Three Slightly Rustic Kitchen Remodeling Ideas — Quick & Easy

I’m a fan of rustic… to a point. Unless we’re talking log cabin, I like things to look finished. I also love color and bright spaces, which don’t usually go hand-in-hand with rustic.

To me, rustic design elements are a lot like spices in a good recipe. Too little and you’re leaving good taste on the table. Too much and you’ve ruined it. Just enough is perfect.

I found these three kitchens that include rustic elements that are just right.

Concrete Counters Pretending to Be Wood

concrete counters made to look like wood, cool

I love concrete counters (see more concrete counters here).

I also love wooden counter surfaces too. I actually prefer the look of wood in most cases but it is notorious for being high-maintenance and low durabiltiy, so it’s not something I recommend in most cases.

Concrete, on the othe hand makes for a super durable counter, but getting it to look really great in any color other than natural grey isn’t easy and usually requires a pro. But concrete lasts forever and is impervious to water and most other spills when sealed properly.

The counter above is concrete expertly finished to look like wood. Check out the details..

  • Color variation in the wood grain
  • Faux “planks” created by scoring the surface
  • The appearance of real joinery by creating the look of wooden dovetails
  • Knots and divots in the “wood” to make it look rustic and worn

This job was really expertly done by a NJ company, JM Lifestyles, whose work looks fantastic and very creative.

Real Reclaimed Wood in a Wasted Corner

a little reclaimed wood, some cool hardware, a tablesaw, and voila

This little bowl storage, library, kitchen-ish space features a cabinet made from reclaimed wood and some cool iron hardware. A cabinet like this wouldn’t cost much from a custom cabinet shop or a good handyman. It’s also a great DIY project for those of you that channel Norm Abrams and own a good tablesaw!

You can find this amount of reclaimed wood pretty easily if you look around. Old furniture would be a great source, as wood a remodeling job in an old house. It’s also possible to faux this whole thing up. :-)

You can get hardware like this at, here.

Details that make this look great:

  • The drawers go in flush with the front of the frame and shelves. This looks especially good on the upper unit. It also makes that upper two-shelf/two-drawer unit pretty easy to make.
  • Having a colored wall behind the shelves and cabinet keeps the whole thing from being dark, which would happen if you covered the wall with wood. I’d probably go even more colorful for a greater contraast.
  • Unrelated but really cool… see the v-joint tounge-and-groove siding on the inside of the window jamb. (more v-joint ideas here)

Shabby Chic Faux Wood Island

A little bit of paint can make brand new lumber look old

This shabby chic kitchen makes use of a great idea for wrapping your island or the back of your high-bar (which is right now just boring drywall, right?).

This gives the space so much character without even adding a hint of darkness to the very bright and inviting space. Believe it or not, getting this look is a weekend project.

You can go out to your local lumber supplier right now and buy some pine 1×8’s or 1×6’s (either would work… I think the picture shows 1×8). Making it look like this is easy as pie.

Buy a can of white paint and rub it on the wood. Let it sit for a little bit, but not dry. Then wipe it off. Some will stick to the softer grain. Some will come off. Keep doing this until it looks the way you want it. Then take some sandpaper and rough it up a little (after it dries) until it’s perfect.

Then just nail it on (a little glue would be good too), and cut some trim out of the same material. Easy job, great look. The marble counter is another story. (more marble counters here)

Just a Pinch of Rustic

So there you have it. Three ways to add just the right touch of rustic to create a kitchen that feels warm and lived-in, without going all log-cabiny in the process.

Which one is your favorite?


  1. Franki Parde says

    That concrete counter is “frickin unbelievable!!” Since we DO live in a log cabin….these examples get my juices flowing. The kitchen is the next big project (just finished the boathouse!) See the priorities here?!? :) franki

  2. says

    Franki – It sounds like your priorities are right on target, so long as there is a grill out by the boat house (and maybe a little fridge too!) I hope it didn’t sound like I don’t love log cabins… who doesn’t!?

    Dianne – I really thought that looked great too. It’s easy, go for it!

    Thanks to both of you for your comments… I’ve been in no-bloggy mode for awhile and I always worry I’ll be alone when I get back! So your thoughts are very appreciated.


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