by Pat Stelzer
Decorating terminology can be daunting. Everyone has a
preconceived definition of terms used to describe home décor.
Early American, Colonial, Victorian, contemporary, and the list
goes on, each one supposedly designating a very different style.
Probably one of the most misunderstood words in home decorating
is rustic. Visions of log cabins, rough-hewn wood
beams, rural farmhouses or lakeside cottages immediately jump to
the fore when something is called rustic. Those are rustic, but
so are many other styles and decorator choices.
Rustic incorporates those touches that help create a feeling
of simplicity. Rustic style is artless or unpretentious, and it
has a warmth and sincerity that transcends being categorized or
limited to any particular time period. Folk art pieces are
examples of that which fit into specific periods, but can also be
classified as rustic, the Cigar Store Indian or a childs
wooden pull toy. Early American décor benefits by the addition
of rustic touches like iron skillets or pewter, the poor mans
silver. During Colonial times, homes very often contained objects
or useful items, quilts, tin wall sconces or earthenware jugs,
now considered rustic or folk art pieces. Victorian homes had
touches that today would be termed rustic or countrified.
Baskets, tin matchbox holders or comb receptacles, were as much a
part of the Victorian home as flounces, ruffles and lace. The
trick is in selecting rustic that fits the decorating
theme. A replica of a boot makers sign goes well with
Colonial or Country, while one that is flowery, light and
sentimental fits into the more romantic Victorian.
Using rustic pieces adds warmth and individuality to every
conceivable decorative style. A touch of humor or a reminder of
the important things in life can give heart to any room, any
home. Rustic can be used with contemporary, country, classic, and
art deco. Chances are, rustic decorating will add charm and
uniqueness to any style. People are drawn to certain styles, and
there is something rustic to fit them all. Have fun with it.
Incorporate those rustic touches to put an individual signature
on a home. Know the style that creates the desired ambience, but
dont shy away from those things called rustic simply
because the term doesnt seem to fit. Terminology isnt
important, the result, an inviting home, should be the end goal.