Farmhouse kitchen ideas are considered the heart of the dwelling and as such, creating a cozy and inviting environment is key. But it’s also where all the culinary magic happens – so practicality and utility is also paramount. Farmhouse-inspired design strikes the perfect balance between the two and is an excellent option for anyone looking for a juxtaposition of soothing and sensible.
'When envisioning a farmhouse kitchen, the first thing most people think of is the iconic farmhouse sink or shiplap wall treatments,' says New York-based Megan Dufresne, Principal Designer at MC Design. 'These are by no means the only options for farmhouse style kitchens. The appeal of the farmhouse style is its timelessness and its ability to conjure homey and nostalgic feelings.'
Looking for farmhouse kitchen ideas and rustic decor inspiration to help spark ideas for your own space? Below, we spoke to a handful of interior designers and decorators to get their top insights on getting the farmhouse kitchen aesthetic right.
1. DECORATE YOUR DRESSER
‘A glazed dresser can make a great addition to a traditional or farmhouse kitchen,’ says Interior Designer Cherie Lee. ‘The display of ceramic pieces and timber boards will create an informal and natural feel to the kitchen cabinetry, both of which are key elements in achieving the modern farmhouse aesthetic.’
2. MIX MODERN WITH RUSTIC
‘Larders and pantries are quickly becoming the status symbol of modern kitchens. Looking stylish and offering easy, additional storage,’ says Paul Deckland of The Cotswold Company.
In this space, the farmhouse style is perfectly crafted as modern is mixed with rustic. The sleek, contemporary charcoal larder is complemented by the wooden stair ladder and wicker baskets.
3. ADD A SPLASH OF COLOUR
Bringing colourful appliances into your kitchen is a great way to accessorise a farmhouse style space, complementing traditional earthy tones.
According to Graham Duke of Everhot, pairing the deep green cooker with neutral colours results in a calming effect.
4. CONSIDER VINTAGE PIECES
‘Incorporate pieces with age into your modern farmhouse kitchen,’ says Interior Designer Phillip Thomas. ‘Those pieces are elevated to works of art when juxtaposed with the clean lines of the modern space.’
This space, crafted by Vipp, cleverly mixes modern and vintage as the traditional larder complements the light colour scheme.
5. DECORATE OPEN SHELVING
‘Farmhouses by nature are about streamlined functionality,’ says Phillip Thomas. ‘One of the ways to develop a functional interior is with open shelving.’
Thomas suggests stocking your open shelving with interesting materials and pieces that are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.
6. OPT FOR AN OCHRE SPLASHBACK
‘Earthy, spice-inspired hues are a brilliant way to add warmth into a space, and while shades of ochre are not usually commonplace in the kitchen they do work wonderfully to add an energising spin on a farmhouse kitchen,’ says Andrea Freeman of Bushboard.
‘Honey tones pair beautifully with wood features such as shelving, worktops or furniture in a kitchen, continuing to add texture and warmth, while the pattern breaks up the warm palette to add interest and mimic other areas of the home.’
7. FASHION A SLEEK MARBLE SURFACE
‘A sleek marble work surface can instantly give a kitchen a contemporary feel,’ says Interior Designer Birdie Fortescue. ‘Equally a new hard floor such as limestone or pale wood floor boards will update even the most traditional farmhouse kitchen.’
8. MIX NATURAL MATERIALS
‘Mix natural materials to bring the Modern Farmhouse look to a kitchen,’ says Phillip Thomas. ‘Pair wood with metals such as stainless or brass and stone with glass.’
This carefully considered space, crafted by Nordic House, blends natural materials to a calming effect.
9. GO FOR CONTRASTING CABINETS
Adding contrasting colours to your kitchen cabinet can bring a modern, stylish feel to your farmhouse kitchen. The deep cherry cabinet in this space adds warmth to the kitchen.
Sinead Trainor of LochAnna Kitchens recommends pairing reds and deep cherry colours with lighter, cooler tones such as beige, white or grey.
10. CONSIDER LAMINATE FLOORS
Installing laminate floors in your kitchen is a great way to achieve the rustic, farmhouse style while keeping your house modern and versatile.
‘The wood effect decors offer a more contemporary take on traditional wood whilst still retaining its warm welcoming tones,’ says Inga Morris-Blincoe of Lifestyle Floors.
11. GO FOR A SIMPLE LOOK
‘Keep the design of the cabinets as simple as possible,’ says Birdie Fortescue. ‘Maintain this look throughout and don’t muddle styles in the joinery or door furniture.’
‘Add a freestanding piece whether a dresser or cabinet. Don’t over decorate this with fussy objects and make sure the overall look is balanced and clean.’
12. OPT FOR AN OAK TABLE
‘An oak table in the kitchen brings warmth and an organic element from the natural material that is essential in a modern farmhouse design,’ says Interior Designer Cherie Lee. ‘It will also show signs of age and character with use that play into the effortless and lived in aesthetic.’
13. DON’T FORGET ABOUT BENCH SEATING
‘Bench seating can feel more intimate and casual in the kitchen than dining chairs. It can really assist with creating a comfortable and laid back kitchen style,’ says Cherie Lee. ‘Tongue and groove detail on a built-in bench will maximise the country or farmhouse look. Add soft furnishings in natural leathers and wools for additional texture.’
14. FASHION NORDIC BAR STOOLS
‘I love Nordic furniture in a Modern Farmhouse design,’ says Phillip Thomas. ‘While the pieces are often spare in their design, the materials they employ are very rich and have soul.’
