Country Kitchen Islands
Casual, charming, comfortable—these are all words that describe country kitchen islands, which infuse warmth, texture and character into country-style kitchens.
Colorful and comfortable, with vintage-inspired features, cottage kitchens continue to be a popular choice. Painted cabinets, salvaged hardwood flooring and playful patterned fabrics are hallmarks of this casual, family-friendly style. Design by Sarah Richardson
Still the reigning design style, the timeless look of traditional kitchens speaks to most of us. Cabinets can be painted or stained, and glass-front doors are a popular option, as are multipurpose islands. The best traditional kitchens pull in classic elements without looking too stodgy or trapped in a time warp. Keep the look fresh by mixing in modern or industrial elements like these patinated lighting fixtures or streamlined barstools. Design by Rebekah Zaveloff
Transitional kitchens blend the best of traditional familiarity with modern sophistication to create comfortable, livable spaces. The high-end Calacatta marble countertops and built-in breakfast nook are traditional elements, while the sleek wood-veneered cabinets and ebonized flooring are modern influences. Design by Linda Sullivan
Intricate moldings, hand-carved details and dark woods are hallmarks of this European-influenced style. Although beautiful, these elements can combine to create a kitchen that feels fussy and dark. Designer Sarah Barnard keeps the look fresh by mixing in updated elements, like the armless upholstered barstool, pop of yellow on the island and graphic, embossed concrete backsplash. Photo courtesy of Sarah Barnard Design
Streamlined and sophisticated, modern style is the forward-thinking relative of contemporary. The cabinets in this kitchen, with their unadorned doors, chrome hardware and flush setting, show their contemporary parentage, but the straight lines and matte cabinet finish is all modern.
Design Tip: Keep the look fresh by adding a geometric glass tile backsplash for color. Photo courtesy of Nicole Sassaman
This small galley-style kitchen epitomizes the sleek, chic contemporary look. The custom flush cabinets, with minimalist doors on top and simple oversize chrome pulls on bottom, are hallmarks of contemporary style.
Design Tip: To make a small kitchen feel larger, paint the cabinets and walls a similar shade. Design by Andreas Charalambous
Add a little va-va-voom to the heart of your home with white or richly stained cabinets adorned with ornamental molding. Romantic style is reminiscent of Old World — ornate moldings, furniture-like cabinets and European accents — but with a decidedly feminine feel.
Design Tip: This is one style where you can go for the glitz. Crystal chandeliers are a must, as are elaborate draperies and printed French-inspired wallpaper. Design by Dave Stimmel
Simple Shaker-style cabinet door details, rustic hardware and open shelving give this kitchen an updated Craftsman feel. Two-toned cabinets in burgundy and gray resemble individual furniture pieces, while the polished oak floors complement the kitchen's timeless charm. Design by Mary Broerman; photo by Greg Epstein
In a Tuscan kitchen, cabinets anchor the space with their sun-warmed tones. Often featuring elements that are seen in both traditional and Southwestern design, this warm and family-friendly style feels casually grand. Copper is often a feature, as are handmade tiles and subtly distressed stone or wood floors. Photo courtesy of Jamie Herzlinger
While creamy white kitchen islands are most often associated with country style, it's down-home details like beadboard paneling, softly painted or distressed finishes, and a light-brown wood countertop (think pine, walnut or maple) that are also hallmarks of a country kitchen island.
Country kitchen islands can also be furniture-like in feel. Even architectural details like hand-turned legs, decorative feet or stained wood corbels feel laid-back thanks to a farmhouse-style form that's at once casual and sophisticated. While kitchen islands certainly don't need to match the cabinetry and countertops on the perimeter, very often, country kitchen islands are the same color as their countertops—think rustic green, light yellow and gray-blue.
Personality is key in achieving country style in the kitchen. Successful country kitchen islands aren't just work centers, they're also a casual gathering space for family and friends, a display space for collections or cookbooks and, above all, loved and lived-in.
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