9 Key Elements of Modern Rustic Design

We may earn a commission when you purchase using our links.

If you love the rugged outdoors and rustic environments but crave the conveniences of a modern home, you’ll probably love the perfect compromise called Modern Rustic.

Modern rustic (or rustic chic) is an interior design style that uses rustic elements paired with modern design.  It is a great mix of fresh modern style with warmer homey elements for a more comfortable and lived-in feel than you might find in a purist’s modern home  – but more sophisticated than a rustic cabin.

The style typically features open concept rooms, big windows with plenty of natural light, modern furniture, and the use of natural materials like wood, stone, and brick with organic soft furnishings like leather, sheepskin, linen, jute, or sisal.

If this style speaks to you, here are the key elements to achieve a Modern Rustic home –

Modern Rustic Design Elements

Raw Materials

One key element is the use of wood, stone, and other natural materials when creating a modern rustic space.  This anchors the space and brings natural elements inside – so features like exposed wood beams, brick walls, and stone fireplaces all help add to the natural character of the home.  Ceilings aren’t overlooked in this design style and wood ceilings are a popular feature to add warmth to any living space.

Reclaimed wood used on headboards, mantels, or sliding barn doors is another way to add rustic details to a modern space. Pieces that show their history and age are favored in this style. Weathered materials bring extra texture to your space and add that tactile quality that makes rustic interiors so cozy and inviting.


Feature Architectural Details

Architectural details like vaulted ceilings with exposed wood beams, brick or stone walls create interest and detail in the home. Black steel beams and windows are popular styles that fit well with modern rustic design.

A wood-burning fireplace is often the centerpiece of the living area and rustic elements can be combined with a more modern design.  For example, a modern fireplace of stone or metal paired with a rustic wood mantle.

Architecturally, modern rustic homes are more contemporary than the rustic cabin of years past.  Architects favor the dramatic A-frame or a pitched roof to create dramatic valued ceilings with exposed support beams. Open floor plans with spacious rooms and large windows are used for aesthetic appeal as well as bringing in natural light and views.

Neutral Color Palette

Neutral walls provide a perfect contrast to a foundation of wood or stone used in flooring, beams, fireplaces, and furniture.  Generally, white walls are the freshest backdrop for this style.  Also, consider warm cream or grays.  Colors found in nature – mossy or sage green, watery blues, and nutty browns are also good accents for an earthy feel and are often used on kitchen cabinets or bathrooms to mix up the palette but stick with an organic feel.

While your walls might be neutral, don’t be afraid to pair white walls with modern art and lighting  – perhaps with an industrial feel – to complement the more rustic elements for a perfect pairing.


The kitchen is a great place to showcase the modern rustic style where you can easily mix modern appliances and conveniences with rustic elements such as raw wood used on open shelves or the kitchen island.  Add other homey accents like brushed brass or copper fixtures that make a stunning contrast against a modern kitchen.

Modern lighting provides another contrast to the more rustic elements in the kitchen.

Layer in Textures

Layer different natural materials to create texture in the space – giving it a comfy and casual feel.  Materials like leather, sheepskin, faux fur,  jute, and sisal create organic texture inspired by nature. In the bedroom, organic fabrics like linen sheets, chunky knit blankets, and faux fur add an element of natural coziness and warmth.  Area rugs over hardwood floors, throw blankets or sheepskin add warmth and a rustic feel to a modern bedroom.

Modern Furniture

Furniture should be comfortable – anchor the living room with a comfy sofa and pair with some other mod pieces.  Adding a few pieces of mid-century modern design makes your space feel fresh and current. Choose furniture that is comfortable but has clean lines and organic shapes.  Adding a mid-century tripod lamp, a curvaceous chair, or a carved wood coffee table helps to give your rustic space a fresh, modern edge.

Keep it Cozy

One of the most essential elements of modern rustic design is the comfortable and homey vibe you feel.  This style should invite you to curl up on the couch in front of the fire. Ensure your home is the perfect spot to snuggle up by adding plush textures,  pillows, and chunky knit blankets. The organic, weathered materials and forms of the modern rustic look combined with comfortable furniture work in tandem to make your home into the perfect cozy cocoon.


Fabrics are a critical element of the modern rustic style. Neutral or light gray fabrics, along with deep, earthy colors, are also a great choice for accents such as rugs, pillows, and wall hangings. Fabrics also add softness, comfort, and luxury to your room while tying all the design elements together.  Fabric or macrame wall hangings provide an organic focal point to a room.

Traditional patterns like buffalo plaid, stripes, or bold geometric shapes freshen up your space and add the finishing touch.  Add soft throws to the sofa, chairs, and beds to create warmth against a more modern backdrop.  Wool, chunky knits, faux fur, or sheepskin all provide cozy accents.

Rustic Appeal

Repurposing, rethinking, and recycling can be key in designing a modern room with a rustic appeal.  Modern Rustic can be achieved on any budget by shopping for classic pieces in flea markets or vintage stores.

This style embraces the modern-day but is grounded in the charm of a bygone era when handiwork and craftsmanship were celebrated, and natural materials such as quality textiles and wood were appreciated.

Mixing two styles is a great way to let your creativity shine – there are no specific rules on how you marry the two so have fun creating your own modern rustic home.