Designing a country kitchen: advice and ideas

Want to recreate a warm and welcoming country kitchen? Design your country kitchen with these expert tips, ideas and tricks

Solid wood kitchen with flush doors by Martin Heydon
(Image credit: Brent Darby)

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.

Kitchen in Georgian farmhouse

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

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.

Venetian blinds in a small kitchen

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

Pick the right worktops for a country kitchen

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 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.

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

(Image credit: Joyce Vloet/Coco Features)

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. 

Devol kitchen

(Image credit: Devol)

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.

Want to install underfloor heating to keep your country kitchen snug? Choose floor tiles or engineered wood flooring, which both work best with this type of heating system.

Purbeck Stone paint colour by Farrow & Ball used in a small kitchen

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

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.

Churchwood and Design kitchen with filoor to ceiling cabinets painted in Farrow and Ball Oval Room Blue

All of the cupboards have been painted in Farrow & Ball’s Oval Room Blue. The sink is from Villeroy & Boch with taps from Perrin & Rowe and Grohe. Image: Darren Chung

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.

country kitchen with Belfast sink and oak units

Richard Pooley made the oak units, finished in a mix of painted and waxed surfaces. The sink and tap are from For similar multi-coloured slate floor tiles, try Floors of Stone. Image: Brent Darby

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.

solid oak worktops in a kitchen with Ikea cabinets

Solid oak worktops were chosen for the Ikea cabinetry and painted tongue-and-groove wall panelling makes a cost-effective alternative to tiles. Image: Brent Darby

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.

Warwick Shaker kitchen with ivory units

The Warwick Shaker Ivory units featured here, start from around £180 for a 100cm base unit

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.

Kitchen with blue cabinets from Martin Moore

Prices start from £35,000 for a similar kitchen from Martin Moore. The work surfaces are by Caesarstone

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.

country kitchen with Devol cabinets, Belfast sink and grant worktops plus island

The island unit is the focal point of the design. Taylor Made Fireplaces supplied the granite worktops, with the oak surfaces sourced on eBay. Rustic travertine floor tiles, from Floors of Stone. Image: Rachael Smith

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.

Oak frame country style kitchen diner

Cream units from K100 offset the dark wood of the exposed beams, and the island was designed to fit around a supporting vertical beam. A large Lacanche range cooker takes pride of place along the far wall. Image: Nikki Crisp

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. 

Small country kitchen with exposed beams and dark base units

The old dresser cost just £25 from eBay and is one of the many secondhand items the couple have sourced to complete their kitchen on a budget. Image: Jeremy Phillips

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