When you want to introduce just a hint of rustic appeal here and there in your living room, consider the Rule of Three to prevent your efforts from appearing random or lackluster. This philosophy, long observed by interior designers, says that groups of similar items create visual impact; odd numbers make the most eye-pleasing groupings. In this living room, for example, a trio of tree stumps creates a clever coffee table arrangement with rustic flair.


Front and back doors open directly into a two-story-high living room, where spruce-planked walls and wood beams salvaged from an 1890 Tennessee barn reflect the home’s rural setting and give the space a refined, barnlike feel. Interior decorator Phoebe Howard balanced the rustic elements with color. “I added an air of elegance with a soft color palette that reflects the surrounding sky and hills,” she says.
Pale and pristine decor meet their more primitive match with faux fur coverings, to name only a few of the charming contrasts in this rustic chic living room. Mixing tones and textures is the hallmark of great living room decorating, and this room’s careful blending of refined furnishings (glass topped coffee table and domed candle covering) and heavier fur throws and pillows, with delicate floral touches interspersed throughout, is the epitome of a modishly balanced rustic style.
The larger size of the table is perfect for everyone around the couch to be able to kick their feet up on. I love the cleaner lines and it’s completely solid and heavy (just ask the two delivery guys who wrestled it through the front door) vs. the rickety old one. It may be a little too sturdy, because my kids have taken to using it as their stage during dance parties, sigh.

The nubby texture of a sisal fiber area rug makes an attractive anchor for furnishings in a rustic living room. When choosing an area rug, select one large enough to create a cohesive look. Follow this rule of thumb: When the furniture grouping doesn't touch walls (but "floats" in the center of the room), the rug should be large enough that all the furniture legs rest on the rug without crowding the grouping. If your furniture backs up against walls, then the rug should be large enough to extend beneath front legs.
Wallpaper is one of those trends that just keeps on giving and giving. If you go with a classic chinoiserie wallpaper, you can do just about anything with it as your style changes over the year. This modern self portrait by Chuck Close is a bold contrast to the chinoiserie wallpaper (Iksel's Eastern Eden) behind it in this Miles Redd-designed home. The contrast doesn't stop there: Redd continued to venture beyond design convention by incorporating contrasting jewel tones and mixing modern furniture styles with antique pieces. Oh—and believe it or not, the lime green chair is from Ikea! Proof even the best designers love a good deal.
Aside from the adorable dogs (Jacob and Wylo) cuddled up on the armchair-meets-dog-bed, that gallery wall is the clear statement-maker in this living room designed by Philip Mitchell. Mix and match frames for a subtle nod of personality. And speaking of personal touches, consider hanging art that means something to you, whether it's your children's artwork, your own, or a portrait of your pets.
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