How to Get Started On The Rustic Decor Of Your Dreams
I turned my 400 sq ft studio into my dream rustic apartment by shopping mostly at Target. And I strongly - STRONGLY - believe you can make your rustic home decor dreams come true too! I’m here to help you get started.
If you’re reading this post, it means you’re likely in the midst of one of those Pinterest/Instagram rabbit holes, spiraling down in a trance-like state of inspiration overload and envy over what others are able to achieve with their home decor.
You probably stumbled upon this post right in the thick of that mesmerized state, and you’re now regaining your bearings as you have just ceased the endless scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through gorgeous images with seemingly unattainable style.
Has it been an hour or five minutes? Who knows. We all know time has no meaning when you’re in the throes of devouring image after image on social media, soaking in visual inspiration like an interior decor-obsessed sponge.
And then you’re left with all this home decor inspiration and you don’t know what to do with it!
You know you want to do something different with your decor. Or if you’re in a new home, you know you want to just get started. You look around your space after seeing all that beauty on the internet, and you’re left feeling kind of… bummed out. Just a hollow feeling of “meh”.
You know that if you just buckle down and commit to fully decorating your space, you could probably make your home into a more inspiring environment. A place your friends fall in love with when you have them over.
A place that feels like you.
But how do you get started??
It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?
You sit down and start online shopping and… what then? Where do you shop? How do you find rustic home decor on budget? How do you stay inspired? How do you decide what to buy? How do you make it happen?
My head is kind of swimming just from typing that last paragraph. Because this is exactly where my head was at two years ago when I started decorating my apartment. I was equal parts excited and overwhelmed, and that kind of energy can get pretty chaotic when you’re trying to accomplish something like stylish home decorating.
Yet I was ultimately able to turn my little studio apartment into a stylish space I am proud to share on Instagram just by shopping mostly at places like Target, World Market, and Pier 1 - average, everyday stores that pretty much everyone has access to.
And yes, you are definitely capable of doing the same!
In this post, I’m about to give you 7 rustic home decor tips I learned from my own apartment styling experience.
And if you’re really serious about getting started on your rustic interior decorating and want to dive deeper, I created a free Rustic Decor Inspiration Workbook just for you!
I learned a lot from DIY-styling my studio apartment. There were lots of ups and downs, successes and mistakes. So I’d love to share some rustic decor tips based on my experience, and I think they’ll help get you in the right headspace before plunging into your own home styling.
I cannot stress enough that you (yes, YOU!) are completely and undeniably capable of creating a gorgeous rustic style home for yourself.
Beautiful modern rustic home decor is not exclusively reserved for the fabulous Joanna Gaines’s of the world! You too can achieve that dreamy rustic aesthetic you’ve seen all over the place, from Fixer Upper to Pinterest, and I’m here to help you get inspired and fired up about getting started.
It’s all about creating a space that facilitates contentment and wellbeing so you can feel like your best self in your home. My free workbook combined with the 7 rustic home decor tips in this post will set you on the path to achieving that!
Ok let’s get into these 7 rustic decor tips that will help you get started on your rustic dream space!
1. Really go for it
I think once you commit to the rustic aesthetic, you might as well really go for it. Don’t shy away from getting a little dramatic with your rustic decor choices, and feel free to go crazy with the raw, reclaimed wood and industrial iron items.
When you’re scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, do you notice that the homes that really grab your attention are the ones who are fully committed to their style of choice? That’s not to say you can’t get eclectic and mix in different styles and themes (I address this in #7), but overall the most eye-catching rooms are ones that fully embrace a specific style.
Some decor Instagram accounts that unapologetically embrace the rustic interior decor style to its fullest are @designsbybobbyjo, @rust_and_frill, and @daniellelouisedoughty. These talented ladies are masters of layering rustic elements like wood and iron with a multitude of textures and accessories, proving that more really can be more when it comes to decor.
(By the way, my Rustic Decor Inspiration workbook lists a total of 32 must-follow Instagram accounts that seriously rock rustic decor - click here to download it and access the full Instagram inspiration database inside!)
