Serving Up Country Chic With a Twist

With more time being spent at home in 2020 due to the global pandemic, many of us have put our focus into rethinking our home design to create living spaces that are a pleasure to spend time in.
With this in mind, today we’re going to be shining the light on the living room, looking at ways you can conjure up the beauty of much-loved rustic interiors with a modern twist – ensuring your home is the perfect blend of classic and contemporary.

What is rustic interior design?

Rustic interior design can manifest itself in an array of different guises, from traditional country cottages and farmhouses to wooden ski lodges, French chateaus and Tuscan villas. However, at its core is the presence of raw, natural and organic materials and features that instantly conjure up that rural vibe. Put emphasis on these elements in your living room makeover and cleverly tie them in with modern features and you’ll have a new take on rustic interiors.

Lay the foundations with flooring

With any decor theme, your floors act as the foundation that sets the tone of the entire room, so getting this aspect pitch perfect is key to tying together classic and contemporary rustic style. Your first thought may well be hardwood floors that give your living room a homely and snug feel. However, in the name of modernity, this isn’t your only option. Instead, why not consider a more practical and durable material like wood-look luxury vinyl flooring?

Easy to clean, hardwearing and mimicking the look of wooden floorboards, you can have all the aesthetic appeal of wood with an innovative material that’s designed to last and requires minimal upkeep. You can even invest in underfloor heating mats that will bring your wood-look floors well and truly into the 21st century.

Add texture and layers to walls

The next step is to give your walls the attention they need to project that quintessentially country feel. For those with older properties that have original features, this is your time to let them take centre stage. From wooden beams and exposed stone to elegant open fireplaces, you can emphasise these traditional accents by giving them a more up-to-date look.

This could be painting wooden beams in white or a pale grey or applying a glossy lacquer to exposed stone and brick work. Similarly with original fireplaces, swerve quaint and kitsch Victorian tiles in favour of a more contemporary design for the surround and hearth that will give it a more edgy feel.

Of course, not all homes are blessed with period features. You can still get authentic-looking rustic decor in modern homes, however, using materials that portray the textures you get with the real deal.

This is where the modern concept of feature walls comes into play. Using rugged materials like split-face wall tiles or untreated wooden panels on one wall in your living room will instantly inject that essential texture and layering.

Finished with flourishes of classic and contemporary decorative accents like brass hooks, gold gilded ornaments and metal-framed mirrors, you’ll have an eclectic mix of old and new that contrast and complement each other in one fell swoop.

Create warmth with heating

 As a place to relax and unwind after a long day, your living room needs to be the epitome of comfort. Rustic-inspired decor is perfect for creating a homely, warm and lived in space. This is where choosing the right heating for your room can make a difference. Yes, you can make your rustic living room feel snug with just radiators, but there’s something special about a real fire that transports you from your average home to a rural farmhouse scene.

The addition of a traditional-style wood burning stove could be all you need to encapsulate that country aesthetic with the benefit of modern heat efficiency to keep you warm on those chilly nights. Take a look at log burners such as the Charnwood Bembridge (a collaborative stove created exclusively for the trail blazers of the modern rustic movement, Country Living)

Finished with a neat stack of wood or a wicker basket for kindling and some brass fire utensils, these stoves will effortlessly integrate into new and old homes, delivering a striking and practical feature for your rustic-style living room.

Embellish with finishing touches

When it comes to successfully combining country-style decor with contemporary design, the finishing touches you choose really count.

The key is to unify old and new furniture, soft furnishings and other decorative elements for a cohesive look that pays homage to both eras. An effective way to do this is to select a few genuine rustic pieces like a driftwood side table or a worn leather sofa and offset it with more modern materials like glass and metal. The smooth, shiny surfaces of newer materials will play well with the rough, lived in look of the older pieces to allow them to sit together harmoniously.

You can apply this contrasting principle to all your finishing touches, like setting a modern-style sofa with straight lines next to a hand-carved bookshelf or coffee table. Or adorn the room with funky light fixtures and raw wooden mirrors and picture frames. Take your time to experiment with different items and textures to get the combination just right and you’ll be left with a country chic living room that gives you all the charm of old with modern comforts.

Regardless of where you live, we hope you’ll find plenty of ideas on how to inject that countryside character into your living room, leaving you with a space that’s primed for relaxation every day of the week.


Author bio:

Alex Jones is a content creator for Trendy Floors, the home of discount flooring products with all the hallmarks of luxury – from affordable luxury vinyl tile to engineered parquet.


