Modern rustic design. Perhaps you’ve heard of it—or have, at the very least, seen it around Pinterest and Instagram. (It’s all the rage at the moment, and we’ve been seeing it all over the place!) This popular style mixes mid-century and rustic design elements for a look that’s both trendy and livable. But, while it’s a style that looks effortless and approachable, it doesn’t come together on it’s own. It takes a little thought and preparation. But don’t worry, it’s very attainable to create this look in your own home!
Today, we’re breaking down this style—showing you the key ingredients to create this look, how to mix them together, and answering all of your most pressing questions about modern rustic design! Wondering more about what makes modern rustic so appealing? How to design a space in this style? What kind of furniture do you need to get the look? Read on for our complete design recipe for modern rustic style.
What is Modern Rustic Style?
Let’s start with the basics: what is modern rustic style? Well, as we mentioned, it has a foundation in mid-century design elements, tossed together with a rustic aesthetic. The result is approachable, comfortable interiors.
However, some people are hesitant to mix design styles. In fact, a question we often get is, “Can you even mix modern with rustic??” The answer: absolutely! We’re all about mixing styles at Modsy. Some of our most popular looks are a mix of styles—like modern farmhouse (mid-century and farmhouse, a close cousin of modern rustic), mod visionary (mid-century and minimal, a clean and cool take on mid-century modern that’s more approachable for everyday living), and rustic warmth (rustic and transitional styles that result in a space that’s cozy and designed for family living. And, of course, modern rustic! When it comes to interior design, it’s ok to mix unexpected elements. You may be surprised at the result! Once you start mixing styles, there are so many nuanced ways to personalize a style and make it your own.
How do You Design a Modern Rustic Living Room?
We love that a modern rustic look features a more of-the-moment take on mid-century style—a style that just continues to evolve in the most interesting ways. And it’s rooted in rustic design’s love of comfort and warmth. In this style, you’ll notice a lot of rustic materials—like weathered woods, leather, jute, linen, and brass. But the shapes of furniture and decor will have more of that mid-century vibe, with streamlined forms, tapered legs on furniture, and a smattering of organic shapes.
As you can see, this is an eclectic style by nature, with an unexpected but delightful mix of two styles together in one space. This eclectic mix gives modern rustic homes a more informal, casual feel where you can really kick back and relax!
So, how do you design a modern rustic room? There are a few key ingredients that go into it, and we’re ready to share our secrets. Specifically, we’re going to focus on modern rustic living room ideas—but these tips pretty much apply to any room in your house that you want to infuse with a modern rustic look. So, read on for our full design recipe for a modern rustic living room, with all of the furniture essentials!
Comfortable foundational furniture
Any rustic style has comfort at its core. And modern rustic is no different. In fact, comfort is one of the main ingredients of these spaces! While modern rustic living room furniture should have simple, clean lines, you want to make sure you opt for pieces that prioritize comfort. Sofas should be plush and perfect for lounging. Armchairs should be cozy, the perfect place to curl up with a good book. And, though we’re talking about living room furniture in this post, prioritize comfort in modern rustic bedrooms too, with an upholstered bed or headboard!
But back to living room design. We love the Ravine Home Lova sofa, pictured above, for it’s beautiful clean lines and deep seating. Plush feather and down-wrapped seat cushions and pillows mean ultimate comfort! The soft leather and deep seat of this Scout Home accent chair adds another comfortable seating option to this modern rustic living room.
The living room furniture layout you choose can really help drive home your overall design style. Modern rustic spaces have an informal vibe. So, play that up with a casual layout. Consider an asymmetrical layout in your living room, with mismatched side tables and chairs. Then, incorporate unexpected elements—like using poufs instead of chairs! Any of these moves will make your space feel more approachable and comfortable.
In this space, we placed an accent chair on one side of the couch—and instead of having a matching chair opposite of it, we opted for a pair of poufs! We love this, as it adds a casual touch to the space, and also provides a lot of versatility, as poufs are easy to move around and can be used as extra seating, a soft foot rest, or even a makeshift side table when needed. But to keep the space from feeling too eclectic, we opted for side-by-side square tables as an alternative to a traditional coffee table.
