Rustic-Modern Style Tips

Men laying new hardwood flooring

Rustic-modern finds

accessories Aspelund-bed-frame Sequin-animals
Metal typography letter, Bungalow Classic,
Wooden picture frame, Limetree Gifts,
Aspelund bed frame, IKEA,
Sequin animals, West Elm,


Atlanta is the perfect place for mixing modern and rustic home decor. It has a rustic Deep South heritage—Think folk art, Americana, woodlands and farms. Yet its urban pulse is thoroughly modern—Think sleek, industrial, concrete and steel. Despite being total opposites, the two styles can complement each other in perfect harmony, adding contrast and interest to interiors for a look that is often referred to as “eclectic.”

To add modern-rustic style to your home, seek out individual pieces that represent both rustic and modern aesthetics as well as decorative items that combine the two looks in one. Used together in a single room or throughout the home, they create a unified look. Here are some more tips for designing a modern-rustic space:

1. Woods + metals = a match made in heaven

The tones and textures of natural wood are a hallmark of rustic design. Sleek, shiny metals bring a room into the contemporary era. Don’t be afraid to feature variations of both prominently. Use wood in lighter tones and gray-based stains to keep things fresh—They complement the coolness of metal. Reclaimed or untreated wood adds a wonderful organic feel to a room and echoes the roughness of industrial materials. You can also use rusted, weathered metals to tie the natural and industrial elements together.

2. Keep furniture and large items simple so quirky accessories can shine.

Modern design is all about simplicity and clean lines. Furniture in simple, linear shapes provide a soothing backdrop for statement pieces. In a room with modern furniture, rustic accessories add folk touches without risking an overwhelming “country” feel. Rustic furniture can also be simple. Take this headboard (second from top), for example. The wood paneling gives it a farmhouse feel, but the color is neutral, and the shape is clean. You could go any direction with bedding, pillows and accent furniture, and it could easily work in a modern room.

3. Use accessories that combine styles such as vintage objects with a bit of glam.

Decorative items that look vintage but are updated with modern materials are another rustic-modern option. Natural elements are huge in the design world right now. Think of unexpected ways to use them such as placing botanical drawings in chrome frames. Or why not take a risk with sequined duck and bunny bookends for some woodland glam? They are out-of-the-ordinary conversation starters that set the right tone—the best of both worlds.

—Carla Schwartz is the author of the Atlanta design blog Decorativity,

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