What you have in your home (and how you keep your home) says a lot about you. That’s why so much emphasis is placed upon decorating and creating a cohesive theme to one’s home. This doen’t mean that you have to go full on IKEA or furniture catalogue. It does mean, though, that if you want your home to make a good impression, it’s good to pick a single theme and stick to it. And right now? Creating a homey and rustic look is incredibly popular…and incredibly difficult to do well. Here are some tips to help you out.
Let’s start with the nitty-gritty: your furniture and fixtures. You don’t have to get all new stuff, of course, but if you’re due to upgrade or overhaul, why not start replacing these things one at a time? For example, if you need a new refrigerator, why not try to find a new (energy-efficient of course) fridge that is done in the style of the old ice-box fridges from the 50s? If you can’t find one that’s okay! Some people go the other way and choose refrigerators that have paneling built on to them so they look more like cabinets than a stainless steel eyesore.
Other things you should check out/think about: claw-foot or cast iron bathtubs, farmer’s sinks, and furniture that is made from real wood instead of the laminate stuff (or metal or plastic).
Nothing says rustic like the wood cabin look. When done right, using wood paneling on your walls can give your home a beautiful, rustic and old-fashioned appeal. When done wrong, it looks like you’re trying to re-create 1974 with faux wood paneling.
The trick here is to use actual real wooden planks for your walls wherever possible but not throughout your entire home (unless you really want your house to look like a cabin on the inside). Accent walls on which you’ve installed wood panels can add a rustic touch without making you feel like you’ve entered a theme party. Stone finishing is another wonderful touch if you can manage it.
This is where you get to play around and have fun. For example, in your kitchen, why not take out your fluorescent overheads and, instead, install some track lighting with adorable and rustic light shades? Installing a row of LED outdoor barn lights from cocoweb.com helps you illuminate the space but also gives it a real rustic charm (plus LED lights are more energy efficient than incandescents, fluorescents or even CFLs). You can do this in your bathroom too.
In the living rooms and bedrooms it’s all about the lamps. Lamps with sculpted wrought iron bases and linen shades are beautiful and rustic looking. So are antique painted lamp bases (you might want to re-wire these for energy efficiency and to reduce fire hazards). Or, for the decorative touch, cleverly space some old lanterns around the room for ambient lighting!
Bits and Bobs
In a lot of houses, it is the little things that add the real rustic touches: the gingham table cloth on the table, fresh wildflowers in a bud vase (weathered or painted glass of course) next to the bed, wooden blinds and real curtains instead of plastic and shades, using cast iron cookery instead of shiny copper or stainless steel, that sort of thing. The key to a rustic look isn’t necessarily putting a quilt on the wall and paintings of roosters everywhere (though when done well, those things can be great). The key to a real rustic look is simple, natural and beautiful.
There are so many different things that you can do to give your home a rustic look–even if you’re on a tight budget and don’t have the money to overhaul your whole space. Start with the little things and then build up to the bigger things over time. Remember: it’s more about what your home says to people than about following Martha Stewart to the letter!