Accents in natural wood
Natural wood is key to both mid-century and rustic aesthetics—so mixing it in your modern rustic living room furniture is an absolute must. Mid-century design prefers acorn woods, while Scandinavian design loves blonde. And rustic spaces tend to like weathered, darker wood tones. Here’s where the personalization comes in: you get to pick the wood tone that works for you!
In the design above, we chose darker wood accents to push a more rustic aesthetic. But you’ll also notice we opted for a lighter, natural wood in the bookcase cabinet—a reminder that you can mix and match wood finishes in one room! And speaking of natural wood: bonus points if your living room has exposed beams! Embrace this architectural element, which will help bring your modern rustic living room to life even more!
Neutral but warm color palette
Next, whisk in a touch of color. Modern rustic rooms generally have a neutral or warm palette. So, you won’t see as many blues, purples, or greens here! Instead, stick to earth tones like rust, ochre, dusty pinks, and clay. Then, balance out those colors with plenty of neutrals. This will keep your space feeling serene! This mix of neutrals and earth tones will also complement the natural materials in the space, like leather and wood.
In this living room, the color mostly comes through in upholstery, both in the rug and the throw pillows. But the wall art also adds a subtle pop of color that ties in with the pillows! However, all of the foundational furniture pieces, as well as the wall color, are calming neutrals.
Organic, geometric shapes
Now stir up some movement. Mid-century modern style is all about geometry. Bring this into your space with a few fun accents, side tables, art, and even in the shape of a side chair. (We love the swooping arm detail on this one). Geometric elements with a sense of movement will give your space a more organic vibe—pulling in the mid-century flair without going too Don Draper.
Case in point: We balanced out the hard lines of the coffee tables with a sculptural, organic side table. The plants also add organic shapes and movement to this living room.
Pops of leather and cowhide
A key ingredient to any rustic look? A little leather! You can easily incorporate leather elements through a leather armchair or cowhide poufs. Or layer in a cowhide rug, opt for leather pillows, or go a bit bigger with a leather sofa!
We love the way leather patinas over time, which will give your space a more vintage, lived-in feel. And leather with patina just so happens to be great for this modern rustic look! So, while the leather chair featured in this room looks beautiful brand-new, it will only look better with age!
Modern rustic style loves a dash of vintage—so, don’t forget to toss a bit into your living room design! A great way to bring this into your space is with a vintage-style rug. We love faded oriental options, or even an overdyed rug. This will ground your living room with a sense of history and balance out the more modern and streamlined furnishings. It will also help up the cozy vibes!
You can also add vintage vibes with decor pieces and artwork—whether they’re true vintage or just vintage inspired. We also opted for a glass-front cabinet in this living room, rather than a traditional bookcase, which is a subtle nod to vintage furniture design.
Once you have the basics in place, roll it out with some storage. Functionality is key to modern rustic design. And a huge part of that functionality is ample storage. We recommend a big cabinet or credenza for easy, functional living room storage. Baskets also add a pop of texture and are great for stashable storage. They’re just the thing for blankets, kids toys, or anything else you want to keep close at hand! You could also opt for a storage ottoman rather than a pouf, or a storage coffee table if you want extra hidden storage.
But storage doesn’t just have to be hidden. The cabinet featured in this living room adds a ton of visible storage—perfect for a mix of books and decorative objects that can further personalize your modern rustic living room. And, since it has glass doors, that means less dusting, too!
Mix of patterns
It’s time to mix in some patterns. We mentioned earlier that this style leans a bit more eclectic. And another way this shows up is through a fun mix of patterns. In addition to the patterns found in your vintage-inspired rug, pile on pillows in a few different patterns. Don’t be afraid to mix and match unexpected patterns! You can also incorporate patterns by way of texture (as seen in the ceramic vase, above). A mix of patterns gives your space visual texture and makes it feel more dynamic. And you can dial up or down how much pattern you have in the space to make it feel more or less eclectic. The mix of patterns is a great way to really personalize this style and make it feel unique to your home!
Garnish your modern rustic space with a bit of green. Because there is no better way to top off a modern rustic space than with a pop of life! While this tends to be a more neutral style, pops of greenery are very welcome in modern rustic homes. Consider investing in a floor plant, then add a few succulents throughout. This will—quite literally—bring your space to life and make you feel happier!
Ready to mix up your living room look?