Create an English Cottage Kitchen


An English cottage kitchen evokes coziness and charm with natural materials, vintage touches, and an overall relaxed vibe. This style of kitchen features elements inspired by classic English country decor, resulting in a welcoming space that feels lived-in. When designed thoughtfully, an English cottage kitchen can be highly functional while retaining its romantic ambiance.

Creating an English cottage kitchen requires careful attention to details. From the layout and cabinetry to flooring and lighting, each decision contributes to the overall look and feel. Use this guide to learn how to design a beautiful English cottage-style kitchen that suits your needs and aesthetics.

Choose the Right Layout

The layout of an English cottage kitchen focuses on creating a warm, inviting workspace. Key elements to consider include:

  • Modest size – English cottage kitchens are relatively small and intimate. Stick to a compact footprint if possible.
  • Work triangle – Maintain a work triangle between the sink, fridge, and stove for practical workflow.
  • Casual dining area – Incorporate a small table or breakfast nook for casual meals.
  • Lots of windows – Abundant natural light enhances the cozy vibe. Include windows over the sink and any dining spaces.
  • Open Shelving – Open shelves lined with pretty dishes and antiques lend a charming, lived-in look.
  • Pantry storage – Tuck away bulky appliances and extra supplies in an adjoining walk-in pantry.

Thoughtful layout and scale help an English cottage kitchen feel welcoming without sacrificing storage and workflow. Focus on maximizing charm and functionality in the footprint.

Select the Right Cabinetry

The cabinetry plays a huge role in establishing the overall look and feel of an English cottage kitchen. Aim for these characteristics when selecting cabinets:

  • Shaker style – Simple flat panel doors with a square silhouette complement the casual vibe.
  • Painted or light wood finishes – White, off-white, and light gray, as well as pale wood tones, keep the look light and bright.
  • Visible hardware – Decorative knobs and pulls in brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, or aged brass inject character.
  • Open shelving – Include some open shelves interspersed with upper cabinets for displaying pretty dishware.
  • Glass cabinet fronts – Glass-front upper cabinets provide space to display collectibles and antique dishes.
  • Varied heights – Incorporate cabinets of different heights for visual interest and storage versatility.

Seeking out cabinets with cottage-appropriate details will establish the right foundation for your cozy English kitchen design.

Select Flooring With Rustic Charm

The flooring plays a huge role in bringing an English cottage vibe to a kitchen. Some top flooring options include:

  • Stone or brick – Natural stone or brick floors instantly evoke Old World charm. Limestone, slate, and travertine are great options.
  • Wood planks – Wide-plank wood floors with visible knots and cracks add rustic appeal. Opt for salvaged oak or pine for character.
  • Terracotta tile – Warm terracotta tiles laid in a herringbone pattern complement country-style decor.
  • Penny tile – Vintage encaustic penny tiles bring a pop of playfulness and pattern to the floor.
  • Colorful tile – Hexagonal or square tiles in colors like cobalt, deep green, and tomato red are cottage-chic.

Layer a natural fiber area rug over stone, brick, or tile floors to create coziness underfoot. Distressed wood floors can be used alone or with vintage rugs.

Add Architectural Interest with Molding and Beams

Molding and exposed beams introduce charming architectural details suited to a cottage kitchen. Consider incorporating:

  • Crown molding – Installing crown molding where the walls meet the ceiling provides elegant definition.
  • Open shelving brackets – Decorative brackets and corbels lend support for open shelving.
  • Ceiling beams – Exposed wood beams running across the ceiling contribute texture and rustic flair.
  • Paneled refrigerator surround – Paneling around the fridge nook helps it blend in seamlessly.
  • Window trim – Wide window and door casing trim frames openings in a classic style.

Take moldings and trim a step further by selecting painted, distressed finishes for an antiqued, timeworn look. Vintage corbels and salvaged barnwood beams also boost cottage character.

