‘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 StyleShort 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!
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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.