It’s getting darker earlier and earlier this time of year, making us crave a warm and cozy nest on cold evenings. The best place to start is the heart of the home, the kitchen. Gathering with family and friends for comfort food like butternut squash soup, Cincinnati chili or spaghetti and meatballs is even more comforting when the meal is casually served in the kitchen. Adding some rustic touches will make you feel like you’re cozied up in a Tuscan farmhouse or an English cottage. Whether you’re starting from scratch with a renovation or simply want to add a few accessories, here are some key ways to give your kitchen a homey, comforting ambience.
Copper pots. If you’ve got ’em, hang ’em! Copper adds a wonderful patina and shine to a kitchen. You can also incorporate this material by adding a hammered-copper bucket or smaller copper utensil canisters.
A fireplace. This one can be used for cooking, something that comes in handy on a cold night when the power goes out.
A farm table. A sturdy wooden table is a great place for family dinners and doing homework. If you are more of a kitchen-island type than a kitchen-table type, you can adapt a farm table to a higher surface height and use stools instead of chairs.
Mood lighting. While cooks need brighter light, like recessed overheads for cooking, eating in begs for some ambience. Add it with a metal chandelier that has some patina style, placed on a dimmer, for cozy suppers in the kitchen.
A slate floor. This beautiful, natural material grounds the room with its dark color, and it’s slip resistant. Just be sure you have it sealed well to make cleaning easier.
Exposed brick, beams, trusses and/or rafters. You don’t have to cover your primitive construction details with drywall. These elements subtly remind us of the craftsmanship that went into building our homes.
For instance, original or reclaimed beams layer history into a kitchen and can work with many design styles.
Reclaimed wood. There are plenty of places where you can repurpose salvaged beams, barn siding and other reclaimed-wood pieces in the kitchen. Open shelves are one of the easiest ways to bring the material in. Beams, ceilings, island surrounds, countertops and even cabinet doors are other places where you can use it. My own kitchen’s countertops are planed pine boards taken from my attic during a renovation, and I can’t tell you how much warmth they add to the space.
A stone wall. Adding rustic touches doesn’t mean your kitchen has to have a traditional look. If your tastes are more transitional, modern or contemporary, you can still enjoy the coziness of rustic touches. The locally quarried Telluride Gold stone wall and stained alder cabinets add rough-hewn character to this clean-lined contemporary kitchen.