How to Add Rustic Charm to Your Home

Want to add the perfect rustic charm to your home? The designers at Ukio will tell you how

May 28, 2024
dining room with flowersdining room with flowers

You’ve probably heard the word “rustic” being thrown around thousands of times in reference to interior design or home decor, but what does rustic charm look like? What does rustic design even mean?

Having a rustic interior doesn’t have to mean that you live in a log cabin or farm house, even though those two home aesthetics may also be considered rustic. Let’s take a deeper look at what rusic design is and how you can add touches of rustic charm to your home.

What is rustic design?

Rustic design is a classic interior decoration style that has remained popular since the 19th century, when it was started by early US settlers who ventured far outside of cities to build their homes. These settlers often built their furniture and house frames out of whatever local and natural materials they could find. And thus, the foundation of rustic design was born.

Today, modern rustic design is characterized by being rough, aged, casual, organic, and sometimes a little distressed. These common themes work to highlight the elements of nature and the hand-made pieces that are present throughout a rustic home. You want to bring a little bit of an outdoor space into your home.

living room lounging area

Common features of rustic style

Rustic homes today tend to have some common features that help set them apart from a contemporary home or from a mid-century modern home, for example. These features are through and through a staple for rustic style, and including them will definitely help turn your space into a cozy rustic paradise.

Neutral color palette

When deciding which colors to paint your walls or what color furniture set you should buy, know that a true rustic home keeps to a very neutral color palette. This style usually sticks to the browns, the beiges, and the off-whites.

If you want to add a pop of color, just make sure that the colors chosen stick to earth tones to stay on theme. You can also add a break from neutral colors by adding touches of visible natural elements, such as exposed wooden beams or a brick fireplace.

Handmade wooden furniture

Most of the furniture in a rustic home should be made of wood and traditionally, is also made by hand. Rustic furniture is not cookie cutter and has its own unique look and feel to it. Not all of the furniture in a rustic home needs to follow these guidelines, but consider having larger centerpieces and features be both wooden and handmade for a true rustic touch.


Because rustic homes utilize many natural materials and elements throughout their design, it’s expected that a rustic style contains many different textures from the variety of materials used. Think of exposed wood, dried plants, stone, clay, brick, and more which all overlay to create smooth, rough, crispy, bumpy, and other interesting textures.

living room apartment

Simple design elements

The focus of a rustic home should be on the natural elements and materials, not on the design itself. Instead of having intricately shaped tables and chairs, the furniture components should draw attention to the material used. The decorative elements should also highlight natural materials, such as dried plants or clay pots.

7 Tips for adding rustic charm to your home

Thinking of different ways to add rustic charm to your home is easy once you understand the basics and the foundation of the style. But if you need a little extra help in thinking of some ideas, we’ve talked to a couple of our designers at Ukio, who are experts in the realm of interior design and style concepts. Here’s the advice they gave about how to add rustic touches to your home.

Wooden kitchenware

We’ve talked about using wooden furniture throughout the house, so be sure to remember to keep this theme in the kitchen as well. Our designer recommends the use of “rustic wooden bowls for fruit and different types of wooden chopping boards and pans in the kitchen.”

These wooden kitchen features are not only practical, but they also double as decorations too. A nice fruit bowl centerpiece on your kitchen counter or a drying wooden cutting board brings the rustic aesthetic to your kitchen, and this rustic charm is even evident when cooking.

If you want to go the extra mile, you can even consider buying wooden plates, bowls, and utensils for daily use. This way, you’ll be sure to have your kitchen overflowing with rustic charm.

Dried plant decorations

haning dried plant over table

Having trendy and intricate decorations goes against the principles of rustic design. When decorating your rustic home, think of adding natural elements instead of store bought pieces. Rustic design decorations can be as simple as placing dried plants around the space, like what we did in Arezzo, our Barcelona apartment pictured above.

Our designers recommend using sage and dried olive oil branches in big vases as decorations. Not only are these touches friendly on the wallet, but they also help to add a country house feeling to your living space. Drying plants is very easy to do, so you could even try your hand at it yourself.

Wooden hangers with a purpose

Nothing beats the hominess of a rustic kitchen. The designers at Ukio suggest that you use wooden hooks on the kitchen walls where you can hang dried leaves, herbs, garlic cloves, or other things that you can actually use while cooking.

Consider also hanging the wooden cutting boards and pans mentioned above as well. If you want more ideas of haning rustic decorations, find inspiration from our Torres apartment, pictured below. Rustic kitchens are highly sought after, and by following this, you’ll be well on your way to completing rustic touches around your kitchen.

kitchen with hanging baskets

Don’t forget the walls

Adding clay paint or other microcements to your walls can help give them a rustic feeling through this subtle wall effect. Clay paint tends to give your walls a matte finish with lots of pretty texture. Microcements similarly add an interesting and earthy visual texture to your walls.

Both of these touches allude back to the natural and rock elements that are present throughout rustic design. If you don’t want all of your walls to appear as so, you can consider adding an accent wall of clay or microcement paint to have a similar effect.

Think of your lighting plan

The light fixtures and the intensity of the light that you choose to have in your home can affect people’s perception and the feeling inside the space. For example, many people associate bright overhead lights with feelings of anxiety and places like hospitals or schools, and the use of blue light can influence people to feel happier.

To set the tone of a rustic home, think of adding smaller cozy table lamps to your space to create a warm and charming feeling. Of course, you can still have overhead lights installed in case you need them, but the use of table lamps gives the feeling of snuggling up in a log cabin or settling in for the night. These lamps serve as a combination of being both functional and decorative.

Incorporate mix & match furniture pieces

We can’t stress enough the importance of using the correct furniture in creating a rustic space. It’s recommended that you play around with the furniture pieces and don’t worry too much about having everything be exactly the same. For example, find how the differing wooden pieces in our Napa apartment (pictured below) all come together to create the perfect mesh of furniture.

Our designers say, “Think of a wooden rustic dining table and play with different types of dining chairs at one table”. As long as you focus on highlighting the wooden aspect of your furniture, the rustic charm will show through.

wooden furniture

Create a natural scent

If you want to create a full rustic experience, then you can’t forget about the sense of smell. We suggest that you put little bags of lavender or pine in your closets to refer back to nature as well as spread a welcoming feeling throughout your home. These natural air fresheners will bring the whole rustic look and feel of your home together.

Where to buy rustic charm pieces

After learning all about rustic design and adding rustic charm to your home, we’re sure you’re dying to know where you can purchase some rustic pieces. Luckily for you, rustic design pieces can be found at any furniture store, vintage or second hand furniture store, or from online or local sellers.

Rustic furniture and decorations are often handmade, so consider consulting with some local woodworkers or furniture makers to check out their selection and hear their recommendations. Maybe you can even get a couple of pieces specially commissioned for you.

Not all rustic design pieces will be specifically labeled or advertised as “rustic”, so look around and do some shopping to find what you think is fitting for your home. As long as you know and keep the rustic style concepts and themes in your mind when searching for decorations or furniture, you’ll be sure to find the perfect pieces to bring your space touches of rustic charm.