In “Farmhouse kitchens are more popular than everwe discussed how reclaimed wood, wrought-iron accessories and a pallet of neutral colors define the farmhouse look. But what if you want to get even closer to nature?

Rustic style kitchens share many of the same characteristics and it’s not unusual to confuse the two. In spite of their similarities, there are enough differences that if mixed together – you’ll come out with a confused appearance.

Both styles cater to home owners who seek a country-like appearance that evokes a homey and comfortable nod to the past. They also use natural elements like exposed beams, stains to enhance wood finishes and incorporate marks or “flaws” by design. What’s important is to know which style really appeals to your taste.

If you’re looking for a rougher essence, then rustic is the answer. This means the wood should be more natural looking and could even be unfinished. Cabinets and furniture will have a “thick cut” appearance and the joints are usually exposed. The idea is to create more of a woodsy feel using darker colors and totally natural wood grain.

Farmhouse is also traditional but has a fresher feel. Instead of totally natural wood, kitchen elements more often use color and the designs are more complex. This is where “distressed” cabinets and furniture shine. Chairs may have spindle backs while the other elements are smoother. Colors tend to be lighter with a solid feel.

What’s most important is that you don’t have to live in the country or Midwest to play with either design. It just takes working with a few basic elements like natural materials, a neutral palette and a weather or worn feel throughout the room.

Either style offers a refreshing break from ‘traditional Southwest’ which adds personality to any home.