English Country Kitchens Are the New Farmhouse Kitchens
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At first, it seemed 2020’s cottagecore look would be a fleeting trend. While the stoneware pie dishes and wicker picnic baskets were a welcome distraction from the hellscape that had come to define our reality, I was certain: This pastoral-perfect aesthetic is going to be as transient as our K95 mask. And boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong. As the pandemic raged on—and our yearning for ‘quaint’ and ‘nostalgic’ decor grew stronger—the trend seemed to snowball into an entire design category (ushering in Newstalgia and Hipstoric Heritage). Today, the look has entirely replaced Joanna Gaines’s modern farmhouse, where stark white walls and metallic finishes are being swapped for earthy neutrals hand-worn woods. So now, as we head into spring 2023, it makes sense why we’re seeing yet another cottage-inspired look exploding on Pinterest and Instagram. Welcome to the year of the English Country kitchen.
Why Are English Country Kitchens Trending?
First and foremost, let’s go back to where this obsession really gained traction. In February 2023, Stranger Things star David Harbour and singer Lily Allen graced the cover of Architectural Digest with their “weird and wonderful” Brooklyn townhouse. While the entire home features a middle-of-the-road aesthetic between Harbour’s suburban, Westchester upbringing and Allen’s British roots, the undeniable showstopper of the property was the kitchen (above). And apparently, this is just the kind of elevated cottagecore approach people have been waiting for, where shortly after the couple’s decor debut, searches for “English country kitchens” skyrocketed by 144 percent, according to kitchen retailer, Magnet.
What Is an English Country Kitchen?
While the look has been around for centuries, this year’s rendition takes a more contemporary approach to age-old English design. Think: traditional details like ornate ceiling moldings and worn, wooden floors with upgraded materials like copper and crystal. Basically, you want to keep the silhouettes clean-lined and classic (like with the formal chairs and rectangular shelves above) and update the finishes to make it feel current (re: the gingham linens and zellige tile). Everything should have a classic yet cozy feel as the design toes the line between royal Bridgerton and posh Victoria Beckham townhouse.
No idea where to start? We gotcha covered. Below, find five staples of the look, plus all of the products you need to bring it together.
5 Hallmarks of an English Country Kitchen
1. Gingham Fabrics
Gingham is, indisputably, synonymous with English Country kitchens. Above, you can see how London-based designer Veere Grenney elevates the white wooden cabinets and marble countertops with gingham curtains everywhere. That said, it doesn’t mean you need to drape every inch of your kitchen with pattern. If you’re a maximalist, try hanging a few valences from your windows or cabinets. Or, if your style skews more minimalist, you can use gingham tablecloths or napkins for the same effect (without the commitment).
2. Crystal Statement Chandelier
As mentioned above, the materials of English Country kitchens lean towards luxury. Hence, why you’ll be hard-pressed to find a kitchen that *doesn’t* have a crystal chandelier. The most popular iterations we’re seeing are empire waterfall chandeliers that basically ooze elegance. These can be antique vintage numbers with brass details or more contemporary takes with nickel frames. Just be sure you’re keeping with the elongated silhouette (shown above) to draw visual interest.
3. Copper Cookware
Sticking with the theme of upscale finishes: Cooper cookware is also a must-have when it comes to the design details. Yet, aside from choosing a set with a gleaming copper finish, you need to make sure it’ll stand the test of time. Per editor Taylor Mead, “When choosing copper cookware, the two most important things to look out for [are] the thickness of the copper itself and the material with which it is lined.” That means you should be looking for sets with non-reactive metals like stainless steel, tin, or aluminum and a thickness between 2.5 and 3 millimeters. “The thicker the copper, the better,” Mead adds.
4. Zellige Tile
The one trend we predict to be everywhere in 2023 (in both English Country kitchens and modern ones)? Glossy, zellige tiles. “These handcrafted ceramic tiles are definitely having a moment—mostly, because they fit with a sort of organic modern aesthetic that people are really loving right now,” explains designer Nick Lewis in a TikTok. “Every tile feels like a unique, beautiful work of art, and make for a beautiful tile to use in both bathrooms and kitchens.” What’s more, when it comes to this look, we’re seeing the tiles in earthy hues (like moss, terracotta or sand) to add dimension and texture without overwhelming the space with too much color.
5. Off-White Tones
Finally, the paint. As you can probably tell, off-white is the go-to tone for this look. Whether it’s on the walls, cabinets, tiles or floors/ceilings, you’re bound to find an off-white hue somewhere in an English Country kitchen. That said, it doesn’t mean off-white is the only color we see in this design. In some cases, off-white is being used as a buffer tone to keep other traditional colors—like deep green or sky blue—from making the space feel busy. If you’re into the minimal-maximal trend, try bringing in off-white in conjunction with other classic hues. Otherwise, feel free to all off-white with the paint, and bring color into your decor, furnishings and textiles instead.