One of the hottest buzzwords in the design community in 2015 is “modern rustic décor.” But to many designers and discerning homeowners, the term is much more than a buzzword or kitschy trend. Instead, modern rustic décor actually is a blend of two great design styles:
In Tune with the Times
Politically, modern and rustic fit like Facebook and the Sierra Club. Because one is natural and the other man-made, does not make them incompatible -- exactly the opposite. And so it goes with modern rustic décor. Take the best of both worlds and freely create a space in which you are comfortable. After all, the term “modern” also intimates individualism and creativity.
To that end, and to provide you with a few ideas of how to begin decorating your home, office or other living space with a modern rustic décor flavor, try a few of the following tips.
Windows Bring the Outside In
An open floor plan that’s surrounded by windows is one of the less expensive and certainly most natural forms you can use to bring nature into your modern space. Whether you are building a new home or renovating an older structure, add windows, big windows, on every wall. In addition to providing you with a view of nature, the lighting from the outdoors will provide each room with the true colors, shades and shadows of the outdoors.
A home in the woods obviously is ideally suited for a modern rustic décor makeover, but even urban dwellers can bring in the beauty of the seasons, the dawn and the dusk and the stormy and sunny skies that surround the dwelling. You may need to bring in a few more pieces of art and furniture made from natural materials to complete the look in the city, but that can make your project even more exciting – going on a hunt for the perfect rustic tones to add to your completely modern home.
Raw Exposure Time A hallmark of a modern rustic décor design is the lack of false covering over brick and wood. Exposed ceiling beams, red brick walls, stone fireplaces all fit lovingly in their au natural presence in the decorator’s theme. In many ways, modern rustic décor is a money-saver. Forget about the plaster and the paint, the carpeting and the coverings.
Talk to your builders about choosing only materials with naturally stunning finishes. Even laying off high-gloss varnishing gives a space a more rustic appeal. Go with natural fiber rugs and window treatments. Even marble table tops fit more majestically when the edges are hewn and rough.
Additions Come Easily
Not everyone is blessed with good bones, and the same goes for houses and buildings made for function. The great thing about modern rustic décor, however, is that you don’t have to have the large picture windows overlooking a mountainside, the beautiful beams in an oak a-frame or maple cabinets and floors to make your décor come alive with nature.
Attach beams to a white ceiling for a rustic ambience. Lay hand-woven rugs over tile or carpeting. Set large art pieces, such as beautiful sculptural baskets made by Matt Tommey using natural materials, in strategic corners. Lean towards large canvasses of wooded landscapes to cover the walls not plastered with large screen TVs and computer screens. The modern rustic décor bent will become obvious once you light the fire in your newly installed stand-alone firebox.
From Rustic to Modern
For many designers, it’s easier to add rustic to an already open floor plan made for the modern homeowner than it is to take a log cabin or mountain chalet and turn it into a thoroughly modern living space. Too often, the modern touches overshadow the rustic and leave it feeling like yesterday’s news. You can’t after all, take an old log cabin and bring in bright new lines of stark, clean furniture without disturbing the ambience of the ages.
Instead, bring the modern into the space in subtle movements. Allow the light to be suffused through modern shades and window treatments made of luminescent materials. Build speakers behind the beams so they don’t sit so obtrusively on nature’s shoulders, but rather complement the rustic with the best of the newer conveniences.
Look for modern appliances with wooden doors, set an intricately carved basket beside crystal candle holders and light them with the latest xenon bulbs for a cool, toned atmosphere. Build your clean-lined bookcases with natural oak and fill the shelves with your favorite flowers, since your books are snugly safe inside the electronic readers that sit on your raw wood nightstands.
The most excellent point of the modern rustic décor design trend is that there are very few rules. Your way is the right way. Bring nature into your modern living space just as easily as you can modernize your rustic abode. Use what’s in place beside what’s new. Commission a local artist to have his way with the natural surroundings at your home to create your very own rustic accents. Define your space with as many electronic devices as you need -- the slimmer the better, the sleeker the more defined the complement.
You don’t have to give up any of your electronic connections when you support an ecologically elegant lifestyle. The two are so intertwined now that they barely exist, one without the other. Instead, Mother Earth and Father Time have evolved and created sons and daughters who respect the planet while embracing invention and innovation. Modern rustic décor is as much a state of mind as it is a design style.
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Matt Tommey is a sculptural basketry artist working in Asheville, North Carolina's River Arts District.