Decorating with Rusted Pieces

It’s safe to say that we needed to get our tetanus shots because we are all over rusted bits and pieces for styling indoors and out.



At a second hand store recently, we spotted some rusty vintage items. The store owner saw us making a b-line for them and started with “oh don’t worry there is a way you can clean the rust off easily with…”. Stop right there, that is the last thing we want. We love love love some rusted charm.

You can get multiple looks with rusty pieces, so think about what look you would like to channel and then get to finding some rusty bits. Or even better, get some iron oxide paint from your local hardware store and you can paint just about any surface in an rusty finish and it doesn’t have to be metal. We’ve painted some plastic items and wooden pieces in the past with the iron oxide paint with lovely effects.

Nautical and beachy looks pull off rusted items beautifully and they conjure up the look of sea and sun-kissed days and sleepy fishing villages. Combine some rusty lanterns with some items in hues of blue and green, add some weathered woods to mimic driftwood to complete the beachy look.



Industrial is a look that is really popular right now. It’s a strong and masculine decorating style and we love to dabble with repurposing industrial pieces. If you can hunt down an actual industrial item like these versatile spindles, then they can easily be repurposed into things like coffee tables complete with their existing rusty bolts and screws. We repurposed one for our Chatswood Balcony Transformation.

Old tool boxes, chests and trunks are perfect for storage and display items for this industrial look and we repurposed an old metal trunk into a coffee table with storage for our Newtown balcony transformation. We also repurposed an old crate with rusty metal frame into a feature artwork.

The industrial look was captured throughout our H&D Home with Heart; Newtown which was rampant with rusty hues and pieces.


The French Country  style pulls of rusted items beautifully. This rusted urn and rust-effect outdoor furniture adds some sophisticated French country charm with casual and weathered tones. Great for teaming with plants outdoors or with candles and fresh flowers indoors.


Art deco items are not the common choice for rusted items, but our ‘H&D; Business with Heart’ which featured Sterling Hair Salon had some lovely rusted vintage pieces that fit seemlessly with their Art Deco theme.


Your local markets are a mecca for items with some vintage flair and you’re sure to find things like old suitcases with rusty locks and handles, some old tools and random pieces that are inexpensive and display beautiful given the right context. Check out your local markets for one-off and inspired pieces.


Rusty Artwork  – try and take photos of rusty things you see on your travels (no matter how random they may seem) because the natural colour pallet of rusty patinas make for amazing photos to blow up into larger prints and canvasses later on.


You may already have some items around the house that you may not really rate as keep-worthy. But leave them outside to oxidise or ad some iron oxide paint and see what they look like rusty before throwing them out. You may be surprised at their newly weathered charm.

14 thoughts on “Decorating with Rusted Pieces

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