Country kitchen ideas: 20 ways to add instant rustic charm

Looking for farmhouse kitchen ideas? Get inspired with these country kitchen ideas, whether you live in a period property or a modern home

a country kitchen idea with authentic original features, beams and a wood burning stove in a cottageby devol
(Image credit: deVOL)

Want to be inspired by country kitchen ideas? Whether you're renovating a quaint Victorian home or Medieval manor, a classic country kitchen is on the wish list for many people that live in a period house (or even if you want to add charm to a modern home), thanks to the appeal of being warmed by the heat of a range cooker, as well as the prospect of characterful original features and rustic ceiling beams. 

Keep scrolling to find plenty of country kitchens to get you inspired, we cover everything from practical advice to easy to copy ideas. And if you want to find more kitchen ideas and inspiration be sure to visit our dedicated feature.

1. Pick the best layout for a country kitchen

County kitchens: a blue shaker kitchen

(Image credit: Douglas Gibb)

Even though the expression 'work triangle' is rather dated, when it comes to the layout of country kitchens, the work triangle concept is still relevant. It makes perfect sense to reduce your 'footprint', otherwise regular tasks turn into marathons. Keep your main prep area close to your sink, and hob and you can’t go far wrong.

A central kitchen island can help create the ideal work triangle, but if poorly planned will just end up being in the way. Consider incorporating the hob or sink to make it more practical and sociable for the cook. In the old days the kitchen table is where most of the preparation would have taken place, so design the island with this in mind.

2. Embrace the original features of a country kitchen

small country kitchens

This country kitchen in a 17th-century farmer's home still boasts the original stone floor tiles and blackened wooden beams. A practical modern range sits where the original stove would have been, and clever storage and design makes the most of the small space.

Use our guide to how to buy a range cooker to find the best model for your home, then browse our pick of the best range cookers.

3. Make the most of a small country kitchen

tea time kitchen cottage spurling

(Image credit: jody stewart)

This small country kitchen has cleverly used an old butcher’s block as its centrepiece and kitchen island, which also serves to divide the cooking and dining areas of the room. The decorative scheme is a pretty combination of neutrals and ditsy floral patterns.

Use our guide to how to design a small kitchen for more ideas to make your small country kitchen feel larger. 

4. Ensure original features are in the best condition possible

One of the main draws of a country kitchen are the gorgeous original features that often accompany this style of property. 

You'll want to ensure that original oak beams and wood flooring are in the best condition possible – use our guides to repairing or replacing timber beams and how to repair wooden floorboards for practical advice – as this will form the basis for the rest of your scheme.

In terms of creating an authentic look throughout the rest of your scheme, you might consider painting the kitchen cabinets. Pick a wall colour to tone for a restful look, and choose a cool shade to contrast with the warmth of natural wood that you often find in country kitchens old and new.

Kitchen with beamed walls and baking supplies

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

5. Pick the right cabinets for a country kitchen 

Venetian blinds in a small kitchen

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

Shaker-style kitchen cabinets are a popular choice in country kitchens. It is a timeless design that blends well into both modern and very traditional schemes, making it a good option if you are looking to invest in a kitchen that will see you through potential kitchen redesigns.

Choose solid wood, in-frame doors for a high-end finish in your country kitchen. This then gives you the option to leave the wood its natural colour, with a varnish or wax finish. Alternatively, you might want to opt for painting kitchen cabinets, choosing a heritage kitchen cabinet paint colour to match your kitchen's colour scheme. Farmhouse-style kitchens work well with this look, too, painted or unpainted.

Freestanding kitchen furniture offers flexibility, works well with irregular walls and lends itself to the look of a country kitchen, too.

6. Make use of long kitchens with fitted cabinets

The country kitchen in this restored cob longhouse makes the best use of a long, thin space with limited natural light (as is characteristic to many country kitchens).

The soft blue colour scheme creates a complementary contrast with the warmth of the original floor tiles and carpentry, while brightening what might otherwise be a dark feeling kitchen.

7. Select the right worktops

kitchen with blue walls and black aga and brown cabinets with stairs and christmas decorations

(Image credit: Joyce Vloet/Coco Features)

Choosing the right kitchen worktops is vital because they are such a major element of your country kitchen's design, especially if you have a kitchen island

Quality stone or wood worktops are the standard choice in country style kitchens. If you do go for stone, avoid anything too bold or shiny as it will not fit the rustic feel. For example, if you do choose granite, go for natural reds, browns and cream blends rather than black. A matt finish will add to the country appeal. Manmade composite worktops can offer a stone look with added durability, but will cost more and require specialist fitting.

Wooden worktops are probably the most common surface in a typical country kitchen. Wood does require a little maintenance (spillages should be mopped up quickly and you will want to oil it regularly to keep it looking its best), but has the advantage of being easy to fix should you mark it. A quick sand and polish will remove everyday scratches and dents.

Try mixing materials when designing country kitchens for both style and practicality. You could use a harder wearing material on areas that are more likely to be scorched and scratched, reserving the higher maintenance materials for a breakfast bar perhaps.

8. Combine period features with a stylish grey colour scheme

Painted in a stylish grey and with a combination of granite and wooden worktops, this country farmhouse kitchen is given a contemporary edge, without sacrificing the rustic look entirely. It's full of charm and makes the perfect, welcoming hub for a family home.

Making the most of storage potential, a convenient crockery drying rack hangs above the double butler’s sink, with cupboard free walls preventing the space from feeling boxed in.