Select Paint Colors for a Soothing Palette

The right paint colors help set the overall mood of an English cottage kitchen. Some top paint color suggestions include:

  • Soft white – A pale white on the perimeter cabinets keeps things fresh and bright. Benjamin Moore White Dove is a popular option.
  • Warm antique white – An antique white with golden undertones, like Benjamin Moore Navajo White, adds warmth to the island or accent cabinets.
  • Sage green – Earthy sage greens complement white cabinetry while enhancing the cottage vibe. Try Farrow & Ball’s Studio Green.
  • Robin’s egg blue – A delicate robin’s egg blue like Benjamin Moore Windy Blue infuses charming color.
  • Buttery yellow – Cheerful buttery yellows like Benjamin Moore Lemon Meringue or Jonquil add sunshine.
  • Soft gray – Subtle grays like Benjamin Moore Silver Fox or Kendall Charcoal work for a muted palette.

Painting the ceiling white helps reflect light and keep the space feeling bright and airy.

Select Lighting for Form and Function

With its intimate scale, a cottage kitchen benefits from a healthy mix of natural and artificial lighting. Some lighting approaches to consider include:

  • Pendant lights – Hanging pendant lights over the kitchen and dining areas boost ambiance. A handmade pendant adds character.
  • Sconces – Wall-mounted sconces next to windows provide ideal task lighting. Go for a vintage look.
  • Recessed ceiling lights – Recessed can lights ensure the work areas are brightly and evenly illuminated.
  • Under cabinet lighting – Strip lighting under the upper cabinets creates useful task lighting for prepping and cooking.
  • Rustic chandelier – A statement chandelier crafted from antlers, vines, or curved wood branches makes a bold style statement.
  • Natural light – Generous windows, a glass door, or skylights allow plentiful natural light, enhancing the cottage vibe.

Blending ample ambient, task, and accent lighting ensures the kitchen is both stylish and highly functional.

Incorporate Vintage-Style Appliances

While most kitchen appliances need to offer modern convenience, select some with retro styling to complement the cottage aesthetic. Some options to consider include:

  • Farmhouse sink – An apron-front fireclay or porcelain sink suits the vintage look. Choose white or an antique finish.
  • Retro fridge – Look for fridge styles with rounded edges, chrome hardware, and bright retro colors for a pinch of playfulness.
  • Vintage-style range – Ranges with rounded corners, retro colors like teal or yellow, and chrome accents add flair.
  • Traditional kettle – A classic stovetop kettle made from stainless steel or porcelain ties in tradition.
  • Stand mixer – A sturdy stand mixer in a cheery retro color scheme injects personality.

While modern appliances ensure functionality, sprinkling in a few conversation-worthy vintage-inspired pieces amps up the English country charm.

Incorporate Rustic and Recycled Accessories

Part of achieving an authentic English cottage look is decorating with accessories that feature rustic, timeworn, or recycled elements. Some ways to accessorize include:

  • Wooden cutting boards – Display thick, substantial cutting boards made from salvaged wood.
  • Vintage tins – Decorate open shelves with tins of various sizes to hold flour, sugar, coffee, and tea.
  • Baskets – Incorporate woven baskets for storing vegetables and fruit.
  • Glass bottles – Collect colored glass bottles in green, clear, or blue to display oils, spices, or dried pasta.
  • Metal pails – Vintage galvanized pails are great for holding utensils or serving as adorable trash cans.
  • Ceramic pitchers – Keep fresh flowers in colorful ceramic pitchers for an English country touch.
  • Repurposed windows – Hang an old multi-pane window on the wall or prop one above the sink as charming decor.

Accenting with recycled, repurposed, or vintage items allows you to stamp the kitchen with your own unique cottage style.

Add Welcoming Textiles and Fabrics

Layering in fabrics and textiles brings visual richness while also enhancing the cozy factor in an English cottage kitchen. Ideas include:

  • Café curtains – Café-style curtains in a small print or cheerful gingham frame windows with charm.
  • Window valances – Soft, ruched valances add texture and soften window lines.
  • Plaid and striped fabrics – Incorporate plaid and striped fabrics on seat cushions or tablecloths for an English country flair.
  • Vintage quilts – Hang vintage patchwork quilts or quilted pillows on a bench seat or chair.
  • Heirloom table linens – Set the table with delicate heirloom linens for romantic ambiance during meals.
  • Terry cloth towels – Opt for vintage-inspired striped or checked terry cloth instead of sleek kitchen textiles.
  • Rag rugs – Scatter braided, knitted, or patchwork rag rugs around for warmth and texture.

Infusing plenty of fabric touches ensures your English cottage kitchen feels warm, layered, and undeniably cozy.

