Farmhouse kitchen ideas – secrets of the modern rustic look that anyone can copy

Why modern farmhouse style works in every kitchen, whether you live in the town, country, or the suburbs

farmhouse kitchen with table and stone walls
(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

Farmhouse kitchen ideas are the perfect blend of comfort, charisma and practicality. Of all kitchen styles, this is one that never goes out of fashion – farmhouse kitchen ideas simply morph with the times, becoming more or less decorative or minimal, colourful or serene, light or dark, depending on the latest kitchen trends and the mood of the times. 

With the recent interest in decorating with soothing colours, cottagecore styling and 'escape room decorating', which sees us consciously designing our homes as retreats from the stresses of everyday life, it's no surprise that farmhouse kitchen ideas are seeing a surge in popularity.

'The contemporary farmhouse kitchen blends traditional materials with contemporary construction to create a warm, inviting space. Natural materials help to deliver an authentic feel, helping to recreate the traditional farmhouse look,' explains Ben Burbidge, managing director of Kitchen Makers.

Farmhouse kitchen ideas – what looks right now

'Rather than focusing on minimalism and hiding things away, farmhouse kitchen ideas are all about bringing life back into one of the most used spaces of a home,' explains Elizabeth Sherwin, Creative Director, Naked Kitchens. 'Some properties boast authentic architecture and period features such as exposed beams or flagstone flooring which will naturally instill that farmhouse feel.'

If that's not your property, don't worry. There are lots of ways to get the farmhouse kitchen look, whatever the style and period of your home and even its location (you definitely don't need to live on a farm to get that authentic homely rustic vibe).

1. Work in some wood

farmhouse kitchen with wooden table

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dan Duchars)

While a country kitchen and a farmhouse kitchen may not be a million miles away in terms of style, the farmhouse look generally makes natural wood and timber a star of the show.

'Wood is a great choice for a farmhouse kitchen, adding warmth and character while being practical and injecting organic life into the room,' says Alex Main, director of The Main Company

While wood may feature in the architecture (if you're lucky enough to have ceiling beams), furniture or panelling, Alex particularly recommends using timber for your farmhouse kitchen worktop ideas.

'One of the benefits of using wood for worktops is the inherent natural beauty of the material, as each piece has its own unique character and markings,' he says. 'Reclaimed wood worktops create a new lease of life for the original material and are therefore the ideal choice if you’re considering an environmentally friendly solution in your kitchen that doesn’t compromise on style. Additionally, the wood surface can be easily sanded back if stained and is generally a softer, more tactile material to work with.'

2. Make a choice: kitchen island or farmhouse table

white farmhouse kitchen with black worktops and island with wine rack

(Image credit: Future PLC / Polly Eltes)

Okay, you could have both if you have a large kitchen space. But if it comes to a choice between the two, a large wooden prep table will give you the farmhouse look you want – ideally, choose a vintage piece that will show the marks of time in true rustic style.

'We prefer to use our prep tables, which have a large working space, oversized drawers and a large open-base shelf on which to put larger items that might take up a lot of cupboard space,' says Claire Podesta, co-founder of handmade kitchen maker, Huckleberry. Also known as baker tables, these are the ultimate hybrid of kitchen island and dining table.

If additional kitchen storage ideas are a must-have, then a kitchen island idea may be the best choice for your farmhouse kitchen.

'In addition to valuable countertop space, an island provides ample storage. Large cupboards or pan drawers within a central island are extremely useful for storing bulky items or those used most frequently,' says Alex Main from The Main Company. 'Islands also provide a great base for open shelving, whether this is just on one side or spread across the whole island, allowing for the display of cookbooks and other decorative pieces.'

3. Have a butcher's block in a small kitchen

wooden butcher block in kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

If you don't have the space for an island or dining table, then a butcher's block is the perfect alternative to help you achieve your farmhouse kitchen ideas.

'A butcher's block always looks fantastic in a farmhouse kitchen, particularly if you can find a vintage one for a bit of charm,' suggests interior designer Catherine Dal. 'Handles would likely be antique brass, a finish that represents a worn and used feel that is also hardwearing and will complements a wooden finish.'

4. Consider Shaker-style cabinets

shaker style kitchen with cooker hood

(Image credit: Future PLC / Brent Darby)

It's no surprise that Shaker-style cabinetry is a great fit for farmhouse kitchen ideas and designs – the aesthetic originated with the Shakers, an 18th-century religious movement based in rural America, which prized simplicity and practicality.

