Raise your hand if you've ever dreamt of throwing it all away and moving to the woods to build a perfectly quaint rustic-modern cabin. The wildly popular coffee table book Cabin Porn, released in 2015, proves that it's a common fantasy. But with a cabin in the middle of the woods or not, you can achieve a similar look, even in the heart of the city, if you know the simple keys to modern-rustic décor.
Get Inspired by Nature
Take inspiration from nature to create a rustic retreat. This woodsy kitchenette sticks to a nature-inspired color palette of warm woods and dark green for a striking effect. Midcentury-inspired lighting and clean subway tile add just the right modern touch to balance the space.
Keep It Simple
Sometimes the best approach to outfitting a space is the simplest. Case in point—this barebones mountain house stairway. Reclaimed wood from floor-to-ceiling serves up all kinds of rustic charm, while black hardware and simple styling modernize and finish off the space.
Focus on the Fireplace
The warmth and ambiance of a crackling fire is unrivaled, so it's not surprising that fireplaces are often at the center of rustic design. We love this dark and moody take on a rustic living room that keeps the grand fireplace at the center of attention. Layers of texture add another cozy element inviting you to dive right in.
Use Reclaimed Materials
Reclaimed wood walls are the hallmark of rustic décor, but in this space, the sleek, black windows give the room a decidedly modern edge. If the architectural style of your space is very modern, bring in a few rustic elements but keep the furniture and accessories simple to avoid overwhelming the room.
Install a Barn Door
Take notes from this rustic dining area and install a wooden barn door in your living space for an instant rustic infusion—it doesn't have to be massive to make an impact. This nook screams rustic with all the natural materials, but ultra-sleek lighting gives it a modern twist.
Expose Original Architecture
If you're blessed with rustic architectural features, take advantage of those assets. In this historic Maine home, original beams frame the dining nook and are offset by modern takes on traditional décor like black Windsor chairs, a light wood table, and glass candlesticks.
Mix in Midcentury
The living space in this NY colonial has a traditionally rustic feel thanks to all the rich woods and classic architecture. By bringing in a Midcentury Eames chair and pairing with rustic décor, this designer has beautifully balanced the style of the space.
There's a lot to love in this airy bedroom. A rope pendant hangs casually over a chunky block of wood that acts as a nightstand with a touch of green on top, and both the fur rug and branch bench add texture, making the space feel extra cozy and layered. Meanwhile, light walls and linens keep the space open and breathing.
Bring in Natural Elements
The surest way to channel cozy cabin vibes is by bringing the outdoors in. Earthy elements like stone, wood, natural fabrics, and even plants will imbue that rustic vibe. Keep furniture silhouettes clean and modern to strike a balance.
Paint It White
To give your rustic-leaning space a modern infusion, paint brick and wood accents white. This pass-through dining room was refreshed with a coat of paint and new furniture that takes a modern approach to classic styles like Windsor chairs and a raw wood table.
Add an Accent Wall
Give your bedroom an airy, modern-rustic feel by installing a natural wood accent wall. Thinner planks will give the space a less traditional look. Finish it off with breezy cotton bedding in white or oatmeal tones and keep the décor simple.
Pick a Pop of Color
Paneled walls, antique wood tables, and Windsor chairs are all staples of rustic design, but this space still feels fresh and modern thanks to the restrained color palette featuring a pop of periwinkle, simple lighting, and greenery. But the real star of this room is the view. Swoon.
This rustic meets traditional dining nook is all about building texture—from concrete, wood, and beadboard to marble, velvet, and cotton, there are so many luxurious layers creating textural contrast. It all comes together to form one harmonious space.
When building layers in a room, have a general color palette in mind to keep things cohesive. Avoid matching things too closely, though.
Make a Ceiling Statement
In this Malibu home, reclaimed wood ceilings are left in their natural state while the walls are given a coat of fresh white paint. Blue accents pop against the wood and white color palette, making the space feel fresh, light, and rustic-beach chic.
The oversize window in this hallway calls for an all-white interior. The large plank floors are sanded in a matte, light finish to give the space an airy feel. Matte black hardware anchors the space—and a single wood stool set against towering evergreens outside make it pop. This space is as simplistic (and dreamy) as it gets.
Opt for Antiques
Rugged antiques—particularly with worn wood or chipped paint finishes—help seal the deal when it comes to nailing the rustic-modern look. In this moody office, an aged desk, filing cabinet, and vintage décor set the rustic mood, but light wood floors contrasted with inky walls keep it feeling fresh and modern.
Double Down on Leather
There's something about leather that is inherently rustic and modern at the same time, no effort required. Incorporate leather furniture or accent pieces into your space, and feel free to mix it up with new or aged leather in any color that pleases you, though we'd recommend sticking to shades of brown.
Upgrade Your Lighting
If your space is leaning a little too rustic, one simple way to quickly modernize is by upgrading your lighting. Think sleek and contemporary to contrast more rustic elements—Midcentury-inspired fixtures work particularly well.
Play With Pattern
If a rustic cottage is what you're after, take cues from this Maine living room that mixes and matches patterns for an overall eclectic effect. Combine graphic and traditional prints and anything in between—the more the merrier, really.
Decorate With Rustic Accents
Even a vintage bathroom can be made to feel both modern and rustic—like in this historic Seattle home. Traditional elements including subway tile and a pedestal tub are kept fresh and modern with an all-white palette. A few rustic accents give the space warmth and depth.
Refresh Your Backdrop
Lighten up any space that's leaning too rustic with a fresh coat of paint, like in this open and airy entryway. Set against a crisp white backdrop, the rustic décor feels charming and welcoming yet modern—the ideal blend.
Something we've noticed that all rustic cabins and quaint cottages have in common? Beautifully and carefully curated clutter. See this masterful country kitchen for inspo—note how the countertops, shelves, and pantry are overflowing with attractive kitchen utensils and storage vessels.
Bring the Outdoors In
Adding an organic touch will bring an immediate natural flair to your space, whether it's through artwork or live plants. This cozy cabin bedroom is exactly what you'd expect to find deep in the forest—wood paneling, stone floors, and vintage furniture bring all the rustic charm while crisp, white bedding and organic décor freshen it up.
Hang Some Wallpaper
When you really want to turn up the rustic vibes, opt to hang wallpaper in a pattern that feels most fitting to you. Vintage patterns, graphic plaids, and organic prints can all translate well in a rustic space, so consider your options carefully.
Aim to contrast your wallpaper and furniture styles to achieve a balance. For example, pair modern graphic wallpaper with antique furniture, or a vintage print wallpaper with clean, modern pieces.
Paint Your Cabinets
Give your kitchen a rustic makeover with a coat of cabinet paint. This all-green kitchen uses a glaze coat to give an antique feel and dark green subway tile for a foresty vibe that would be perfect in any rustic or modern hideaway.
Nothing's more naturally rustic than the outdoors. Create your own private outdoor retreat for an easy escape. Start with a place to sit, add some plants, and hang string lights for an instant oasis.