probably need to clean the bricks up, to make them look back to best. A gentle clean with a hard bristle brush will remove any crumbling mortar and excess dust. Choose to add another rustic touch with reclaimed wooden shelving either side, for a smart alcove idea.
13. Balance bold accent colour
Be bold with accent colours for a modern rustic feel. Earthy, dark, natural colours are proving popular when it comes to selecting a bold shade for an accent wall, tiles or furniture in the home. They're also a great option for creating a cosy living room idea or space.
The trick is to keep it subtle and not overdo it, so choose one part of the rustic living room ideas décor, such as one wall, a rug or the sofa cushions to introduce the colour, making sure that the rest of the accessories in the room complement it well.
14. Add woodland inspired wallpaper
Follow the popular woodland trend and take your inspiration from nature when it comes to your rustic living room ideas. Team gentle neutrals on walls and floors with accent colours in nature-inspired tones such as fresh green, then bring in lots of pretty woodland prints on wallpaper and soft furnishings.
15. Team wood with leather
An easy way to welcome warmth is by introducing classic country materials, such as worn leather, reclaimed wood and aged metal. From hearty leather sofas to a reclaimed wooden coffee table there are key staples that instantly signify a penchant for rustic style.
Since these items can be on the pricier side of things, it's well worth your time checking out home decor discount codes for these big ticket pieces.
16. Welcome organic materials for window treatments
When dressing your rustic living room ideas consider the look from floor to ceiling. Living room blind ideas play a huge role in tying a decor scheme together, offering a coordinating pattern or colour to dress the windows to suit your chosen theme.
In this understated living space the custom-made organic, rustic textured brown roller blinds add the perfect finishing touch to windows – incorporating earthy tones and tactile textures to the look.
17. Keep it contemporary
For modern living room ideas looking to welcome subtle rustic touches opt for thoughtful furniture choices. Simple organic shapes and imperfect wooden pieces add a hint of rustic charm to even the most contemporary of sitting room settings.
Handmade furniture pieces crafted from reclaimed materials by skilled joiners is at the heart of this look. A hearty living room console placed behind the sofa is the ideal place to pop lamps, on-trend dried flower arrangements and decorative objects of interest.
18. Seek a colour palette inspired by nature
Grounding, earthy hues have become the new neutral for modern day living in rustic living room ideas - as we seek more warmth and comfort from a blank canvas of colour. Dulux's Brave Ground flexes in tone depending on the time of day and setting, meaning it's more than a flat neutral - it creates a sense of warmth at different times of the day. Creating a subtly responsive environment to the natural world around it gives a wall colour versatility in how it feels.
A colour with warm undertones pairs beautifully with so many different colour palettes, adapting to its surroundings. Perfect for rustic country living room ideas to feel content and comforted by the use of colour.
19. Adorn the walls with rustic-look wood
Wood-effect wallpapers are hugely popular to add interest to walls without the expense of wall panelling ideas and cladding coverage. Covering the walls with engulfs the room in rustic charm, in essence surrounding every design element within the room into the countryside scheme.
This idea is not for those looking for a subtle hint of rustic charm, this is daring. You could soften the approach by wallpapering to create living room feature wall ideas, to dip your toe in.
20. Create a raw finish with paint effects
Create a stripped back rustic feel with plastered wall finishes. Whether you leave freshly plastered walls as they are to get the look or use creative living room paint ideas to get the look plastered pink walls lend a beautiful base to build a country-style decorating scheme over.
The muted colour and textured effect creates an effortless ground to build on with bolder accent colours, such as striking charcoal black or warming tones of rust or bootle green - all colours derived from nature.
21. Focus on the fireside
A cosy fireside setting instantly becomes the focal point of a rustic living room ideas. For a traditional feel make all your decor choices focus around the living room fireplace ideas. A blazing log burner instantly makes the room feel warm and inviting with furniture arranged centrally around it.
Rich, earthy colours feel naturally at home for this look, so try a warm, russet red on the walls to set the mood. Expose original brickwork and treat wooden beams to restore them to natural glory. Team original surfaces with textured linens, chunky knits and accents of copper and burnished orange on sumptuous fabric choices.
22. Embrace cottage vibes
This charmingly rustic living room has all the ingredients for a traditional cottage feel. The inglenook fireplace and exposed beams set a rustic tone, while modern design touches such as the squashy sofas, metallic side tables and a bold mustard velvet armchair bring the look up to date.
The dark furnishings and soft textures in this living room create an intimate space, ideal for entertaining on cosy nights in.
23. Update country classics
Look to add a rustic undertone to your modern living space with the simple addition of reworked classic design pieces. From a skilfully crafted wooden framed rocking chair to a plush button detailed sofa or footstool. Choose a cocooning dark colour palette for walls to create an ambient atmosphere. Add colours of nature with brick-coloured upholstery and olive green velvet soft furnishings.
Dress a mantlepiece or console table with living room lighting ideas like lanterns and assorted pillar candles to add a warming glow to enhance the tonal colour palette.
