When you make the decision to make a change to your kitchen, it can be quite a daunting task when looking for the right fit for both your home and your personality.
If you happen to be looking to turn your kitchen into something that has a bit of character and a warm welcoming feel, then it’s possible that country style kitchen would be right up your street.
What many people don’t realise is that there are many different types of kitchens to draw inspiration from, so here you will find some country kitchen ideas to help you make an informed decision and some ideas that may just make your kitchen the central hub of your home.
What Is A Country Kitchen?
A country kitchen is loosely defined as a style similar to that of a traditional farmhouse kitchen – spacious, with an informal atmosphere, with traditional fixtures and appliances is what most people would identify as being a country style kitchen.
It will often serve as a multi-purpose room, with cooking and dining at the heart. The kitchen has always been the hub of the house, and the idea of a farmhouse kitchen is to provide a comfortable place for the family to congregate and catch up, eat, and spend time together.
In terms of style, there are several features which are common to most country kitchens:
Flooring – Generally stone tile or wide-plank hardwood, although this varies in more modern designs
Walls – Can be wallpapered in a variety of styles, walls can be painted as a solid colour, or a combination of the two
Fixtures – Natural materials like wood are preferred to maintain the theme
Appliances – Some people feel traditional appliances are essential to retain the authentic feel, however there are many modern alternatives which match the style
Colours – The general feel should be light and welcoming, so colour choice should be bright and friendly. Popular choices are green, red, yellow and white, with colour added to walls, tablecloths and occasionally cupboards
Accessories – The majority of accessories are aimed at capturing the farmhouse feel, so items like glass jars, milk bottles, cast iron pots and pans and metal kitchen utensils are popular choices
As with any room in the house, the kitchen will have a very personal style, but those are the general guidelines for achieving the country feel.
The actual term country style is used to broadly describe a kitchen with certain attributes, but there are various different styles which have their own distinct characteristics and feel.
The French Country style aims to replicate the look and feel of a traditional kitchen in rural France. It will generally feature a lot of wood and earth toned colours, with the real focus of the kitchen being around food preparation.
The wood used for the fixtures will typically feature ornate carvings, and the wood itself will be left a natural colour rather than painted. Warm tones and distinctive graining are common, and many people opt for a stressed wood look to make the kitchen appear a little more ‘lived in’.
Components of the fixtures tend to be brass, bronze or iron, and are typically ornate. The complex style of traditional French kitchen cabinets means they can be difficult to find in shops, so many opt to have them custom made.
In terms of other style tips, the focus on food in French kitchens means that cookware and utensils are often left on display. The use of warm colours and the natural/distressed wood style combine to create the idyllic French country style.
Like the French style, English country style is strongly influenced by the traditional rural farming community and cottages styles. The focus is as much on comfort as it is on cooking, and occasionally will feature a sofa or armchairs to encourage people to sit and relax.
The colour scheme tends to be warm and welcoming, featuring antique white or soft cream and various other pastel hues. Traditional fabrics used include bold floral patterns, often featuring roses, as well as the traditional checked tablecloth.
Hardwood flooring or quarried flagstones are the most common types of flooring used, while more modern styles incorporate dark hardwood flooring.
Cabinets are often painted, with lighter colours with a distressed look commonplace. Some cabinets incorporate a built-in hutch, providing both storage and a display area. Glass cabinets are also reasonably popular, often displaying items like china and teapots for that rustic feel.
Popular accessories are pictures or prints of animals on the wall, copper pots, pitchers, tea sets and antique style utensils. Potted plants and greenery also help to add that traditional English kitchen feel.
A Tuscan style kitchen is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those seeking a room rich in warmth and natural beauty.
Tuscany was the birthplace of the Italian renaissance with good reason. The beautiful landscapes seen in this province and the easygoing way of life play a major part in the design aspects featured in the Tuscan kitchen.
With a focus on entertaining the family, the use of beautiful woods such as maple and welcoming colours like terracotta make it the perfect setting for laughter and conversation.
Leaving iron cookware on display or for ease of access adds to the feeling of a well used Tuscan kitchen.
