Rustic style is a sought-after interior design look that’s known for its laid-back, casual atmosphere that embraces the raw, natural beauty of the outdoors.

You may have heard the word “rustic” used to describe interior design looks as Mountain Resort, Cottage, Shabby Chic, Industrial, Western, Tuscan, etc., etc. The list goes on. That’s because rustic can be a broad term and many interior design styles embrace “rustic” style elements into their designs to add character, texture, and interest. Rustic has its influence on many styles, and today we are going to focus on how the range of this design style can be used from traditional to modern.

Rustic Style kitchen design ideas. How to create rustic style cabinets.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry kitchen design by Witt Construction, Inc., New York. Photograph by Randall Perry.

The great outdoors is an extensive topic, which is why rustic style can sprawl across so many other interior design styles. Design elements of a Rustic kitchen design can be inspired by mountain retreats, backwoods cabins, lake shore lodges, the great plains, western ranches, hunting lodges, or other rural living landscapes.

A rustic style living room with a natural stone fireplace and reclaimed mantel in a cozy farmhouse.

Rustic design by Crisp Architects, New York.  Photograph by Rob Karosis.

Project by Big Wood Timber Frames & Baratto Brothers Construction, Minnesota

Project by Big Wood Timber Frames, Minnesota

Modern Rustic VS. Rustic Traditional Design

Rustic design can come in a wide spectrum of styling; from an old-world, traditional look to a minimalistic, modern look and everything in between. These two spectrums of rustic style are commonly called “Rustic Traditional Style” and “Modern Rustic Style.” The textures, colors, and materials, design elements used throughout Modern Rustic and Rustic Traditional kitchen designs are primarily the same. The difference is how much detail or how minimal the design structure is that determines which version of Rustic style the space will be.

The spectrum of rustic style designs. Rustic style can be super traditional to very modern. Modern Rustic Style verses Rustic Traditional Interior Design Style.

In the two spaces below, the first/left image has a Modern Rustic style kitchen while the second/right picture has a Rustic Traditional style living room. Let’s compare the two.

Modern Rustic Style Kitchen Design with Dura Supreme Cabinetry by Claire Teunissen of Studio M Kitchen & Bath, Minnesota.  Photograph by Scott Amundson Photography.

Rustic Traditional Style Living Room Design with Dura Supreme Cabinetry by Studio M Kitchen & Bath, Minnesota.                                                                                                                                          

The Modern Rustic kitchen uses a simple shaker cabinet door style while the Rustic Traditional style living room uses a more detailed raised panel door style.

The features shown in the Modern Rustic kitchen design are simplified and minimal. The wall wrapped in reclaimed barn wood planks makes an otherwise simple surface an attractive rustic design feature. In the Rustic Traditional living room, there’s a lot more going on. Wood beams, the natural rock of the fireplace wall, the multiple fabrics and patterns on the furniture pieces. There’s a lot more depth, shape, textures and decor in the Rustic Traditional design verses the sleek, contemporary Modern Rustic style design.

What is Modern Rustic Style?

Modern Rustic kitchen design style embraces minimalism, mother nature, and informal contemporary style. Surfaces are simple, solid, flat, or conservative with minimal structural detail, yet they’re full of natural textures that grab your eyes attention. It’s sleek, modern living that’s comfortable, warm, and calls to the great outdoors. Mid-century furniture accents and industrial-styled lighting and hardware are commonly used.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry design by Claire Teunissen of Studio M Kitchen & Bath, Plymouth, MN. Photograph by Scott Amundson Photography.

What is Rustic Traditional Style?

Rustic Traditional takes classic traditional styling to a casual, cozy place. Taking influence from the past, this kitchen design style brings rugged mountain landscapes and luscious textures of the forest inside the home. Decor and furnishings can be eclectic with a mixture of styles, fabrics, and finishes. Traditional architecture is embraced and design features like fireplaces are dramatized with pronounced shapes & raw stones. Vaulted ceilings are embellished with reclaimed-looking beams, logs, or shiplap. You’ll see a wider variety of decor and furnishings and more traditional architectural details throughout the space.

A Rustic Traditional styled kitchen design with a grand wood and metal hood, dark painted kitchen island, and distressed wood cabinets.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry kitchen design by Witt Construction, Inc., New York. Photograph by Randall Perry.

How to Create a Rustic Style Color Palette

A rustic style color palette is centered around natural, earthy, and neutral colors like browns, beiges, whites, grays, etc. The undertones typically land on the warmer side of the color wheel and focus on keeping the space approachable, natural, and inviting. Consider selecting “woodsy” hues inspired by tree bark, river rock, and driftwood.

Rustic style interior design mood board with a traditional cabinet door style with a raised panel.

This Rustic design mood board features the Chapel Hill Panel door style in the Heirloom “O” finish on Knotty Alder with a sample of the Heritage Paint “K” finish.

Wood textures that are rough, raw, knotted, weathered, natural, or aged are a key component of a rustic style kitchen design. Painted finishes can sometimes appear on textured woods, (i.e. Painted Oak) or with a distressed, aged appearance, like our Heritage Paint Collection. Artisan crafted finishes that add an antiqued, worn, or weathered appearance are sought-after cabinetry finishes when creating this style.

Here are a few cabinetry finish ideas for some inspiration.

You’ll rarely find bright bold splashes of color in this design style. In the rare case that a pop of color appears in a a rustic style kitchen, it is typically inspired by a unique color found in an outdoor landscape, like a green plant, a colorful flower, or bright blue skies.

