cozy country living at home in the kitchen

Country style is a way of life, a philosophy. It’s about getting back to the Land, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying simple pleasures like cooking good food and sharing it around a large wooden table with benches.

The rustic kitchen is the heart of the home. Long family-style tables with benches on either side create room for everyone. An old-fashioned butcher block island makes food preparation easy; an antique farm sink provides romance and functionality; refrigeration may be hidden behind cabinets made of wood; microwaves hide within convenient cabinets, too; and appliances such as dishwashers are sometimes allowed as well.

Everyone’s favorite room in the home is the kitchen. And why not? It’s a space where family and friends can get together. The room where we prepare nourishment for ourselves and others. The hub of our home life, where many meaningful conversations can happen over coffee or tea.

But the design rules for this most public rooms vary significantly from those that apply to other rooms. You don’t want your country kitchen to look like a cooking show set. It should look welcoming, not too fussy, and very comfortable. Yes, we want it to be attractive, but not so pretty that it begins to look like a museum piece.

Your country kitchen should inspire you to cook and bake as often as possible. So go ahead—sprinkle fresh herbs on the windowsill or hang some dried chiles above the sink for easy access when you need them next time you get cooking inspiration. Don’t forget to use them.

Remember, too, that the kitchen is a great place to put things that you might not want in every room of the house, such as hand-me-down stoneware serving pieces, old and new china, quirky serving bowls, and platters in fun shapes—all can make your country kitchen more enjoyable.

Country Kitchen Inspiration

Country Kitchen Inspiration
Country Kitchen Inspiration

Now that you know what not to do take a look at some country kitchens I’ve designed over the years and see how they follow all those rules (without looking overly fussy).

Traditional country kitchen

Traditional country kitchen
Traditional country kitchen

I’ve been designing country kitchens for over 20 years, and I still get a kick out of them! These kitchens are easy to work with and easy to love. The rooms surrounding them can be fussier (like the dining room), or they can be as casual as you want. Use family heirlooms and pieces with many personalities so that each room in your home can have its style without losing its connection to the others.

A country kitchen like this should always feel clean, bright, and, most importantly, cozy. I find it’s essential to build in some seating, whether a simple bench or a pair of stools so that guests can turn their attention to the kitchen when they want to. Just think—potlucks and family dinners should happen in this room!


The floor plan for an Amish country kitchen has separate spaces for preparation and cooking—a stovetop, prep sink (left), and pantry. Bench seating is practical but not too fussy, while a neutral blue checkerboard pattern covers the floor.

The white paint and gray cabinets are neutral, just like the checkerboard floor.

The folk art over the sink adds texture to the space.

Copper pots hang from a rack above the stovetop for easy access.

An antique mantel is a country kitchen must-have.

The dark wood floor adds richness and echoes the antiques collected throughout the room.

The interior of an Amish country kitchen shows wooden cabinetry and an island counter with built-in storage underneath. Flooring is painted cement board for easy cleaning; vintage stoneware knobs add charm to homemade cabinet doors.

A country kitchen can look traditional or contemporary, but the style should be unfussy and casual.

A country kitchen need not be full of old wicker baskets and farmhouse dishes. In this red-walled space, the mantel is painted dark grayish blue to match the color of the chairs.

An antique pine table adds a touch of rusticity. The white-painted cabinets have dark rivets at corners to add evident hand-hewn touches to their design.

A country kitchen should be comfortable and inviting, not overly fussy or museumlike.


Painted concrete floors, country wicker baskets over the kitchen sink, and rustic copper pots on the stove—these are my design favorites from five years ago! They’re great choices for a country kitchen.

Country Kitchen Inspiration: The Bench

Country Kitchen Inspiration: The Bench
Country Kitchen Inspiration: The Bench

The bench is my favorite seating choice in the country kitchen. It allows you to get right down to work in the kitchen while sitting at a comfortable height. (But make sure it’s not too low, or it’ll make you feel like a slouchy bum. And don’t let it be too high, or you won’t fit in it when you move around the kitchen.)

That doesn’t mean you should use the bench for everything. It makes an excellent place for serving guests that are lingering over coffee or tea, but it usually doesn’t work well as a seat when someone is preparing food. And remember—the bench is understated and not overly designed, so don’t worry if it looks practical rather than pretty.


The country kitchen of this Amish home is full of practical details, from the simple hand-carved table to the repurposed brick hearth used as a backsplash.

