Capturing this cozy look comes easy with these charming decorating ideas.
Come Home to Cottage Kitchen Style
Credit: Jean Allsopp / Styling:  Lisa Powell Bailey

Some people start with shiny, state-of-the-art appliances. But for Jeff and Sally Threlkeld, their kitchen upgrade was all about coming home to cottage style. They got the look they love with great colors, fabrics, and quality furniture. Take a peek at their new cooking quarters, and let their ideas inspire you.

Less Cabinets, More Furniture
To give the kitchen an open feel, upper cabinets are limited to the area around the sink. A black hutch fits into a nook for a built-in appearance. Gathered fabric hangs inside the glass doors, hiding kitchen equipment.

Sally insisted on finding an old piece of furniture for her kitchen island. Something too new would spoil the cottage effect. On the hunt for the perfect antique, she found a weathered white island with a solid wooden top. With two drawers and an open area below, it increases the room's storage. A red-and-yellow check curtain conceals pots and pans.

Accent on Vintage
Sally knew she didn't want anything too shiny or bright. To keep things warm and cozy, the cabinets are painted slate green and topped with a black glaze for an aged look. The black granite countertops feature a honed finish, a process that eliminates the sheen on the surface. Fabrics with a vintage appearance soften the space and contribute to the homey feel of the room. Sally mixed patterns but stayed in the same color family for a pulled-together look.

Done-in-a-Day Decorating Ideas
Try these no handyman required ideas to up the cute factor in your cooking space.

  • Pull in cottage-style fabric. A Roman shade or tablecloth is all it takes. Pick up one in a floral, check, or toile pattern.
  • Display plates on a shelf above a window or doorway, or hang three in a vertical row, from smallest to largest at the top.
  • Nothing says cottage charm like a pitcher of fresh-cut flowers. Keep the arrangement full, with blooms right at the rim.
  • Mix wood tones. A combination of white distressed, stained, and butcher block will help your kitchen look as if it were put together after many trips to a flea market. Paint or stain wooden chairs or barstools.

Comfort With Color
Buttery-beige walls are a nice complement to the cabinets. Because the color palette is kept soft and neutral, nothing really stands out and everything blends in harmony. Brighter hues are added through the cheery yellow-and-red window treatments above the sink. These were hand-me-downs from the previous kitchen.

Attention to Details
You can't just hit one store and buy cottage style. Your room should look as if it evolved over time, achieved after years of shopping at flea markets and antiques shops. An arrangement of small plates, baskets, or pretty tole trays adds that special touch. It's all about having a collected look--nothing matchy-matchy.

Pages 98-99: Interior design by Celia McGarrity; architecture by Dave Reese; builder was Bill Meadows; cabinets by Ferrell Key.

This article is from the November 2005 issue of Southern Living.