Interiors & Design

Rustic Vogue: The Elegant Edge to Comfort Your Home Needs Now

This new interiors trend combines cozy heritage with sustainability, and turns up the glamour—here, leading designers advise on how to welcome it into your home

Move over shabby chic, stand back cottagecore, there’s a new design style transforming spaces. Rustic vogue is as welcoming as both, but is infinitely more sophisticated. “It’s a trend that pulls a few thematic elements from country and farmhouse aesthetics—such as having character, rather than perfection, as its intention—but it offers more depth than both,” explains Laura Umansky, founder and CEO of Laura U Design Collective, which specializes in residential architecture and interiors, and has studios in Houston and Aspen.

“Rustic vogue can be incredibly glamourous and is easy to pair with contemporary elements,” she continues. “It’s hallmarked by raw natural materials, soft colors, and engaging textures. It’s open and organic, comforting, and nostalgic, and creates warm spaces where homeowners can cocoon.”

An entrance hall with wooden furniture and an earth-toned rug
Laura U Design Collective embraced rustic vogue in every element of this Aspen vacation home, accentuating its earthy woods, and utilizing thoughtful patterns and lush textures—particularly in the selection of rugs—to add chic comfort. Image: Mountain Home Photography

Aesthetic Appeal

Umansky notes that demand for rustic vogue styling is on the increase, with many of her clients eschewing Mid-Century Modern and minimalist design in favor of creating cozy spaces. “People have been spending more time at home this past year,” she says. “The need for soothing personal space has taken precedence over the desire for manicured interiors, and this is reflected in what our clients now expect from us—they want styling that prioritizes wellness.”

“The interest in cottagecore increased during lockdown,” adds interiors expert Benji Lewis, founder of Zoom That Room, a contact-free bespoke design service. “The aesthetic had been around for years—most notably as shabby chic—but growing awareness of ecological concerns, plus a willingness to embrace an upcycling approach, brought it into sharper focus.

“Rustic vogue has retained much of that, specifically the appreciation of distressed French or Scandinavian furniture, say, or brocante shopping, but it’s smoothed out the ‘thrown-together’ aspect to create something that is cohesive and polished.”

Environmental Inspiration

For Dimitris Thomopoulos, founder of D Thomopoulos Architects, in Athens, Greece, the rustic vogue approach is inextricably linked to its surroundings. “In architecture, as well as interior styling, I understand it to mean building with the natural and cultural environment in mind so that you create something that is respectful and sustainable. This, in turn, means considering the landscape and region and what they provide in terms of materials, color, and heritage,” he says.

At the Marbella Elix Hotel in Greece, D Thomopoulos Architects combined forces with leading local architects F&K Kydoniatis & Partners, embracing the area’s natural materials and color palette to create the ultimate in Greek rustic style.

“We aimed to achieve this at the Marbella Elix Hotel, in Parga on the Greek mainland,” Thomopoulos explains. “We used local stone and woods, local craftsmen, and artists. We filled it with plants. We looked at the colors of nature—the sand, the sea, the sky, the olive trees, and brought all these into the design of the hotel.”

“What I find appealing about rustic vogue is its versatility,” Umansky adds. “It works just as well in a beach house as a mountain lodge—because the design goes hand-in-hand with the environment and what it provides. To create an engaging rustic vogue home, one should remove the barrier between nature and interior.

“For instance, a rustic residence along the California coast will likely differ from one in Aspen’s mountains. If the home has not yet been constructed, be sure to choose native woods and other local elements to tie into the landscape. If you’re outfitting the home’s interior, try to reflect not only the natural beauty of the region but its history, too. Local textiles, carved wooden panels, pottery, stonework, and other special pieces reflective of the culture can add depth and mystery to each space.”

Personal Spaces

“If you’re keen to bring rustic vogue into your home, I’d advise starting with your biggest piece, perhaps your sofa, and then building from there,” says Lewis. “Go for a plain fabric and introduce vibrancy through cushions and throws or a patterned accent armchair.

A living room with traditional furniture and modern accents
This Benji Lewis-designed living room combines trendy modern pieces—such as natural wood furniture and a mirrored side table—with cozy vintage and traditional patterns to create a polished feel.

“I’d also recommend drawing inspiration from the bohemian style of 1960s actress Talitha Getty,” Lewis continues. “Her unmatched interiors mixed the jeweled color palettes of Morocco with geometric design, the Eastern with the Western, the old with the new. She created a look that we would today recognize as rustic vogue.”

The combination of antiques with modern pieces is something that both other designers also point to as a key element of the trend. “Think about the history of your home, or what your area was known for—what it may have produced. Mix tradition with modern; the past with the present,” Thomopoulos says.

The need for soothing personal space has taken precedence over the desire for manicured interiors—Laura Umansky

For Umansky, it’s all about mixing “bespoke, artisan-made elements with family heirlooms. Combine pieces from your personal history, such as a family quilt, with pieces by contemporary makers—like a handcrafted lounger created by a local woodworker—but always keep sustainability in mind.”

“Rustic vogue requires greater consideration in the items you choose to have in your space,” agrees Lewis. “It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spurn buying anything new, but it does come with the caveat that the goods you choose should be environmentally friendly.”

A cottage with potted plants and a bench with scatter cushions
Lewis believes that rustic vogue should extend to the exterior of a home, too. “Don’t forget to include your garden,” he says. “Opt to rewild or for less formal landscaping, and choose charming vintage outdoor furniture for seating areas.”

A Light Touch

But, Umansky cautions, the generosity and warmth inherent to this approach can make it easy to go overboard. “Try to avoid over-decorating,” she advises. “Wooden elements, from ceiling beams and hardwood floors to wall paneling and furniture frames, dominate rustic vogue interiors. The unique grains and patinas of natural wood offer their own patterns and tones. As such, adding extra decor and design elements can overwhelm.

“Instead, try to keep the layout simple and bounce attention around the room with a few key pieces—whether they be sculptures and paintings or large-scale lighting and ceiling wallpaper. Consider the function of each piece before adding it to your space.”

Lewis agrees, adding that “you should always consider scale and shape to ensure that things hang together well. Rustic vogue presents interesting opportunities to experiment with cosy vintage items and traditional patterns, but it’s all about adapting it into a polished look.”

Banner image: The living room of an Aspen home by Laura U Design Collective. Image: Mountain Home Photography