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Wednesday 19 September 2012

Decor tips: A country kitchen

The country kitchen has to look as if it has been there for years. Key elements are good, solid, wooden cupboard doors, painted or bare, natural stone (or stone-look) floors, range cookers and sinks deep enough to wash up generous casserole dishes. A true country kitchen is completely unfitted, but modern style lets you combine the space and hygiene benefits of a fitted kitchen with open shelving, glass-fronted cabinets and dressers to retain the country look.

This is the perfect style to choose if you feel at home with a bit of clutter, and it is immensely practical, too. Country kitchens don't hide it all away: what is used regularly sits out on the worktop; what is admired and loved is displayed and enjoyed.

Get the look: Twenty-first century Victorian kitchen

Rustic pine offset by bold blue creates a striking effect.

Contemporary touches make this country kitchen so much more interesting. The knotted pine doors with their aged patina and arch-topped panels give the kitchen a nice period feel. Rather than teaming them with a bland colour, howerver, the walls have been painted in a rich, vibrant blue that really brings the room to life and balances the orange tones of the pine. The worktop uses a mix of surfaces - wood is ideal for chopping surface, and the granite-look laminate tones with the hard-wearing slate floor. A slatted rack on the wall holds attractive tins and jars of goodies. Pick the best-looking ones and keep the rest in the larder. A collection of jugs sits on the glass shelves while pans too big to fit in the cupboards find a home at the backof the worktop. Meanwhile the traditional back door has been replaced with french doors that will fill the room with light.

Kitchen Tips: Elegant in Blue and White

Create a modern classic with plain white units teamed with warm wood.

The key to the success of this look is to keep everything simple - the duck-egg blue walls and the strong blue of the plain roller blind introduce areas of colour, pale wood adds warmth without looking rustic and heavy, but it is the predominance of white that gives this kitchen freshness.

'Laid-on' doors, where the doors are over the front of the cabinet rather than set into a frame, establish the clean, modern lines of the style. To avoid looking clinical, these doors are also edged with wood veneer, which gives and interesting 'frame'. The worktop is made from solid wood, and the flooring keeps the same theme going, although it isn't actually wood at all - it's bamboo, which is a good choice for a modern kitchen as it's more resistant to humidity than wood. The rectangular white tiles forming the slashback are laid brick style - you could get a similar look by painting bare brickwork with white gloss paint.

Kitchen Tips: Fresh and Modern

The modern kitchen is designed for today's lifestyle, with clean lines to encsure that no space is wasted and easy-to-maintain surfaces. It's definitely no-frills without being in any way austere. Strong colours and warm wood are welcoming, burnished steel is stylish as well as practical and together they add up to a great place to be, whether you're cooking or chatting.
If you are a modern cook who loves to conjure up the traditional family meal at weekends but who needs good food fast for weekday suppers, this is the perfect style to choose. Your microwave won't look out of place and everything is organised to keep it all close to hand. It's an easy look to achieve, too - with basics in place, all you need are good stainless steel pans, toaster and kettle, chunky glass bowls and storage jars, plus classic white crockery.