So any time you find yourself hesitating because you’re afraid that you’re being over-the-top with your decor decisions, try embracing the “go big or go home” mindset. Allow yourself to really play when it comes to decor!
2. Don’t shy away from accessories that look a little… off
Rustic interior decor thrives off of the old, the offbeat, the rugged, the oddities from another time. Some of the the best rustic decor items look like they were straight up plucked from a junkyard.
And this is to be celebrated in a rustic room!
Rustic styling is an opportunity to embrace weather and wear and rust. To revere the old and honor its flaws. An aged clock whose paint is chipping off, a broken farmhouse scale, your great-grandmother’s typewriter that’s missing a key or two… These are all perfect for rustic styling.
Rustic decor is all about flaws. The broken, the forgotten, the rugged, the strange. It’s poetic, isn’t it? There are plenty of metaphors in there, and it’s not lost on me that the way I view rustic decor is certainly connected to the ethos of Moda Misfit. 😉
3. Edison bulbs are your friends
Sure, Thomas Edison was a groundbreaking innovator, but do you realize he’s also an effing STYLE ICON? I mean, just look how he poses in photos with one hand in his pocket. He’s undeniably fabulous.
Anyway, I could go on about how Edison is an unsung hero of the style world (‘cause he’s got one hand in his pocket, and the other one is holding a light bulb 🎤), but in this post I’ll focus on how stylish his light bulbs are, especially when it comes to rustic decor.
In fact, I’d say that at least one light fixture with an Edison bulb is an effective ingredient to achieving a rustic look in your home decor.
Speaking of style ingredients, my free rustic decor workbook has a Rustic Recipe that simplifies rustic interior decor into an easy-to-digest checklis. Follow the recipe, and you’ll have the basic foundation for beautiful rustic decor - click here to download the workbook and get the Rustic Recipe!
Incorporating Edison bulbs in your interior style is an easy way to bring instant rustic, industrial style to your space. They’re kind of like the sprinkles on a sundae or the ketchup with your french fries - are they totally necessary? No. But do they complete the overall rustic, industrial home decor look? Hell yes.
4. Consider a monochrome color palette
I personally gravitate toward monochrome - I just think it’s very visually pleasing and a simple way to make a space look cohesive.
And I think monochrome works very well with rustic decor in particular because by only working with a small handful of colors (or no colors at all), you’re allowing the rustic materials and textures do most of the talking. By restricting the amount of color you use in your space, materials like raw, rustic wood are really able to stand out and sing.
However, while monochrome is a simple way to bring cohesiveness to your look, it does take discipline! Colors are tempting little beasts, so if you decide you want to do the monochrome thing and really commit to it, keep in mind that you’re going to have a lot of color temptation coming at you in your styling process. Resist, my friend. Resist!
Monochrome isn’t necessary for rustic decor (you could do really gorgeous things with color while also maintaining a rustic aesthetic) but I really do think embracing monochrome is an excellent way to make your rustic pieces shine.
5. Soften the rustic edges with cozy textures like faux fur
So you have a bunch of wood, iron, old relics, and industrial accessories, which is awesome. So rustic, so cool. If you like, keep your rustic decor edgy and badass - I totally encourage that.
But if you want to soften those edges with some coziness, I fully support that as well. As a lover of all things cozy and hygge, this is the route I chose - to use lovely soft textures to make my rustic apartment a comfy retreat.
Faux fur throws and decorative pillows are particularly ideal for rustic decor because they're the perfect contrast for those rougher edges while still belonging in the rustic world. Faux fur is warm and luxurious and welcoming… everything you want a cozy hygge home to convey. Yet it also evokes an old, rugged rustic vibe given our ancient, primal relationship with fur.
Faux fur is just the animal-friendly way to tap into the rustic energy of an age-old practice while adding cozy softness to your home.
6. Use wall art to create windows to the great outdoors
Raise your hand if you love nature! ✋
Raise your hand if you live in a small apartment or house! ✋
If raised your hand for either of those, this tip is for you.
