20 Ways to Bring Rustic Refined Style Home

If the popularity of the modern farmhouse design is any indication, refined rustic is one of the hottest decorating styles around. Here, 20 gorgeous examples of how to give your own home a dose of refined rustic character.

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June 14, 2017
By: Amanda Lecky

Photo By: Casey Dunn, caseydunn.net

Photo By: Heather Goss, ggdphotography.com

Photo By: Eric Rorer

©Tessa Neustadt

Photo By: Cameron Neilson

Photo By: David Agnello ©David Agnello

Photo By: John Ellis

Photo By: Chris Luker Photography

Photo By: Amanda Paul, Paul Interiors; paul-interiors.com

Photo By: Jeff McNamara

Photo By: Dennis Burnett, Dennis Burnett Photography

Photo By: Gregory S. Manalo

Photo By: Sarah Wilson / Getty Images

Photo By: Brea McDonald, breamcdonald.com

Photo By: Casey Dunn

Photo By: Jodie Cooper, Jodie Cooper Design; Photo by D-Max Photographers

Photo By: Michael Moeller

Restored and Refreshed

In the process of renovating this family dining room, the contractor discovered long-leaf pine shiplap behind the existing drywall. Architect Paul Clayton had the shiplap removed, repaired, painted in a crisp white, and reinstalled. “The natural wood grain and knots and the existing nail holes add a textural element we embraced,” he says. Simple, modern furnishings and a light fixture with a sleek fabric shade create a clean, contemporary look that balances the traditional architectural elements.

Family Style

To give a dated living room a splash of the family friendly, modern farmhouse style they’re so well known for, Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper incorporated a mix of fresh, light colors and richly textured accents. Painting the fireplace wall, ceiling, and wainscoting white sets the bright and airy stage, while a natural-fiber rug, narrow reclaimed-plank coffee table, and wood beam mantel add rustic warmth.

Past Meets Present

In the process of giving a circa-1900 home in Massachusetts an updated open layout, designer Ann Maguire took care to preserve the original character and integrity in every room. While the client longed for clean lines and a modern edge in the kitchen, Maguire emphasized the importance of marrying tradition with today’s more contemporary tastes. Bright white cabinets, commercial-style appliances, chrome finishes, and an unexpected tile pattern created a modern flavor. To soften the edgy space, Maguire incorporated a mix of natural finishes: soapstone and quartzite countertops, and reclaimed-wood cladding on the hood. “The best story about this space is that we planned to use reclaimed wood from a local lumbar yard to complete the design. However, during demolition, we uncovered that the original, 100-year-old exterior sheathing to the home was exactly what I had in mind for wood grain, color and character. So in this case, we repurposed the old home into the new home. The use of this material pays great homage to the past,” says Maguire.

Warm and Woodsy

Giving a living space a lodge-like look, without heading into overused rustic clichés can be a challenge for any designer. Here, Laura Martin Bovard balanced the dominant wood and stone elements of the room with simple, modern furnishings and plenty of light textiles, creating a fresh open look in the grand space. 

Light Effects

“For this remodel, we wanted to ensure that the finished design still complemented the original architecture,” says designer Stefani Stein. With this goal in mind, she chose colors and materials that would complement the traditional roots of the space, while offering an updated look. “One important contribution for this specific room was the addition of the vaulted ceiling, which really opens up the space. The furnishings and accessories are a mix of clean lines and vintage pieces with warm neutrals and selected pops of color and pattern,” says Stein.

Perfect Balance

For the master bedroom of a home with dynamic, rustic architecture, designer Elisa Chambers and her client decided to keep the furnishings and color palette decidedly simple. “We used texture to enhance the natural beauty of the raw materials and to connect the interior with the exterior,” says Chambers.

Country Accent

Not ready to go all-out rustic? Even the subtlest rustic element—like the humble farmhouse table in this eclectic entry—can add the character you crave. For homeowners seeking to give their home’s entry a charming and unique look, designer Anisa Darnell chose a bold black and white wallpaper, modern lamps, and a show-stopping mirror to create a light, bright, and welcoming effect. In this foyer, delicate floral wallpaper feels crisp and fresh accented by flat white accessories and a pale wood table. Beneath the table, a large basket conveniently holds extra linens and throws.

Cabin Class

To give the open living and dining space of a ski getaway an elegant and comfortable style, designer Jennifer Visosky chose a surprisingly contemporary mix of furnishings and accessories. “We used inviting fabrics in a neutral palette, a stunning timber dining table, and a chandelier that visually frames the artwork above the fireplace,” she says. “The custom leather sofa begs you to cozy up and read a good book!”