Floating Shelves

Have you noticed how many of my country kitchens include kitchen islands and how few include kitchen hutch cupboards? That’s because most kitchens don’t need cupboard space—and they certainly don’t need extra countertop space. Fortunately, kitchens with islands often have room for a wall of shelves. Floating shelves are very easy to install, don’t take up any countertop space, and can be moved around whenever you like.


A cook’s island in this Amish country kitchen can double as a bench seat and a place to pile dirty dishes.

I love the old-fashioned look of the “fake” brick backsplash in this country kitchen’s hearth—the brick is painted, cement board.

This country kitchen has some obvious wicker favorites, including a basket over the sink for dish towels and IKEA wicker utensil baskets on cabinet doors.

Floating shelves are a great way to maximize space in a country kitchen without taking up countertop real estate.

Kitchen Forks

There’s no getting around it—the country kitchen needs some utensils. But many people are just too embarrassed to display their old cheap kitchenware. I find that’s a shame because it means you can’t choose old-fashioned utensils for your country kitchen.

You have to be practical about your utensils too. If the knife you want is too large or heavy for the space, don’t buy it. Your country kitchen needs something that will fit and be usable. This way, you’ll be able to take advantage of the excellent quality of vintage and antique utensils without feeling like your kitchen is cluttered with junk.

The easiest way to deal with all this unused stuff is to get yourself a small wooden box and fill it with some of the valuable pieces. Then you can hide it in a corner and never have to see your old plastic forks and spoons again.

If you want to get rid of everything, do it. The most significant benefit of obsolete kitchenware is that it will break down over time and eventually become scarce so that you can get some good money for your old stuff. You can also pass along some of the things that still work well to other people who are collecting vintage dishes, pots, and pans.


A copper stovetop adds warmth to this country kitchen’s brick-walled hearth.

An old pine table leans up against the wall. The large window on the left lets in a lot of sunlight and provides excellent backyard views for the residents of this home.

This country kitchen offers a bench seat at counter height and a few stools for dining or extra seating.

Kitchen Stools.

Kitchen Stools.
Kitchen Stools.

I’ve already addressed the importance of having chairs in your country kitchen, but if you’re going to have chairs, you need stools too! A seat can be convenient when you want to sit on a surface lower than your island or workbench—like at an antique table in your breakfast nook or while making coffee at your countertop machine. A stool will also free up some space on the lower shelves of your cabinets.

I’m a big fan of stools because they’re convenient and add a lot of character to any room. They can be as simple as an old wooden chair, a tabletop turned upside down and placed on casters, or as complicated as an oversized bar stool with a tufted leather back.

If you choose simple and rustic stools, make sure you keep them looking sharp. If a seat is too worn out, it will stand out like a sore thumb for the entire room to see.


Stools and chairs from the local barn are perfect additions to this country kitchen.


kitchen Cabinets
kitchen Cabinets

If you live in a rental, you’re lucky if your landlord will let you install anything in your kitchen. But if you have a home that’s all yours, where you can do whatever you want, there’s no built-in limit to what can be done in it—except the laws of physics, of course!

I can count on one hand the number of cabinets I genuinely love when I look at them again in an actual home. It’s not that I don’t like cabinets; I think they are the essential thing in any kitchen. But when you design a kitchen from scratch, you need to get rid of all the old preconceived notions of what your cabinets should look like and start fresh. You need to forget everything you think you know about them and go on a new journey leading to fantastic discoveries.

I know that’s a tall order, so let me give you some guidelines for designing your cabinetry:


This country kitchen features an antique table on the wall opposite the sturdy workbench. A mirror was hung above it to add depth to the kitchen.

This country kitchen has traditional cabinets under the windows—the kind you usually find in a house. But they’re beefed up with handmade wooden corbels and brackets, adding character while emphasizing the kitchen’s rustic side.

We have all seen an array of different kitchen cabinet styles, from essentially square ones to tall French-style pantries that run from floor to ceiling and everything in between. But in a country kitchen, you want to keep it simple and stick with basic cabinets that are clean and simple.

An excellent way to design your cabinetry is to start with everything on the wall—from the floor up to the ceiling—and work your way back. You can do this in two ways, but I’ll explain one of them here. When you decide how big you want a wall of cabinetry, you need to divide that space into thirds, like cutting up a cake into three equal pieces. Using this analogy, you will have one slice for your upper and two for your lower cabinets.

