There’s nothing that says home and family more invitingly than a country kitchen. And despite how sleek and sophisticated appliances have become, people are still drawn to the warmth of what they remember (or wish they remembered) from a simpler time.
If you’ve always wanted a country-style kitchen but aren’t up for a total remodel, there are smart ways to get the look in pretty short order and on a reasonable budget.
Whether the feeling you’re aiming for is a cozy cottage or rustic farmhouse, you don’t have to replace your stainless or other appliances to be authentic. The country is happy to meet with contemporary, and what you want is that down-home comfortable feel, not a trip in a time machine. Realistically, unless your house is in the midst of a cornfield, your kitchen isn’t going to be strictly country anyway.
There are big and small elements that give a kitchen that traditional look, and you don’t have to use all of them:
Creamy white and the soft yellow of whipped butter are classic choices for a country kitchen. Either of them would go well with accents of apple or brick red. Sky blue is another popular color, maybe accented with a grayed medium blue. Pale shades of green will also suit the theme beautifully. Go for light, calm colors that will be a good background for accessories.
Painting a kitchen is no small task because thorough cleaning and prep are important, and there’s a lot of detail work involved. You can certainly do it yourself, but plenty of help is available if you do a search for painters near me.
The easiest thing to do is to paint the doors and replace the pulls with simple white porcelain or metal knobs. You could also switch some or all of the upper cabinet door panels with doors that have glass panes. Open shelving is also a country look, and it’s a simple fix to remove your upper cabinet doors and hinges and just leave them off. The one caution is that everything on those open shelves is going to be subject to the grease and moisture that cooking creates. If you don’t mind the cleaning, go for it.
Typical farmhouse kitchens had soapstone or wood countertops, and they’re still good options. Soapstone is a nonporous natural stone that’s heat-resistant and doesn’t stain. It costs about the same as granite, but because it’s not as hard, it can be cut to incorporate features like integrated drainboards. Because it’s softer, though, it’s susceptible to scratches and nicks that you can consider charming or buff out with sandpaper. You can get a similar look at a lower cost with engineered quartz or even a seamless composite.
Once they’re sealed to protect against bacteria, solid wood or butcher block countertops are a great surface for food preparation. If they get scratched or stained, they can be refinished.
No matter the decorating style, kitchens need flooring that’s durable, water and stain-resistant, and easy to stand on while you’re cooking. Wood or linoleum would have been the standard back in the day, but there are many more options now. If you like the look of hardwood but not the price, there is laminate and even tiling that copycat old wide-plank maple, oak, hickory, and reclaimed barn wood. As for linoleum, it’s still around, updated and in a huge variety of colors and patterns.
The authentic farmhouse sink is white cast iron with a deep apron in front. Otherwise, your standard white sink will fit in perfectly if you replace the faucet and handles for some with vintage styling.
Lighting is something else that brings the country look to life. There are any number of rustic pendant lights to hang over a sink, island, or table, many incorporating antique bottles, mason jars, lanterns, Edison lights, old barn fixtures, and other imaginative details. If you’re handy, think about making your own. Alternatively, you could add a shabby chic touch with a funky old crystal chandelier.
Once you’ve got going, you may find it hard to stop adding country details. Just be cautious not to over-do it unless you really want to cook dinner every night in a kitchen that looks like it belongs in a museum.