From log cabins and renovated barns to new builds with loads of country charm, rustic style draws its inspiration from the woods and lakes of the great outdoors. Here are some tips to make the most of a rustic home’s natural good looks with design ideas for porches, paint colors, pathways, and more.
Rustic color and texture. Pull your color palette inspiration from the countryside scenery: smooth logs, rough stone, weathered wood, a pop of barn red or pine green. Natural materials should be the star of the show, so choose a clear finish for exterior woodwork and always choose the real deal (wood, stone) when possible over a synthetic alternative.
A porch for sitting. No rustic home worth its salt should be without a porch, and the bigger, the better. An open, wraparound porch is ideal, as it provides ample outdoor living space and doesn’t block any views. Complete the picture with a pair (or two) of chunky wooden rockers.
Get the details right. Choose a handsome door (either left natural or painted to match the trim) with hefty hardware, and a mailbox and house numbers in a matching medium-to-dark metal with a matte or weathered finish. Rustic porch lanterns and a few simple pots or bark-covered planters of flowers are all you need to pull the entry together.
How rustic can you go? When choosing the details, take a cue from the rest of your home’s architecture: If it’s a log home, weathered wood cabin, or stone structure, you can go with very rough, rustic hardware and accessories. If your rustic home is shingled, choose more classic pieces with a matte or weathered finish.
Natural plantings. A rustic home is not the place for fussy plantings. Think native, natural, and slightly wild. Check out a local nursery or plant sale that features local plants to find varieties that will thrive in your climate, and plant beds to attract bees, birds, and butterflies. Curved planting beds filled with flowers, rocks, and natural mulch provide a welcome softness to a rustic structure.
Winding paths. As with planting beds, when it comes to walkways, choose curved over straight. Natural stone with irregular shapes look right at home with a rustic house.
Rustic fencing. A picket fence would look out of place in front of a rustic home. Instead, enhance the natural character of your home with a “wattle” or woven twig fence, a split-rail fence, or any other rustic wooden fence. Extra credit for including wood with the bark still attached.
Bringing rustic into town. New rustic-style homes are being built in towns and suburbs all the time. The key to make your in-town rustic home look its best is to find a balanced approach — it is possible to overdose on willow branch furniture and rusted wheelbarrows! Combine natural elements like a stone path, window box, and weather vane with crisp and clean elements such as a paved driveway and neat grass.
A place to unwind. Most of all, when you spy your rustic home from across the street, you should immediately think, now that looks relaxing. A good way to mark your home as an R&R hot spot is with an icon of relaxation: Hang up a hammock, install a porch swing, or set out a rocker or Adirondack chair.
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