If you are already the proud owner of a wood burner, or are considering making a purchase, you will not be disappointed. A wood burner is a superb addition to the home and an impressive focal point.

As winter approaches and the nights begin to draw in, what better way to spend chilly evenings than being nestled up next to your wood burning stove?

Before you fire up your wood burner and use it more regularly though, the Charnwood experts have compiled their tips on how to light a wood burner alongside other top tips, so you can get the absolute most out of your wood burner.

How to use a wood burner

If you are considering a wood burner purchase, it is crucial to ensure your desired stove is suitable for your home. We strongly recommend that a site survey is carried out by an experienced stove installer in the first instance before you make a purchase. Use our stove calculator to find out if your room is suitable.

How to make a fire in a wood burner

There are several stages to making a successful fire in a wood burner. If a fire is built and lit incorrectly, it can prevent the stove from getting hot. Follow these steps to make a successful wood burner fire:

Firstly you will need to ensure your wood is well seasoned and dry with a moisture content of less than 20% – if buying wood in smaller volumes look out for the Woodsure ‘Ready to Burn label’ which guarantees this.

When lighting your stove we recommend the top down method.

1) Leave some ash – the most efficient way to light a wood burning stove is to leave a little bit of ash from previous fires. However, you should still ensure the majority of the ash is cleaned out to avoid blocking air circulation.
2) Place 2-3 smaller logs on the stove bed
3) On top of this build a stack of 6-8 softwood kindling sticks
4) Then place a natural fire lighter inside
5) Fully open the air control as this will maximise the supply of oxygen in the wood burner needed to get the fire going.
6) Light the fire lighter and close the door but leave it slightly a jar
7) This helps to heat the chimney flue and burn hot and clean
8) Once the fire is burning well close the door and reduce the air intake
9) Re-fuel little and often
10) Every time a log is added open the air control again until the fire is burning well and then return the control to normal

By running your stove in this way you will achieve maximum efficiency with minimum emissions

How hot does a wood burner get?

Most wood burners range in temperature and can reach 190 – 343 degrees Celsius (375 – 650 degrees Fahrenheit). However, how hot a wood burner gets can depend on several factors including poor draft on the stove, air vents left closed or not open enough, incorrectly built/lit fire and use of wet wood.

How many logs do I need to put in a wood burner?

It is important not to overload your wood burner with logs, as this will mean the fire does not have enough oxygen to burn effectively. For a constant heat, have one or two logs in your wood burner at once.

How to get maximum heat from wood burner

There are several factors that could prevent your wood burner from achieving maximum heat, including:
The type of wood that is being burnt.
The moisture content of the wood.
How effectively the air supply to the fire is controlled.
How well the fire is maintained.

Achieve the maximum heat from your wood burner by:

Using softwoods to quickly get the fire started.
Using harder woods once the fire has started to produce more heat for longer periods.
Ensuring all wood burned is dry and doesn’t contain large amounts of moisture (as mentioned earlier we recommend a 20 per cent or lower moisture content threshold for firewood).
Periodically adding a few pieces of wood, rather than waiting for the flame to die down or adding large amounts of wood in one go.
Using air vents correctly to control airflow to the fire.
Having your flue cleaned and maintained regularly.
Cleaning and maintaining your wood burner stove regularly.
Ensuring your room has adequate ventilation to give the fire an oxygen supply.

How to keep a wood burner going

The below tips will help make a wood stove burn for longer:
Avoid using wet wood in your wood burning stove.
Reduce the air coming through the air vents to make the fire last longer.
A stove that contains cast iron elements are better for heat efficiency and will keep a fire going.
If you would like to find out more about wood burning stove cleaning tips and tricks in our blog, read: How to clean your wood burning stove.

What trees are the best to burn on a wood burner?

The best wood for burning on a wood burner are:
• Ash
• Oak
• Birch
• Beech
• Cherry
• Sycamore

How to put out a wood burner

Safely put out your wood burner by following these steps:
Starve the flames of oxygen by ensuring the stove door is completely closed.
Close all air vents and wait until the flames have died down to embers.
Wearing heat-resistant gloves, open the door and spread the remaining embers/pieces of wood using a fire poker.
Once the stove is cooled, sweep away any remaining ashes. An ash carrier can be a useful piece of equipment to assist in this.

Discover further cleaning and maintenance tips in our blog: How to clean wood burner glass.

Contact Charnwood today

To find out more about how to light your wood burner and keeping it well maintained, contact Charnwood today. Our friendly, expert team are on hand and more than happy to answer any queries you may have.