While there may be plenty of ambiguity & misconceptions surrounding “rustic design style” the actual clarification for this confusion is straightforward. Rustic design & rustic interior styles refer to a set-up that features “natural” elements in their furniture, flooring, walls, décor items & even lighting.

Rustic style does not just pertain to wood and wood-inspired elements but encompasses all-natural designs. Presumably, the confusion came about due to the fact that rustic styles were often associated with “rustic furniture” and rustic furniture prominently features wooden furniture although “bone”, “stone” and “marble” also technically fall under “rustic furniture styles”.

The term “rustic” refers to a “village” style ambience or anything that exudes a countryside vibe. the term originates from the French word “rustique”. [Source: Collins Dictionary] This is also why rustic interior styles and rustic furniture are popularly referred to as “farmhouse interiors” or “farmhouse furniture”



The “rustic furniture” trend can be traced back to the early 1800s in Europe. Presumably, because home city dwellers would long to cherish their bucolic lifestyle and would want a way to relive the same vibe.

The trend began in England and was well accepted in America. After remaining rather inconspicuous during the second half of the 19th century and most of the 20th century due to the advent of the Industrial revolution & emergence of contemporary styles like the “Art Deco” & the “Art Noveau” designs, farmhouse designs and styles have made a comeback and are a popular and a tasteful choice for;

  1. Vacation homes, Countryside Cottages
  2. Beach Homes, although some distressing is a great way to add a coastal vibe
  3. Camping Lodges in the woods, Safari Lodges
  4. Restaurants & Cafes
  5. Hotels and Resorts

Characteristic of A Rustic Interior Style

  1. Rustic styles feature excessive natural elements like wood, naturally occurring canvas, Animal bone, Stones like granite etc
  2. Plenty of natural lighting
  3. Wooden flooring
  4. Décor items devoid of artificial elements like plastic, steel, metal
  5. Plain & simple colours that are drab, like beige, light brown etc. Bright colours are typically not used in austere rustic designs

Different Variants Of Rustic Design

Rustic designs in their original & unadulterated form are rather flinty. The rebound of rustic styles in the 2000s was primarily due to the fact that other styles are being infused into the rustic design that results in some pretty unique and aesthetically pleasing furniture pieces.

We list some of them in this post.

Industrial Rustic

Mixing and matching warm wooden furniture with bits of innovation from the industrial revolution brought up to speed to the 21st-century results in some of the most requested furniture styles that we know of. Rustic industrial styling is preferred in a number of decorative furniture pieces but is deliberately avoided for large furniture items.

Coffee Tables, nightstands, dressers, buffets and other case goods are widely available in industrial rustic styles. See examples below.

Vintage Rustic

Period furniture is all the rage these days. It helps resurrect a time and period that is closer to one’s heart and the choices available are plenty. One can opt for traditional Indian furniture, soviet-era furniture, Victorian furniture or even French provincial.

All of the original versions of these vintage styles featured wood as an important element in the furniture designs so blending a rustic décor is a great idea that is not only simple but also helps retain the originality of the piece.

Typical vintage rustic furniture pieces are armchairs, recliners, sofas, bedframes & wardrobes.

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Contemporary Rustic

While they may sound paradoxical, contemporary rustic is a thing. It also has a natural soothing feel to it and the theme is ideal if you wish to make your home feel a bit more spacious.

This style boasts furniture with clean geometric lines, plain colours, and polished wood. This is in stark contrast to traditional rustic furniture where irregularity in finish and random protrusions is accepted and even celebrated.

Even lighting arrangements are carefully trajected towards the interiors to ensure clean lines that enhance the rustic vibe.

