How to Make a Modern Home Look Old
Have you ever found yourself staring at an image of a beautiful old and rustic home, knowing full-well that you will never be able to achieve that drool-worthy aesthetic in your own? Perhaps your new-build home possesses typical box room magnolia walls, or, maybe your space is sublimely contemporary but vacant of any sort of rustic character.
It’s a common issue raised by many frustrated homeowners who dream of a characterful, rustic home. In this post, we delve into a few key pointers to help turn your bland magnolia into enviable rustic as we answer the question: how do I make my new home look old?
Find inspiration from rustic interiors you love
Perhaps we’re starting with the obvious. But seriously, all good interior overhauls start with some sort of inspiration. There really is no such thing as an original idea so the best place to start is to pin as many images as possible and build a mood board of what you’re looking to achieve.
Granted, not all of this will be possible due to time, money and building limitations, but it’s a start. Once you have your collection, start drilling down into the images and identify the rustic elements you like about them – is it the wall colour? The furnishings? The lighting? This will help you identify exactly what you like about your chosen style and more importantly, what you need to do to achieve it.
Image credit - @nest_twenty_eight
Scour vintage stores and reclaim yards – take your imagination with you!
Reclaim yards and second-hand stores can be a great starting point to achieving your rustic home interior look; you just need a bit of imagination. Old pieces of wood can be used as wall cladding, fire surrounds revitalised, metal boxes as storage, stone and old copper basins as sinks or unwanted furniture restored into new glory. Even a single piece can bring some much-needed quirkiness and originality to a lifeless corner of your home.
Image credit - @the_indigo_house
Wood will turn your rustic dream into reality
Dare we say that it’s almost impossible to achieve an old and rustic interior without a heavy dose of natural wood. Wooden floors, ceiling beams, wall cladding, light fittings, lamps, tables, chairs, stools… you get the idea.
Even if you can’t go big here and replace all your carpets with wooden flooring, by styling wood as home accessories and particularly furniture will add character and help you achieve the look. Keep wood colours light and untreated so they maintain as much of their natural character as possible - think driftwood over antique mahogany and you get the idea.
Choose earthy colours and rustic home accessories
Put down the dark feature wall! Trust us, it is not going to work. Instead, think earthy rustic colours; terracotta; rusty browns; metallic brass; antique bronze - natural materials that add depth and warmth to your space.
Don’t forget to incorporate this into your accessories too. Lighting, mirrors, vases and planters in similar warm, earthy colours all help to achieve the rustic look.
Decorate with natural materials
Quite simply, ditch the chrome. There is no room for that if you’re trying to achieve an old, rustic interior. The rustic trend centres on keeping things natural, and that should be reflected in your accessories as much as possible.
Raw natural fibres such as jute and hessian are perfect accompaniments for this style of home since their colours are in-keeping with the earthy tones you are looking to achieve. Rugs, pouffes, cushions and even furniture in these types of fabrics help to soften the room whilst promoting a rustic environment.
Use a variety of materials to achieve a rustic interior design
The most stunning rustic interiors combine a variety of materials to extenuate character. Many are lucky enough to have existing raw brick walls, original wooden floors or vintage tiled flooring to work with. But don’t despair if you don’t. It is so easy and simple to install your own, with an abundance of colours, materials, textures and varieties on the market today. Choose from the plethora of brick slip varieties, ceiling tiles, floor tiles and woods that are readily available to help you create your own rustic look.
Image - Vaunt Design
Old interiors love industrial design
For a stylish approach to the trend, it’s important to recognise the subtle nuances. There’s a difference between country farmhouse rustic and modern rustic, and much of that is based on design. Modern rustic embraces elements if the industrial trend; think live edge wood, raw unfinished metals and clean lines. Stay clear of colourful decorative finishes and instead, incorporate simple designs with an industrial edge that allow for the materials to shine.
Get inspiration from other trends
Expand your mood board by searching for other trends on Pinterest and using hashtags on Instagram. Search for grunge, industrial and Moroccan decor ideas on either of these two social platforms and you'll be able to draw inspiration far quicker and even implement a more eclectic look.
Florals and decorative designs a-la Cath Kidston might suit a country house, but for old and rustic scenes, it’s best to stay clear. Geometric and herringbone work great for textiles and throws, and faux fur ads an elegant Scandi vibe to your surroundings.
Another way to incorporate pattern is to juxtapose it with materials and colours. Select a subtly decorative pattern etched into raw metal for a stylish contrast and helping to soften the industrial style into something more suited to a home setting.
Leave no surface untouched
A key similarity in many rustic interiors is that the style extends across every inch of the room, and it’s an important point to consider when you’re looking to achieve the rustic look. A couple of highly rustic accessories are unlikely to give the desired effect when paired with a baby pink thick-pile carpet. All elements of the room need to be joined together and it’s often the larger surfaces that have the most impact. Concentrate on getting floor coverings and wall colours right, as these will set the tone for all other items to follow.
Image credit - melaniejadedesign
Imagine your modern rustic home as a blank canvas
Look back at those images you saved in point 1. Do they all have something in common? Do all the rooms have walls, a floor and a ceiling? Probably. Highly likely. Assuming you also have those elements there really is no reason you cannot achieve the same old and rustic effect in your own home. You just need to think outside the box and be creative with the space that you do have. Have fun experimenting and enjoy creating your modern rustic home interior.