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Traditional country kitchens have many distinct design qualities, whether you prefer a homely country cottage scheme or an imposing and rustic farmhouse style. The joy of country style is that it’s deceptively easy to replicate even in more modern homes.
A charming mismatch of antique furniture, an abundance of busy print and pattern, and a casual approach to displaying crockery, accessories and trinkets, are all key to creating your desired outcome. So too is a playful approach to colour (country style is nothing if not cheerful and light-hearted,) and if you’re looking towards a refurbishment, consider a modern pantry and more comfortable zones for working and lounging.
Read on for seven ways to achieve your dream country kitchen, no matter where you live…
1. Embrace a playful colour scheme
Whilst a country kitchen is timeless, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to adopt a classic colour palette.
Soft sage shades sit comfortably in a cottage setting against classic wooden floors or marble countertops, chalky pinks work wonderfully with natural materials like a deep mahogany, whilst inky blues are perfect for shaker-style cabinetry.
Consider livening up your walls with colourful tiles or botanical wallpaper, or even adding appliances like a Smeg fridge freezer or KitchenAid mixer – both of which are known for their bright and playful designs.
2. Use pattern to add interest
One of the joys of country homes is having carte blanche when it comes to pattern. Country kitchens are usually full of print and pattern, thrown together in a charming and almost haphazard way – stripes sit quite happily with florals or checks, or farm animal motifs.
Tiles are a great way to introduce pattern, or to create little countryside vignettes like this sweet Hyperion Tiles example with colourful roosters. If you have wooden floors, inlay patterned tiles to create zones around high-use areas like your oven.
Think too about your kitchen linens and tableware, especially if you like to put them on display (more on that below.) Some classic country kitchen favourites include Emma Bridgewater, Sophie Allport and Garden Trading.
3. Add vintage and antique details
If you don’t want your country kitchen to appear overly modern, adding some antiques will impart a more traditional and lived-in feel. You could go all out and replace your dining table and chairs with a pre-owned set, or pick out some small ornaments or crockery to pile onto shelving.
If you would like some old-fashioned pieces for your kitchen, Love Antiques is a treasure trove that offers antique furniture, clocks, and even lighting from trusted dealers.
Car boot sales and markets are great too when you’re looking for mismatched furniture, decorative pieces, and kitchen accessories. If you aren’t sure where to find those in your area, simply enter your postcode into Car Boot Junction and you’ll be shown all of the regular events worth visiting.
4. Put everything on display
Country kitchens aren’t supposed to be pristine and clutter free — quite the opposite in fact, country style is usually characterised by a bit of a charming disarray.
There are a number of ways in which you can display things in your kitchen. Consider open or glass-fronted display units to store pans, crockery, and linens. For any bits you want to hide, pop them in apple crates or willow baskets.
Include decorative displays too – a simple hanging rail for pans and utensils, a wall-mounted plate rack, or hooks to hang oven gloves, tea towels, or an apron.
5. Create cosy corners for relaxation
As the unofficial gathering spot of family and friends, a country kitchen usually benefits from additional seating to accommodate studying, working, or lounging.
Add a sofa under a window, an armchair in an unused corner, or even bar stools at a counter, and accessorise with piles of cushions, throws, and a rug underfoot.
This is a great opportunity to soften the practical features and hard surfaces required in a kitchen, and the perfect way to introduce pattern, colour, and personality.
6. Include a pantry area
Once a staple in every household, but since replaced with extra large fridges and fitted cabinets, a pantry is becoming a covetable feature for the modern country kitchen.
These days, pantries can come in all shapes and sizes, from small free-standing units, to walk-ins with floor-to-ceiling shelves. Depending on the space available to you, a pantry can be an incredibly practical solution to store dry food, vegetables, and small appliances.
One of the joys of a pantry is that its storage capacity can free up space in the rest of your kitchen to add more decorative touches, which in turn makes it feel less functional and more homely
7. Use scent to create a homely feel
If you want to ensure that your country kitchen is as homely and inviting as possible, consider using scent in a more strategic way.
The safest option for kitchens is a fresh scent with citrus-based notes like lemon or grapefruit, or fragrances that are slightly aromatic like rosemary.
For the ultimate in homely scent, AJ’s Country Cottage offers a range of candles with fragrances including freshly baked bread, cookies, and gingerbread.
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