If you are looking for a kitchen theme to bring an air of farmhouse opulence to your home that will never go out of fashion, a country kitchen might be just the ticket. Whilst traditional country kitchens might not seem as daring as an ultra-modern kitchen, they have their own irreplaceable design accents that work beautifully with solid oak kitchen cabinets at their heart, alongside wooden kitchen worktops.
What Makes a Country Kitchen?
Unlike Shaker kitchens, there is no single specific feature that specifically ear-marks the design of a kitchen as ‘country’. Instead, it is the interplay between a range of features that will create an ideal farmhouse aesthetic.
Traditionally, a large country kitchen would have the eating area adjoined to the kitchen rather than separate from it, with a kitchen island or breakfast bar acting as a room divider. This definition does not tend to apply to the varied kitchen layouts found in modern houses, and so a kitchen can still most definitely be described as ‘country’ if it is entirely separate from the dining area.
Forget synthetic materials for a country kitchen, natural materials should be your only choice -with a focus on the traditional and rustic. Oak worktops are the natural selection for a country kitchen, though a number of other timbers also lend an air of farmhouse opulence such as iroko, walnut and cherry.
Full stave worktops also look right at home in a traditional kitchen, as they best show off your chosen timber’s natural features, and are most similar to worktops that would have been found in country house kitchens in years gone by.
Solid oak cabinetry with traditional-style doors are a must for a country kitchen, though doors can be either left to display the natural beauty of the wood, or painted in a suitable shade. Our frontals are available pre-painted in one of Farrow & Ball’s shades, with our ranges of Pastels and Accent colours all being ideal candidates – depending on your preference. Creams, greys and light greens are all ideal colours to complement the traditional look, particularly when contrasting the darker colours of natural wood.
Wall cabinets should be fitted with traditional style accents such as cornices and pelmets, whilst picking kitchen cabinet door handles in pewter or ceramic that complement country styles will help complete the look.
Consider a selection of either open-fronted wall cabinets, or cabinet doors with glazed frontals to display your favourite antique bowls and dishware, or alternatively take a look at our solid oak plate racks – they’re a perfect cabinet accessory to achieve the farmhouse feel.
Other cabinetry details such as our ornate pilasters, traditional corner posts and kitchen end panels should also be considered to bring an air of bespoke design to the space. They can also be painted to match frontals, or finished in lacquer to bring out the beauty of the solid wood.
Exposed brick work and other rustic materials will add depth to a country-style kitchen, though the transition from one material to another should be carefully considered to ensure it has the greatest effect. Brushed nickel taps, furniture with a distressed paint finish and rustic mosaic tiles are all common features in a country kitchen.
Other Finishing Touches
Storage – where modern and shaker kitchens are very much intended to have everything neat and ordered, a country kitchen is often the reverse. This doesn’t mean it should be a jumble of oddities and antiques, but equally there should be plenty of storage to hide boring kitchen necessities whilst other curated pieces are given a prominent display location. Make use of all the wall space you can, or alternatively consider a traditional dresser to display your finest dinnerware rather than hiding your treasured items away.
Fabrics – a traditional kitchen designed by a keen eye will employ material continuity throughout the kitchen. Some people choose to have a fabric curtain front on the unit underneath a sink, and ideally tea cloths could be made of matching materials.
Curtains on windows aren’t necessary, though an attractive modern twist on the country theme would be to use fabric ‘Roman’ blinds in a light tartan or stripes.
Flooring – either solid wood or stone tiled flooring is really the only viable choice in a country kitchen. Solid wood flooring will suit a kitchen with wooden worktops, whilst stone flooring should supplement tiling or ceramics used in the kitchen for best effect. Avoid vinyls and carpets.
Lighting – be careful not to spoil the look of a country kitchen with the wrong type of lighting. Lighting should be soft, warm and largely discreet. If you have high ceilings and the rest of your kitchen is equally grand, a chandelier might work, but we would otherwise advise sticking with lighting that is hidden on top of wall cabinets or sunken into the ceiling.
Appliances – beyond the traditional country feel of an AGA (or other range cookers), there are no specific appliances that are always included in a country kitchen, though we would advise hiding most appliances from view for a timeless look.
We sell a range of specialist cabinets to suit integrated appliances, and many will cater for affixing a cabinet door to the front of the appliance, to completely hide it when not in use.
Extras – don’t forget the kitchen sink! A country kitchen is the perfect home for a Belfast sink – stainless steel and overmounted sinks tend to look out of place.
There is space for many other more unusual accessories in a country kitchen – a rustic ceiling mounted pan rack, wire frame vegetable and fruit holders and plenty of other hand-crafted pieces embellish the look. Whatever you go for, the key is to ‘curate’ rather than ‘clutter’!