Modern rustic is about mixing the new and the old. It is about creating contrasts between your decor and your furnishings, some being modern and some being rustic. Simplicity is the key to combining the two elements together. When decorating in modern rustic the focus is on creating a plain but lived in look, allowing the hardness of steel, wood and brick textures to blend with warm colors and emblematic earthy echoes of nature.
Decide what aspects of your room you want to look modern and which aspects you wish to infuse with a touch of rustic. You can decorate your walls in rustic colors and contrast with modern furnishings, or you can give your walls a modern treatment and bring in the rustic aspect with your choice of furniture.
Decorate the walls. If you want them to bring the rustic element paint them plainly with a mix of neutral and rustic hues (white, cream and grey as your neutrals and red, orange, gold, beige or lime green as your rustics). Apply a different color to each wall in the room -- for example contrast a neutral grey wall with an adjacent wall painted in burnt orange or lime green. Showcase a large decorative canvas of an earthy design -- a leaf, a branch or large colorful flower.
If you want to feature modern walls paint them in plain, neutral, and cool non-rustic colors such as white, black, pale blue or light grey. Paint all walls the same color and cover one with a flock-patterned wallpaper to create a feature wall, if desired.
Add the furniture. If you went with rustic walls the furniture should be modern, sleek, and follow current non-rustic style trends (generally they should not be wood based). Use modern appliances like shiny new coffee-makers, toasters, clocks and entertainment equipment to update the look of your room and contrast the earthy wall treatment.
If you have modern walls contrast them with rustic furniture elements such as pine or oak furniture, a wood-burning stove, large wood-framed mirrors, wooden kitchen units, stone fireplaces and wooden floors. Soft furnishings such as curtains, cushions, throws and lamp-shades in warm colors and earthy patterns (leaf or floral) will bring additional rustic appeal to the room.
Complete your room by adding finishing touches that continue the modern/rustic contrast. Make a rustic flower arrangement in a contemporary style vase. Place a modern ceramic bowl filled with earthy potpourri on a coffee table. Fill a glass or metal bowl with pebbles and water and float a few sandalwood scented candles in it to create a rustic ambiance.
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