A country style kitchen makes the perfect family hub in any home and there are many features that can bring that coveted country feel. See the homes below for design ideas for your own space.
How to get the country kitchen look in your home
Whether you live in the country or not, a few choice features can contribute to a classic country feel:
Cabinets and cupboards
Shaker-style is 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 a painted kitchen, choosing a heritage colour to match your scheme.
Freestanding kitchen furniture offers flexibility, works well with irregular walls and lends itself to the look.
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 matte 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.
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.
Practical and hardwearing flagstones would have been the go-to flooring material in working kitchens of country homes and farms. Wood is a stunning alternative, but requires more care and preparation.
Layout: the work triangle
Even though the expression is rather dated, when it comes to the layout, the work triangle concept is still relevant. It makes perfect sense to reduce one’s “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 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.
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.
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.
Hang up your boots
A separate utility and boot room are integral parts of the country kitchen. Always try and 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 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.
Richard Pooley made the oak units, finished in a mix of painted and waxed surfaces. The sink and tap are from Taps-online.com. 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 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.
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.
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.
Dealing with beams
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.
The island unit is the focal point of the design. Taylor Made Fireplaces supplied the granite worktops, with the oak surfaces sourced on eBay. Steve laid the 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.
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. This cost just £25 off eBay and is one of the many secondhand items the couple have sourced to complete their kitchen on a budget.
Image: Jeremy Phillips