Design tips for the ultimate country kitchen

Nothing refreshes the mind more than a trip to the country. Perhaps it’s the open fields, the scent of fresh air or the fact the locals actually stop to talk to you. Either way, it’s little wonder that the country style kitchen is making a revival, providing a welcome break in the midst of home chaos. Nailing that country look is easier said than done though, it’s defined by more than beams on the ceiling and homemade jam in the fridge. That’s why we’ve assembled some of the best design tips from the kitchen gurus at Squarepeg, to help your escape to the country become a reality.

Wood, wood, and more wood

When it comes to the country kitchen, there is no such thing as too much wood - after all, the joy of the country is its proximity to nature. The cornerstone of this look is the countertop, which should be finished with a hardwood such as oak, walnut or ash, although there’s no need to stop there. Cabinets, floors and furnishings can all be made to match each other, with warm natural tones bringing a familiar charm to the space. When it comes to choosing the right wood, it’s best to go for unstained types with medium to large grain. This not only makes each surface unique, it also helps to define that rustic style, the idea being to embrace the variety of nature - not to hide it. Again, traditional woods are the best here. We recommend using oak as the base of a country kitchen, a wood that blends a traditional look with unparalleled practicality.

Use freestanding features

One of the joys of a country kitchen is the ability to embrace freestanding features. From tall cabinets to chunky drawer chests, eclectic features really add to the personality of a kitchen, all the while offering the flexibility to rearrange at the drop of a hat. Vintage pieces (in wood of course) can look fantastic, especially in their natural tones, or spruced up with a touch of muted pastel colour. The crowning jewel of any country kitchen is the stove, and it’s this that really should be the focus of the room. A traditional AGA or gas stove is the popular choice, fitting seamlessly with the country theme, without compromising practicality. Of course, there’s no reason you can’t install a more modern oven if you need, just avoid ones with neon lights and spaceship style control panels as they can look somewhat out of place.

Embrace the busyness

A country kitchen is a fantastic way to showcase your personality, providing ample opportunity to display pictures, artwork, fabrics and whatever quirky nic-nacs make you feel at home. Likewise, pots, pans and utensils don’t have to be hidden out of sight. In fact, hanging items from the ceiling or the walls helps to give a room character, a statement that says ‘this room is a kitchen, and is proud of it!’. This also acts as a practical storage solution, especially in smaller kitchens where cupboard space is at a premium. It’s important to understand the difference between a ‘busy’ look and a ‘cluttered’ one here, so make sure that items aren’t in the way as you’re cooking or preparing meals. Let’s not forget a country kitchen is there to make your life more relaxing, not the other way around.

Here comes the sun

When people imagine the countryside they tend to picture great rolling fields of green, expansive valley views and the sun shining bright in a cloudless sky. While it might be difficult to transfer an entire valley to a London kitchen, you can definitely still make use of the sun and the natural light it provides. The key here is to use large windows and, if possible skylights, to help your kitchen stay well illuminated and airy. The walls should be painted in light shades and, with the warm wooden features, any sunshine will flood the space - bringing the outdoors inside.

Consider textures

Using fabrics such as wool and linen can really help to add depth to a country kitchen, particularly in the form of tablecloths, rugs and curtains. Keep the materials natural and the patterns simple; stripes, for example, are a great way of creating visual interest without fragmenting a space. Other simple additions include checkerboard patterns on hanging oven gloves and tea towels - red and white being the most classic of these styles.

Do what you want

Tradition and comfort are the foremost features of a country kitchen, creating a space that brings a smile to the face and causes memories to flood back. As such there’s no template that says ‘this is the right way to do it’. Country kitchens come in many styles and features - kitchen size, orientation and the personality of the rest of the home all contribute to the finished look. At Squarepeg we know that kitchens are more than just a room for the occasional stir-fry; they’re the heart of the home, and our designers carefully work with you to create the kitchen that reflects that. If you’re interested in a country kitchen for your home (or just want a chat) get in touch! We’d be delighted to help.
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