You can add a nice baking area to your country kitchen if you’re lucky. This is an example of what I mean by dividing your space into thirds. A good baking area would be on the center section of the wall. Regarding design, cabinetry and a baking area need to complement each other. Some of the best methods for this combination are cabinets on one side of the room with a butcher-block countertop across from them—two islands with a cooking pass between them—and two built-in ovens mounted on each side wall near the middle of the room.


The custom cabinetry designed around the circular fireplace highlights a clean, open kitchen design.

Oak cabinets are mounted on an antique table attached to the wall in this country kitchen. A large window provides light to the room and looks out over a well-tended flower bed.

A clever combination of an over-the-counter microwave meets a countertop electric range in this country kitchen as part of an island with cozy seating for four.

Kitchen Islands

Kitchen Islands
Kitchen Islands

I’m not going to get deep into design theories about island design because I’m just not that smart. But one thing I could say is that you should always keep in mind the size of your kitchen when designing one. I don’t know if this is true in every case, but I do think that a large island can help make a small kitchen seem like it has more space. It’s especially great when your kitchen functions as a living room too, which is what some folks do.

I find it very efficient to have two islands on opposite walls. This way, you can have a cooking pass between the two and have your stove and ovens on each side wall. Of course, if you have plenty of room, you can go with three or four islands—but I wouldn’t recommend anything more. You don’t want all those islands to clash and give the whole space a cluttered feel.


Storage cabinets above the countertop double as shelves for cooking books in this country kitchen designed for an antique table. The prep sink is hidden behind the wall cabinets to give this kitchen a clean, open look.

It’s back to the Land, with a vengeance.

The country style has always been a rustic look, with simple, natural everything. It’s about living the good life without pretense or excess.

This is why it makes sense that country décor is back in a big way. The style (and lifestyle) of yesteryear is back with a vengeance because people are looking for something more authentic, less manufactured, and more straightforward than they have used to in recent decades.

Country décor is not just about comfort; it’s also about authenticity—authenticity being an essential part of the country vibe. If you think about it, most people don’t even know what “authentic” means anymore because so much of our world today tends toward artificiality: fake food, plastic furniture, and artificial materials instead of natural ones like wood or stone (or even steel).

Country style is the hottest new look in home decorating.

  • Country style is the trendiest new look in home decorating.
  • It’s a throwback to simpler times when life was less hectic and more relaxed.
  • A country-style kitchen will help you escape the stress of modern life and live in the moment.

The rustic kitchen is the heart of the home.

The rustic kitchen is the heart of the home.
The rustic kitchen is the heart of the home.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where you gather with family and friends, stirring up a pot of soup or a batch of cookies to share. It’s where you can make memories that last a lifetime, whether slaving over homemade apple pie or just sitting at the table sipping some hot cocoa while your mother tells stories repeatedly.

When I think about what makes my house cozy, this image comes to mind: comfortable country living at home in the kitchen. Sure, we all have our favorite rooms in our houses—the bedrooms filled with soft pillows and warm blankets; the living rooms lined with bookshelves; even bathrooms with fancy marble countertops—but there’s something about having an inviting space for cooking that fires up my imagination and makes me feel at home no matter where I am or how long I’ve been away from it!

The room leads to convivial evenings with a down-home ham and beans feast.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we gather to digest our day and plan for tomorrow, where we laugh and cry over dinner as a family. And, if you’re lucky, it’s also the room that leads to convivial evenings around a down-home feast of ham and beans.

Long family-style tables with benches on either side create room for everyone.

Long family-style tables with benches on either side create room for everyone.
Long family-style tables with benches on either side create room for everyone.

Today, we’re talking about the importance of long family-style tables with benches on either side. They create room for everyone and allow more people to eat simultaneously. We were born into this world as a clan, and our ancestors would have understood that there’s strength in numbers when it comes to eating meals together.

You can’t do it all alone—you need help! And when you think about it, not having enough seating is a real problem; it could be solved by building yourself a long table with benches on each side. Here are some general guidelines:

  • If you want to sit down and eat with friends or family without additional furniture or chairs, then there should be enough space around the table for everyone to fit comfortably (including yourself). If there is not enough room for every person around your table, consider adding another bench lengthwise so that no one feels crowded or uncomfortable while eating together.
  • When calculating how many people will fit in this new configuration of tables combined (alongside other existing ones), make sure you keep things balanced, so there isn’t too much weight resting on top of one particular area before measuring exactly how much space they’ll take up in total between all four legs plus tabletop surfaces.”

