Farmhouse kitchen ideas: how to design a modern country-style space 

Designers explain the ingredients of the eponymous country-style kitchen.

The archetypal farmhouse kitchen design is a bucolic space that hums with a feeling of easy living and good eating.

“Farmhouse interiors are known for their original features – rustic beams, exposed stone walls, weathered floors and quirky nooks,” says Tom Howley, creative design director at his eponymous kitchen company. “Kitchens within these idyllic properties are often designed with a focus on comfort, traditionalism and tactility, making this style an appealing choice for those wanting to create an inviting sanctuary.”

Green kitchen with white walls and wooden beamsCredit: Smile Kitchens

From cabinetry to sinks, and from flooring to plate racks, experts and designers share the key ingredients of a modern-day farmhouse kitchen with Arcadian sensibilities.


1. Choose Shaker-style cabinetry

It’s synonymous with the farmhouse look

Credit: Everhot

Traditional Shaker-style wooden cabinetry, with its square edges and box-shaped appearance, is the classic farmhouse kitchen cupboard choice. Perfect for creating a crafted and lived-in look, more often than not, it is painted in muted colours from sage greens to sky blues or in classic shades, such as white, charcoal or navy.

“The Shaker style has universal appeal with beautifully balanced proportions that focus on scale, symmetry and simplicity,” says Howley.

“Natural wood is also an integral part of farmhouse kitchens, as it adds a sense of warmth and tactility. You can incorporate wood in the form of flooring, stand-alone furniture such as a farmhouse table, shelving, chopping boards or integrated wooden trays to break up painted cabinetry.”

2. Make a sink statement

Go big or go home

Shaker kitchen in grey-beige with ceramic sink and two large windowsCredit: DeVol

A classic ceramic sink is a prerequisite of the farmhouse kitchen. Large, deep and wide, they are an iconic design feature in a working kitchen.

Farmhouse sinks – whether Butler or Belfast (smaller sink with a deeper bowl) – will fit into tiny cottages or large country house kitchens. hoose the size to fit the space. “We often recommend having a similar sized sink to your cooker if you are able to accommodate it. A large 1,000mm-wide range cooker with a matching 1,000mm-wide farmhouse sink (39inx39in) makes the room feel well-proportioned and appropriate in its fittings,” says Helen Parker, creative director at deVOL.

Other plus points? “They make a great place to wash dogs, delicate clothes, and hold large floral arrangements,” adds Parker.

3. Give new life to appliances

Your range could be re-enamelled

Grey kitchen with white re-enamelled AGA by Blake and BullCredit: Blake & Bull

The range cooker sits at the heart of the traditional farmhouse kitchen working 24/7, generating heat and slow-cooked one-pots from its permanently-hot ovens. But what happens when your beloved Aga has seen better days or is not as efficient as it once was?

Consider getting it refurbished by an expert service. It’s an economical and environmentally-conscious alternative to buying a brand-new Aga. The experts at Blake & Bull, for instance, will repair, renew and convert gas and oil models to electric so that your range is cleaner to use energy-wise and less costly.

If it’s a colour revamp you’re after, re-enamelling could be the answer. Pick from more than 65 classic and contemporary colours – from pure and simple white (pictured) to timeless black to eye-popping orange – for a just-like-new appearance.

4. Get the feel for a heritage floor

Flagstones have a farmhouse feel

White farmhouse kitchen with cream stone floorCredit: Lapicida

For timeless flooring, flagstones are historically the tile of choice for a country kitchen but can be hard to maintain and notoriously cold. Look to stone-effect paving for its ability to accommodate underfloor heating, and it is also easy to keep clean (a must if you have dogs).

“We recommend a porcelain stone-effect floor as being a more practical alternative to natural stone,” says James Cherrington, director of Lapicida. “Requiring minimal maintenance and with less undulation than its natural stone counterpart, it is a great alternative that is still bursting with character.”

For an authentic look, seek out tiles, such as Empire Heritage Gris Fonce stone-effect porcelain from Lapicida (pictured) that feature a charming, aged finish and a hand-chipped “heritage” edge that replicates natural stone perfectly.


5. Imagine an industrial ideal

Chunky, large-scale appliances feel robust and rustic

Off-white kitchen with dark range cooker and wooden beamsCredit: Everhot

Industrial-style appliances, such as American-style fridge freezers, are a solid choice to  complement the farmhouse kitchen thanks to their metal finish and stocky good looks. Cooker hoods fit into this category too and can be a modern-day lifesaver for eliminating cooking smells and moisture. 

“The Everhot industrial style cooker hood by Westin will look good while waging war on odours, smoke and grease. You can easily integrate one into your scheme by matching the hoods to every single colour and size of Everhot cookers,” says Guy Goring, technical director and owner of everhot. 

Easily installed above a range, its distinctive angular style is designed to boost extraction performance by increasing the catchment area and smoothing the air flow inside. Pictured is the Everhot 90i in Graphite, with a cooker hood by Westin.

