Rustic kitchen ideas – the wholesome trend that never goes out of style

Can't get enough of chic country interiors? Take a look at our rustic kitchen ideas to get the look spot on

Rustic kitchen ideas - an exposed brick wall lined with chopping boards and cookware
(Image credit: deVOL)

Our version of the chicest rustic kitchen ideas is a mix of classic Nancy Meyers Americana and Dorset countryside charm. Crisp New England style Shaker cabinets are coupled with a generous marble topped vintage kitchen islands – and we find ourselves stirring up something warm and spiced over an Aga with chic glimmering pendant lights overhead. The view out of the lead-lined windows boast a mature rose garden, a fire crackles in the adjoining room and all is well! 

That being said, a rustic kitchen is not just reserved for country homes. This classic style can work every bit as well in a city dwelling, it's all just about creating that really lovely, lived-in feel, where the kitchen is the heart of the home. So no matter where your home is, you'll find plenty of kitchen ideas to inspire, from salvaged sinks to handcrafted kitchen tiles.

8 Rustic Kitchen Ideas

1. Clad a low ceiling with grooved panelling

Light filled white kitchen with glass chandelier

(Image credit: Jessica Helgerson Interiors)

This glorious kitchen in Portland Oregon by Jessica Helgerson is one of our all-time favorites – a perfect mix of classic and contemporary farmhouse chic. The kitchen color palette is soft and muted and the new details like the ribbed glass duo pendant light over the island and cabinet fixtures are in keeping with the history of the house. A generous steel-sash window floods the pretty room with sunlight.

We love how the low ceiling in this kitchen has been treated with a ribbed Shaker-inspired paneling mirroring the modern farmhouse style - it is painted with a glossy finish which reflects light around the space and cleverly detracts from the height of the room.

2. Consider generous islands for socialising

A pale green kitchen with a wooden tongue and groove island in the middle of the room

(Image credit: Loche Anna)

If you spend a lot of time socializing in the kitchen, one way to make sure there are elements that lend themselves towards that goal is installing a large kitchen island that people can gather around to cook, eat, and chat.

'An island or breakfast bar can work as both a storage area and a place for dining.' says Sinead Trainor, Kitchen Category Manager at LochAnna Kitchens. 'While at first glance an iconic design element has been created for the home, the cupboards that fit beneath the island are also a useful place to keep pots, pans, or food. Larger islands or breakfast bars also mean that a hob or sink can be fitted in as well, again utilizing every inch of surface space.'

3. Create a tactile backdrop with exposed brick

Rustic kitchen ideas - an exposed brick wall lined with chopping boards and cookware

(Image credit: deVOL)

Take inspiration from deVOL's New York showroom and its tactile Potting Shed kitchen designed by Sebastian Cox where the walls have been stripped of plaster to reveal a glorious canvas of brickwork underneath.

This look is all about layering earthy shades and kitchen curious and can be created on a keen budget. A simple oak kitchen shelving lines the brick wall and is adorned with rustic chopping boards vintage jelly molds and evocative paintings of baked goods by artist Katie Wilkins.

'Rustic kitchens always work well when a combination of new and old vintage or antique pieces are used,' explains Helen Parker Creative Director at deVOL Kitchens. 'Whether you are trying to achieve a traditional or a contemporary look this is essential. Farmhouse kitchens tend to be much more authentic if the actual fabric of the room is old and filled with original features, possibly reclaimed or original brickwork. So for me, this type of kitchen will only really work if you have an old property, otherwise, it becomes contrived and unconvincing.'

4. Incorporate a display cabinet

White dining area with rustic farmhouse table and chairs and a white curved display cabinet with doors open

(Image credit: Leanne Ford)

The icing on the top of any good rustic kitchen is an array of abundant tableware ready for the feast of treats that emerge from the kitchen to be displayed on.

This beautiful historic dining area in a kitchen created by American designer Leanne Ford creates an arched display case within an existing wall, making the most of the space in the room and showing off matching white plates bowls, enamelware, and glassware piled up within. 

5. Pretty up a space with a sink skirt

A yellow kitchen with sink skirt

(Image credit: British Standard by Plain English)

Nothing says rustic more than a prettily gathered sink skirt. Historically sink skirts were used to cover bulky plumbing under a kitchen sink but now they are at the top of every kitchen trend going allowing for added creative flair and sprucing up an existing design.

'Instantly softening, a sink skirt is also a great way to inject colour and pattern into your kitchen or pantry,' says Karla Patterson designer at British Standard. 'Affordable and stylish its also a great way to conceal any unsightly kitchen storage and under-sink spaces'.

6. Go rustic chic with all over white tiles

Modern white kitchen with glazed white tiles

(Image credit: Kitchen Makers)

Rustic doesn't have to mean in-elegant – this simple and traditional white kitchen by Burbridge is resplendent in white with tactile and reflective surfaces.

The hearth area becomes a subtle statement adorned with glossy imperfect white metro tiles that frame the cooking area and create layers of nuance in the white space. Paired with rustic chopping boards and copper cookware the kitchen is a modern take on the farmhouse look.

7. Add in a farmhouse table to complete the look

A cream kitchen with a farmhouse table

(Image credit: Neptune)

There is nothing more homely than a farmhouse-style dining table in the center of a kitchen. An L-shaped kitchen layout can open the room up and provide more floor space allowing room for a kitchen diner. This traditionally inspired cream kitchen from Neptune incorporates a nostalgic farmhouse table paired with elegant cream cabinets.

‘An L-shaped kitchen provides plenty of additional floor space without having to compromise on work-surface space, says Stephanie Nix, Kitchen designer at Neptune Fulham. 'In this way, a kitchen table can be incorporated into your room or a breakfast bar or island. With plenty of lower cabinetry for incorporating appliances, opt for wall cabinets or open shelving for crockery, store cupboard essentials, pots, and pans.’

8. Choose a salvaged sink for added drama

Rustic stone butler sink

(Image credit: Hush Kitchens)

This 'potager' cooks area from Hush kitchens was born out of need for a dedicated prep area for produce from the kitchen garden. The generous reclaimed Yorkshire stone sink is perfect for washing vegetables and flower arranging.

Incorporating a limestone sink in a traditional kitchen is a dramatic way to elevate the farmhouse look and add tonnes of character and a point of interest.

How can you make a kitchen look rustic?

First things first and that's to bring a sense of community or socialising by incorporating an island or large kitchen table. Brighten the space with white cabinets and humble hardware and a farmhouse sink. Try open shelving or glass front cabinets. Add classic hardwood flooring and exposed beams. 

Natural materials are always at the forefront of a rustic kitchen as well as an understated color palette. This kitchen design is all about creating an informal space that feels relaxed and homely with plenty of crafted and handmade items.

What is a rustic style kitchen?

Natural materials are always at the forefront of a rustic kitchen as well as an understated color palette. This kitchen design is all about creating an informal space that feels relaxed and homely with plenty of crafted and handmade items.

How do you brighten a rustic kitchen?

Low lighting can make dark and confined spaces feel much bigger.Wherever possible, try to introduce as much natural light as possible and avoid placing furniture in front of windows or doors. Think about creating a reading corner or entertainment area by grouping similar items of furniture together. Alternatively, have a focal point such as a fireplace or window to make any space more appealing. 

Rohini Wahi

Rohini Wahi is Content Editor for Livingetc Online. With a decade-long career in the interiors and design industry working as a journalist for premium lifestyle publications then delving deeper into the business as a trend forecaster, Rohini has amassed a wealth of global design knowledge that informs her work. She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home.