An old-fashioned butcher block island makes food preparation easy.

A butcher block island can be a great addition to your kitchen, whether you’re looking for a way to combine food preparation and serving or want additional storage space. Unlike other materials, butcher blocks are easy to clean and won’t absorb any odors.

In addition to being functional, these islands also add extra counter space in the kitchen when the need arises—whether for cooking or setting up for an impromptu dinner party—and they look beautiful too!

A big farm-style porcelain sink creates a romantic focal point for the room.

A farm-style porcelain sink creates a romantic focal point for the room. The look is simple, warm, and inviting. It conveys comfort and coziness in a way reminiscent of homey country living. You can’t go wrong with this style if you want to create an inviting atmosphere in your kitchen!

The walls are painted barn red or country blue, sometimes covered with stenciled designs or vintage posters from old seed catalogs or grocery ads for patent medicines and baking powder.

You can paint your kitchen walls in any color you like. It’s best to choose a color that is in keeping with the overall style of your home. For example, a country kitchen with vintage-style appliances, period-appropriate furniture, and reclaimed wood floors will look better-painted country blue or barn red than if it were painted bright white.

If you’re looking for an easy way to stencil your wall without using paint or wallpaper adhesive:

  • Use self-adhesive vinyl stickers (these work great on smooth surfaces like glass doors).
  • Stencil by hand using aerosol spray paint and stencil brushes (get these at craft stores).
  • Use a stencil machine with any medium – including acrylic paints, oil pastels, and watercolors – applied directly onto the stencil paper before it is applied to the decorated surface.

Refrigeration is hidden behind antique kitchen cabinets made of wood.

Refrigeration is hidden behind antique kitchen cabinets made of wood.
Refrigeration is hidden behind antique kitchen cabinets made of wood.

A vintage refrigerator is hidden behind antique kitchen cabinets made of wood. The wood cabinets are made of wood, and they are antique.

The refrigerator is not visible from the outside. It is only accessible by opening drawers on either side of it and pulling out the unit through a space between those drawers.

A wood stove may warm the kitchen and heat water for bathing, though modern appliances are sometimes allowed as well.

A wood stove may warm the kitchen and heat water for bathing, though modern appliances are sometimes allowed as well. The kitchen is generally a tiny room with a table or countertop that can be used for food preparation (cooking). Your host family will likely provide a small fridge, but if you bring your food to eat, there is no need to buy one of these devices. Food can be kept in the pantry or cellar, with shelves stocked with canned goods and other preserved foods that don’t require refrigeration.

You can relax in your farmhouse kitchen every day.

You can relax in your farmhouse kitchen every day. You can create a cozy country kitchen in your own home with some simple, thoughtful touches. And if you’re willing to put in the time, you can bring the farm to your kitchen too.

There are many reasons to create a warm and inviting space for cooking and baking:

  • If you like to cook, it will help make cooking more enjoyable for everyone involved by creating an environment conducive to good times spent together at the table.
  • If you live alone or with one other person, making yourself comfortable where you spend most of your time makes it easier for both parties involved when one gets up early or goes out during the day—and then comes back late at night!


What is country living?

Country living is a style of decorating and living incorporating the feel of rural or small town life in an urban setting. The look is often rustic, warm, and cozy. Country-style furniture is usually made from solid wood with simple lines that lend themselves to a homey atmosphere. Often country decor will include elements from nature such as vines or flowers.

What is country style?

Country style refers to furniture inspired by traditional techniques used in rural areas, such as log cabins and farmhouses. It also includes other types of furniture, including tables and chairs made out of wood like pine or cedar, which can add warmth to any room they are placed in because these types of timbers have been known for centuries for their ability to repel insects while still being sturdy enough not to break easily under normal use conditions (as long as proper care instructions have been followed).


The last thing to remember is that you don’t need to spend much money creating a cozy country kitchen. You can repurpose old furniture and decorate it with flea market finds and homemade touches. The most important thing is to keep it natural and straightforward, so your kitchen feels like home-sweet-home!

2 thoughts on “cozy country living at home in the kitchen”

Leave a Comment