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How to Create a Cosy Cottage Style Kitchen

Is there anything cosier than a cottage style kitchen? Whether you live in the English countryside or a busy city borough, this lived-in, charming interior style is coveted by many.

Traditional cottages are known for their original features – rustic beams, exposed stone walls, weathered floors and quirky nooks. Kitchens within these idyllic properties are often designed with a focus on comfort, traditionalism and tactility, making this style an appealing choice for those wanting to create an inviting sanctuary.

Grey shaker kitchen with central island.
Grey Hartford Kitchen Design

As the seasons change and we hunker down, we thought we’d share a few of our favourite cottage kitchen design ideas, whether you’re looking to renovate your entire kitchen or simply wish to create a cosy ambience conducive to relaxing this winter.

Shaker Style Cabinetry

Regardless of whether you live in a modern renovation or rural cottage, traditional shaker style cabinetry is perfect for creating a welcoming, lived-in look.

The shaker style has universal appeal with beautifully balanced proportions that focus on scale, symmetry and simplicity. We have adopted the handcrafted shaker style in a number of our kitchen collections, such as the Hartford, Kavanagh, Summerville, and the Devine, to name just a few.

Charming cottages and period homes almost always have challenging features such as chimney breasts, sloping ceilings, quaint proportions, quirky nooks and uneven floors. Choosing a bespoke shaker design allows you to preserve and work around these original features, enhancing your space’s look and individuality. 

Natural Materials

Natural wood is an integral part of cottage interior design. It adds a sense of warmth and tactility. You can incorporate wood in the form of flooring, stand-alone furniture such as a farmhouse table, shelving, chopping boards or integrated wooden trays to break up painted cabinetry. Wood panelling is also a great way to add interest to a space. Embrace traditional panelling on feature walls, your kitchen island or a bespoke seating area. When painted in a heritage colour, it’s bound to give your space a homely cottage feel.

Weathered stone walls and marble flooring have a rich aesthetic quality, adding warmth and depth to a kitchen. Not only do these natural materials have an earthiness to them, but they are also incredibly versatile, working with a range of kitchen styles and colours.

Warm Metals

Burnished brass and matt gold handles add a whole new dimension to kitchens. Brushed or aged finishes can enhance the brightness of white paint finishes and echo harmoniously with the ever-popular greys and dramatic darks in our palette.

Brass Quooker tap and Shaws sink.

You can even integrate patinated brass taps, hang antique metal pendant lights or display vintage pots and pans to add an authentic rustic appeal to your cottage style kitchen.

Ambient Lighting

The right balance of lighting is essential in creating a cosy kitchen. There are three types of lighting you need to include: ambient, task and accent. Ambient lighting, such as pendants and wall lights with dimmer switches, offer flexibility at any time of the day. Accent lighting, for instance, integrated LED lights within glass cabinets or diffused light from lamps, can help set the mood and create a warm and inviting setting whatever the occasion.

Considered Colour Palette

Unsurprisingly, laidback neutrals and English heritage hues are perfect for creating an authentic country cottage look. Lighter paint colours can make a space feel bigger and brighter during the day, often needed if you live in a quaint cottage or cosy period property that lacks natural light. Wooden floors and layers or natural accessories can balance these brighter shades to stop the space from feeling sterile and cold.

If you desire something more dramatic, dark saturated shades with warm undertones can be a welcome alternative.

Combining Old and New

As soon as you step into a cottage style kitchen, you should feel at home, comforted and calm. An eclectic mix of old and new can go a long way in creating a space that promotes these feelings. Give vintage finds pride of place – think rustic wooden chopping boards, beautiful glassware, period artwork, reclaimed chairs or objects you’ve picked up on your travels. When something has a story of its own, it makes your whole room so much more interesting and gives your kitchen a lived-in cosy feel.

Dark green Tom Howley Kitchen.
Dark Green Shaker Kitchen

Tom Howley kitchens are designed for modern living. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t be full of eccentricities. Traditional Perrin and Rowe taps, natural oak internals, a classic Aga, beautiful stone flooring, or a Shaws butler sink can add rustic charm and character to a kitchen.

Light Grey Butler Kitchen

Open Shelving

Cottage style kitchens are renowned for their proud displays of cookware and personal objects. Open shelving can be a great blank canvas for showcasing your favourite antique finds; you can even countrify your shelving by incorporating bespoke brackets or corbels.

Grey cottage style kitchen design.
Grey Hartford Kitchen Design

Practical and sleek in equal measure, glass-fronted cabinets are also an excellent incentive to keep your shelves in order whilst displaying your favourite pieces. Remember to always consider the look of your kitchen and maintain a visual flow. You don’t want to over clutter these areas. Think textures, colours and finishes to create the harmonious ‘whole’.

Space to Gather

Space is often tight in country/ cottage style kitchens; however, having a table for family and friends to gather can go a long way in creating a welcoming heart of the home. You can zone the space with a beautifully crafted wooden trestle table, or if space is at a premium, incorporate a small breakfast nook with bespoke bench seating and a space-savvy bespoke round table.

Light Grey Butler Kitchen

Introduce Some Greenery

Having a connection to the outdoors and incorporating plants in your kitchen can lead to a calm and inviting environment. Fill window sills with potted herbs, dress your mantle with seasonal foliage or place fresh flowers on your island to instantly lift your mood as you enter the room.

Explore all of our stunning kitchen collections here or experience the true quality of a Tom Howley kitchen by visiting one of our eighteen nationwide showrooms.