When it comes to farmhouse kitchens, the main thing that comes to mind is food preparation, given that the food you will most likely be preparing has been grown or reared right in your back garden, the space will most often reflect that.
Traditionally, the kitchen was also the dining room and the sturdy kitchen table is a major focal point in any farmhouse kitchen. Usually handmade from a good solid oak with carvings characteristic in country style homes, it is a farmhouse kitchen staple.
How Much Does a Country Kitchen Cost?
The cost of getting that new-look country style kitchen can vary greatly depending on a number of different factors.
How big a change
Firstly, how big a change are you willing to make? If you want to start from scratch and get yourself a brand-spanking new kitchen then it will cost a great deal more than if you just want to rejuvenate your old kitchen by way of replacing the odd cabinet door or two and freshening up with a lick of paint.
DIY vs. Professional
Secondly, do you want to do the work yourself or get a professional on the job?
There is a lot to be said for those of you who are brave enough to attempt fitting a kitchen without the aid of a professional kitchen fitter or joiner.
In saying that though, I believe that if you have a decent grasp on what is involved in getting the job done and have fair to middling DIY skills, then you could save yourself a fair amount of money by cutting out the labour costs.
If you are not one of these people, then you should look into gaining the advice and services of a professional, but be prepared to shop around and get a few different quotes before making that commitment.
Quality of materials and appliances
Thirdly, what are you willing to pay for the materials that you need? With most country style kitchens, the use of good quality natural materials is what can often give these types of kitchens the wholesome, rustic feel that makes it the heart of the home.
You will find that the better quality hardwood cabinets can substantially drive up the price of any project. Whereas the use of laminate or thermofoil cabinets can be more cost effective but are less durable than real wood cabinets.
When it comes to getting the look of your kitchen right, the fixtures and fittings are essential to the overall feel of the room.
Traditionally, the kitchen sink typical of this style of kitchen is the apron front sink and more often than not, ceramic or porcelain are known to be the material of choice for this style of kitchen. It can be very expensive to buy and if not cared for properly can be vulnerable to cracking.
An alternative to this would be the more reasonably priced stainless steel or the more expensive copper sink. If you want to go for the more traditional style then you may want your modern appliances to blend in with the look you are going for.
Range cookers look right at home in this type of setting but may set you back quite a few bob as they don’t tend to get much cheaper than £700.
Lastly, when I say finishing touches I refer to things like tiles, wallpaper, flooring and the bits and bobs that just give your new look kitchen that little something extra to set it apart from the rest.
When it comes to wall coverings, the options are of a great number. Tiles can be very reasonable to buy if you go for the no frills variety whereas going down the designer, hand painted tiles route could easily treble the cost of tiling your kitchen.
If you have very good quality walls, then the most cost effective way of covering the exposed walls of your kitchen would be to paint. Again, the cost of a tin of paint can vary depending on the different brands on the market and when purchasing, you should make sure it is specifically for kitchens as they tend to be much more durable and easier to keep clean.
Flooring options are also abundant. Typical country style kitchens often have floors made from natural materials the likes of terracotta tiles or hardwood flooring. These types of flooring can all be very costly.
A much cheaper option would be vinyl flooring which comes in so many different styles and colours. There are vinyls that look very much like tiles or wooden flooring you would be hard pressed to spot the difference from a distance.
Building on a Budget
If you happen to want a new look for your kitchen but money is a factor, then there is always the option of changing things within your kitchen without having to replace your entire kitchen units.
Things like painting your cupboard doors and replacing handles are a good way to rejuvenate tired looking cabinet doors without the expense of fitting a new country style kitchen. Many prefer bright colours which add to the warm, welcoming feel created by this particular style so creams, reds, and greens are always a good choice.
Often just adding shelving and putting things like crockery and different utensils on display can enhance the country feel.
What kind of flooring you have can make all the difference to the overall look of any kitchen so if you happen to find a potentially beautiful hardwood floor or tiling, then why not think about giving them a bit of TLC and give your kitchen a new lease on life.