The Easy Nature of Rustic Design Style | Fireclay Tile
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The Easy Nature of Rustic Design Style

By Blair Hagensen

The Easy Nature of Rustic Design Style

If you’ve ever dreamed of running away into the woods and holing up in a log cabin, the natural state of rustic design probably already appeals to you. What’s not to love about a cozy, rustic home with wide-planked wood floors and a roaring stone fireplace?

Living room with floor to ceiling blue-green tiled fireplace and wooden ceiling with large wooden beams

Tile Shown: 3x3 Sheeted in Amalfi Coast // Design: Joan Ffolliott

That said, rustic design isn’t just all rough-hewn wood and antlers (although it definitely is a little). This unpretentious style is incredibly welcoming, environmentally conscious by nature, and surprisingly easy to incorporate into even the most modern spaces–really! Keep reading to discover how approachable rustic design truly is.

What Exactly is Rustic Design Style?

This style traces its roots back to the early 19th century as US settlers ventured away from cities, often nearly empty-handed since transporting belongings was too cumbersome, and hastily constructed homes and furniture with materials in their immediate vicinity.

These homes were simple and full of unfinished natural wood and stone, which laid the foundation for the basic tenets of rustic style that we still follow today.

Cabin interior with planked wood walls, ceiling, and floor, open kitchen with black lower cabinets and black tiled countertops, and open shelving

Tile Shown: 2x8 in Basalt // Design: Lawless Design // Image: Joyelle West

Get inspired by more modern rustic kitchens in this blog post.

Natural and organic are the guiding principles of rustic design, with weathered wood, either lightly treated or entirely natural, taking center stage–even better if it’s locally sourced. Since textured wood and darker colors are rustic features, this is considered more of a heavy style. Rustic homes often have large exposed wooden beams and thick kitchen tables with solid, square legs.

Creating a warm, cozy environment was the goal of the early homesteaders that cultivated this style, who wanted an inviting place to relax after a long day of work. Brick and stone are common elements, especially since floor-to-ceiling fireplaces are typical.

Large stone fireplace with handpainted black and white patterned tile hearth

Tile Shown: Dot Dash 1, Dot Dash 2, Dot Dash 4, Dot Dash 6, Dot Dash 7 in Charcoal Motif // Design: Rae Rockwell // Image: S. Cole Kiburz

Love this look? Our Design Consultants can help you recreate a custom fireplace like this with free design assistance.

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You don’t have to pull a full Walden à la Henry David Thoreau and build your own cabin in the woods in order to enjoy rustic design. The beauty of this style lies in its embrace of the imperfect. Integrate handmade or unpolished pieces into your space for a touch of rustic decor–handmade tile or brick is our preferred choice, of course, but even adding woven baskets or a faux animal hide rug into your living room is a simple way to incorporate rustic elements.

Rustic living room with weathered wood floors and ceiling beams, plants on the wall and floor, and view into bedroom with handpainted tile floor

Tile Shown: Handpainted Aerial in custom colorway // Design + Image: Danielle & Ely Franko

Watch how our Handpainted Tile is made in our California factory in this video:

The Colors of Rustic Style

Since natural materials are such an integral part of rustic interior design, it should come as no surprise that its color palette mostly consists of earthy, muted neutrals. Lean into colors found in the forest: browns, whites, greys, blacks, with a touch of warm green, blue, or red.

Rustic Style Brick Samples: Black Hills, White Mountains, Columbia Plateau, Lewis Range, Sierra Nevada, Adirondack, Mojave, Green Mountains

Our rustic favorites are all Glazed Thin Brick, since natural textured elements are such an important aspect of rustic living, and include color samples in Black Hills, White Mountains, Columbia Plateau, Lewis Range, Sierra Nevada, Adirondack, Mojave, and Green Mountains. Sample our rustic favorites here.

Living room fireplace clad with rust brick featuring noticeable color variation

Brick Shown: Columbia Plateau // Design: Monaca Brown Design Co. // Image: Lauren Moore

Not only are natural and neutral colors hallmarks of this design style, rough finishes are as well. Rarely will you find a glossy finish in rustic style; instead, due to the abundance of unfinished natural elements, textured or matte finishes are typical on everything from dining room tables made from reclaimed wood to burlap and canvas home decor.

Powder room with weathered wood vanity and black brick floor

Brick Shown: Black Hills // Design + Image: Valeria Jacobs

Hit Refresh with Modern Rustic Design

If you love elements of rustic design but aren’t inclined to fully emulate Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin, the more contemporary version of this design style is for you. Modern rustic design is lighter with clean lines and more bright white than traditional heavy rustic–marrying the charm of the original style with modern amenities and furniture.

Bright, white living room with lots of wood accents and rustic white brick floor-to-ceiling fireplace

Brick Shown: Olympic // Design + Image: Caitlyn Shoemaker

Adding textured brick accents into your space is a perfect way to achieve a modern rustic look. The bedroom below showcases a neutral-colored brick wall behind the bed that adds just the right amount of texture, while the modern side tables and rounded headboard keep the room firmly planted in the present day.

Bedroom with light tan-pink brick accent wall behind bed

Brick Shown: Mojave // Design + Image: Amanda Walker

Another way to incorporate modern rustic design is with your fireplace. Make sure to stick with neutral-colored brick to stay within the realm of this style–white or light neutrals work exceptionally well. The fireplace below is a beautiful example of modern rustic; the tight grout joints highlight the handmade quality of the bricks in a striking and unforgettable way.

White, bright living room with white brick fireplace

Brick Shown: Lewis Range // Design: Amanda Jane Jones // Image: Stoffer Photography

Feeling inspired to cultivate your own cozy cabin ambiance? Bring home up to 5 free samples to find the perfect rustic brick or tile for your space.

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