If you’ve ever been to Texas, you may have encountered “Texas style”, an offshoot of rustic decorating that’s popular with businesses and some high-end homes. Whether your rustic style is Texas style, Italian countryside, or something entirely different, rustic styles allow you to bring a simpler aesthetic into your home.
Make it, find it, buy it
More popular rustic styles like Texas style, Amish, and Shaker often include purchased pieces that can be quite pricey. Furniture pieces, especially, can be custom-built pieces of functional sculpture with a price tag that reflects their artistic stylings. If your rustic aesthetic fits with your local area, you may be able to find a variety of décor pieces from flea markets, garage sales, or swap meets. It’s not uncommon when searching for secondhand pieces to find something that requires repair or repurposing. If your budget or location makes buying or finding impractical, or if you just want something that nobody else has, you can always try making your own furniture and decorative pieces. Or, think outside the box by checking inventory at online shops that aren’t furniture shops, like Amazon. You just might be surprised by what you find.
The humble piece of reclaimed wood
Most rustic styles involve the use of old or antiqued wood. Pieces of reclaimed wood can often be found for free or a very low cost on Craigslist or Freecycle, and these pieces can be converted into beautiful furnishings or artwork for your room. Newer wood can be given an antique look with the help of a hammer, sandpaper, a little paint, and some stain.
Antiquing or aging wood
If you’re using a newer piece of wood, one of the first things you’ll want to do is to beat it with a hammer. This gives it a range of gouges and textures to make it look older. After you’ve taken care of that, you can use a combination of paints and sandpaper to give it a distressed painted look. Stain can be applied in a gentle wash with a sea sponge and gently sanded. Some non-traditional liquids can be used to stain wood, like soy sauce, strongly brewed tea, or coffee. Coffee grounds can be used to scrub the surface to add an irregular stain to it.
Antiqued metal pieces can be added to your décor in many places. Barrel hoops can be used to add structure to tables or shelves. Barbed wire (if you’re going with a Western or Texas theme) can be added to sculptures and wall decorations.
If you’re lucky enough to live in Texas or the Western U.S., you can probably find some beautiful rope at a local feed or hardware store. Rope can be used to support suspended shelves, hang chandeliers, trim upholstery or fabric pieces, or to create a unique sculptural piece.
Rustic décor can be completely safe, but it can also pose some unique dangers. Distressed wood may be more likely to splinter, so it may need to be handled more carefully, especially when moving it. The edges should be sanded away to a smooth finish rather than left raw; although the latter may be easier and look more rustic, it can also be dangerous, especially for pieces that might be handled by children or guests. Barbed wire is often used after it has been rusted, and these pieces can look fabulous but be a little dangerous. For safer barbed wire, clip the sharp points of the wire with wire snips, or use an electric sander to grind down the sharp points. Always use gloves when working with antique pieces, but this is especially important when working with old woods (that may splinter) and old metals (that may be rusted and sharp).
Once you have a decorative piece with barbed wire or metal, you’ll want to make sure to place it out of reach of any children. For added safety, consider placing your piece behind glass in a picture frame.