In cities and farmlands across the country, many homes are turning to a classic decorating style. Originally derived from necessity, this design has survived due to its utility and simple beauty.  For those looking for a home decorating theme that is chic and aesthetically appealing but also inexpensive, green, and long-lasting, consider a rustic motif for your home or room. Rustic décor is all about creating a homey, timeless atmosphere by using antique, reclaimed, or distressed feeling pieces. It can take on a more rural “country” or “log cabin” look, or it can emphasize vintage or retro items. The key is to design a room that doesn’t feel stuffy, pretentious, and un-lived in. Rather, it should create a welcoming, well-loved feeling for residents and guests alike.

Beyond looking great, there are a number of other benefits to performing a rustic redecoration. First off, the emphasis on reclaimed, repurposed, and reused items makes it a more affordable option. Even if you choose to use rustic-looking but still higher-end new items, that cost can be offset by other vintage, heirloom, or homemade pieces. Secondly, this emphasis on previously used items means rustic décor tends to be more environmentally friendly than other decorating schemes. The carbon footprint of new rustic items tends to be lower than that of an equivalent modern-looking piece due to the emphasis on natural materials as opposed to mass-manufactured plastics or polymers. Rustic pieces are also more green because they last longer. Modern pieces that try to look perfect are ruined by just a scuff or two as they then no longer fit the rest of a room’s “clean” aesthetic. Further, these styles change so fast that even if pieces are still in good condition, they may be out of fashion. The rustic style, by contrast, has been popular for decades and shows no signs of abating. The stressed nature of the aesthetic also means that natural wear and tear tends to blend in.

For specifics regarding how to start creating your rustic look, the first thing that you might want to do is scour your basement, attic, or garage for any items that you already own. Adding a fresh coat of paint – or scraping off an existing one – can transform old items you’re no longer using into fresh pieces that match your new room feel. If you have old carpeting in your home, consider taking it out in favor the hardwood plank flooring below, or install white oak flooring, which adds texture, warmth, and an old-timey feel to any room. Another option for replacing your old flooring is to add a wide plank floor with squared, softened edges for an aesthetic that calls up an Old English tavern or 1700s Pennsylvania estate home. Other materials that you can use to create your rustic look include most woods, stone, cotton, wool, glass, clay, and metals like wrought iron, brass, and bronze. For accessories like wall decorations, lamps, and other smaller “character” pieces, don’t head to upscale retailers, but instead hit the thrift stores and antique shops, where slightly distressed, unique, and period pieces are readily available and much less expensive.

Rustic home décor is nothing new, and that’s a good thing. It’s a cozier, more livable aesthetic that still looks great. You can save money, help the planet and still create a design style that will garner compliments from even the most discerning guests. Whether you live in a home or apartment, a rural or urban community, you can easily make your home a place that anyone would want to live in by adding a touch of the rustic.