Find more inspiration with our farmhouse kitchen design ideas brimming with character

9. Mix fitted and freestanding furniture for a more authentic feel

Georgian farmhouse country kitchen

Mixing eclectic fitted and freestanding furniture creates an authentic feeling country kitchen with timeless appeal. To achieve a similar look, you'll want to scour the offerings of salvage yards and antiques shops, while bearing bespoke options in mind, too.

For more cottage kitchen ideas head to our feature. 

10. Freshen up a dated period kitchen with freshly painted cabinets

country kitchens: colourways and inspiration

Never underestimate the power of paint if you're looking for a budget friendly way to update a tired country kitchen. Pairing a cool, duck-egg shade with a deep, navy Aga and rustic furniture for spring-inspired interior. 

Painting old kitchen cabinets is easier than you might imagine in country kitchens and you can use our guide to how to paint kitchen cabinets for step-by-step instructions. 

11. Go all-white (or off-white) to maximise light

If your country kitchen is lacking natural light or you're simply looking for easily achieved, space-enhancing effects, consider opting for a timeless white (or off-white) scheme.

Accessorise with natural materials – you can't go wrong with wood – and other neutral coloured features to retain the feeling of a calm environment.

Tempted by white? Browse more of our white kitchen design ideas.

12. Keep to a neutral scheme for a timeless look

country kitchen in a farmhouse

In addition to making what can be a dark space feel lighter and brighter, a neutral scheme is a timeless option that promises not to date as interiors trends come and go.

White also makes the perfect canvas for a space filled with stunning original features – we can't get enough of these stand-out timber beams.

13. Achieve Cotswolds elegance with muted colours

Cotswold stone cottage country kitchen

Muted colours are another option worth considering if you're looking for country kitchen ideas. Paired with classic touches such as brass taps and butler’s sink salvaged during the renovation of the house, these muted green kitchen cabinets have a distinct air of Cotswolds elegance about them.

Replicate this look using the shade Lichen from Farrow & Ball. 

stone floor in country style kitchen

(Image credit: Floors of Stone)

Love the fashion for dark kitchens? You needn't worry about embracing the trend in a country kitchen, but if it's low-ceilinged, be sure to pick out light, reflective colours for the rest of the room – from flooring finishes to paint to furniture and worktops.

Be inspired by these dark and dramatic kitchen design ideas.

15. Mix up cabinet finishes for an unfitted feel

Kitchen with wooden cabinets with blue painted ceiling

(Image credit: Clive Nicholls)

The ideal way to create a laid back look in any kitchen – country kitchens or otherwise – is to choose non-matching pieces.

Here, handmade drawers and cabinets combine with salvaged finds and open shelving for a charming, relaxed finish that's so easy to live with. A lime-effect light blue ceiling further enhances the eclectic feel of this country kitchen.

16. Source antique and reclaimed pieces character

cottage kitchen with antique pieces by deVOL

(Image credit: deVOL)

A country kitchen isn't complete without antique and reclaimed finds which will instantly add character to the space and give it that lived-in feel that so many of us crave in a country kitchen.

So, if your kitchen cabinetry is brand new, in fact, especially if it's brand new, add in some handpicked, pre-loved pieces to give the whole room a characterful boost.

17. Add a country kitchen sink

Devol kitchen

(Image credit: Devol)

Nothing says country kitchen like a Belfast (or butler’s sink). These are deep and well suited to everything a kitchen in a country home or farmhouse would have had to have dealt with, such as washing clothes or vegetables straight from the garden.

Most versions are ceramic but modern composite options can bring a contemporary edge to a traditional scheme. Another option is a durable stainless steel sink, mounted under the worktop, to which you can match stainless steel taps.

If you need any more tips on how to choose a kitchen sink, have a read through our guide. 

18. Display utensils for a lived-in look

country cottage kitchen with utensils on display photographed by darren chung

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

In a traditional country kitchen, nothing would have been neatly stashed away in cupboards and cabinets, whatever was useful would have been to hand. 

If you're looking to create a space with a lived-in feel, aspire to this authentic storage system, but curate the pieces you display so that only your best utensils, pottery, pans... whatever are on show.

Find inspiration for displaying your favourite pieces in our design gallery.

19. Warm a space with a cosy wood burning stove

cottage kitchen with authentic original features, beams and a wood burning stove by devol

(Image credit: deVOL)

The ultimate addition to a cosy country kitchen is a woodburning stove to warm the space. Perfect for cold winter mornings and evenings sat sipping tea around the kitchen table, woodburning stoves create a comforting focal point that you won't regret investing in.

Use our essential guide to choosing a stove to ensure you pick the right model for your home, then browse out pick of the best stoves: woodburning and multi-fuel.

20. Add a utility room to a country kitchen

Butlers sink in utility room in grade II listed thatched cottage

(Image credit: Future)

A separate utility and boot room are integral parts of the country kitchen. Always try to place a bench by the back door, so there is somewhere to sit down and take off your boots and hang coats.

Have plenty of worktop space so there is room for a laundry storage, such as a basket, on top when you are loading and unloading machines. Always make sure you have as much space as possible to open an ironing board or bend down to a machine without bumping into other cupboards. If space is at a premium, consider open shelves.

If you are designing a utility room from scratch, we have a dedicated feature to help you get it right. 

Looking for more country kitchen advice and inspiration?

Emily Shaw
Emily Shaw

Emily first (temporarily) joined the Real Homes team while interning on her summer break from university. After graduating, she worked on several publications before joining Real Homes as Staff Writer full time in mid-2018. She loves a second-hand bargain and sourcing unique finds to make her rented flat reflect her personality.