If romantic decor is primarily a preference for the woman of the house, then rustic is definitely the masculine interpretation. Simply say, “log cabin,” and a skeptical man will be right on board with this version of cottage decorating.
One of the reasons that Rustic Cottage is so popular with men (and women too!) is its link to the great outdoors. Log cabins have long been a symbol of pioneering, learning to live with the land as well as off the land. It may be rough and unfinished, but Rustic Cottage has about it a strong sense of classic, time-honored style.
Start a Rustic Cottage decorating plan by thinking “wood,” and the more unfinished, the better. Log-cabin style furniture is widely available these days, and it’s big, casual and comfortable, the kind of sofas and chairs you can imagine lumberjacks dropping down into after a hard day of cutting timber. Upholster the furniture in sturdy fabrics such as woven burlaps, rough wools or plain linens and cottons. Use animal patterns, woodland scenes, and plaids on pillows, throws and curtains to set off the furniture.
“Woodsy outdoors” is the description for wood finishes and paints in Rustic Cottage style. Colors must be those found in nature: stony grays, mossy, leafy or grassy greens, browns like the bark of big trees or rich earth covered in fallen leaves. Accents should be in autumn shades of gold, red, orange and rust.
And when it comes to textures, nothing should be showroom-perfect. Wood paneling is fine, but make sure it’s knotty pine or something that has a few authentic imperfections. In fact, no surface should have a shiny finish. Keep the varnish on the woodwork matte, or paint it with a tinted wash that will let the wood’s natural grain show. Rough beams on the ceiling would be a great addition, both for texture and for architectural detail.
If you’re lacking for wood though, don’t fret. You can still achieve an outdoors ambience with lots of wooden picture frames and other accessories. A basket of pinecones brings a great touch of the forest.
However, floors should be wood planks if at all possible (and the budget will stand it). If natural wood flooring is too expensive, and you’re dead set against some of the realistic-looking laminates available today, then try for unpolished granite, flagstone or slate. Whether wood or stone, braided area rugs just go naturally with Rustic Cottage decor. Not only are they bright and comfortable, they come in different shapes and their materials give an air of pioneer practicality to the room.
Place a long plank table with side benches and head and foot armchairs in your dining room, great room or family-style kitchen. If there’s a dining room as well as a kitchen, use an old oak table and wood chairs in the kitchen. Try repeating some of the plaids or woodland patterns in tablecloths and napkins.
Finally, put a couple of rocking chairs in front of the stone fireplace with its cedar mantelpiece. A bearskin rug might not be possible, but a sheepskin area rug would be an excellent choice as well (and probably lots softer on the feet!). Quilts on the beds, or quilts on the walls as hangings, lamps made out wood, and some Adirondack chairs on the porch… what more relaxing atmosphere could you ask from your Rustic Cottage home?