Rustic Lighting Ideas

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The true definition of rustic is simple, unrefined and with a charming, natural, roughhewn appearance. Rustic is not a decorating style on its own, but is a very popular element in many decorating themes, including:

What all of these styles share in common is a warm, welcoming feeling that is nostalgic or old-fashioned. The rustic elements they all share are aged or worn surfaces, primitive designs, natural materials such as wood, stone and brick, warm color palettes, simple lines and a lack of excessive ornamentation.

If you love decorating in any of the rustic styles, you will naturally want to extend that look to your lighting. An essential part of your décor, lighting not only makes your home bright enough for comfortable living, it also brings your rooms to life, cheering and opening the space. You can choose from many rustic lighting options for every room in your home.

Rustic Bedroom Lighting Ideas

Your bedroom should have enough light for comfortable reading in bed, but not be overly stimulating or bright. A light at the bedside is a necessity. Depending on the size of your room, you might want another lamp across from the bed area, or a ceiling fixture. A ceiling fan with an attached light fixture is a great way to give light while reducing the need for air conditioning during the summer.

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The bedroom is a great place for tranquil, natural designs. Look for bedside lamps with twig or branch styles, and linen, burlap or another heavily textured fabric on the lampshade. If a twig design is too primitive for your tastes, a pottery or wooden lamp base with simple lines and natural colors will work very well in any rustic-themed room.

Wall sconces are another great option for lighting your bed area. A twin bed needs just one sconce; a double or larger bed will look best with a sconce on each side. There are many country and rustic styles to choose from. Twig designs, lanterns, leather-look and wrought iron sconces are all primitive in design, but subdued enough for the bedroom.

If you like a ceiling fan in your bedroom, choose one with distressed wood and burnished metal trim. A single glass bowl over the bulbs is a nice, simple design for the sleeping area. Look for a glass cover with an aged, textured look, not bright, new glass.

Rustic Dining Room Lighting Ideas

Overhead lighting is usually the best choice in the typical, small dining area. It provides even lighting without heavily shadowing the table. Ceiling fans with light fixtures or rustic chandeliers both work well in eating areas. Look for any of these rustic elements:

  • Wrought iron
  • Burnished, dark metals
  • Twig or branch designs
  • Antler designs
  • Opaque glass or leather light shades
  • Animal motifs
  • Candle bulbs
  • Lantern styles

Rustic Living Room Lighting Ideas

Depending on the size of your living room, you might have three or more light sources, including an overhead light and two or more lamps. A hanging ceiling fixture can brighten the room with rustic touches such as jar fixtures, wicker or rattan accents, twig or antler designs, rope or chain to conceal wiring and neutral, deep colors.

Look for table or floor lamps with simple shapes in wood or pottery, or go all out with a lamp designed like a bear, salmon, pine tree or pinecone, or eagle. If you prefer a look somewhere in between, a lantern style, traditional spindle shape or simple pole lamp all are rustic in feel, particularly with a neutral colored shade in a textured fabric.

Rustic Kitchen Lighting Ideas

Your kitchen needs to be very well lit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a rustic light fixture. Overhead lighting in the kitchen should be centered to light all areas, without fussy trim or elements that could accumulate grease, moisture or odors from cooking.

Look for flush-mounted glass bowls with burnished metal or wood trim, or a fixture that hangs just a few inches from the ceiling. Kitchens look best with simple designs, such as glass pendants, metal bowls or acorn or oval shaped light fixtures.

Rustic Bathroom Lighting Ideas

The bathroom needs to be very well lit both for safety while getting in or out of the tub, and for grooming such as makeup, shaving or skincare. If your bathroom is one area including the tub and the vanity, one light fixture over the sink should be sufficient. In a large bathroom, or one that has separation between the tub and the sink area, you will need lighting for each area.

For your sink area, look for a vanity fixture that attaches to the wall over the mirror, and has at least three bulbs to provide enough illumination for your grooming needs. A fixture with the bulbs and shades pointing downwards will give you the most even lighting without casting shadows on your face. Burnished metals such as brass, bronze, copper or wrought iron have an aged, rustic look. Avoid any type of shiny brass, chrome or other polished metals. Real or faux wood is also a great choice for a rustic look, especially if you decorate with a lodge theme. The shades over the bulbs should be in a frosted glass in a neutral color, with mottling or streaking for an interesting, textured look.

In a large bathroom, or one with a separate tub area, a fixture that is flush mount with the ceiling will keep things bright and safe. As with the vanity, look for fixtures with burnished or distressed metals, opaque, mottled glass, and interesting designs with nature themes.

Lighting is often an afterthought when it comes to decorating, but it should be an essential element of your décor. If you love a rustic look, bring the primitive flavor to each room in your home with lighting fixtures and lamps that are simple, natural and roughhewn.

Last Updated: May 16, 2012
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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