One of the many repercussions of a thriving construction industry is a thriving interior design industry.

Now that the housing industry is really looking up, there seems to be a new spurt of life breathed into the interior design sector as well. According to the 2014 Outlook and State of the Industry report released by the American Society of Interior Designers, there is hope for definite and positive growth for residential interior design in the coming months.

But what is more interesting is that how the last decade of uncertainties has intricately weaved itself into new trends and created some outstanding styles to savor. Designers are more ready than ever to embrace emerging technology and blend it in with affordable designs to create state-of-the-art interiors. The focus of their work has slowly shifted from being designer-centric to being more people-centric.

We see new-age interior designers taking up the challenge of creating superior décor for their clients at amazingly reasonable budgets, something unheard of even five years back. Does that mean that the décor is a compromise between cheap and make-do? Not really.

On the contrary, it's really hats off to the ingenuity of the designers who have come up with trends like the rustic-chic look. Yes, this force has been driving the interior design industry for some time, but never has the rustic-chic trend been as in demand as it is now.

From a trendy New York studio to the ranch house deep in cowboy country, rustic-chic is now the predominant tool for designers to offer an elegant and comfortable ambiance for their clients. Things are looking up, and the expansion of brands like Houzz — which has just gone international show how fast the industry is developing.

What is also evident in these sites and apps is that they no longer try to rule or direct users toward any trend. Instead, they offer a veritable resource of all the latest designs happening globally and allow the user to identify the popular trend from among them. And right now, rustic-chic seems to be ruling.

The popularity is not so hard to understand if you take a deeper look into the style. It blends in with all kinds of décor easily, does not need a high-end look or finish since shabby chic is the target, and can be coupled with all kinds of upholsteries and accessories in the room to make them look instantly rich and inviting. There is no hard-and-fast need for a uniform look either, which makes it easy for designers to look around and scavenge for items that will create an out-of-the-box look.

Key features that mark the rustic-chic trend:

  • Easy blend of seemingly incongruent items — like antiques with country accessories
  • Mixing contemporary pieces with classic and rustic items to give rooms a new transitional twist
  • Stylish use of rustic elements in the interior space — like rough wood beams for ceilings
  • Use of natural elements like rock, wood and stone for both exteriors and interiors
  • Use of natural fabrics like cotton and jute for curtains and other upholsteries
  • Lots of natural light in the room to help accentuate the natural feel
  • Use of wood, leather, metal and at times ceramics to make rooms more earthy and warm
  • Use of solid colors in rugs and accessories while blending in earth tones with neutrals
  • Use of repurposed materials in furniture and lighting with elements of nature abounding everywhere

Another reason why the rustic-chic trend has caught on so much is that it allows for an easy transformation of older homes into modernized versions. Yet it preserves their true heritage and essence, and the unique architecture of an earlier era.

Treating the wood, walls and ceilings to get back the old-world look and match it with contemporary furniture and bright colors inside is a popular method employed by modern designers. A lot of emphasis is given on the play of light and glass, which bring style and space in the rooms and create an inexplicably strong shabby chic look.

The most recent development for the rustic-chic trend is to veer toward a more Scandinavian slant for the décor. There is an enduring quality in the Nordic styles that is enhanced by their clean, bright lines, which combines with their inherent and functional minimalism.

Blending these with the rustic décor means more emphasis on eco-friendly, natural and/or repurposed materials. For designers who like to think outside the box, rustic-chic has been a handy tool to deliver excellence in an affordable package.