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Embracing the Rustic Charm

June 18, 2024

Mrinmoy Dey

While there is a growing aspiration for having a modern and high-tech kitchen, on the other end of the spectrum, many cherish the allure of rustic theme. Can the fusion of the two ends offer a perfect middle ground catering to diverse tastes and preferences? Mrinmoy Dey finds out.

In Indian homes, the rustic kitchen evokes a sense of warmth, comfort, and nostalgia that transcends time and trends. It's all about keeping things simple and traditional, which makes it feel warm and comforting. India's rich culture adds even more charm to this style of kitchen. It blends old-fashioned ways with realness and usefulness, making it feel like a perfect fit in any Indian home.

Suitability of Rustic Style

Annkur Khosla, Principal Architect, Annkur Khosla Design Studio says, “Rustic is associated with villas and also with an attempt to be sustainable being associated with texture of material or availability of raw materials close by.”

Bandna Singh, Founding Partner, Positive Axis adds, “Rustic Kitchens are timeless and create a warm and welcoming aura in a home. Well-travelled people and clients who are exposed to kitchens which are used by the family extensively, are open to this style. It also relates to homes designed with a classical vocabulary, or a very earthy home.”

Talking about the clients for whom a rustic style kitchen may appeal, Rudraksh Charan, Founder & Principal Architect, 42mm Architecture states, “Rustic design trends in kitchens often appeal to clients seeking a departure from overly polished and impersonal aesthetics, favouring a more lived-in and authentic vibe.”

Hitisha Mehta, Design Director, The BNK Group adds, “Some popular rustic design trends that I've observed recently in kitchens include using natural materials like wood and stone, incorporating vintage or antique elements, and opting for a cosy, lived-in feel. This theme tends to work well for clients who appreciate a warm and inviting atmosphere, enjoy a touch of nostalgia, and prefer a more traditional or country-inspired aesthetic.”

Supraja Rao, Founder and Principal Designer, Design House shares, “The use of stone veneer or tiles in the kitchen has been one of the most popular rustic kitchen design trends in the last few years. While the finishes create a particular vibe that is preferred in a country farmhouse, even in city homes, people love to do stone tiles with less texture. I think, using a real stone, for a kitchen shutter would give the rustic vibe as well as be easy to maintain.”

“Rustic theme works for the modern contemporary kitchens also. One can get modern appliances in finishes and materials that can blend with the rustic theme. However, they may be more exorbitant on pricing.”

Annkur Khosla

Principal Architect

Annkur Khosla Design Studio

The Preferred Materials

Talking about the materials that work well for a rustic-themed kitchen, Khosla suggests, “Use brick flooring as a rustic material and revert to the age-old granite flamed finish countertops. One can also use tiles which have honed or rustic finishes for flooring.”

She further asserts that the choice of materials also depends on whether the look is bohemian rustic or rustic luxe. “Materials like brick, concrete, stone, etc comply with the first look. For the rustic luxe look, rustic metal finishes along with stones are used.”

Talking about the material palette for creating a rustic vibe, Charan shares, “Reclaimed wood in cabinets, gives a weathered appearance and adds a sense of history and character to the space. Exposed wooden beams or even leaving ceilings unfinished can enhance the rustic charm of a kitchen, giving it a cosy, cabin-like feel. Incorporating patterned tiles for backsplashes or flooring adds visual interest and texture to the space while maintaining a rustic aesthetic. Patterns inspired by traditional motifs or natural elements are particularly popular.”

He further adds that clients aiming for an authentic rustic feel often opt for vintage or vintage-inspired appliances like wood-fired ovens, retro refrigerators, or classic stoves. “These appliances contribute to the overall nostalgic ambience of the kitchen. Clients seeking a more personalised touch often incorporate handcrafted elements such as artisanal pottery, handmade tiles, or custom woodworking into their rustic kitchens. These elements contribute to the unique and authentic feel of the space.”

“We have often incorporated lights at four locations. Task lighting under overhead storage units, recessed lights in the ceiling for general brightness and ambient light, ceiling hung accent light fixtures for emphasising the rustic tone and of course, natural daylight from windows and skylights is an added bonus.”

Bandna Singh

Founding Partner

Positive Axis

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Sharing her favoured material palette for a rustic kitchen, Rao recommends, “For countertops, any natural granite works. However, I would recommend stone tops finished in a high gloss and not leather because they're prone to absorbing or leaving stains. And, the same goes for the backsplash. One can continue the granite for a particular vibe like rustic or one could also opt for smaller subway tiles. For flooring, patterned tiles, irregular tiles and interlocking tiles can enhance the rustic look.”

Incorporating natural elements such as wood, stone, and metal into a rustic kitchen design can work beautifully with the theme. “Wood can be used for cabinetry, flooring, and countertops to bring warmth and texture to the space. Stone can be used for countertops, backsplashes, or flooring to add a natural and rugged element. Metal accents like wrought iron light fixtures, copper pots, or stainless steel appliances can provide a touch of industrial charm,” suggests Mehta.

Singh suggests using white countertops in Corian or marble or rustic finished tiles with backsplash in Moroccan tiles, printed tiles, subway tiles or handmade tiles acting as a contrast. “One can use wooden floors, chequered black and white floors, printed tiles with carpet patterns or brick patterns in herringbone or basket weave tiles with thick grout. Incorporating natural elements like wood for floors, cabinets, battens or rafters in ceilings and use of matt stone brings in a rustic feel to the space. Additionally, one can opt for accessories in anodised metal like spice racks, trolleys, light fixtures, cabinet hardware and antique kitchenware for display to further accentuate the theme.”

A central kitchen island crafted from natural wood provides an additional workspace while also serving as a focal point for gatherings. Photo Courtesy: Freepik