'When considering your cabinetry, clean simple designs always work well,' says Ben Burbidge of Kitchen Makers. 'Shaker kitchen ideas are particularly suited to a farmhouse kitchen and can be painted in your favourite shade for a contemporary edge.'

5. Find your flow with freestanding furniture

colourful country kitchen

(Image credit: Huckleberry x House of Hackney)

Farmhouse kitchen ideas are rarely matchy-matchy. It's the mix of cabinets and furniture pieces that gives them their rustic charm, as if the kitchen has evolved over time, rather than being designed and fitted to a one-size-fits-all template.

'We design our furniture to be predominantly freestanding. By mixing and matching styles and a few antiques we are able to create a unique look that is far removed for the more modern fitted kitchens,' explains Huckleberry's Claire Podesta.

'By creating a freestanding feel, it allows each individual piece, whether it be a plate rack, open cabinet, shelf, or scullery bench, to be individual in its own right. The key is building the look with some imagination to create a unique space that suits not just the space but reflects your individuality!

Matt and Claire Podesta, Founders, Huckleberry
Claire and Matt Podesta

Matt and Claire Podesta are the founders and creative team behind Huckleberry. Matt is an award-winning furniture and kitchen designer, while Claire is the company's Marketing Director and is also a graphic designer and abstract artist. They created Huckleberry to celebrate British design and sustainability.

6. Don't forget a butler sink

white butler sink with white tile splashback

(Image credit: Future)

While there's no end to the innovative, glamorous and practical ideas for your kitchen sink, when it comes to a farmhouse-style kitchen, it pays to stick with a classic design.

'Stylish yet practical, the butler sink is one of the most desirable elements in a farmhouse kitchen,' says Ben Burbidge of Kitchen Makers. 'The deep basin is practical yet decorative, and perfectly complements modern rustic kitchen design ideas.'

7. Focus on farmhouse colours

green shaker style farmhouse kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC / Jeremy Phillips)

Neons, metallics and super-bright shades are a hard no for most farmhouse kitchen ideas, so think hard about your favourite kitchen colour schemes before committing to a paint palette.

'Colours for a farmhouse kitchen would be shades we find in nature – for example, soft whites to work with the timber fronts,' suggests designer, Catherine Dal, founder of Cat Dal Interiors.  'As there is often a lot going on with open shelves, I also find it's best to keep tones paired back and muted. Or it could be a muted rich colour, such as navy or dark green, to add some weight to the lower units.' 

Huckleberry's Claire Podesta has the colour bug, too – as long as they are shades that can be found in the great outdoors.

'Be bold! The days of plain blue Shaker kitchens are far behind us now; it’s been a safe style for 10 years,' she says. 'At Huckleberry we build a mix of colours, textures and fabrics to generate a sense of adventure and individuality in a space. A kitchen should be warm and a safe place to be. We want to create a smile each time it is used, a bit like that feeling of leaning up against an Aga on a cold day!'

8. Add pattern with tiles

blue kitchen with pink and white star tile splashback

(Image credit: Future)

Farmhouse kitchens are full of character, and patterned kitchen tile ideas can be key to adding personality to your walls and floor.

'Whether chosen to create an eye-catching kitchen splashback or to provide a focal feature on the kitchen floor, pattern can be incorporated into all manner of kitchen schemes, from farmhouse to modern rustic,' says Amanda Telford, marketing manager at CTD Tiles.

Unsure how to make your pattern play? Amanda has this advice. 'Opt for muted monochrome palettes to contrast dark cabinetry and walls or pair pattern with playful colour combinations,' she says. 

'Continuing the theme of individuality, the unique textures of natural wood, stone and crackle-effect ceramics can be embraced in the farmhouse kitchen to introduce warmth and a more tactile approach to surfaces.'

9. Incorporate natural stone

black stone splashback kitchen tiles

(Image credit: CTD Tiles)

Think of a traditional farmhouse floor, and flagstones are the stone flooring idea that come to mind. 

'For flooring, natural stone can look beautiful – and I'd even suggest it for worktops, too,' says Claire Podesta from Huckleberry. 'There has been a huge increase in quartz worktops and while these are more practical side, they do not have the inherent charm of a natural stone. If you are happy to allow a worksurface to gain character and become patinated, then you could choose slate, limestone, marble or granite for your farmhouse kitchen ideas.'

10. Switch-up your lighting

copper pendant light in kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

Often an afterthought, lighting is actually key to creating a farmhouse look. Plan your kitchen lighting at the same time as you decide how to design your kitchen, and you'll create a coherent scheme that works on every level.

