10 Tips for Rustic Kitchen Designs

Think of rustic as farmhouse chic.
Think of rustic as farmhouse chic.
Stockbyte/Thinkstock

When it comes to designing your home's interior, the architectural style of your house will largely dictate your choices. If you have a midcentury modern home, you'll probably lean toward sleek and modern. A bungalow might be filled with Shaker style furniture and craftsman details. And if you have a home in the country or in the woods, then you can't go wrong with a rustic design motif. These designs conjure up images of aged building materials and the oranges, yellows and browns of autumn. Here are 10 tips to help you design your rustic dream kitchen.

10
Bring the Outside In

Because rustic design is often aligned with the region where you live, bringing the outside in is a great way to add rustic flair to your kitchen. Consider installing cabinets made from wood of the surrounding area. The same goes for your choice of hardwood flooring, if there's a good match available. If your kitchen has nice views of the flora outside, try matching the interior paint color to the dominant flowers within eyesight. Southwestern rustic might call for some cacti and deep reds, greens and browns. A country style rustic palette should feature lighter blues, oranges and yellows.

9
Rustic Woods
Reclaimed wood adorns a perfect rustic table.
Reclaimed wood adorns a perfect rustic table.
Goodshoot/Thinkstock

Hickory, alder and cherry are all wood that will work in a rustic kitchen, but none represent the charm of rustic design more than pine. Heart of pine flooring, which is made from the heartwood of the tree, can range in color from dark brown to deep orange. Pine is also a great choice for the cabinetry, butcher block countertops and kitchen islands. When it comes to rustic charm, the knots in the pine are a plus, so when seeking out your materials, the knottier the better. In fact, just ask the manufacturer for knotty pine.

8
Hardwood Floors

Many kitchens in other design styles feature tiled flooring, but if you're going with a rustic design, hardwood is the way to go. To keep with the rustic style, it's optimal to choose flooring with a non-glossy, natural finish. Any kind of wood choice works, but pine is always a great selection for rustic charm. Pine is soft, though, so if you have an active household, you might end up with dented floors. Look for wide plank flooring that recalls Old World charm.

7
Exposed Beams
Beams like these bring the rustic vibe.
Beams like these bring the rustic vibe.
© EOCHE/AgenceImages/Getty Images

If you've ever envied exposed wooden beams on the ceiling, we know the feeling. Many rustic kitchens already have support beams and buttresses exposed. But if not, you can add them for a minimal amount of money. Retrofitting the structure of your kitchen with the real thing isn't cost-effective or even necessary. All you need are some prefabricated fake support beams. They look like the real thing, but aren't created to be load-bearing. Most are three-sided and hollow and install much like prefab crown molding. Keep it green and look for faux beams made from reclaimed wood.

6
Natural Materials

Rustic charm is all about retaining a natural look. This is why hardwood floors are a better fit than tile or linoleum. In addition to wood, use other natural materials to bring the design full circle. Stone is a great choice for your countertops, and there are tons of colors and patterns to choose from. Wrought iron fits with the rustic look, so incorporate some of it into your kitchen design with pot racks, recipe book stands and baker's racks. Clay and terracotta are great ideas if you're going for a Southwestern rustic look.

5
Lighting

Because rustic design is heavily tied to Mother Nature, your kitchen should have as much natural light streaming in as possible. Skylights can be an effective way to achieve this, but they can also detract from the rustic charm. Your best bet is to simply go with oversized windows, and lots of them. Bay windows work within the rustic design scheme as well. Fixtures can range from an upscale wrought iron candle chandelier to custom lighting made from materials like driftwood or even deer antlers.

4
Sinks

If you really want to wow with your design choices, you need a farmhouse sink in your rustic kitchen. These large, deep sinks are efficient for handling a large load of dishes. And they offer a unique design element -- an exposed front panel, rather than sitting down inside the countertop. Sink materials range from granite and soapstone to iron and copper, and they've become increasingly popular in other kitchen styles as well.

3
Rustic Colors
Think autumn.
Think autumn.
Stockbyte/Getty Images

Traditionally, the rustic color palette includes oranges, browns, yellows, greens and blues. The key to choosing the ideal color for your kitchen is to make sure it gives off a nice, warm feeling. Country kitchens rely on yellow and light blue to usher in some rustic charm, while a Southwestern rustic kitchen calls for deeper reds and oranges to go with the terracotta decorations you probably already have. Use the colors of natural materials like stone, sand and clay as your inspiration.

2
Furnishings

Furniture is a key element to your rustic kitchen design and a perfect opportunity to round out the theme. Like with many other aspects of rustic design, wood is the word. One popular choice among rustic enthusiasts is to find furniture made from reclaimed barn wood. Log furniture is great for cabins and country homes, but it may be too rustic for some people's taste. Your dining table should be simple and sturdy, and a heavy pine farm table is a great choice. Farm tables often feature plain, square legs and intentional dents and dings to go along with the knotty wood.

1
Appliances
This may be taking rustic a bit too far.
This may be taking rustic a bit too far.
Adrian Samson/Lifesize/Getty Images

It actually is possible to incorporate popular stainless steel appliances into a rustic kitchen. The key is to surround the modern-looking appliances with plenty of Old World charm with the countertops and cabinetry. For a more authentic look, seek out retro appliances. Modern manufacturers make retro appliances that fit in well with your rustic design. The stove top may be made from a glossy white porcelain or have a cast iron topper. Your fridge choice could be brand-new but look like it came from the 1950s. You could also choose a standard fridge with a wood veneer front to allow it to blend in to the surrounding cabinetry.

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