Whether you're redesigning a kitchen from scratch or revamping a kitchen in a period home, a country style kitchen makes the perfect family hub in any home and there are many features that can bring that coveted country feel, whether single pieces of reclaimed furniture, freestanding kitchen units – or those with a freestanding look – and rustic finishes.
Read on for lots of inspiring advice about planning and designing a country kitchen for your own space. Find out more about planning a kitchen for a period home in our guide, too.
Choosing cabinets for a country kitchen
Shaker-style kitchen cabinets are a popular choice in a country kitchen. 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. 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.
Pick the right worktops for a country kitchen
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 for 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.
Sourcing a country kitchen sink
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.
Finding flooring for a country kitchen
Choosing the best kitchen flooring is largely down to practicalities. Practical and hardwearing flagstones would have been the go-to flooring material in working kitchens of country homes and farms, but wooden flooring, in particular, reclaimed flooring, is a stunning alternative, although requires more care and preparation.
Tackling the layout of a country kitchen
Even though the expression 'work triangle' is rather dated, when it comes to the layout, 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.
Incorporating a utility room into a country kitchen
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.
Dealing with timber beams in a country kitchen
As far as designing for kitchens with timber beams, always respect the shapes cast by them. In a bespoke kitchen this makes things simpler as we are not bound by cabinet sizes.
It can sometimes look like a design mistake when beams and features are cut into; simple solutions are the best. Odd proportions are wonderful, giving a designer chance to deliver a pure, bespoke solution for that particular homeowner.
Country kitchen design ideas
Be inspired by these country kitchens to create your own design...
1. Kitchen in a converted Victorian mill
As part of their renovation of a former industrial building, Tina and Simon Jones have created a stunning kitchen that combines a heritage feel with modern living. Bespoke cabinetry from Churchwood Design was chosen to suit the mill’s unique period features and proportions.
Floor-to-ceiling cupboards maximise the wall space, and a sliding ladder ensures everything can be easily reached when required. A mobile island provides storage and a flexible workspace.
2. Farmhouse kitchen in a 200-year-old home
This kitchen was originally a dairy barn adjoining the farmhouse, so the owners were keen to bring out some of its rustic character. A false ceiling was removed to reveal original timber beams and the stone worktop carefully selected in a ‘leather finish’ which is duller and more natural than many modern, glossy versions.
3. Scandinavian-inspired country kitchen
Jennifer Bristow-Smith has completely transformed a tired Victorian house into an appealing home with a light, bright Scandinavian-look kitchen. Affordable base units have been paired with vintage elements from eBay and open shelves for an eclectic, country feel.
4. Mixed-material country style
Mixing worktops adds interest to a kitchen, as in this design by Benchmarx. Polished plaster walls paired with exposed beams create a modern rustic feel — all beautifully juxtaposed by the classic lines of the cabinetry.
5. Georgian country style
Located in a Georgian family home, this English kitchen by Martin Moore combines complementary colours to add warmth and interest to an authentic scheme.
6. Kitchen with freestanding elements
Caroline and Steve Swarbrick worked with their existing layout to create a fresh and colourful Shaker-style design using fitted and freestanding furniture, finished with personal touches. They opted for cabinetry by deVOL painted in Putty and Verbena, and a double Belfast sink.
7. Kitchen in a Grade II-listed barn
Liz Jones and Peter Lukas renovated their kitchen with sensitivity, integrating it with living areas to create a sociable space in their atmospheric Grade II-listed barn.
8. Classic country style
Embracing the cornerstones of classic country kitchen-style has helped Val and Norman Rennie create this dream space in a once unloved cottage. A mix of natural wood and old door fronts from eBay, painted in Farrow & Ball’s Cornforth White, gives the kitchen an English country aesthetic. Freestanding furniture has been used to maximise every space, including the the old pine dresser which perfectly fits the recess.