Ten Country Kitchen Decorating Ideas and Tips

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There are literally thousands of decorating ideas out there that will help you turn your ordinary kitchen into a warm and inviting country kitchen. But how do you find those ideas and/or which ones do you choose for your kitchen? Here are ten country kitchen ideas and tips that are easy and affordable and will work for you regardless of whether you prefer a cottage or rustic kitchen, a traditional country kitchen or want to warm up a modern kitchen.

  1. Take a look at the finish on your cabinets, furniture, and countertops. If it appears new and shiny it is not meant for a country kitchen. You can distress new cabinets with a little bit of sandpaper to dull the finish and rough up the edges. Or you can paint over that shiny wood with a color that appeals to you and distresses it a bit with glaze, striping or sandpaper. Tip: save yourself the time and purchase a vintage piece and enjoy the years of chipping, peeling, and grime that has accumulated.
  2. Hardware is one of the easiest ways to makeover a country kitchen. Replace those shiny stainless pulls and levers with pieces that are finished in an oil rubbed bronze, rusty iron or tarnished brass. Choose a vintage design that looks like it just came out of the local general store or find whimsical pieces that reflect favorite food items, hobbies, etc. Tip: for a budget friendly fix, paint your existing hardware to look like oil rubbed bronze or tarnish your own brass. Check out your local hardware store for these specialty treatments.
  3. Cabinets and appliances usually take up most of the wall space in a kitchen but you can add the magic of paint to areas above the backsplash, for example, or dining room furniture that is in an adjoining space. A current trend is to paint specific cabinetry, such as an island or bar, in a color that is different from the cabinets to make it look like a free-standing piece of furniture. Tip: for a country kitchen use muddied paint colors such as barn red in place of fire engine red or gold in place of sunny yellow.
  4. As most kitchens do not have an abundance of windows, window treatments are usually pretty affordable. Add a ruffly valance above your window shades or cover a cornice box in a suitable country kitchen fabric such as gingham, toile, muslin or mini prints. Burlap is so popular right now, is easy to work with, is available in several different colors and can be stenciled, painted or embellished with tape, fringe or other trims. Tip: placemats and napkins, vintage quilt pieces or fabric scraps can be turned into a charming window valance or tiered curtains and is often more affordable than purchasing new fabric.
  5. If you do not feel confident in your decorating skills, choosing a theme is an easy way to ensure that your colors and patterns “work”. Roosters are a common kitchen theme. Did you know that the use of roosters in a country kitchen dates back to the early 15th century when these colorful birds were thought to bring good luck to villagers and farmers? Fruit motifs are another popular theme for country kitchens and fruit patterns coordinate well with gingham checks for a truly homespun look. Tip: Whatever theme you choose, be careful not to go overboard. Too many teapots, roosters or apples can be overwhelming and look cluttered and that is not the way you want people to feel in your country kitchen.
  6. Many of us enjoy the feel of a country kitchen but do not necessarily enjoy the distressed or vintage look so commonly found in these rooms. A touch of country will warm up a modern space and still allow you to enjoy your beautiful stainless steel appliances, shiny granite or sleek cabinets. For example, introduce a country fabric such as toile or checks into your window treatments or upholstery. Shiny hardware can be replaced with pieces that have a matte finish and light fixtures can be easily switched out for something a bit more industrial to introduce the idea of vintage into your modern and efficient kitchen. Tip: collections are a big part of country kitchen decor so display your collections in a hutch or behind glass cabinet doors.
  7. Conversely, a touch of modern can be added to a country kitchen as well. Shiny black granite is a beautiful surface that will create a nice contrast to painted and distressed cabinetry. Shiny brass hardware can replace satin nickel pieces without compromising the country feel you are looking for. Fabric in bright colors and modern patterns such as geometric or abstract can be used as table linens or chair seat covers. Tip: if you are using modern fabrics stick with country colors such as red, blue and yellow and avoid modern colors like neon pink, purple and lime green.
  8. Like jewelry is to a little black dress, accessories are to a country kitchen. Vintage artwork, canisters, wall decor and linens can all be changed easily and affordably. If space allows, create a gallery wall to display your vintage watercolors or oil paintings. This allows room for new pieces to be added. Old cabinets turned into shelving units create space to display your prized collections. Family photos and souvenirs collected on vacation add a personal touch that is so important to a country kitchen. Tip: change out your collections and photos every so often to celebrate a holiday, season or just the changing dynamics of your family. For example, if you display a collection of salt and pepper shakers, edit it as new pieces are added. Family photos can reflect the current season, past holidays etc.
  9. Every day items can really make an impact on your kitchen decor. If time and/or budget do now allow you to turn your new tract home cabinets into the time worn country kitchen cabinets you desire or that laminate countertop has to stay, consider using vintage small appliances like toasters in place of a toaster oven or glass mason jars in place of those matching ceramic canisters you use now. Hide that fancy food processor in the pantry and, instead, display country kitchen accessories like hand woven baskets to hold utensils or vintage linen dishtowels. Tip: don’t worry about a tiny stain or tear in textiles or a dent or bit of rust on utensils, they just add to the country feel.
  10. Last but not least, look down at your floor. Flooring is an expensive item and your budget may not make it possible to tear out that porcelain tile meant to look like slate that your builder installed. Or you already have a time worn wood floor that is just cold and uncomfortable. An easy fix is to cover it with rugs that are more attractive and much more comfortable on your feet. Search out old braided or hand hooked rugs at flea markets and thrift stores. Rag rugs are easy to make yourself and a fun way to incorporate all those old fabric scraps and clothing items you have been holding on to. Discount stores carry a wide selection of sizes and shapes and color combinations. Tip: be sure to add rug pads underneath to prevent a nasty fall and to keep the rug in place.

There you have it; ten easy and affordable ideas to turn an ordinary kitchen into a country kitchen that you, your family and your guests will enjoy as a warm and inviting gathering spot.