Rustic style and outdoorsy nature imagery go together like peas and carrots (I just said that as Forrest Gump in my head) AND I’ve found that using nature photography wall art in my little studio apartment actually makes it look bigger. They basically act as de facto windows!
For example, my tiny kitchen has no windows. It felt pretty claustrophobic before I added that large (borderline too large) canvas print of a forest. I’m telling you, it immediately opened up the space and consistently tricks my brain into thinking I have a window to the outside world in my cramped kitchen.
So nature wall art ticks two boxes here. It enhances the rustic decor style and also assists in opening up an otherwise tiny space. In my mind, it’s one of the best additions you can possibly make to your space.
7. Do something unexpected
So you’re on your way to creating a beautiful rustic space that’s going to inspire heart-eye emojis all across Instagram and Pinterest. Yay!
But there’s still something missing.
Everything is pretty. That’s awesome. But where are you in all this prettiness? How to you bring some personal depth to the space and make this stylish rustic home yours?
It’s time to get a little weird with it, my friend.
Now that you have your shit together in terms of rustic styling, it’s time to bring something unexpected to the space! Something uniquely and unequivocally you. Or something that no one would expect from you. Something that has nothing to do with rustic style and simply speaks to you.
For me, I like to work in little elements of my own personal geekery, which comes in the form of a Legend of Zelda Triforce on my wall and Death Note manga on my coffee and console tables. I also made music a huge piece of my apartment’s aesthetic by displaying black and white images of some of my favorite musicians on my walls.
What do you geek out about?
This is where you get to have fun. This is where you get to take your perfectly styled space and disrupt it with little unexpected pieces of you.
This is probably the most important tip on this list because at the end of the day, style means nothing if it doesn’t communicate who you are and what you love. Style doesn’t have to be the superficial, materialistic endeavor people make it out to be. It can actually be an extremely effective visual way to show the depth of your personality.
Style is more than having pretty things - it’s communication. Whatever your style is - rustic decor or otherwise - you can use that style as a tool to communicate who you are and what you’re passionate about. Even when it’s through something as simple as an Edison bulb.
For a deeper dive into achieving the rustic home decor of your dreams, I recommend downloading my free Rustic Decor Inspiration Workbook! My friends, we have only scratched the surface of how you can get started on your rustic home styling journey.
The workbook will help you get organized and avoid the overwhelm that can come with the beginning phases of the home decor process by breaking it down into 3 steps:
Where to shop - Spoiler alert: I list out where I bought everything in my apartment.
Who to follow on Instagram - 32 must-follow accounts for their gorgeous rustic home decor inspiration!
What to type when online shopping - The key words to use on a store’s website to get the best rustic decor results.
Oh, you want even more rustic decor inspiration in this post? You insatiable rustic style addict, you. 😉 Here’s a quick list of more online resources for all things rustic!
Malmo and Moss - a stunning rustic decor blog filled with major decor goals. (I also feature Malmo and Moss on my list of must-follow Instagram accounts in the Rustic Decor Inspiration Workbook! Needless to say, I’m a total fangirl.
32 Rustic Decor Ideas That Make Case for Cozy-Chic Interiors - A seriously drool-worthy roundup of rustic interior inspiration from Elle Decor. *wipes mouth* 🤤
Interior Design Inspiration: Rustic Chic - Even more visual inspo from Harper’s Bazaar!
Target’s Rustic Decor Style Ideas - remember how I said I created my dream rustic apartment by shopping heavily at Target? That wasn’t an exaggeration. Take a look at all the amazing rustic stuff they have now!
Rocking Rustic on a Budget: 9 Rustic Decor Items on Amazon Right Now - a blog post by your very own Moda Misfit!
What are you interior styling struggles? Are you into the rustic decor look but aren’t sure where to start? Tell me what you’re having a hard time with in the comments, and I’ll do my best to give you the advice you need to get your interior styling process fired up!
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Hey there! I’m Steffi, creator of Moda Misfit - a style blog that aims to inspire you to embrace who you are and express your creative self through home decor & fashion. We're all Moda Misfits here!