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How to Design a Modern Rustic Office that Inspires You

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

A modern rustic office is a place to go to be productive, yet creative at the same time. It is a room that inspires your creativity but also brings you a sense of calmness.

The design concept of modern rustic sometimes has similar characteristics of design styles such as rustic chic, farmhouse style, or maybe cottage style. The key to this concept is finding that perfect balance between natural and rustic items that fits in a contemporary and modern lifestyle. We have different needs nowadays and we shouldn’t have to give up modern technology that makes our life easier.

At the same time, getting too wrapped up in the latest trends and minimalism can create a disconnected, sterile and cold environment. Therefore we aim to create a comfortable yet energetic and inspiring office space.

Rough Textures with Sleek Bases

Raw wood and reclaimed wood as accent walls amidst solid color walls create a great balance and work well together even though they opposites. You could have wide-plank wooden barn flooring where every board has its own individuality and have a very modern glass or metal desk. A wooden floor provides a warmth and comfort that you will constantly be in contact with, so take some time in deciding what style of wood or material and color scheme you are thinking about.

The surface of the desk needs to be clean and sleek so the base of the desk could be made of large timber or steel to contrast with the top. I tend to avoid wooden desktops because there are plenty of options for wood to be used or displayed in the office and I aim for function when it comes to a desk.

Earth Tone and Neutral Colors

Both modern and rustic materials can both do well with a base of earth tones, solid blacks and whites or brushed metal and other metallic colors. With a base of these colors you can fairly easily create a modern rustic theme for the office.

These colors also blend well with most of the inevitable tech that will be necessary for the office. Computers, screens, laptops, camera equipment etc. all usually have a similar color palette. A rustic and rough wood looking backdrop can highlight the contrasts between the two

Not Minimalism but Quality Over Quantity

A minimalistic office makes for a great photo but in reality it is often not as functional as we need it to be. With that said, an effort should be made to start developing the habit of consuming quality items over quantity. This goes for any room in the house but especially in an office where you need to also be able to focus on your work for periods of time.

Look for handmade or rustic items that have some kind of meaning for you. Bringing in pieces of décor that are nostalgic or bring up some type of memory are the kinds of items you need around the office. If you foraged something from the woods on a hike one day or visited an antique fair and made your way through the massive amount of clutter to find that perfect item that you were drawn to, those are the kinds of things that have meaning and deserve a space in your room, not something “exotic” from Pier 1 that you found on clearance.

I mentioned clutter at the antique fair but what you have to realize is that quality is subjective. Just as you found that one thing that spoke to you, many people have overlooked it and also thought that was clutter. Those are the things that can make simple items even more important to us.

Industrial Décor

The modern industrial look of wrought iron, steel and brushed metal can go very nicely with a rustic look. An office desk or bookstand blending these too concepts together would fit well in a modern rustic space.

There are many different industrial lighting options as well so that may be a place where you incorporate some of the steel or aged iron look.

Modern rustic Office décor

Organized Chaos

Sometimes a great modern and rustic space can be designed with an organized chaos mentality. Especially if this is an office space, you are going to lean on contemporary bases that are clean and sleek and add in the rustic elements as focal points. You may have a lot of papers or digital items in the room that need to have their own clean and organized space. I would keep the natural and rustic items out of arms reach of the day-to-day workspace. Allow it to be visually stimulating but you don’t want to actually risk spilling dirt near the computer for example if you have houseplants on the desk.

Modern Rustic Office Layout

I like to think of a few various viewing spots for the different sides of the room. Depending on how much space you have I would think about two main pieces of furniture for the office; the desk and a relaxing chair or sofa. Having these two pieces of furniture across from each other allows you to create a different view from each position. You can decorate the walls differently depending on what type f mood you are aiming to create when you will be using a particular item.

For example, when I am at the computer I like to have a bookshelf or something minimalist beyond the computer to look at. I don’t like anything too stimulating or distracting because I need to focus on writing. So the wall behind the computer can have a few more interesting pieces of art or rustic materials because when I am on the small office sofa I am more in a brainstorming and creative mood.

If you are blessed to have a large window with nature views or city lights I often like to have the desk sideways and not directly looking out the window. Daytime glare and reflection from the sun is something to take into consideration when positioning a desk and computer.

Modern Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic concept about appreciating and seeing the beauty in things imperfect. There is also a rustic and aged element to the idea. Weathered items have a unique worn out quality that really can’t be replicated.

Modern wabi-sabi is combining this rustic appreciation into a natural modern lifestyle. If everything in the room is old and worn out then that is not an environment that is conducive for work. Having a clean and sleek base with wabi-sabi elements can be the best of both worlds. If you’d like to explore this concept more have a look at my article about Wabi-Sabi Style For You Home and Garden.

Modern Rustic DIY Projects

Part of creating your space with original items may mean getting your hands a little dirty. You can see a lot of examples of refurbished items and refinished items that you might wan tot consider tackling some weekend. Bring an old piece of furniture back to life with your modern touches can be the perfect DIY project that brings some meaning into your office space.

You could incorporate repurposed or barn wood into your bookshelves or a bench. There are a variety of benches that would be great as a piece of office furniture. Some are made from larger slabs of wood or even railroad ties, and others use rustic wood but might have a creative shape to them. Check out my Resource Page for some great woodworking plans and other DIY recommendations.

One thing I like to do is search for pictures of modern and contemporary furniture and study the lines. Maybe the back of the chair slopes out farther than usual or the base legs extend farther out diagonal than usual. Using this contemporary design you can aim to mix metal and wood or create a similar modern artistic style with reclaimed wood, for example. There are many artists and designers out there and there is nothing wrong with getting inspired by their designs and then swap out the materials for something else that might better fit your modern rustic theme.

If you would like to check out more ways you can create a modern rustic lifestyle visit us at ShizenStyle.

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