English Country Kitchens Are Trending—Here's How to Recreate the Look

The trend is a cousin of coastal grandmother style.


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Kitchens, for many of us, hold our visions for how we want our future lifestyle to look. We picture how we want to wake up in the morning, make a cup of coffee, and what we want to see when we look out the window above the kitchen sink (assuming we're lucky enough to have one). While modern kitchens with ultra-clean lines were the predominant aspiration for a while, the pendulum has shifted toward more eclectic, whimsical designs. Enter: English country kitchens.

Instead of focusing on minimalism and an absence of visual clutter, English country kitchens are all about bringing signs of life back into one of the most used spaces in the home. Whether it's through rustic materials or a pitcher of flowers on the countertop, this design style evokes a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Jen Nash, design excellence manager at the British kitchen retailer Magnet, says English country kitchens are "sweeping the interiors world at the moment as people return to the charm of its more traditional and warming features opposed to the modern trends we’ve seen recently." She attributes the increased popularity of this style, in part, to shows like Downton Abbey, Bridgerton, and The Crown, which showcase "the rustic charm of English country style." The trend can also be tied to a growing investment in making the home a more comfortable space to live and working toward a slower, more relaxed lifestyle. (It's the natural evolution after our obsession with coastal grandmother style.)

Magnet reports that over the past year, there's been an overall 22 percent increase in Google searches for "country kitchen," while there's simultaneously been an 18 percent decline in searches for "modern kitchen."

"With the kitchen evolving over the past few years to be the main multi-functional space for households, we are seeing country kitchens rise in demand as the style embodies the concept of the room being the heart of the home more than any other interior style," Nash says.

If you're looking to bring more warmth and charm to your kitchen, below are six features that will help you achieve the quintessential English country kitchen look.

Open displays

Open shelving in kitchen

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Modern, minimalist style tells us to hide our clutter and excess items, but English country style uses them as an asset. "Country kitchens aren’t supposed to be pristine and clutter-free," Nash says. "The style is characterized by a bit of charming disarray and the best way to channel this is with open shelving and displays."

Consider replacing some of your cabinet doors for glass-fronted facades, or add display shelves to open wall space. And don't worry if your dishes and cookware don't match. "Don’t hesitate in mixing different patterns and textures together," Nash says. "It’s this combination of materials that create that lived-in feel characteristic of the English country style.’’

If you aren't ready to rip off your cabinet doors or replace your cabinets all together, you can make smaller additions to put your items on display—like a hanging rail for pans and utensils or hooks for tea towels and oven mitts.

Shaker-style cabinetry 

large farmhouse style kitchen with blue cabinets

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While modern style is often accented by smoothed-out surfaces and silhouettes, country style is defined by layered textures and dimension. Just as wainscoting can give a newly renovated home a sense of age, the three-dimensional frame on Shaker-style cabinets can instantly give a kitchen a lived-in, timeless appearance.

‘’Featuring the traditional framed cabinet doors with a recessed center panel, Shaker-style cabinetry is the versatile and elegant style that is the perfect foundation for creating a country-style kitchen," Nash says.

Natural materials 

English country style kitchen with wooden countertops

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‘’Country kitchens are all about honest, natural materials and simple finishes," Nash says. "From reclaimed wooden worktops and metals such as copper, iron and steel, incorporate and layer a mix of natural materials in your kitchen space to create a rustic charm.

However, Nash acknowledges that wooden countertops aren't for everyone—and that's okay. Even with more modern countertops, like marble or quartz, incorporating natural materials elsewhere in the kitchen can create that country appeal. “For example, opt for a rustic wooden table and play around with recycled timber shelving," she suggests. "Even introducing these natural materials in small accent details such as wooden coasters and fabric tea towels, will work collectively to create that cohesive rustic country charm.” 

Chandeliers & lighting 

Country style kitchen with chandelier

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Good lighting is essential to creating a functional kitchen, and in English country style it should be more than just practical. ‘’A crystal chandelier is a common lighting choice in English country kitchen decor," Nash says. "The elegant and statement lighting fixture contrasts beautifully against the rustic natural materials and can be a real focal point of your kitchen."

If a chandelier isn't your cup of English Breakfast tea, consider other forms of statement lighting. "You can opt for hanging pendant lights for a more contemporary feel or get creative with recycled industrial lighting fixtures," Nash says. 

Understated colors 

country style kitchen

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If you're going for the timeless appeal of a country-style kitchen, bright colors probably aren't the move. "The colors which work best for country kitchens are natural shades with whites, creams and soft grays," Nash says. These colors will work well to complement other rustic and natural materials in this kitchen style.

"Introducing muted shades of blue, green and yellow through backsplashes, accessories and small details on open shelving will then contrast exquisitely against these natural tones and add some depth to your space," Nash says.

Since open displays and visible items are another mainstay of this style, keeping the base of your kitchen in a more muted color also helps to keep the space from looking too busy.

Farmhouse sinks and statement stoves 

Enamled cast iron farmhouse kitchen sink

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Farmhouse sinks are one of the most obvious elements of the country kitchen, and they can quickly transform the room. "Let [a farmhouse sink] be a design feature and focal point in your kitchen, positioning it within a kitchen island or beneath a window to make the most of the light outside," Nash says.

Another appliance swap that can make a big difference: your stove. "Modern cookers and ovens are often tucked away in the backdrop of a kitchen or are designed to blend in with the decor," Nash says. "In a country-style kitchen, however, the cooker should be a statement and focal point of the space. If it’s within budget, a large-range cooker is the ideal appliance that sings to the country-style trend."

Obviously, a full kitchen remodel can come at a big price, but a few swaps and additions here and there can do a lot to give your space the warmth and charm you want.

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