Rustic furniture usually means furniture made from logs, sticks or other elements from nature. Most rustic furniture is either made from bentwood, which is wood that is heated up and then bent while soft to create the desired shape, or twig work, which is the use of straight sticks that are placed together to create the furniture. The wood can be held together with nails, screws, glue or even mortar.
While this furniture is commonly associated with wealthy consumers who are aiming for an outdoorsy, rustic appearance in their home or vacation cabin, the furniture actually first appeared during the Great Depression when people could not afford to purchase furniture and had to use what they had available.
The most common types of this type of furniture are the bentwood and twig work, but there are other styles as well. For example, log furniture comes from a variety of wood types, such as pine, aspen, cedar and hickory. These types of wood vary greatly in color and the artist may utilize different peel, bark and finishes to change or complete the desired look.
Another type of this style of furniture involves the use of reclaimed wood, also called barn wood furniture, since the wood often comes from old bars, homes, doors or shutters. The result is an antique, rustic appearance.
When you are searching for this type of furniture to purchase for your home or business, keep in mind that there are some specific rustic furniture definitions. For example, if the furniture is marked ‘solid wood’, that means all exposed surfaces of the furniture are made from wood and there is no particleboard or veneer in use. Most solid wood furniture pieces are glued together to maintain a smoother appearance at the edges. Note that furniture marked “all wood” does not necessarily mean “solid wood”, since plywood or particleboard may be used.
Look at the wood closely and examine the seams. If the wood grain clearly ends at the edge, then the furniture comes from a solid piece of wood. If the grain appears to continue over or past the edge, the furniture is likely a veneer piece and is not solid hardwood.
Find furniture made from hardwood (meaning maple, alder or oak trees) or softwood (fir, pine or spruce trees). Be aware that most solid wood furniture will be more expensive than furniture that has plywood or particleboard, since plywood and particleboard is cheaper to manufacture and therefore lowers the cost of the furniture itself.
Spend the time looking for a good quality piece of rustic furniture that you will be able to enjoy for many years to come.