Blending more traditional decorating with rustic elements makes for a tricky endeavor. Traditional decorating relies on symmetry, muted colors, and dark woods, while rustic decorating is more unexpected, both in furnishings and its arrangement. Nevertheless, the two can work well together.
Accent pieces add visual interest and blend rustic and traditional design elements. Use choice traditional pieces in a rustic room and rustic pieces in a traditional room to personalize your space. For example, an antique sideboard might get lost in a rustic dining room, but the same piece would certainly stand out if placed in a traditional dining room! Similarly, a traditional overstuffed sofa will add comfort to a rustic living room that’s otherwise filled with wicker or wood furniture. Furnishings made with reclaimed wood are a great way to bring a more rustic feel into your home.
Dedicated Design Spaces
At times, it’s impossible to cohesively merge the two styles in one room. In these cases, it’s best to dedicate each room to a certain style. Specific rooms lend themselves to traditional decorating, such as a dining room with cream-colored walls, while other rooms (e.g. dens or relaxed spaces) work with a rustic decorating scheme. The dining room is well-served by a chandelier over the table and a rich rug underfoot, while the den benefits from found folk art and mismatched complementary lamps.
Wood flooring will emphasize your decorating scheme, whether it is rustic, traditional, or an amalgamation of the two. Reclaimed lumber complements rustic decor and becomes particularly useful in high-traffic areas like mud rooms, hallways, and kitchens. Polished, dark wood floors enhance the conservative color schemes of traditionally appointed studies or libraries. Use flooring to add a unique edge to a room. For example, a rustic wood floor will soften a room with a traditional decorating scheme, while a polished wood floor will add subtle glamour to a rustic space.
When your flooring in a room is not variable, focus your energy on design elements for your walls. Consider bead board, which can apply to either design aesthetic with modification. Crisp white bead board works in a traditional space, but a crackle finish will make it rustic! Wood paneling is another versatile choice. Classic, natural wood tones (e.g. walnut and cherry) will compliment a traditional den, and weathered wood will enhance a rustic den. Paneling may also be horizontal or diagonal; don’t restrict yourself to vertical!