'Lighting plays an important part in pulling together the overall look and style of a room,' agrees David Amos, founder of Amos Lighting. 'To give the kitchen a farmhouse look and feel, opt for pendant lighting with large metal shades. Large metal pendants are synonymous with farmhouse kitchens, and work beautifully in both modern and traditional-style country homes.'

You could also use lighting to create the modern farmhouse look beloved of US interiors' icon, Joanna Gaines. 'Farmhouse style is known for creamy, neutral colour palettes,' David explains, 'but fixtures such as lighting can be applied in dark tones to add contrast and draw the eye around the room.'

11. Style some open shelves

pink panelling behind butlers sink in kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dan Duchars)

A dresser is the classic farmhouse kitchen furniture piece and can be a great addition to your design. But if you don't have the space for this usually large item, or want a more modern way to bring an element of display to your farmhouse kitchen ideas, open shelves are the way to go. And there's a huge variety of kitchen shelving ideas to suit any size and shape of room.

'Open shelving is often used to display antiques and ceramics,' agrees Ben Burbidge of Kitchen Makers. 'Freestanding elements, such as dressers and larders, further enhance the rustic feel and are a great way to add character to your kitchen.'

12. Replace cupboard doors with a valance

kitchen sink with valance curtain and floral blind

(Image credit: Future)

This is an easy update when you want to bring a touch of farmhouse style to an existing kitchen – just take the doors off a floor cupboard and add a curtain instead.

‘Adding a fabric skirt is a fabulous and inexpensive way to bring pattern and texture to a kitchen and an effective way of covering an open cupboard,’ says fabric designer Vanessa Arbuthnott. ‘In a world where modern kitchens can become rather formulaic, skirts are a vehicle for creating an individual and unique look.’ 

13. Choose appliances to suit the farmhouse look

farmhouse kitchen with modern appliances

(Image credit: Davonport)

When you think of appliances in a farmhouse kitchen, your first thought is generally an Aga. However, a range cooker doesn't have to be your go-to. 

'There are great examples of farmhouse kitchens working with modern appliances that suit busy lives,' says Richard Davonport, managing director at luxury kitchen brand, Davonport. 'One way to tie in a modern cooker is to use the traditional-style mantle which  helps to blend the modern elements. Even more modern appliances such as wine fridges can work, though we tend to position them under the counter so that they aren’t at eye level and so don't jar with the overall farmhouse look.'

14. Bring it up to date with a breakfast cupboard

baking cupboard in kitchen

(Image credit: Davonport)

Part of the appeal of farmhouse-style kitchen is the lifestyle it represents, such as a slower pace of life and a chance to enjoy more mindful moments at home. 

'One of the most popular items in farmhouse kitchens are baking and breakfast-style cupboards,' says Davonport's Richard Davonport. 'These cupboards are dedicated to these moments within the day and can feature areas given over to stand mixers and equipment and can be closed off at the end of a busy morning and without having to have all items out on show.'

How do I make my kitchen look farmhouse?

'Farmhouse kitchen style is all about a rustic, casual and simple aesthetic,' says interior designer Catherine Dal. 'Natural materials, such as timber, are vital for this look, with hardwearing worktops such as hammered granite that are durable, textured and reliably sturdy. You'll also find features such as tongue-and-groove panelling, sawn-edge timber fronts, open shelves with metal brackets or poles, curtained lower units, and rustic baskets and wooden drawers for vegetables.'

What colours should I use in a farmhouse kitchen?

'When you design a modern farmhouse kitchen, neutral colours spring to mind,' says Alex Main, director of The Main Company. 'Having a bright white or all-grey kitchen can often feel too clinical, so to add warmth, pair a neutral worktop and walls with natural materials such as wood and a darker paint colour on the cabinets. 

'White or grey acts as a great backdrop for rich dark blue or green cabinetry – the combination instantly makes a kitchen feel more homely and inviting, but still modern. If you have space for a kitchen island, a reclaimed wood worktop is another way to add softness.'

Andrea Childs

Andrea began her journalism career at Ideal Home and is currently Editor of our sister title, Country Homes & Interiors, which celebrates modern country style. Andrea is passionate about colour and how it can transform both our homes and our sense of wellbeing, and has completed The Power of Colour course with the prestigious KLC School of Design. Andrea's career spans interiors magazines, women's lifestyle titles and newspapers. After her first job at Ideal Home, she moved on to women's magazines, Options and Frank. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where she stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. She then shifted into freelancing, and spent 14 years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. She was then offered the job as Editor of Country Homes & Interiors, and now combines that role with writing for