What’s the Difference Between Primitive, Rustic, and Country Decor?

If you’ve spent at any time on the embellishing scene, then you’ve most likely heard the 3 terms “primitive,” “rustic,” and “country,” and more likely than not, you’ve heard them pre-owned interchangeably. While the 3 words DO have considerable overlap in significance, they are not the exact same. Here’s the distinction between them.


Primitive is defined as:

Being the first or earliest of its kind
Crude, simple, or unrefined
From an early period of history
Made by a primitive artist

In the decorating world, the meaning is a bit more subtle but maintains the flavor of the official definition. Of all, a primitive decor piece of furniture or decoration is handmade. An individual without formal training or craftsmanship made it. Third, frequently, a primitive product is practical: furniture, dishware, tools, and cooking products are all considered primitive. And last but not least, a primitive item is old– generally, old enough to certify as an antique. It’s the mix of age, lack of pretense, and practical function that provides a primitive product, whether furniture or some other family great, its well-worn, easy look, NOT intentional design. Primitive is not a style; it’s more a description of age and production method.


Rustic is defined as:

Having attributes of country individuals
Made of tree roots or limbs
Having rough, irregular surfaces

Once once again, the embellishing world puts a bit more of a surface on the term. In design, something that is rustic has a tie with nature: it’s made from natural products that are fairly raw or unrefined. A rustic furniture piece or decoration generally has a distressed or weathered surface, a color that can be found in nature, a casual vibe and a sense of old-fashioned warmth or comfort. Notice what the meaning of rustic does NOT include: handmade and old. While a rustic item may well be both of those things, it’s not needed. In reality, a rustic piece of furniture might have been produced in a factory quite recently however developed to look old and used. That’s the key distinction in between primitive and rustic and describes why a primitive item is by meaning rustic but a rustic item is not necessarily primitive. Unlike primitive, rustic explains a design, one that incorporates an unpretentious, old-fashioned, well-loved, and well-worn appearance.

What's the Difference Between Primitive, Rustic, and Country Decor


The country is specified as:

Incomplete or unsophisticated
From a specific country or area

In the decorating world, “country” is a broad term that explains many designs: French country, lodge, home, American country and coastal design can all fall under this umbrella. What all of these styles share is a casual vibe, an emphasis on natural products that are regularly in an incomplete or weathered state, natural colors and many of all, a simple, inviting look that feels cozy and warm. Country design often consists of rustic or primitive furnishings, but that’s not constantly the case. Still, the border in between what qualifies as country and what qualifies as rustic is a blurred one. As a rough guideline, the rustic combination is confined to earth tones and soft tones, while a country combination can consist of a much wider series of color. Rustic furniture is usually made from warm, red-toned woods, while country utilizes quite a bit of oak. Rustic design is more narrowly defined, while country is a more general term.