Office Casual

A home office doesn’t have to be a thrown-together space furnished with leftovers and metal filing cabinets, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to outfit, either. Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper show the way to a simple but rustic-chic work space, setting the modern-farmhouse mood with a shiplap accent wall and sliding double-doors, then adding practical work space with a large wooden table, and adding quirky storage with a wall-mounted antique tool bin.

Natural Beauty

Giving a bathroom filled with hard, reflective surfaces a warm and cozy atmosphere is always a challenge—and particularly so when the space is as huge as this Aspen, Colorado retreat. Designer Frank de Biasi got the job done beautifully, by lining the walls with reclaimed timber floor planks and recessing a fireplace and twin medicine cabinets into the wood. “I bought the caribou hides for the floor at the Helsinki airport,” he says. “The colors fit perfectly with the limestone floors and worn planks on the walls.”

Inside Out

Warm touches, from the fireplace to the built-in bookshelves infuse this covered patio with comfortable, living-room style. The designers at Christopher Architecture and Interiors also added a sense of whimsy, incorporating fun details like the rope-swing sofa and a round porthole-style window in the nearby library.

Details Count

In a formal dining room with distinctly traditional architectural “bones”, designer Amanda Paul added rustic character with a few twists on expected design choices. “Natural woods mixed with oil-rubbed bronze metal finishes create a modern rustic feel,” she says.

View Finder

“Overlooking a protected wetlands coastal area, this serene kitchen was designed to bring the earthy feeling of the surrounding mature oak trees into the home,” says designer Sarah Robertson. Cool-toned cerused-oak cabinetry adds a subtle rustic accent; contemporary brass hardware lends warmth; and creamy white macauba quartzite counters complete the composition.

Clean and Simple

“Rustic” can have many meanings, from the wood-and-stone style of western ranches to the plain painted-wood interiors of Midwestern and New England farmhouses. Designers Edward Hughey and Ben Arbib nod to the latter aesthetic in this restrained living space, but take care to keep the light, bright room from feeling cold. “Built-in cabinetry, bookshelves, and benches add to the coziness of the space by increasing interest, texture, and depth as well as offering ways to decrease the usual clutter along surrounding walls,” says Hughey. “And 3”-wide oak floors finished in a deep rich stain keep the space from feeling cold and sterile but still promote a clean and simple character.”

Fine Dining

Designer Sherry Hope-Kennedy kept the decoration spare in this clean-lined, rustic dining area. She transformed the space into a bright, minimalistic room using a neutral color palette and natural elements: off-white walls, a farmhouse table, and a wire pendant reminiscent of a bird’s nest are coupled with an oversized painting, for an effect that’s dramatic in its very simplicity.

Character Reveal

Anyone who has taken on a major renovation has no doubt discovered some surprises along the way. But most of the time they’re not as positive as the features Chip Gaines found during the update of this Fixer Upper project. While removing the wall between the small living room and kitchen to create a larger, more open space, his team uncovered the home’s original fireplace and shiplap paneling. Chip and Joanna preserved the fireplace as a unique design element and focal point, and repurposed the shiplap as paneling around the room.

Dreamy Suite

Originally a shed for selling eggs, this little cottage is now an inviting guesthouse, thanks to the vision of designers Kate Vail and David Nastasi. “We wanted to keep the rustic charm of the space while imparting a degree of sophistication and maximum comfort,” say the designers. “The cottage is used in early autumn, late spring, and throughout the summer. The cool Maine nights make air conditioning unnecessary, and because it is seasonal, insulation and heating weren't required. We whitewashed the interior walls using a thin paint that allowed the grain on the old wood to show through. The floors are pine scrubbed and sealed their natural color. We recovered an antique wing chair in natural linen, ordered a small wood dresser with brass accents from Sarreid. The Phillips Scott bed is covered in linens from John Robshaw. The bathroom, not shown here, is outside. It is enclosed on three sides for privacy, but the main area is open the Maine sky providing a unique experience for viewing the stars.”

Grand Entrance

This Texas-size entrance in Austin takes its cues from the lake and the landscape beyond. “The pale blues of the antique Oushak pull out the cool hues of the water. The limestone walls bring a grounding effect and the fir ceiling pays homage to the canopy of trees beyond. The Moroccan lantern provides an ethnic beat to this composition,” says designer Mark Ashby.

Open and Eclectic

To give a new home warmth and appeal, designer Jodie Cooper used bold lighting and warm, rustic touches to visually divide the large, open space. “Having a modern kitchen does not need to translate to having modern décor. By blending pieces, such as retro dining chairs, Chinese antiques, a rustic dining table, and Turkish patchwork rugs, we created texture and layers,“ she says.

Industrial, Meet Country

One of the biggest decorating trends for the past several years, industrial style marries surprisingly well with rustic architecture and design. Both rely on simple shapes and functional forms, along with rough-hewn edges and “living” finishes—as demonstrated beautifully in this dining room created by Michael Moeller.