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4 Ways to Nail the Modern Rustic Look

Feb 11, 2016

by Aleksa Brown handmade and vintage goods

For fans of interior design, Niki Brantmark’s blog, My Scandinavian Home is a must-read. Over the years, many of the amazing spaces she’s shared (like this mid-century dream) have led us down rabbit holes of pinning, pining, and extensive Etsy shopping. So, when we heard she was coming out with a new book on modern rustic homes, we had to learn more.

In honor of the book’s release, today we’re sharing a Q&A with Niki and four modern rustic styles from Modern Pastoral — illustrated with Etsy finds, of course.


What makes a modern rustic home?

Modern rustic is about combining contemporary style with the pared-back lifestyle of the countryside. Nature is an important part of the interior, whether in the form of architecture, decor or furnishings.

What is the common thread throughout all the styles outlined in Modern Pastoral?

The homeowners of the ten homes in Modern Pastoral are brought together by the desire to lead a simple life and tap into the therapeutic vibe of the countryside. As a result, the interiors all work to bring the tranquility of nature indoors, to create a space in which they can truly relax.

Why does this design style resonate with you?

Although I grew up in London and live in Malmö (Sweden’s third largest city), my family and I love to head to the nearby forest – or our cottage on Sweden’s west coast – on the weekends to “switch off.” This desire for a back-to-basics lifestyle, even just for a few days at a time, is becoming more and more common. By drawing nature indoors, we are creating a relaxed “haven,” which helps us to focus on what’s important: personal space, family and friends.

The homes featured in Modern Pastoral fall into four distinct styles, all deeply inspired by nature.

Style #1: Forest


Inspired by the forest, these interiors are dark with pops of color. They’re often filled with natural exposed wood that catches the light — bringing life to the rich colors and textures. The wood is combined with traditional patterns, woven rugs and a wood burning stove for a warm, cozy vibe.

Shop the Look:


Reclaimed wood bench by Hardman Design Build | Shop Reclaimed Wood Furniture


Wooden Tray by Gray Works Design | Shop Wooden Trays


Style #2: Graphical


The graphical interior is recognized for its clean lines and the striking monochromatic contrasts you find in a winter’s day, like sharp black and grey features silhouetted by white walls. The look is softened with warm, soft textures, like as a cowhide rug, sheepskin throws, and stacked firewood.

Shop the Look:


Vintage Antlers by Shaving Kit Vintage | Shop Vintage Antlers


Sheepskin Throw from Ecostep | Shop Sheepskin Throws


Style #3: Homestead


The homestead look is made up of rich autumnal colors: warm brown tones, beige, and milky white. Whitewashed walls provide the backdrop for wicker chairs, rustic wood furniture and baskets. Natural elements such as freshly laid eggs and honeycomb bring nature indoors.

Shop the Look:


Vintage egg cup from Red Rooster 1980 | Shop Egg Cups


Table runner by Loken Loom Weaving | Shop Woven Table Runners


Style #4: Waterside


Think soothing interiors decorated in cool white, soft greys and blue to conjure up the play of light on the surface of water. These homes feature rough textures such as raw slate, concrete and reclaimed wood that contrasts with warmer rattan, cotton and wool for an oasis of comfort and calm.

Shop the Look:


Concrete Bowls by Concrete Project | Shop Concrete Bowls


Throw blanket by Texturable Decor | Shop Throw Blankets


All interiors photographs taken from Modern Pastoral by Niki Brantmark. Photography by James Gardiner, published by CICO Books.

What’s your modern rustic style? Tell us in the comments.


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1 Featured Comment

  • nikibrantmark

    Niki Brantmark said 2 years ago Featured

    Thank you so much for inviting me to talk to you about Modern Rustic! I love the images you have chosen from my book (and the Etsy products to match)!. Thanks to everyone for all your lovely comments too, I've really enjoyed reading them all! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did writing it. /Niki


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