When a piece of furniture or object is lovingly used over time, it can develop a rich, distressed patina that tells its whole life story. Think of a wooden table from an old workshop with metal drawer pulls that are darkened from years of use, or a marble countertop from a decades-old hotel kitchen, discolored and buttery smooth from wear. These characteristic imperfections are often indications of a time when furniture and household items were handcrafted, when country life prevailed, and homey, rustic objects were used, handed down, and reused. Today, this type of "farmhouse style" – which, incidentally, blends easily with boho, shabby chic and industrial styles – has become one of our most enduring decorating trends. And, short of incorporating actual antiques into your home, it's easy to find new furniture and objects intentionally made to look like weathered antiques. The secret to distressed pieces is simplicity. They look and feel lived-in, comfortable, unpretentious – the opposite of slick and shiny. Furniture || The idea behind distressed furniture – and why it has such charm – is that each piece has subtle variations in surface appearance, so no two are exactly alike. Before the Industrial Revolution, variations were naturally occurring, but once items became mass produced, each one started out exactly alike with uniform surfaces and details. For today's distressed furniture, surface imperfections are desirable, with variations in color and finish intentional. In addition to wood, other materials, including metal, glass, stone, and plastic, can be made to look distressed.   Area Rugs || Previously, the only way you could really get a "distressed" rug was from years of walking on it. Now you can find new rugs that have worn patches of faded color that truly look vintage, but are deliberately created in factories using special manufacturing and finishing techniques. Most rugs were and are built to withstand plenty of wear and tear, and can become more beautiful as they age. Finishing Touches || Mirrors, clocks, plaster busts (more popular than ever!), woven baskets, architectural salvage, metal gates and grates, stained glass window panels, books and other items, can all be found in true vintage distressed form. Or, you can buy attractive reproductions made to look as though you've curated them from years of global travel. Ideally, your home will look more unique if you mix true vintage items with newer items. It's even more interesting if you mix styles and time periods for an eclectic look that tells your personal design story.
Whether you define your style as traditional, contemporary, minimalist or "something else," it's that "something else" part that really makes your home yours. There are many ways you can augment or change a room's perspective, and two ways are by incorporating glam or rustic elements into your space. Often inspired by antiques, glam or rustic furniture pieces, when combined with the right accessories, give a room more eclectic character. It's really how you mix all the elements of a room that defines your personal style. Glam || Whether it's a mirrored nightstand, shiny metal table or whimsical accessory, these are the pieces that always look on the bright side. Metallic finishes, gilded accents, ornamental fabric trims and glossy paint surfaces can add a touch of chic opulence, especially if you contrast them with traditional pieces and rustic surfaces. And, when you include sensual curves, animal prints and intricate textures, you'll elevate the glam factor to superstar status. Rustic || On the other side of glam are rustic furniture pieces that exude an industrial, down-to-earth vibe with matte distressed finishes, knotty wood grains and straight-lined geometrics. They have an authentic lived-in look, and they're often in darker colors. Think of natural brick or stone walls, exposed ceiling beams, nailhead trim, and corrugated metal. One of the easiest ways to achieve rustic style is with a leather sofa, chair or sectional, which will just get better with age! Extras || To make your space truly eclectic, add personal items like photos, artwork, antiques collections and one-of-a-kind pieces that you've gathered from your travels. The way you mix, arrange and display these elements will reveal your true style personality – your blueprint for living your best curated life.
By now, you know about the many benefits of indoor plants – they help purify the air, reduce stress and background noise, and improve your mood, in addition to being naturally beautiful. You can also add life to your space with other naturally occurring items like coral, seashells, petrified wood, geodes, plus textured fibers like macramé, abaca, jute, grasscloth and sisal. Adding these natural elements brings earthy textures to your décor, and increases the tranquility of your space. You can use these elements in subtle or big ways, and they work especially well in casual, boho-inspired interiors. Fish tanks and fountains optional.   Natural Found Collections || You can easily add natural beauty to your home by gathering your seashell or beach rock collection, putting it in a woven basket, and placing it next to a group of plants. A branch of coral is another classic touch, often displayed atop glass coffee tables or on book shelves. Other shore items like starfish, sea urchins and sea glass are inexpensive, readily available collectibles that can be gathered in groups or scattered randomly to charming rustic effect.   Furniture & Rugs || There are plenty of ways to use natural elements to make a bigger impact. In addition to natural wicker, rattan or rope accent furniture, you can complete a seating group with an eye-catching geode-topped accent table or tree stump table that's anything but cookie cutter. Each one will feature unique variations in color, pattern and shape. Ground your space, inside or out, with an environmentally-friendly natural fiber area rug that's both resilient and easy to coordinate with most design schemes. Accent Pieces || Geodes in their organic form can be striking, and appear in many gorgeous colors, including purple, blue, pink and green. Arrange them inside an open clam shell for an artful presentation. The aforementioned coral makes a great decorative accent, maybe on a tray with other objects or under a glass cloche. A natural woven sunburst mirror adds coastal charm when placed above your dresser, or use it to embellish a bare wall in an entranceway. Finally, if natural elements aren't your favorite décor go-tos, framed botanical prints work especially well in a formal grouping on your wall.
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