Rustic Decorating Ideas
with Repurposed Items

These rustic decorating ideas were established easily from items found that embody days gone by. Heavy iron, rusty metals, and weathered woods are some of my favorite elements to combine to bring harmony to a room. Although I tend to shy away from describing my style as "rustic", it very much is - at least in some respects. However, there is a fine line among numerous styles where overlap tends to occur.

Vintage items and implements, such as those from machinery and tooling, work well when establishing rustic decorating ideas. These types of items are equally useful in steampunk, industrial, and modern/minimalist decorating. Because of this overlap, I find rustic items easily work with melded decorating styles rather than one defined style.

Keep your mind open to the possibilities of what may work in your space and experiment. Vintage items can be repurposed as home decor simply by displaying or by reusing them in innovative ways.

Vintage Pipe Clamp Used As Coffeetable Decor
A vintage pipe-cutting vise was reclaimed from an outdoor flea market for a mere $10.00. Requiring minimal clean-up, it now acts as an industrial decorative element much in the manner of an antique book press.

Vintage Rake Head and Tractor Fly Wheel Provide Interesting Decor
Another $10.00 item, a fly wheel found at an antique tractor event, provides industrial, rustic, or steampunk flavor. A free, iron rake head helps keep it propped up.
TIP: Repurpose rake heads (such as above) by inverting and
mounting on a wall as a clever way to hang wine glasses!

An antique wooden vise clamps a trio of books in "industrial style"
An antique wooden vise clamps a display of books in this repurposed use. Vintage wrenches are displayed uniquely along the spines of the books.

An antique doorlock set and skeleton keys top a pile of books
An old lockset and skeleton keys top a pile of books.
TIP: Unify books by wrapping them with brown craft paper and lightly distressing the edges with sandpaper.

Enjoy repurposing vintage hardware as decor?
Visit the eco-friendly green decorating page
for more rustic decorating ideas.

An Antique Block and Pulley, and Vintage Amber Bottle Create Visual Interest
An old wooden block and pulley accompanies a vintage amber bottle in this harmonious utilitarian display.

Tip Browse magazines and catalogs to develop rustic decorating ideas. Check Restoration Hardware.

Saucer Sled Table Display
A saucer sled provides oversized goodness in this table display. A gallon jug, vintage block and pulley, and piece of coiled rope set within this industrial centerpiece.

Burlap Coffee Sack Couch Throw
A burlap coffee sack with a great font provides texture and detail to this couch. An authentic, vintage gas station sign provides a neat punch against a charcoal accent wall.

GREAT Modern and Rustic Fusion

Rustic Crate Coffeetable
Random planks of scrap pine were nailed together to create this simple, utilitarian-style crate coffeetable. A flat black paint was wiped on lightly with a wide brush. The wood/paint was given a distressed finish with sandpaper, beating areas with chain, and gouging with hand tools to give it rustic character.

Old Wrought-Iron Gate Repurposed As Decorative Fireplace Screen
A wrought-iron gate found in the woods was cleaned up but retains its interesting rusted patina. It provides decorative visual interest in front of a fireplace.

Stovepipe Candle Pedestal
A rusty piece of stovepipe with excellent character has been simply repurposed as a candle pedestal. Within are stacked soup cans on which the candle is supported. See more ways to upcycle tin cans.

An Old Basement Window Is Repurposed As A Table Element
An old basement window with authentic chippy-paint was offered for free. The rusty hardware and imperfections provide an appealing charm. The vintage window has simply been repurposed as a focal on a small dining table.

Iron Kettle and Axe Head Display
Just as the rake head seen earlier, an axe head that separated from the handle provides rustic interest in this simple display. Old iron kettles are unique containers for displays - in this case, some pine cones. A thick slab of slate grounds it all.

Vintage Pottery Book Holder
An extremely simple repurpose, this vintage pottery piece is the perfect size to house and display some old books.

Vintage Wood and Iron Butcher Hanger Accent
A vintage horse-drawn wagon yoke creates a unique accent in this corner. Weathered wood and iron are favorite finishes for rustic displays.
TIP: This unique element could be hung horizontally
from chain over a table to create unique lighting.
Look up how to make hanging lamps online.

Vintage Amber Bottle Collection
Bottles from various sources have been grouped. Mismatched in size and style, their color offers unity. Vintage bottles can be found cheaply or free. Display such objects as repurposed home decor.

Reclaimed Wood For Rustic Decorating Ideas

Reclaimed wood, especially that which has come from an old building, such as barn siding or flooring, provides a look that is hard to replicate. Consider using reclaimed lumber when developing your rustic decorating ideas.

Consider using wood from shipping pallets too. Despite the wood being newer, it provides a rustic-look due to its rough finish once stained, painted and/or distressed. Use it to build wooden crates and display boxes, picture frames, or adhere the planks to a wall either horizontally or vertically for a unique rustic finish.

Rustic Barnwood Shelf and Vintage Wood Door
In shabby-chic style, some chippy-paint barnwood planks were salvaged, cut to size and attached to create a simple rustic shelf. See the beginnings of this rustic decorating idea by reading my chippy-paint rustic shelf blog post.

Rustic Barnwood Shelf as Kitchen Island
Another great example of rustic meets modern. The same rustic shelf fits seamlessly in an otherwise modern-styled kitchen.

Vintage Wooden Door as Decorative Rustic Accent
In the background, a vintage wood-plank door found curbside was reclaimed and now simply leans against a wall as a rustic focal element. It could simply be converted to a dining table. See how to repurpose a door in cool ways.

It's easy to develop rustic decorating ideas when you get your hands on vintage items. Look for old implements at flea markets and auctions. I live in an area where annual Amish auctions are held so am lucky enough to come across such unique pieces. Niche-type flea markets, such as the antique tractor show I attended, also provided a great source for machinery-type industrial pieces that play well to numerous styles such as modern, rustic, and steampunk alike. Happy hunting!

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