Rustic vs Vintage Style: What’s the Difference?

You don’t have to be an interior designer to know that two of the most popular design trends of today are rustic and vintage. These styles often overlap, but each one has a unique set of defining characteristics that distinguishes them from one other, as well as many other genres of design.

So, what exactly sets these two trends apart? And how can you get the look for your home?

What is rustic style?

Rustic is best described as simple and charming country chic. A rustic space will have an outdoorsy feel, sometimes with décor and accents that are reminiscent of a farm.

This type of interior design scheme incorporates primarily natural elements and textures, such as unfinished wood, leaves, stone, and wool. Features are characterized by a worn, weathered look that feels old-fashioned—although this doesn’t necessarily mean the pieces themselves will be old.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a rustic room:

  • Exposed ceiling beams are very popular. Consider re-staining them to highlight the natural wood.
  • A distressed medallion is a beautiful focal point if you have a large wall space that needs covering.
  • If you want to transform a modern room into rustic, stick with jewel tones, natural colors and dark hues.
  • A wide plank wooden table with bench seating creates a comfortable rustic place for family to gather for meals.
  • Hammered tin panels are sophisticated, but not so much that you lose the charm of rustic décor. Panels like these can adorn walls anywhere in the home.
  • Woven area rugs placed over distressed hardwood floors provide the most rustic charm to a room.

What is vintage style?

The objective of vintage style is to depict a specific time period to create an old-world feel throughout a space. Usually this type of interior design borrows its components from the 1940s and 50s, to affect a nostalgic ambiance. But some people choose to mix elements from several different eras together to achieve the look.

The décor and furniture in a vintage style room consists of aged, antique items that are usually a bit more intricate or ornate in design. The idea is to combine one-of-a-kind, visually interesting pieces with an overall cohesive scheme.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating a vintage room:

  • Vintage photo frames can be the perfect subtle accent for a vintage space.
  • Plantation chairs are vintage, symbolic and crafted from gorgeous woods with intricate designs.
  • Vintage boat hardware will add the unique touch to kitchen cabinets that you’ve been looking for.
  • Weathered benches and tables might look rustic, but they actually lend that vintage, classic charm to a space.
  • Old street signs are great pieces for entryways. Chipped or dull paint are “imperfections” that make vintage pieces feel authentic.
  • Vintage keys and pocket watches are also ideal for easy décor accents.
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