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.
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.