How to Choose The Best Rustic Colors for Living Rooms

Evelyn Long

Sep 29, 2021


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Whether you want to achieve the feel of an old country farmhouse, or you like the rugged look of a log cabin, choosing combinations of rustic colors for living rooms isn’t difficult and can give you a timeless look without a complete rehab overhaul. 

According to Home Advisor, the average cost to remodel a living room runs between $1,500 and $5,500. Adding a fresh look to this room costs far less than wet rooms with running water, where you may need to redo plumbing and buy more expensive fixtures. 

A big part of your cost may be in replacing paint and flooring. However, you can inexpensively add accents such as pillows, blankets, furniture, centerpieces and wall hangings. Know how to balance the overall look of the room with color and achieve that farmhouse look.

1. Balance Light and Dark

No matter what type of design you use, there needs to be a balance between light and dark elements when working with rustic colors for living rooms. Typically, if you use darker floors, you’ll want lighter or mid-toned walls. 

Creating a balance between light and dark tones adds some interest to the room and can camouflage issues such as poor drywall finish. Use pops of brighter colors to draw the eye to where you want it to go. Keep in mind that rustic colors are not bold colors, although they might be darker hues. 

2. Add Some Distress

aged, vintage decor with a woman walking past

Choosing rustic colors is just part of the battle in creating a vintage look. Look for ways to distress your paint. If you have a shiplap wall, add some rough patches where the wood peaks through a whitewash. For furniture, sand edges and let a darker color peak through a lighter one, or vice versa. 

Chalk paint is an excellent way to add a fresh look to pieces you already own without spending a lot of money. The dull finish also adds to the country charm of your home. 

3. Stay Away from Bright White

an aged cream colored table with cut flowers and scissors on it

Pure white has a more modern feel and may distract from your otherwise rustic look. If you want a light color, shoot for a cream or a soft neutral such as Behr’s Hazelnut Cream, which is an off-white with an ever-so-slight yellow warmth. 

You could also go with a gray or a taupe paint. Look for colors with undertones and a richness you don’t see in pure colors. 

4. Know If You Want Cool or Warm

wood in a wood furnace in a living room

Taupes and creams are popular in rustic decor. Make sure you choose a warm or cool color scheme before picking your colors. For example, if you plan to add a lot of blue accents, a cool color scheme is your best choice. You might want to paint the walls a soft grey or a taupe with purple undertones. 

On the other hand, you can warm the space up and crate a soft, inviting look by going with shades with yellow tones and browns. 

5. Only Redo What You Must

a brown leather couch with a tanned hide rug for the best rustic colors for the living room

Which colors you choose may depend on elements already in the room. Replacing flooring can be costly, so you might choose to keep the flooring you have and change other elements. You’ll need colors that mesh well with what is already there.

When in doubt, get a small sample and lay it next to walls or flooring to see how they line up. For example, you might want to get a piece of drywall and paint a couple coats of color on it and set it up next to the wood floors you currently have. Stand back and view from a distance to see if it meshes well. 

6. Choose Vintage Hues

a small cozy cabin with dark rustic hues

Some tones add a bit of rustic charm all on their own. Throw some pillows on the couch that are a soft plum or vivid brick red. If you’re unsure what colors might look best, browse through old wallpaper samples or go to your local paint store and ask for vintage color palettes. 

Try Before Remodeling

With every item you wish to put in your room, either use an app that shows what it might look like with what you already have there, or bring in a sample. Decor can look different under fluorescent lights than it does in the natural light of your living room.

Make sure whatever you choose is something you’ll be happy with for many years. You don’t want to repaint too often because of the expense and work involved. Choose wisely, and you’ll have a design you love for a long time.

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