Modern farmhouse designs also don’t shy away from using engineered wood in their furniture like plywood or reclaimed wood which results in a smoother finish and allows for easy maintenance. White and lighter shades of blue are fantastic additions to modern rustic designs

Distressed Rustic

While rustic designs by themselves do add a cosy old-world charm to any home or business, distressed rustic designs are a great way to add a “seasoned” and “weathered look” to your home. Distressing techniques for old wood vary from distressing techniques for newer variants of engineered wood but sanding, dry brush, wet paper technique & scraper technique work like a charm for distressed rustic styles.

African Rustic

African interiors also feature a ton of wood, special designs, decorations and statues, Many furniture pieces and decorations also include animal skin and bone as well. Wildlife inspired statues & paintings, vases in the backdrop of solid hardwoods like mahogany, oakwood & ebony wood are quintessentially African designs. Bone inlay and ornamentation are also given a huge emphasis in African designs and styles.

Rustic Indian Designs

There are a few similarities between traditional African & traditional Indian furniture designs in terms of ornamentation and use of animal bone but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Indian furniture is colourful and vibrant. It’s made in a rather extravagant manner and takes days of manual effort from adroit craftsmen to perfect. Most Indian furniture is made from solid wood species that are native to South Asian regions and are heavily worked even after the furniture structure is complete.

Indian interiors can be simple which features simple concrete flooring with bright coloured walls and cheap cane weave furniture. Alternatively contemporary Indian styles feature exquisite artisanal wooden furniture with ornate carvings, these woods are either Sheesham, Teakwood or Mangowood.

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While it may all seem clean and simple, maintaining a rustic styled home or log cabin is not a walk in the park. Wood is easily infested by stubborn pests and while the initial coating of insect repellants d work well. It is not a permanent solution and requires one’s regular attendance once every couple of years.

The problem with the entrapment of moisture is also quite real, so keeping the humidity levels between 30%-40% is a great idea. If you’ve sourced from a local dealer/carpenter, make sure the polish used has an element of the citrus base.

Just having harsh sun and direct UV is harmful to humans, it damages and fades away the finish of the wood as well. For detailed maintenance tips for farmhouse furniture, you may want to check this post.


While these are not core furniture pieces, décor items made in solid wood can take your rustic interior game to the next level. Dressers made of wooden logs, cutlery & crockery in finished wood, a washbasin base in wooden designs, a log-shaped nightstand and bedframes laden with wooden protrusions ensure an outstanding farmhouse theme.

A stone-clad fireplace with a rack of logs also adds a pristine touch. A thumb rule here is that the décor elements should seem like they come right off the lumberyard.


An authentic rustic style regardless of any of the variants mentioned is always handmade and machine-made rustic furniture is easily discernible from the real deal. Although, this does not mean that you can’t do the occasional lazy work and pick up a few ready-made items from the nearest thrift shop. Just make sure that the focal point of the home/restaurant/hotel is laden with handmade pieces only.


If you’re looking for relatively larger quantities, best to get one directly from a manufacturer. Due to the emphasis on handmade designs, custom making these from a manufacturer in Jodhpur, Rajasthan that specializes in rustic farmhouse furniture. Furnitureroots is one such global supplier of farmhouse furniture.

Keep caution of wooden furniture that is simply mass manufactured. Not only are the chances of the wood being inauthentic high, but it will be counterproductive to the rustic interior décor you’re trying to achieve.



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Keeping the furniture and interior elements aside, textiles and fabrics used for rustic interiors also have an important role to play to achieve farmhouse interiors. Textiles for rustic furniture are much harsher. Back in the day, people weren’t as particular with the cloth material, anything that helped retain warmth and served its purpose was used. More often than not, these materials were wool, mildly processed cotton, linen, canvas, flax etc.

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Earthy colours are ideal for rustic designs. Deep brown, dusky grey, creamy colours are all a great colour scheme to opt for. Slightly red hints are also a good idea. Since rustic styles are typically associated with the olden days, mild distressing is also a good choice.

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The wood on the flooring, attic and even the furniture itself should be slightly rugged and craggy. Not enough so to give yourself a splinter and not enough to give the impression that the item is machine-made.