Design Dilemma: Cultivating Rustic Modern
It’s in the summer time — vacationing at a beach house or weekend country cottage — that we begin to appreciate the design scheme sometimes referred to as “rustic modern.” It’s a look that incorporates modern design elements seamlessly with more traditional materials and looks, such as stone and wood. We’ve written about it before. What’s so great about this look is a sort of timeless quality that makes “rustic modern” feel truly original. It’s a great way to avoid the cookie-cutter catalog look.
Are you wondering what we have in mind? Here is an example below, taken from an Italian “rustic modern” home:
Modern are the concrete floors, which give the room an industrial feel, as well as the shiny “disco” ball pendant lamp in the kitchen, concrete countertops, and the mid-century modern furniture that includes a plastic arm chair and arc lamp. Even the artwork is colorful and modern, along with the crisp striped throw rug. On the rustic side is the setting itself — high ceilings with rough wooden beams and pine ceilings, heavy wooden doors and stone walls that are typical of old rural villas in the Italian countryside. The sleek modern style and rough country look somehow complement each other.
What’s the key to making the rustic modern look work?
Look for ways to play off one element against another, especially when it comes to textures. For example, smooth concrete floors can look quite chic when played against rough stone walls, as seen above. Shiny stainless steel is quite striking when played against distressed, timeworn wood.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Feel free to mix antiques with modern design. Simply look for common elements that will help pull disparate furniture pieces together — that might be a color or scale. Above, mid-century modern chairs are paired effortlessly with a much older antique table. What the two furniture styles have in common is scale and color.
Pare down when possible. With so much contrast going on, it’s best to keep objects down to a minimum. This is not the cozy cluttered cottage look. When in doubt, opt for spareness over opulence.
Want to know more? Check out our previous post on Making Country Modern.