Hectares and hectares of fresh, green fields being glimpsed through the window; cows and chickens peacefully trotting around outside, adding to the homely ambience… these images are synonymous (in our creative minds, at least) with good ol’ country style kitchens, conjuring up a vision of home-made bread, warm coffee and a simple way of living.
Fortunately, the green fields and farm animals are not prerequisites for enjoying your very own country kitchen – and seeing as the country style is becoming more and more popular (especially now in 2018), a lot of kitchen planners have been tasked with giving modern kitchens a ‘country’ makeover (without physically moving said kitchen out to the country, of course).
And we got the scoop from those experts on the necessary touches to turn your kitchen into a timeless, slightly rustic space that the whole family can enjoy…
Although it’s true that a lot of country kitchens opt for white as the main focus colour (it helps to make the room look more spacious), nobody is forcing you to do the same. By all means, bring in some brighter tones for added style and character, but don’t go overboard. Try and stay in the neutral realm (off-whites, creams, soft greys, etc.), and even add in a natural hue or two (like soft mint green) if you feel like it.
Any interior designer will confirm that shaker-style cabinets are the most popular for country kitchens. The reason for this is because it’s a timeless look that can fit equally well into modern and traditional designs, making it the perfect choice if you don’t want to switch out your kitchen cabinets with every trend.
We recommend going with solid wood, in-frame doors for a quality finish. You then have the option of leaving the wood in its natural colour (with a varnish or wax finish), or splashing on a fresh coat of paint in the appropriate colour (just remember our tips from number one).
Got enough legroom in your kitchen for a few furniture pieces? You’re in luck, as those tables and chairs are going to help bring in the country design superbly!
Similar to wooden cabinetry, certain common choices appear regularly, and maple, oak, cherry and pine seem to be the most popular ones.
For table- and chair legs and back supports, think rich detailing, like ornate wooden carvings. You know the saying “less is more”? That does not apply to the country style.
The type of accessories you add to a kitchen also greatly influences its overall look. Sinks in particular are fantastic in carrying the country theme forward, as many country kitchens feature old-fashioned porcelain or stainless steel ones.
And seeing as a butler sinks show up in numerous country kitchens worldwide, we’d firmly recommend investing in one!
When imagining a classic country kitchen, plaid and tweed patterns may come to mind, but remember that your options include many others. Stripes, florals and woodland/farm animals are also fantastic to ensure a touch of character, which can be displayed on tea towels, oven gloves, tea- and coffee cups, backsplashes, window treatment, table cloths, upholstered chair seats, wallpaper, etc.
Quality stone and wooden worktops are the standard choices for the country style kitchen. Should you pick stone, avoid options too bold or shiny, as these generally don’t go too well with the rustic look. Granite, for example, can style up a country kitchen perfectly if it’s in a natural shade like brown or cream, but avoid black.
Wooden worktops are also greatly encouraged for country kitchens, but do keep in mind that wood always requires a little more maintenance that other materials. Even the tiniest of spill needs to be cleaned immediately, not to mention regular oiling to keep those wooden surfaces looking fresh and new. A quick sand and polish is ideal for removing everyday scratches and dents.
One of the best secrets of the country kitchen is that it doesn’t need to look perfect. In fact, mixing and matching an array of elements tend to make it look better and homelier compared to painstakingly planning every little bit and ensuring that all those pieces are 100% matched in appearance, colour, etc.
Take the chairs, for example. In modern kitchens, the dining chairs will be identical, yet the country style is completely comfortable with different chairs surrounding the table. This also counts for cabinet handles and hardware – different ones will ensure some charm and give it a carefree and effortless look.
Let this train of thought spill on over to other areas of the kitchen, like the lighting fixtures and décor.
Storage is still crucial, but remember that the country kitchen (unlike its modern- and contemporary counterparts) doesn’t hide the majority of elements away.
A lot of pieces (from tea towels to crockery) are put on display in country kitchens, helping to ensure a lived-in look that is much homier.
So, how do you go about accomplishing this without resorting to a cluttered look? Consider adding glass doors to your cabinets so everyone can enjoy your beautiful collection of plates, bowls and mugs. And instead of hiding those aprons and cloths in a drawer, hang them up on a few wall hooks (their colours and patterns are sure to enhance the country look even more).
Don’t forget one of the most important elements of your country kitchen: its foundation, which will set the tone for the rest of the space.
Although wooden floors are the traditional choice for country kitchens, the 21st century has introduced other (more eco-friendly) options that are also worth considering. These will still ensure that rural look you desire, albeit with minimum maintenance requirements.
Try other ideas like barn-board planking, milled reclaimed wood, randomly placed slate tiles, brick, linoleum tile and cork for your country kitchen floor and see how these go with your choice of cabinetry, colours, furnishings, etc.
Speaking of wooden floors, you might want to check out The “always and never” guide to hardwood floor maintenance.