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Country Kitchen Design: From Rustic to French

Explore elements and design choices for a warm, cozy country style kitchen, from rustic farm style to an elegant French country look.

When it comes to style, the major types are traditional formal, contemporary, traditional casual (also called country) and gourmet, which can be a blend of styles but incorporates serious appliances and focuses primarily on function.


Country kitchens can be warm, welcoming and cozy and fit in nicely in a variety of locations, but are especially lovely in more rural settings. There are a number of different ways you can bring the country style into your kitchen: in the materials you choose, the finishes, colors, types of cabinets and kinds of kitchen accessories.


Types of country kitchens

Although country kitchens are definitely at the more casual end of the spectrum, there is a range, going from rustic to nostalgic and ending up at French country on the more formal side.


Rustic kitchens tend to have a farm feeling, with more rough materials like weathered wood, whitewashed wood floors and freestanding tables in place of a cabinet island. Nostalgic kitchens are in-between and recall the 1940s or 1950’s with retro appliances, decorative items and pops of color.


French country kitchens are the most formal of the country style, and may have scrolls and more formal fabrics on curtains and dishrags to evoke a French aristocrat’s country estate that has been around for a century or more.



Look for a lot of wood in country kitchens, especially medium depth colors like oak rather than light and more modern birch or dark and more formal cherry and mahogany. Wood in country kitchens (especially rustic ones) tends to be weathered, whitewashed or with visible knots. Use wood for flooring and exposed ceiling beams to bring that natural, warm feeling into your kitchen. Looking for a visual focal point? Painted wood cabinets, islands or tables draw the eye.Feel free to use acombination of other natural materials too, like soapstone, stone flooring and backsplashes, metals and porcelain tile.    


Metals give your kitchen some textural interest and shine. Try a copper hood, brass cabinet pulls, or a cast iron hanging pot rack to add some variety. Unpolished stone has a rustic look and can complete your look on floors, counters or on the backsplash.



In keeping with the simple aesthetic of a country kitchen, you may want to use open shelves, cabinets without doors or glass front cabinets for your uppers. This reduces your storage but allows you to display decorative plates, glasses, vases, baskets and even live plants in a charming way.


French country cabinetry looks a lot like furniture. You can leave space for an actual armoire or baker’s rack to use in your kitchen or you can install cabinets that have furniture-like features like exposed legs, scrollwork moldingsand other French style flourishes.



As far as colors, rustic country kitchens with natural wood, white, grey or a combination of these neutrals are very calming. If you feel like it is too neutral, you can add a splash of color like a painted table in a vivid green or blue. You can also add visual interest with green plants or a display of colorful glasses on open shelves. Turquoise, mint green or pink on walls or appliances will recall the nostalgic and comforting mid-century era.


French country kitchens usually don’t have bright white cabinets; many of them have natural wood or a warm white color (like French vanilla ice cream), and may also have a weathered look on the edges to give character. You can bring color into the kitchen with fabrics on curtains. French country fabrics are beautiful and include small repeating florals geometrically arranged in primary colors andtoile fabrics with detailed pictures in blue or red on a white background.You can also display plates with similar patterns on your walls or put colorful floral wallpaper or contact paper on the inside backs of your glass front upper cabinets for an elegant touch.



Look for old-fashioned looking appliances to complete the look of your country kitchen. Some homeowners opt to use the range as a focal point, and choose one in black or slate with bronze or brass knobs. Choose modern appliances with a retro design for a quaint look. Retro appliances tend to smaller and fit better in kitchens where space is an issue.



There are two types of sinks that are frequently used in country kitchens: apron and farm. The apron sink is a drop-in sink that has the sink material coming forward to cover part of the outside of the sink base cabinet. A farm sink is a freestanding sink with exposed legs, and is frequently porcelain. You can maximize your storage by using an attractive box under your sink to keep extra sponges and cleaning supplies.


Other country accents

Continue your country theme with other decorative accents like farm animal themed art, milk glass pendant lighting, quilt pattern tile flooring and dishtowels with bright patterns of sunflowers.


Country kitchens are very liveable and inviting, so enjoy being in your kitchen! Talk to your kitchen professional about the right balance of country-inspired elements for your style. Don’t have a kitchen professional? Upgrade to Plan Right™ for free now, and we’ll connect you with up to three kitchen professionals in your area who have met or exceeded our strict criteria.








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