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Mixing Home Design Styles: Rustic & Traditional

Mixing Home Design Styles: Rustic & Traditional
4 min. read
Mixing Home Design Styles Rustic & Traditional 1

Image: KUPRYNENKO ANDRII / Shutterstock.com

Because the secret to successfully mixing design styles is such a common question, we decided to turn the last piece on mixing styles into a series. This time, we’re back with another popular pair. If you love both rustic and traditional design, this one’s for you!

Whether you just can’t decide which style you love more, or you’ve moved in with someone who has opposite tastes, sometimes you have to find a way to combine design styles. And sometimes, those two styles might seem too different to play together nicely. But, with a few ground rules, even rustic and traditional designs can work together.

Choose Your Architectural Style

Rustic and traditional interior design are about more than just your furnishings and decor; both have strong architectural influences that play a big role in the look of your home.

So, before you start decorating, it’s important to decide which style will dominate. Sometimes, the style of your home will dictate the architectural style. But, if your home is relatively neutral, you get to choose!

If you love the rustic look, try adding some rough wood ceiling beams, barn board walls and natural stone. Or, if your style is more traditional, consider features such as wainscoting, crown molding, and dark, polished wood.

Pick Your Colors

Working with a consistent color palette is key to successfully mixing design styles, no matter which styles you’re putting together. And, the great thing about combining rustic and traditional styles is that they already favor the same color scheme.

So, choose your favorite neutral for walls and keep the color consistent in any spaces that flow together or can be seen from one vantage point. Follow up with tones of the same neutral for large-scale items, such as sofas and chairs. Then, create contrast with dark wood accents and deep-muted hues – such as forest green, cranberry, and midnight blue.

Edit Out the Extras

If you plan to combine two styles with very different characteristics, removing items that don’t fit either style will help create a cohesive look. For instance, modern, streamlined pieces or those that display a bold design style – such as mid-century modern or Art Deco – will look out of place and throw off your aesthetic.

Start by looking at what you already have and deciding which pieces don’t fit with either rustic or traditional styles. Removing one item will almost always make your room look better. But, if the incompatible items are functional pieces that serve a purpose, it’s time to look for a replacement.

Mixing Home Design Styles Rustic & Traditional 2

Image: KUPRYNENKO ANDRII / Shutterstock.com

Incorporate Vintage and Antique

Both rustic and traditional styles lend themselves well to vintage and thrift store shopping. Essentially, you won’t have to spend big bucks to find the perfect new (to you) piece. Vintage and antique items are also a great way to blend a formal, traditional style with a weathered, rustic look.

Start by looking for items with unique character that speak to you. Consider conventional pieces – like wingback chairs and antique art – as well as rustic items you can repurpose, such as an old steamer trunk or vintage lighting.

Create a New Connection

Sometimes, it just takes a bit of creativity to get that perfect piece that effortlessly bridges the gap between rustic and traditional. A bit of paint or fabric, for example, can transform furniture and give it a whole new look.

Some varnish or a fresh coat of paint can elevate rustic pieces to make them more compatible with traditional elements. Similarly, if you have new furnishings that you want to age, scuff them up and add a few dents. Fabric can also go a long way in creating a specific style; try reupholstering antique chairs with a plaid or animal pattern to give traditional pieces a rustic flair.

Know When to Mix & Match

To really pull off a successful rustic-traditional look, you have to know when to mix and when to match. A bit of mixing will give you a well-blended and cozy, yet elegant space. But, without some restraint, you could end up with a hodgepodge look. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • It’s okay to mix furniture styles in the same room but keep your wall art consistent.
  • You can have formal chairs at a rustic table but stick to one style for your table setting.
  • Don’t mix architectural styles! Wood ceiling beams should not be paired with crown molding.
  • Feel free to put rustic pillows on a traditional sofa (or vice versa), as long as you keep all of the pillows in the same style as one another.

Although they may not seem like a perfect match at first, rustic and traditional decor can actually be a great paring! 

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