The terms “modern” and “rustic” may seem contradictory, but in the parlance of design, they are perfectly matched. Modern rustic décor takes the best of historic and contemporary designs and blends them with an eye to create harmony. Just like the woman who honors her ancestors with touches of her heritage on a geometric white shelf, balance is born from both respect and innovation.
Modern rustic décor is not shabby chic or country. It’s not just for a hunting lodge or man-cave. Modern rustic décor honors the earth, brings nature inside and relies on the resources at hand to beautify and enhance an interior environment. Modern rustic décor exists in open spaces, rooms fitted with the latest technology and among the latest industrial-influenced architecture. Art, furnishings and accents are both modern and rustic when they are made from natural materials in new, exciting ways.
Define Your Space Independently
In design, rustic represents all things natural. A rustic room doesn’t need to be filled with heavy wood paneling and busts of dead animals. Elements that lend themselves to a rustic inclination include:
The modern touch changes from season to season, leaving you with extensive leeway to design your space according to your own preferences and tastes. Today’s modern rustic décor gives a nod to elements such as:
You Can Have It All
While you may be an extravagant entertainer, you still must be comfortable in your home and workplace. Choose those designs that speak to your soul and grab your attention. Mix the old and the new, and you can achieve the esthetic known as modern rustic décor. Take the man-made and the best of Mother Nature’s bounty to create a space that is both peaceful and energizing.
Modern rustic décor takes on different aspects to different people. At its core is the idea that man and nature live in unity. Natural honesty isn’t replaced by new design, but enhanced by it. Turn any space into a masterpiece of modern rustic décor with a few of the following ideas.
Accessorize in Style
Little cutesy trinkets have no place in modern rustic décor. Instead, art takes center place. Bring in a large piece made by a local artist such as Matt Tommey, who works with natural materials. Set one of his large fireplace mantel creations on top of your hearth. Place a one-of-a-kind basket made from kudzu and bark on a steel pedestal in the open foyer between your front hall and living space to emphasize the new and the natural complementary materials.
Surround original art that depicts new angles of flowers, sunsets and beaches in sterling silver frames. Look for outstanding photography that makes use of new lighting techniques. Give it a place of its own in a hallway that connects two open spaces. Hang bold, colorful nature paintings to highlight the drastic contrasts of the white walls and pale furnishings. It’s the striking contrast after all that makes modern rustic décor so enticingly popular.
Bold Statement Options
Bold and unexpected juxtapositions are hallmarks of modern design. When complemented by rustic choices, the results are breathtaking. A room with high beamed ceiling of logs and timber, dark wood floors and earth-toned walls are enhanced when you place a stark white sofa with sharp, clean lines at center stage. Add a red rug and a vase of dried roses and your modern rustic décor look is complete.
A wall hanging of vines and ropes, studded with copper, stands out sharply on a white wall. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring in the natural surroundings of your yard. Inside on a glass table sits a fanciful basket made of materials from the yard. It picks up the changing light as the day passes into evening. Rain makes for even more interesting contrasts when modern glass pieces serve as prisms of alternating colors and the copper twine on your basket glints sparkling in the mirrors that hang on opposite walls.
Contrasts for Comfort
Modern rustic décor is not meant to startle the uninitiated. Instead, the first glance evokes nods of approval at such amazingly complementary styles. Contrasts can be comfortable too. Place Swedish-style chairs made of linen and velvet beside a natural stone fireplace. Hang bamboo curtains in front of a wall of windows. Surround your big-screen electronics with vines and twisting leaves of copper. It can all mix and match for a calm, yet fresh appeal.
Keep the big lounge chair that you love to sink into at the end of the day. The long, angled floor lamp and cubist side tables modernize your relaxation station, while the natural art on the wall behind the chair pulls it all together — nature and nurture reside as one.
Eco Elegance Entries
Modern rustic décor is an ideal choice for those who hold an avid interest in sustainable methods of creating home décor. Do you value elegant features like chandeliers, weighty silverware and heavily brocaded high-back dining chairs? Simply take the influence of classic rustic, change a few of the furnishings and you have eco elegance as modern rustic décor at its finest.
The natural look of wood, copper, seagrass, bamboo and jute provide exceptional accents to cut glass, bronze busts and marble columns and countertops. Nature at its finest is elegant. Old-world elegance at its peak is closely aligned with nature and the fruits of sustainable art and home furnishings.
Modern Rustic Décor Is Easily Attainable
Whether you have endless resources to purchase the finest home décor or design your interiors on a tight budget, you can implement modern rustic décor in your plans. Remember to stick with the contrast and the complements. Dark and light, streamlined and naturally entwined, smooth and rough, open and filled, earth-toned and colorful, the central theme of modern rustic décor is unequivocally — opposites do attract.
Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.