Rustic Outdoor Decor Ideas

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Transform your yard into a destination as relaxed and unspoiled as the great outdoors itself with a bit of rustic outdoor design.

Inviting Rustic Furniture

An important first step in making an outdoor spot feel inviting is to bring some comfortable furniture to your design plan. For a rustic/country look, materials such as wood, wicker, rattan and iron offer a natural look. Weathered, distressed or painted finishes add informal charm. Here are some furniture pieces that work well with a rustic outdoor space:

  • Classic picnic table: Add benches or country style chairs for a friendly space to eat and talk.
  • Romantic porch swing: Hang one from your porch roof or house overhang area, and enjoy a glass of lemonade with someone you love.
  • Cozy hammock: Hang it between two trees or beams, or get a freestanding hammock stand.
  • Rustic chairs: Put out some Adirondack chairs and old-fashioned rocking chairs in natural, red, white or hunter green painted wood.
  • Rattan sofas or armchairs: Arrange some soft cushions and accent pillows on these for a restful and pretty space.
  • Wood, woven or metal accent tables: Give guests a place to put down drinks and plates.
  • Homemade furniture: For a truly rustic touch, create chairs from crates or hay bales, or a table from a terra cotta pot, half wine barrel or strong woven basket with a glass top. With a little creativity, even a tree stump becomes a unique table or chair.
  • Shady retreat: Add a bench and table under a tree for a serene escape.

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Making the Outdoors Feel Like Home

Adding little homey touches enhances the natural, easygoing feel of a rustic styled outdoor area. You may want to include some of these ideas in your yard:

  • Porch, awning or gazebo curtains: Breezy flowing curtains let in the air and create a feeling of privacy.
  • Framed pictures: An outdoor wall, such as an interior porch wall decorated with framed prints becomes an extension of your living room.
  • Overhead structures: Consider a trellis, pergola or other structure to cover in ivy or flowering vines.
  • Outdoor country kitchen with grill: Cook up all the comforts of home under the sun or stars.
  • Stepping-stones: Create winding paths or interesting patterns.
  • Cozy fire pit: Give your guests a place to gather for a sing-along or marshmallow roast.
  • Window boxes: Fill them with foliage or flowering plants.
  • Outdoor carpets: woven or fabric rugs add color, texture and a nice rustic feel.
  • Fencing: Try country-styled wood or metal fencing.
  • Stacked stone patio: These look almost like they were created by nature and fit right in with the existing landscape.

Lighting Your Rustic Yard

With your warm rustic décor, you'll probably want to use your outdoor space at night as well as during the daytime. These lighting options will blend right in with your easygoing design:

  • Lanterns: Try some hurricane table lanterns or sturdy pole style varieties.
  • Firelight: Natural firelight is the perfect gentle complement to rustic decorating. Candlelight, a roaring fire pit or some torches will bathe your evening in a soft glow.
  • Solar lighting: For an easy, sustainable option, consider solar lights in country styles. Look for weathered looking metal over shiny and smooth styles.

Finishing Touches

Complete your rustic yard design by adding some final accents and decorative touches. Here are a few options that might work for you:

  • Bold accent pillows: Perk up your seating with solid, plaid, checked or striped pillows. Country themed designs such as farm animals or rustic scenes add a friendly touch.
  • Plants: Display some green or flowering plants in metal, terra cotta or ceramic planters. Avoid any tropical plants like palm trees or hibiscus.
  • Fresh flowers: Arrange fragrant blossoms in a simple glass vase or colorful glass bottles.
  • Farm Planters: Try using a wheelbarrow, claw foot bathtub or watering can as a planter.
  • Scarecrows: Scarecrows do more than offer an authentic country look; they present the opportunity for a fun family project and you'll enjoy the added benefit of keeping the crows out of your vegetable garden.
  • Homemade garden spheres: Rather than pay a fortune for garden spheres, make one out of a clear glass sphere or upside down bowl or vase. Spray paint the glass with metallic silver, allow to try, then rub gently with fine sandpaper. The scratches in the paint with give the ordinary glass the appearance of decorative mercury glass.
  • Country themed garden ornaments: You'll find adorable lawn ornaments in the shapes of almost any animal you can imagine.
  • Birdhouses, birdbaths and feeders: Add some country charm and attract colorful local birds to your yard.
  • Cute wooden country signs: Shop antique stores for some authentic vintage signs, or create your own with cute sayings.
  • Wooden wind chimes: These beautiful chimes also sing in tones ranging from light and bell-like to hauntingly deep.
  • Farm implements: Use old farm equipment such as old wooden wheels, tractor parts, old garden tools, shovels, rakes or pitchforks as part of your decorative plan.
  • Attractive piles of rocks: Even rocks, when arranged nicely make nice rustic accents.

A Rustic outdoor design plan provides a graceful transition between your home's interior and the world of nature, a perfect place to rest and commune with the elements in comfort.

Last Updated: June 3, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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