6. Embrace original walls

Strip back to the brick

Double height farmhouse kitchen with island and bare brick wallsCredit: Tom Howley

Charming period or traditional homes almost always have challenging architectural features, including original brickwork, sloping ceilings, quirky nooks and uneven floors. If that’s the case, made-to-measure cabinetry is your best option.

“Choosing a bespoke Shaker kitchen allows you to preserve and work around these original features, enhancing your space’s look and individuality,” says Howley, who recommends scribing – a woodworking technique of shaping the end of a moulding or frame to neatly fit the contours of an abutting member. “Scribing is the best technique to create a seamless installation of furniture onto uneven walls,” he says.

Free-standing or stand-alone furniture – that isn’t fixed in place – is also worth considering, such as Butcher’s blocks, islands and dressers.

7. Look at wooden work surfaces

Hardwoods like oak are ideal

White kitchen with large butcher's block style worktopCredit: Naked Kitchens

Wood is the natural surface of choice in a farmhouse kitchen. This sustainable material – whether roughened and rustic or hewn and honed – is a good material in a countryside setting, echoing the style of the property and the ethos of the cook who works in it.

“Opting for a wooden kitchen worktop, such as oak, will offer a more traditional feel,” says Elizabeth Sherwin, creative director at Naked Kitchens This type of work surface, pictured, echoes the look of a butcher’s block. “It not only adds warmth, homeliness and character to your kitchen, but, if well looked after, it can last you a lifetime.”

Look to the classic hardwoods, such as oak, beech and walnut for hard-wearing surfaces. “Not over-wetting the wood, using a chopping board and oiling regularly are key components when looking to extend longevity,” adds Sherwin.

This kitchen showcases the simplicity of a Shaker kitchen, with the mixture of blue and grey cabinetry (“Night Sky” and “Baked Cley”) bringing a modern twist to an otherwise traditional country style.

8. Walk into a pantry

Tradition meets practicality

White kitchen units leading to walk-in pantry framed by dark unitsCredit: 1909

For seasonal cooks that love to store and organise, an integrated, free-standing or walk-in pantry is a must-have area in the kitchen. Traditionally a place to store dry ingredients and preserves, today’s pantry is also a zone for key tasks, such as a breakfast or coffee station or even a home bar.

“A trend that will always be a firm favourite is the designer walk-in pantry,” says Jessica Inglis, consumer marketing manager at 1909. “These spaces go above and beyond traditional storage by incorporating high-end design elements and customisation, providing a functional stow-away space for spices, food and even appliances.”

Walk-in pantries cater to those who value both functionality and design aesthetics highly. They are often coordinated with the overall kitchen design, creating a seamless flow between the pantry and the rest of the kitchen.

9. Show off your plates

A plate rack is the ultimate farmhouse kitchen feature

Large plate rack above pink units and floral wallpaperCredit: Pluck Kitchens

In the days before dishwashers, plate racks positioned above the kitchen sink area were a purely functional, turned-wood design that allowed washed crockery to dry.

“The design endures because it is a practical and attractive way of storing and displaying dinnerware,” says Leila Touwen, co-founder of Pluck Kitchens. “Their historic lineage means they fit well in kitchens with a traditional design. It’s important you can easily reach the items in them so they should be at the right height for you. They are handy next to your dishwasher too so you can unload straight onto them.”

Go double or single height depending on the amount of crockery you want to show off and complement the feature with a hanging, hooked mug rack. Pictured is a bespoke Ash plate rack with Ruskin Blossom cabinetry.

10. Task your lighting

Highlight a farmhouse table

Modern farmhouse kitchen with large island and suspended strip lightCredit: Detail Lighting

Positioning a pendant light over a kitchen island or farmhouse table is a popular design trick that ticks the boxes for both aesthetics and function. When choosing the light type, be careful not to go for one that will create shadows over the cooking and prep area.

“LED lights are well suited for task lighting as they offer a high level of brightness, something which is essential in a kitchen where you require excellent visibility,” says Piero De Marchis, managing director, Detail Lighting. “However, they are also dimmable, allowing you to create a softer look for dining or relaxation.”

For a contemporary farmhouse look, consider a wire-suspended rectangular pendant light available in custom lengths, such as the Linear LED system from Detail Lighting (shown). Its energy efficient and versatile design makes it a suitable solution that complements the rustic charm but has a barely-there, floating presence in the space.


Written by Rhoda Parry


Rhoda Parry is the former Editorial Director of Ideal Home, the UK’s best-known media brand, and its sister titles, 25 Beautiful Homes and Style at Home. She is also former Editorial Director for Gardeningetc, Amateur Gardening and Easy Gardens.

As an experienced Interiors and Gardens journalist, she’s spent her career tracking the trends, interviewing the experts and reviewing the best products for inside and outside living spaces. When she’s not writing, she’s tending to her gravel garden that overlooks the sea in Sussex.