24. Fake a feature wall
Cheat your way to a cosy rustic scheme. Fake an exposed brick or stone wall with a clever lookalike wallpaper that will give your scheme instant warmth and texture. Carry on the country-house look with plenty of tweed, tartan and wool on furniture and soft furnishings teamed with vintage-style leather armchairs and storage trunks.
25. Celebrate rustic architecture with modern design
Let the structure bear the rustic element to a living room, leaving freedom to opt for more modern design in terms of furnishings and furniture. Traditional British farmhouse style shakes off its twee image with this look, which mixes contemporary furniture, modern prints and cool greys with warm neutrals and rustic wood.
Combine pale grey walls, warm oak accessories and neutral fabrics in a mix of prints for a warm, country look.
26. Bring in warm accent colours
Give a neutral living room idea some heat with warming terracotta tones. While neutral makes a great background colour for walls and floors, it can feel a little cool on its own, especially when you want to exude a rustic feel. Introduce a wash of warming accent tones through with furniture and accessories - perhaps a cheery rug, cushions, lamp and artwork.
Choose sumptuous fabrics for furniture, such as this velvet sofa to offer tactile appeal. Choose woven rugs in natural tones to add texture and depth to flooring.
27. Dress with definitive country pattern
Dress the best sofa with checked cushions and cable knit throws to instantly add a hint of rustic country charm. A plaid armchair is a great addition to compliment a co-ordinating sofa, or can be used as a standalone piece to make more of a statement of heritage country pattern.
Paint walls in a soft sage green to contrast accent touches of russet, brown and burnt orange within the patterned pieces.
28. Add elegant rustic touches
In a more contemporary, polished interior look to add more subtle rustic touches. In this modern country living room idea the blue painted furniture feels elegant, while the raw wooden tops welcome just a dash of rustic charm. The lighter aqua tone on the walls paired with a country-style white sofa help to make the look feel sophisticated.
Welcome touches of floral pattern on soft furnishings and texture rugs to soften the look.
29. Make mid-century feel rustic
Mix mid-century-style pieces with contemporary furniture in unfinished wood and plain upholstery for an unfussy rustic look. Un-arranged displays of unusual accessories and books give the room character without being contrived.
To get the look team soft grey living room ideas with contrasting warm, textured neutrals. Choose simple furniture in weathered, grained wood and formal, tight upholstery - period and style don't matter here. Offset the simplicity with your own personal mix of books, china and knick-knacks.
30. Stack a log pile
A log pile is the definition of cosy, country style. Creatively welcome a stacked pile of firewood to make an effortlessly charming feature wall. Whether you have an open fire or log burner having dried fire wood on hand to keep the fire burning is invaluable during the colder months.
31. Decorate with woodland motifs
Ring the change in seasons with a cosy country scheme in charcoal and cream. Make your hearth the focal point of the living room with tongue-and-groove panelling and a wood-burning stove centre stage. Team with a pretty botanical-print wallpaper in shades of biscuit and cream to lighten the mood, with warming accents of olive green dotted around the room.
Bring in warm olive-wood furniture and rustic woven basketware to cosy up even more.
How would you describe a rustic room?
'Rustic living room ideas are rich in natural surfaces and textures,' says Andrea Childs, Editor of Country Homes & Interiors (Ideal Home's sister title). 'It may be that structural materials are left exposed to bring a sense of authenticity. Think exposed stone, brick or plaster walls, beamed ceilings, and wooden or natural stone flooring.'
'Then there could be another layer of rustic decor – design details you'd associate with a rural property such as a barn conversion, farmhouse or cottage. That might be wooden wall panelling, unpolished and unvarnished wooden or metal furniture, such as a farmhouse table.'
'Then soft furnishings would bring comfort and colour – inviting sofas, soft rugs and curtains, all made with natural fabrics like wool, linen and cotton.'
What makes a living room rustic?
'A rustic living room has a real comfort factor – think of it as a retreat to relax in after a day spent out in the countryside,' suggests Andrea. ' The fireplace or woodburner will probably be a focal point, with the natural stone or brick of the chimney on show and a wooden mantle.'
'Sofas and chairs will be rounded and inviting, not the stiffer, formal shapes associated with more urban styles, and will be covered with natural cotton and linen - or even velvet, to add a touch of luxe to the rustic look.'
The key to perfecting rustic living room ideas is to mix traditional pieces with fresh, modern country designs. Choose furnishings to create a relaxed, comfortable and easy-to-live with feel. Mix rich wood and distressed finishes on furniture to add an informal, vintage feel to your living room.
What is rustic modern style?
Rustic modern style is where more contemporary design elements are mixed in with more traditional styles.
'Pattern and colour is often a big part of a rustic living room,' says Andrea. 'Think botanical or floral designs, gingham checks and ticking stripes. Rugs, warm lighting from lamps and candles, and fresh flowers and foliage that bring a sense of the outside in to complete the look.'
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Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.
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