15. Go for mixed countertops in a farmhouse kitchen
'Always lean towards a mix of countertops,' suggests Gary J. Fernandez, Director of Purple Pepperpot. 'Try to use quartz and solid wood to compliment each other or consider using mixed height wall units together with thick wooden shelving to make it feel less like a showroom.'
- See: Modern farmhouse style: what is it, and how to achieve it
16. Opt for a Belfast sink or freestanding appliances
'Always try to use a Belfast sink but also consider a free standing fridge freezer,' says Fernandez. 'It will always have more of a farmhouse look than an integrated one.' Fernandez also suggests opting for a range oven with a mantle as the focal point of the space.
In this space, crafted by Handelsmann + Khaw, the designer has used a carefully-considered tonal color palette for a calming and cohesive look.
17. Employ retro appliances or a hanging pot rack
'I really like retro style accessories in farm and country houses, as they add some character. I would recommend the KitchenAid Nespresso machine,' says Fernandez. 'Also, a hanging pot rack, complete with copper saucepans over an island will give you a very authentic farmhouse look.'
- See: Farmhouse bedroom ideas – 15 rustic designs for your sleep space
18. Consider dramatic hardware
According to New York-based Erin Coren, Principal Designer at Curated Nest, beautiful hardware can also create a statement. 'We always look at lighting and hardware as the 'jewelry’ of a space,' says Coren. 'It can create the perfect balance between farmhouse and modern.'
Here, designer Sarah Sherman Samuel has embraced the trend for copper and brass accessorizes to great effect.
19. Don’t forget toe kicks
'Toe kicks are also areas to not be overlooked,' says Coren. 'In farmhouse kitchens, the cabinets feel more like pieces of furniture. We like to create feet on the edges of cabinets to give it a detail, making the cabinets feel like furniture.'
20. Go for open shelving
Where kitchens once were considered purely for utility, they are now where families congregate, do homework, and catch up on their day. 'Having open wall shelves in lieu of closed upper cabinets make the space feel more open, giving a place to display bowls, cookbooks, and decor,' says Coren.
- See: Modern farmhouse living room ideas – 15 rustic designs for a cozy scheme
21. Consider earthy tones
'After installing new cabinets, we decided to paint them a mossy green color to introduce a clean earthy mood in the space,' shares Laura Mooney, Owner and Head of Creative of The Mohicans Treehouse Resort in Glenmont, Ohio. 'The Manor is surrounded by beautiful natural landscape and greenery and it was important to bring the outside in.' According to Mooneyy, the earthy tones are an easy and cost-effective way to achieve this.
The team as DISC Interiors used the same design philosophy here – to create a color palette that is at one with nature and its surroundings.
22. Choose flooring carefully
For a farmhouse kitchen floor with individual character and natural beauty, look no further than natural stone: no two tiles will ever be identical, so your floor will be unique.
Stone offers a classic and luxurious look and tends to improve as it acquires the ‘patina’ of age. Here, the design team at Amber Interiors have chosen a sturdy stone floor – one that will last for years and years.
23. Use wood for a natural texture
According to Dufresne, the use of wood to bring natural texture into the space is a great choice. 'From choosing unfinished wood flooring to adding beadboard or shiplap to walls, wood will create a sense of warmth in any farmhouse kitchen,' she says.
24. Consider oversized light fixtures
'Lighting is key in traditional farmhouse decor,' explains Dufresne. 'Oversized lighting fixtures, lanterns, drum pendants, library sconces and wood chandeliers all look great in farmhouse kitchens.' These fixtures become beautiful focal points that also offer an opportunity to be playful and creative with the design and really make the design your own.
25. Decorate with brass accents
Farmhouse kitchens are classic and simple in design, but New York-based Teri Simone suggests letting a brass or painted faucet work its way into your design to give that lived-in feeling of a years old farmhouse. Here, the designers at Jean Stoffer Design used brass handles for interest and intrigue. They also standout beautifully against the olive green kitchen cabinets.
26. Go antiquing
'Don’t forget to have fun with your transformation,' says Simone. 'With farmhouse style kitchens in particular, you can embrace the imperfect. Pick up those antique teacups to accent your floating shelves, or try your hand at a shabby-chic bar stool restoration.' A worn in look that's simple, warm, and inviting will have you admiring your farmhouse kitchen for years to come.
27. Consider a cozy breakfast nook
A cozy breakfast nook is an excellent element if you tend to congregate in the kitchen together at the end – or the beginning – of the day. In order to give it a charming appeal, consider a board and batten wall effect for the booth itself.
28. Go for charm over cohesion
The easiest way to add a farmhouse-inspired feel to your kitchen? Consider mismatched accents – like a darker wood island or a variety of different chairs tucked into the dinner table in lieu of a matching set.
29. Make foraged foliage the norm
Live on a decent sized property? Consider taking cues from your backyard and bringing those elements inside. Whether it’s olive branches, pussy willow, or ornamental grass, a couple of strands in a ceramic jar immediately gives a farmhouse effect.
How do I make my kitchen look farmhouse?
The traditional farmhouse kitchen is celebrated for its characterful features. Think exposed beams, inglenook fireplaces and woven materials, all of which can be recreated in a newer property.
However, getting the farmhouse look in your kitchen is more about enjoying the laidback essence of relaxed country life, than slavish replication. The key is to focus on elements that add warmth, depth and authenticity.
Don’t be afraid to mix up styles – traditional finishes and fittings can combine very effectively with modern conveniences, such as brass handles or steel windows. It's all in the detail...