The great rustic outback: New style statement in urban home interiors

Topics Home interiors

Fireplace with an old world charm paired with a classic leather masterpiece sofa (top); Large windows allow abundant light to permeate the home. Picture Courtesy: interior designer Sanjyt Syngh
Raw-and-rustic is the new mantra in the home interior space, embracing not just upmarket homes and luxury resorts but smart condominiums as well. The aesthetics here are characterised by a clean, simple with a natural earthy look that typically caters to the 'modern nomad' who lives in a concrete jungle but whose heart and soul lie in the lap of nature.

Designer and home store-owner Nitin Kohli says there is a growing demand from clients for residences that resonate the theme of nature, free living and space that helps them get away from the stress and humdrum of daily urban living. At his home interior store, the natural looking table with bar stools is a bestseller. He says its raw feel holds nature lovers bitten by the travel bug in sway, simply because eco-friendly sustainable living is an integral part of their lifestyle.

Planning the interiors 

While traditional rustic interiors are generally heavy and dark, modern styles deliver a feel that is fresh and real, light and grounded, says Ruchi Mishra, architect at consultancy Rudrabhishek Enterprises Limited (REPL).

It’s all about bare essentials and minimalism. The idea is to keep an open floor plan, maintain exposed natural architecture, and pull in some modern furniture to start things out, advises Mishra. One must get rid of all the clutter and keep things as close to their natural state as possible. Juxtaposing rustic, earthy elements with a clean modern design is the best way to achieve a chic contemporary natural home. For this, small changes can make a big difference in the overall décor scheme, such as accent pieces that mimic nature. Think of a birch bark lamp or twig-shaped brass drawer pulls for some great nature-inspired details. Pair material such as untreated wood stone with unplastered walls and exposed concrete, balanced with plain white walls. A fireplace and some rustic furnishings in leather, cotton or wool with a masterpiece furniture can give your home an eclectic yet countryside feel.

Wood panelling is resurgent in 21st-century homes for its chic yet rustic ambience (Top); Stars on the roof, earthy tones of walls. Picture Courtesy: Priyanka & Rudraksh, Architects, 42 MM

Keep the colour palette simple as well. While nature is well endowed with vibrant hues, the typical rustic style is best served with its more muted tones. Says designer Sanjyt Syngh who recently created an upmarket wooden Swiss chalet for a Delhi-based HNI, “The tones are generally derived from natural elements to create an authentic look. So you have a variety of browns, blues and greens to pick and choose from. But if you want to go really bold, I'd suggest deeper jewel tones that bring the feeling of luxe.”

Raw and rustic homes normally do not have a rigid layout, say Priyanka & Rudraksh, architects at the firm 42 MM. “Flexible layouts allow users to interpret the space in their own way, permitting them to add an essence of their persona to it. They are dynamic as well and can accommodate the changing needs of the user with time.”

Are large windows important? A setting close to nature makes the transition from outside to inside and vice versa that much easier. Whether nestled among the mountain pines or perched beside a lake, rustic style makes better sense in a rustic environment. And windows play a major role in creating that connect with the outback. Natural light is critical to balance the 'visual weight' of the these materials.

The masculinity factor

What kinds of accessories are required? Rustic style tends to favour the masculine, hearty side of décor, says Mishra of REPL, adding that dainty, feminine pieces will get lost or, at the very least, feel out of place within a rustic-styled space. So one must opt for nature-inspired details that provide distinct presence and drama. Consider faux hides fabrics like zebra or cowhide rugs and sheepskin throws. Don't shy away from larger pieces like a massive sofa set or carpet. According to architect duo Priyanka & Rudraksh, “Accessories like handcrafted, rustic, distressed finished metal articles that resonate with the story of the user add character to the space. The ethos should capture experiences of the user, his aspirations and interactions.”

Grass replaces glass wall to make for a standout feature in an eclectic nature-inspired home Picture Courtesy: Nitin Kohli, Founder and Principal Designer, Nitin Kohli Home Condos

What rustic interiors cost 

Is it more expensive to create a rustic home than to go for the standard modern dwelling? Even though the  materials used in the former are natural, fitting them into modern structures does require expertise and special skills. Besides, the material used in modern cities isn't very cheap, though of course you'll be able to find such stuff at lower prices in hilly areas and natural precincts. However, maintenance is less taxing. Well-kept rustic interiors can last for years and remain timeless. So interior renovation is not required after every few years.

A modern rustic home in the true sense should be more economical than a modern luxurious house. However, the selection of materials, its raw chic nature and finish is usually a challenge. This would cost about Rs 5,000-6,000 a square foot, which is slightly more than a conventional modern minimalistic house. Since most of the material used is in its raw state, maintenance becomes much easier, and in the long-run, there is greater economy in a house with a rustic feel than in the regular glossy, modern home. What's more, the aging and weathering of natural material augments the aesthetics of the house with time, and adds to the story it unfolds.

Finally, as interior designer Sanjyt Syngh puts it, a rustic home induces a sense of calm and peace. "This is mainly because you bring themes of nature into the home. Material such as wood in its raw state gives the vibe of a perfect getaway from hectic city life," he says. 

Indicative price list of rustic interiors for your living space
Area of House Description/Features Price (Rs/sq ft)
Floor Tiles
Hardwood 450
Bamboo 350
Unpolished Stone  100
Red Oxide Flooring  80
Metal Flooring 700
Wall Tiles
Unpolished Stone 85
Sandstone and Limestone 250
Wooden Panelling 350
Cork Wall Panelling  300
Unfinished Surfaces
Unplastered, rough walls  85
Patina on Wood  175
Bathroom Finishes  Wooden Tiles 85-250
Terrazzo Flooring  250-500
Unpolished Stone 100
Display /Accessories Vintage pottery, wicker  baskets, tapestries, brass pots, earthenware 500-25,000
Type Price (Rs/sq m)
  Cotton 250
Linen 900
Silk Velvet 2,500
Faux fur 3,000

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