Add Charming English Country Touches

Beyond the main furnishings and finishes, you can infuse charm into an English cottage kitchen through clever little touches and decorative details. Some ideas to try:

  • Pretty porcelain knobs – Swap out standard cabinet hardware for decorative porcelain knobs.
  • Ruffled sink skirt – Hide the pedestal sink base with a flouncy fabric skirt.
  • Vintage recipe books – Display well-loved antique cookbooks and manuals.
  • Romantic candles – Tuck candles of various heights into candlesticks, mercury glass votives, and teacups for ambiance.
  • Delicate curtains – Soften the room with sheer, delicate curtains and valances.
  • Framed botanical prints – Decorate walls with framed vintage botanical prints and flower illustrations.
  • Aged mirror – Hang an antique mirror with dark patina to contrast all the light tones.

Focusing on the little decorative details throughout your kitchen is an easy way to establish plenty of cozy English country character.

English Country Kitchen Ideas Inspiration

Need a little extra design inspiration for your English cottage kitchen? Here are some photos of charming real-world examples:

English Country Kitchen with White Cabinetry:strip_icc()/white-kitchen-ideas-4798389hero-01-95eb49b586d249ad8eeaf1dc926009b6.jpg)

This light and airy kitchen features paneled refrigerator surround, white cottage-style cabinetry, and pretty textiles. Source.

English Cottage Kitchen with Herringbone Brick Floor

Herringbone brick flooring and an antique-style farmhouse sink lend vintage cottage charm here. Source.

Traditional English Cottage Kitchen

This cozy kitchen features paneled cabinets, a brick floor, bright walls, and charming textiles. Source.

Tips for Maintaining the Cottage Look

To keep your English cottage kitchen looking its charming best over time, keep these maintenance tips in mind:

  • Dust open shelves frequently to prevent grease and grime buildup on dishes and decor.
  • Wash glass bottle and vases regularly to prevent cloudiness. Use natural soy or vinegar-based cleaners.
  • Spot clean cabinets and paint as needed. Avoid harsh cleaners that can damage the vintage look.
  • Clean vintage linens gently by hand or using the delicates cycle in your washing machine.
  • Refinish worn wooden floors as needed to keep them looking their best. Use cleaning products formulated for wood.
  • Tighten any sagging hinges or loose knobs on cabinetry to maintain the integrity of the fixtures over time.
  • Rotate potted plants and flowers frequently to prevent damage or stains on the windowsills.

With some simple maintenance and care, your cottage-style kitchen can maintain its cozy, welcoming feel for years to come.

Achieving the Perfect Cottage Kitchen: FAQs

Still have some questions about designing your dream English cottage kitchen? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What size should an English cottage kitchen be?

Aim for a modestly sized footprint, ideally 8 feet x 10 feet up to 12 feet x 15 feet. The cozy layout of a cottage kitchen works best in a relatively small, more intimate space.

What backsplash tiles work well in a cottage kitchen?

Handmade subway tile, Mexican tile, or vintage penny tile are all charming backsplash options that suit the cozy cottage look.

Should everything match in a cottage kitchen?

Some repetition ties the look together, but embracing a mix of finishes, materials, styles, and eras helps achieve that collected, timeworn cottage charm.

How do you maximize storage in a small cottage kitchen?

Well-organized drawers and cabinets, a walk-in pantry for bulky items, open shelves for easy access, and ceiling-height cabinetry maximize storage, even in a compact cottage kitchen.

What countertop materials pair well with cottage style?

Butcher block, limestone, soapstone, and concrete all complement the farmhouse cottage aesthetic beautifully. Quartz that mimics marble or concrete is another durable option.

Bringing the Charm of the English Countryside Home

Whether you favor a lighter, brighter take or moodier, more rustic ambiance, an English cottage kitchen brings pastoral charm into your home. By thoughtfully incorporating cozy layout, rustic and vintage-inspired details, and plenty of charming accessories, you can create a kitchen that feels comfortably lived-in yet still fresh and highly functional. Any of the suggestions in this guide can help you design your very own dream English country-style kitchen that suits your family and lifestyle. From clever storage solutions to the perfect paint color combinations, the design options are endless. Soon you’ll have a kitchen that evokes the quaint, welcoming ambiance of a storybook English cottage.