Country kitchens are one of the most cherished decorating styles in American homes—exuding a laid-back charm that gives guests the idea to pull up a chair and stay a while.
More than any single design element, country kitchens are a sum of many parts. There are several flavors of the country kitchen style to pull ideas from when you’re designing your country kitchen: traditional, farmhouse, cottage, modern, English and French. They’re all punctuated by a sense of warmth and comfort – creating the kind of space where people want to gather and be together. Wood, textiles, and traditional metals are common elements in each. It’s the stains, patterns, and patinas of those elements that will define the character and level of formalness of the space.
Here, a few of the characteristic ideas that define the country kitchen look, from paint colors to fabric patterns to faucet styles. Which ideas you choose to incorporate, and how you combine them, is what will personalize your country kitchen and make it your own.
Today’s swan-neck faucets may recall a bygone era, but there’s no doubt they have more cool features than your grandmother’s did! The “Annabelle” high-arc faucet from Moen features a pull-down design, burnished bronze finish, and a coordinating soap dispenser
Whitewashed surfaces, warm wood tones, and walls coated in soft pastel hues like pale straw and sage green are common in country kitchens. Here these two popular paint colors—specifically Benjamin Moore’s Moonlight (2020-60) and Lapland (AF-410)—are combined in a single eye-catching scheme.
Whether used at the windows, on the table, or elsewhere in the room, cheerful fabric patterns are a must in country kitchens. Delicate plaids and checks are classic choices as are small-scale botanical prints. This pretty gingham swag from Country Curtains is available in ten color variations.
Beloved for the practicality of their deep, wide basins, apron-front sinks have made a comeback in contemporary kitchens. Although these sinks are still available in their most iconic style, pure white porcelain, you might choose one of several updates, including embossed patterns on the front or sleek, stainless steel.
Homeowners who love the look of a country kitchen often have collections they love to display, whether it’s glassware, ceramics, or salt-and-pepper shakers. What better place to show them off than behind glass-front cabinet doors? Some homeowners choose glass-front designs for all upper cabinets, while others install one for dinnerware and opt for solid doors for pantry items.
One of the most welcoming sights in a country kitchen is a long, wooden farm table that beckons guests to share a meal. This design from West Elm has matching benches that slide underneath when not in use, a sensible option especially in small spaces.
Beadboard is a remarkably versatile element in country kitchens. It might be used as wainscoting on the walls, to cover the lower part of a work island, or to line the inside of open shelves or glass-front cabinets. Although it is most often painted white, beadboard also looks wonderful when coated in a pale hue like green, yellow, or blue.
Spindle-back chairs exude true country spirit when placed around a kitchen table. You might choose a classic icon like this Windsor design from Windsor Chairmakers, in Lincolnville, Maine, a ladderback style with woven cane seats, or a selection of mismatched flea market finds, united with a single color of paint.
What home wouldn’t benefit from the added workspace and storage of a kitchen island? Crate & Barrel’s Belmont Mint Kitchen Island has a drop-leaf butcher-block top, vintage style hardware, and a pale green finish that is so evocative of country style.
Replacing existing hardware with new pieces inspired by vintage designs is an easy and inexpensive way to bring country charm to your kitchen. Consider half moon drawer pulls—available in various finishes like nickel and bronze—or cabinet knobs in porcelain, clear or colored glass, or even Jadeite green.
Hanging lights are practical in any kitchen, and especially well suited to country interiors because of their vintage appeal. Designs range widely from metal shades in many finishes to glass shades in milky white and various colors. Recessed lighting elsewhere in the room adds illumination while allowing the pendant lights full focus.
Whether rectangular subway tile or simple squares, white tiles in a country kitchen look clean and crisp. To enliven the arrangement, play with placement or consider smaller accent tiles in a hue that coordinates with fabrics or paint colors used throughout the room.