By Kate Burt, Houzz
Ever fantasize about finding a fixer-upper in an idyllic spot and making it your own? Or maybe you loved the decor at a cottage, converted barn or tiny seaside house where you spent a long, cozy weekend away and wish your own home had the same snug interior?
Why stop at dreaming? If your kitchen is due for a revamp, or if you simply feel like making a few small changes, let these beautiful homes inspire you to turn your cooking space into the sort you’d find in your dream weekend hideaway — but one you can come home to every night.
Do it with dusty pink. This color combination could be one way to give your existing kitchen a dash of country cottage cuteness. Isn’t it just lovely?
Be sure to choose a dusty-pink shade rather than bright pastels or bubble gum. The idea is that it should look faded, like the colors in a vintage floral fabric. To this effect, an off-white may work best as a partner. Try out a few options and look at them in different lights and positions; simply paint test swatches on paper and stick them around the place using painters tape. Related: Like the Vintage Vibe? Browse More Shabby Chic Decor
This is an especially good hack if you have years-old paneled cabinet doors that you don’t love, or even flat doors. Assess your cabinets and whether they’d look good painted (or consider replacing doors and drawer fronts only). If not, do you have shelves, table legs or wooden chairs that you could tackle?
If you’re updating (or “old-dating") an ultra contemporary kitchen with glossy cabinets and swanky modern appliances, you won’t get this kind of effect without making alterations that are more significant.
Think about your view. Don’t have a window overlooking a bucolic cottage garden, rolling fields or windswept sand dunes? You can still pretty up your kitchen’s view significantly.
Window boxes can work wonders. Even if you live in an apartment and have a kitchen several floors up, it may be possible to attach external brackets to hold a window box (but do consult a professional unless you’re a very confident DIYer since it mustn’t be at any risk of falling on someone below).
Rather than perhaps more traditional window-box blooms, go all out for the country look — think rangy wildflowers, lupines, sweet peas. Alternatively, try the sorts of long wild grasses you might find at the edge of a beach.
Combine inky paint with brass. This pairing is a shortcut to getting the homey historic look for your kitchen — and the archetypal cozy retreat has to be an ancient building of some sort, so it’s perfect.
You don’t necessarily have to go for a full kitchen redo to achieve the look, either. Depending on your cabinets, it may be possible to switch all the door hardware to brass, from handles (these cup-shaped ones are ideal) to hinges.
A wooden or marble countertop is another quick switch if you have the budget, and a farmhouse sink will always be effective for a cottage-y kitchen.
Get the lighting right. Spots or undercabinet LEDs are great in kitchens, but for a cozy kitchen retreat, consider something altogether softer and more casual.
If you’ve already done your kitchen and don’t want to install hardwired wall lights, look for plug-in ones, or even a desk or table lamp if you have a suitable free patch of countertop on which to plonk it. You’ll be amazed at the difference this simple addition can make (and if you can find a battered, vintage, painted-metal design, all the better).
Clip-on lights are also a good option if you have suitable places to attach them. Pick a soft white bulb to keep the mood inviting while providing good task lighting.
Brick it up. Gosh, where to start with ideas to steal here — from the lamps to the dark paint (this sort of mossy green is going to be a huge trend) to the beautiful beams and that clever reuse of aged garden furniture for kitchen dining. But let’s take a closer look at that floor instead.
The manufacturing of brick dates back centuries, and a brick floor is often seen in very old buildings. You can cheat your way to this look reasonably authentically by using reclaimed brick tiles. They can be laid over underfloor heating too, so they don’t even have to be chilly on the toes.
Add a rustic touch in a jiffy. Even in a modern kitchen like this, there are ways to soften the overall effect very easily.
Here, a long branch threaded through the shelf brackets works as a handy hanging rail and adds a dash of rusticity. The eucalyptus leaves look (and will smell) great, but to ramp up a rural vibe even more, hang little jam jars of daisies from your rail instead.
Go retro. A dreamy retreat doesn’t need to cancel out your love of midcentury style. This enticing kitchen in a lakeside cabin in Ireland cleverly combines traditional country style (solid cabinetry in a dark hue, an apron-front sink, tongue-and-groove wall paneling) with the clean lines of Eames chairs, a 1950s-style wooden dining table and original Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen 4/3 pendant lamps in orange.
Be inspired by the rug as well. Rugs instantly cozy up a cottage-style kitchen, where you want to linger over warming, hearty, candlelit dinners, forgetting to turn on the TV. If you’re worried about stains on a kitchen rug, choose a washable one with a stain-disguising pattern.
Work in some wood. Natural materials will almost always warm up a kitchen. If you have beams, uncover them! If you can stretch the budget for a replacement countertop, go for solid wood.
And what about this smart idea for more bare wood in the form of hanging shelves and wall cabinets? It’s so clever and yet so simple — and could work well if you’re in a rental and can persuade your landlord to let you hang a peg rail but not a whole wall of cabinets.
Note, too, the surprisingly stylish dustpan and brush. Keep your wood radar on while shopping for accessories, and see how much difference a few key details can make.
Be colorful. Pastels, off-whites or traditional hues might be obvious choices for the ultimate home away from home, but this cozy cooking space shows just how well vibrant color can work too.
The key to keeping the look on point is to get the basics right. Such significant details as a big old range, solid-wood cabinets and all those vintage accessories mean bold colors can only enhance rather than change the character.
Rethink the traditional cottage table. If your style veers toward something crisper than a messy cottage-style kitchen, but you’re still drawn to the general feel of one, there’s no need to be torn.
Here, the homeowners have cleverly created a mash-up of old and new, rustic and high style. Choose a couple of key traditional features you really like — the black flagstones here are one such idea, along with the fireplace.
With your foundation in place, you can — carefully — choose more contemporary pieces to add. Try to pick designs that nod to the originals; this table, for example, despite its clean lines and contemporary style, still fits into the fantasy of a snug stone cottage because it’s suitably chunky and made from solid wood, as an authentic antique version would be.
Or let an original warm up a modern kitchen. A bottle of red wine, some crusty bread on a well-worn board, a hearty stew and candles or dimmed lights. These are some of the magic ingredients of a cottage kitchen dinner in your dreamy weekend retreat. And they’re all the better for being enjoyed over an ancient wooden table.
This is an easy switch to make in a kitchen with space for a table, and it will transform your room. Smaller versions or those with fold-down sections will do just as good a job at creating the atmosphere if you don’t have the room for something like this.
Just be sure to go for a piece that’s seen a lot of life — the older it looks, the better. Give it a good waxing (it’ll then smell amazing too), and let it soak up some more decades of kitchen life.
Dream big. This kitchen would be a fantasy retreat for those who love a Georgian farmhouse: a flagstone floor, a rail for hanging pans (this also would work over an island) and traditional paint colors. If you’re on a budget, you could replace existing cabinet doors with MDF paneled versions, painted the color of your other kitchen woodwork.
Note the lovely solid-wood top on the island. Not many kitchens have the space for a beautiful beast of this size, but a well-worn butcher block could give you a similar feel and would work in this kind of period setting, but on a much smaller scale.
Note that there’s no vent hood over the oven. It’s a nice period touch, but do consult with an expert to ensure that you have enough ventilation. A buildup of grease and dampness will not be fun, and if you’re in an open-plan space, you’ll want a handy window to help disperse smells and humidity.
If you take just one tiny tip from this space, let it be that an old-fashioned kettle alone will go a long way.