Ideas + Advice


Rustic Italian Decorating for Old World Charm

Rustic Italian decorating: the perfect escape to a tucked-away villa in the heart of Italia!

‘Rustic Italian’ is one of those terms that seems to pop up every once in a while – it’s not a “hot trend” by any means, but rather a classic aesthetic that seems to encompass a feeling more than a tangible set of elements. Perhaps that’s why it’s not always on the lips of designers or buzzing in social media; it’s hard to define.

The Etymology of the Term

One of the reasons for this has to do with the social etymology of the word ‘rustic’ itself. Rusticity has always been associated with ideas like “quaintness,” “distress,” "authenticity” and “raw materials” – all of which have always been associated with the Italian aesthetic. In a way, ‘Rustic’ and ‘Italian,’ are redundancies. Superfluous words. A pleonasm.

In other words, ‘rustic Italian’ isn’t so much a term in and of itself but rather another way of saying Italian decorating, as we know it today. It’s a bit wordy, and basically, a fancy term for the basics of rusticity.

What to Look for in the Rustic Italian Style

Short of visiting the Bel Paese (as Italy is commonly referred to), scouring the web for your dose of charming Italiano decor is the next best thing. Here, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite images that best represent the look. You’ll find lots of leather, rich textures and warm colors. Flooring will often be composed of natural wood planks (cedar, pine). Stonework (like brick walls or marble sculptures/planters are omnipresent. Art depicting countrysides, coastlines or even vintage European maps adds a nice touch. And soft lighting – preferably through candles, sconces or lanterns – is a must. What you won’t find? Bright neon colors, glossy surfaces and trendy silhouettes. All in all, this can be said of the style: It’s “incomplete.” It’s never too finished, never too pulled-together, always a little tattered, asymmetrical, unassuming – in a good, homey, most bellissimo way possible!
Marble is to Bel Paese what peanut butter is to jelly. This marble table lamp takes the pb&j cake!
Marble table? Check. Twin candlesticks? Check. Skull centerpiece of Shakespearean magnitude? Check.
Here, the vintage bronze vases make the look.
Florence. Amalfi Coast. Lake Como. Pompeii. Mamma Mia! This chic clock has us under its spell.
This charming bedroom ‘colors in the lines’ to bring rustic Italian to life. (If you’re going to color, let it be global blue. Blue is playful and associates with the utopia of the Adriatic coastline.)

Textural contrast is key. This look should feel both bright and warm.

The soft, textural aesthetic of these linen dining side chairs blurs the hard-lined wood dining table.

This bedroom features a stonework wall to make it feel straight out of Ancient Rome.
Seven words: warm neutrals, distressed textures and rich materials.

Fly me to the moon . . . and then take me back to this rustic-Italian home!

This TV stand is so Italian-influenced, just looking at it is making us crave a’spaghetti!

Hey mambo! Get Italiano with leather and wood accents.

Rustic gold ornaments are graceful and sophisticated.
Benvenuto in questa bellissima casa!

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