In the kitchen shown below, the vibrant orange color of the fall-inspired floral arrangement inspired the bright orange fabric on the kitchen island bar stools. The color is only used as an accent and appears just on a few decor items and does not take over.

A rustic weathered wood kitchen island with orange fall-inspired accents.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry kitchen design by Mariotti Building Products, Pennsylvania.

Using two-tone or even three-tone cabinetry is a great way to mix textures and add character to a rustic kitchen or bathroom design.

Here’s an example of two-tone cabinetry mixing wood species and finishes to create a Rustic kitchen design.

How to Select Rustic Style Cabinetry

As we discussed earlier, Rustic style covers a broad range of interior design looks from traditional to modern. Depending on which direction of Rustic style you’re looking to create will determine the type of door style you’ll want to choose.

Modern Rustic Cabinetry Design Ideas

For a more contemporary look, select cabinet door styles with minimal detail and lots of texture. Slab and shaker door styles with medium to wide rails and simple profiles are a popular choice for Modern Rustic kitchen designs and usually appear with rustic wood or weathered finish. Full Overlay construction is most commonly chosen, but simple slab or shaker inset doors will also work with this look.

Here are a few Modern Rustic door style looks for some inspiration.

Rustic Traditional Cabinetry Design Ideas

If you’re looking for a classic Rustic Traditional style, consider raised panel or flat panel styles with medium to wide rails and simple to intricate detailing. A character-rich wood or distressed painted finish will help top off the look. For a farmhouse or old frontier-like twist, select a door style that includes shiplap or bead board features. Door construction styles can vary from Full Overlay to Standard Overlay and even Inset.

Here are a few Rustic Traditional door style looks for some inspiration.

Design Elements of Rustic Style

There are a few key design elements that you should consider when creating a rustic style design. I’ve broken them down into four categories; rugged textures, cozy textiles, grand architecture & furnishings, and surprising earthy design elements. 

Project by Big Wood Timber Frames, Minnesota.

Rugged Textures

It’s all about texture, texture, and can you guess? More Texture! This is why many times you hear of textures and materials in other design styles referred to as “Rustic”. Rustic style is famous for rugged, worn, raw, and distressed textured materials that fully embrace the natural beauty of the great outdoors. Look for painted and metal surfaces that have an aged, industrial, or antiqued look, and select wood finishes with rich character, dramatic grain patterns, and knotted details. The rough look of natural stone, bark, leather, and furs can also add more rustic-inspired texture to your design.

Rugged rustic textured wall with wood planks and an industrial style light fixture.

Project by Big Wood Timber Frames, Minnesota.

Cozy Textiles

Fabrics throughout the room should possess a natural aesthetic. Look for textural fabrics and soft goods that use organic cotton, canvas, knitted blankets, quilted pieces, handwoven, or burlap. Maybe even some leather, animal fur, or hide-like materials will do. Any seating and furniture should have a comfy and relaxed design.

Grand Architecture & Furnishings

Go big, bold, and heavy when selecting architectural details and furniture. Rustic furnishings and cabinetry will typically feature hefty turned posts or legs and wide columns. The architectural designs typically feature large windows that capture the beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes to help create a harmonious connection between the outdoors and the interior of the home. Massive & elaborate exposed structural beams are a staple architectural feature in rustic-style homes.

Project by Big Wood Timber Frames, Minnesota.

Project by Big Wood Timber Frames, Minnesota & Baratto Brothers Construction.

Focal points of the design like a wood hood, kitchen island, kitchen table, or fireplace can appear large-scale with grand detailing, like the hood shown below. Not only is it very large in size, but the corbels are dramatic and big to emphasize the cooking area.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry kitchen design by Witt Construction, Inc., New York. Photograph by Randall Perry.

Surprising Earthy Design Elements

Beyond using houseplants and earthy color palettes to bring a burst of real-life organic elements into the design, this style is known for taking the outdoors indoors a step further. Finding creative and surprising ways to incorporate raw materials found in nature is a well-known practice. Designers might use antlers to create a light fixture and use pine cones, twigs, logs, driftwood, etc. for decor and handmade art. A large rock or log could be used to craft a unique piece of furniture. Practically any item that connects us to the great outdoors could be considered a possible design feature.

This beautiful rustic living room features natural twigs and tree branches as chandeliers throughout the entire space.

This Rustic design by Crisp Architects, New York. Photograph by Rob Karosis.

A carved-out rock is used as a pedestal sink in this rustic style master bathroom.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry design by Creative Kitchen Designs, Inc., Alaska.

Is Rustic your interior design style?

To discover more inspiration for your Rustic style kitchen or bathroom remodel, browse the gallery carousel  below featuring several rustic styled Dura Supreme Cabinetry projects.

Mandi Juskiewicz the Senior Design & Marketing Specialist for Dura Supreme Cabinetry. A content developer and blog author for the company.

Mandi Juskiewicz is the Sr. Design & Marketing Specialist for Dura Supreme Cabinetry with 20+ years of experience in graphic design, web design, multi-media communications, photography, online trends, and social media technology along with 10+ years of experience with Dura Supreme Cabinetry.  Her accolades include the distinction of being named “Kitchen Cabinetry Marketing Specialist of the Year 2019″ in the 2019 Content Creator Awards held by Corporate Vision Magazine (CV Magazine) and achiever of the Houzz Influencer Award.

Her role at Dura Supreme allows her to curate the “best of the best” designs, cutting-edge products, and fabulously functional Dura Supreme kitchens across the country and feature them here for inspiration and design ideas!

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