A rustic, contemporary kitchen remodel breathes fresh life into a home while preserving its unique character. This style strikes the perfect balance between modern convenience and cozy farmhouse charm. With thoughtful design choices, you can create a space that feels both new and nostalgic.


Remodeling a kitchen to achieve a rustic contemporary style requires careful planning and design. This look skillfully blends old and new elements for a comfortable, inviting result. The goal is to incorporate modern amenities and an open layout while maintaining a sense of natural warmth. It celebrates imperfections, textures, and a simple color palette for a laid-back feel. With strategic material and finish selections, you can transform your dated or dreary kitchen into a stunning rustic contemporary space.

Defining the Rustic Contemporary Style

The Rustic Influence

The rustic aspect of this style captures the essence of farmhouse and country living. It focuses on raw, organic materials and a cozy aesthetic.

  • Natural Materials: Wood, stone, brick, and metal accents add authenticity. Weathered, repurposed, or untreated materials embody the rustic farmhouse spirit.
  • Textures: Rough wood beams, exposed stonework, distressed finishes, and textured accents add depth. Imperfections tell the story of time and use.
  • Warm Color Scheme: Earth tones like beige, brown, tan, and terracotta keep the space feeling grounded and welcoming. Soft whites and greens also fit well.
  • Timeworn Details: Exposed wood rafters, antique accents, and vintage hardware speak to the history of a home. Signs of wear only add to the charm.

The Contemporary Factor

The contemporary edge provides balance with a simplified, uncluttered look. It integrates modern appeal and functionality.

  • Clean Lines: A minimalist style is achieved by eliminating ornate trim and opting for streamlined features. This creates a fresh, open layout.
  • Updated Materials: While reclaimed wood tells a story, new wood can provide an airy contrast. Other modern materials like stone tiles, concrete, and metal create a clean look.
  • Neutral Color Scheme: Whites, grays, and black are commonly used to provide a contemporary edge. Crisp, muted hues keep the focus on materials and form.
  • Functional Layout: An efficient work triangle, open floor plan, and clean sight lines characterize the contemporary influence in this style.

Planning Your Rustic Contemporary Kitchen Remodel

Careful planning is crucial for executing a cohesive rustic contemporary design. Keep these tips in mind as you conceptualize the layout, materials, features, and other details.

Evaluate Your Existing Kitchen

Start by taking stock of what you currently have to work with. This includes the layout, cabinetry, lighting, flooring, wall finishes, and any kitchen features worth preserving. Consider the following:

  • What works well and can stay? Make note of elements like cabinet boxes that are reusable.
  • What absolutely must go? Flooring, countertops, damaged cabinets, and outdated light fixtures are common removals.
  • What needs updating? Countertops, hardware, paint colors, and backsplashes are easy upgrades.
  • Are any structural changes possible? Knocking down walls or relocating plumbing/gas lines can optimize the layout.

Gather Design Inspiration

Spend time gathering inspiration from magazines, Pinterest, Instagram, model homes, and anywhere else. Focus on figuring out the specific rustic contemporary elements you want to incorporate like:

  • Favorite cabinet styles and hardware
  • Ideal kitchen layouts with work triangles
  • Countertop and backsplash materials to emulate
  • Lighting and plumbing fixtures that achieve the look
  • Flooring colors and materials that appeal to you

Set Your Budget

Be sure to set a realistic budget before designing your dream kitchen. Get quotes for any necessary construction, moving of plumbing or gas lines, new cabinetry, countertops, appliances, lighting, flooring, and labor. Factor in at least 15% more for incidentals. Setting a budget keeps the project focused.

Hire the Right Remodeling Team

Taking on a full kitchen remodel is too big a job for DIY. A licensed general contractor experienced in kitchen renovations can make the process smooth from start to finish. Be sure to read reviews and check references before hiring. The right GC will have connections with skilled subcontractors and suppliers as well.

Achieving the Rustic Contemporary Design Aesthetic

With planning and research complete, it’s time to create your ideal rustic contemporary kitchen. Keep these elements in mind as you put together finishes, features, and decor.

Materials That Marry Rustic and Contemporary

Thoughtful material selection is what really brings this style together. Consider using:

  • Wood cabinetry with clean lines for rustic warmth
  • Quartz countertops for an updated and low-maintenance surface
  • Subway tile backsplashes for a contemporary feel with traditional character
  • Exposed ceiling beams made from reclaimed barn wood
  • Pendant lighting with industrial metal accents and filament bulbs
  • Concrete floors for an urban edge and seamless flow
  • Stainless steel appliances for a sleek, modern look

Rustic Contemporary Cabinetry

The cabinets set the tone for the whole kitchen. Consider:

  • Shaker style doors with inset panels for a classic rustic cabinet
  • Wood stains like weathered grays and natural brown hues
  • White paint for a cottage feel with contemporary appeal
  • Open shelving and glass cabinet doors for breezy display space
  • Unlacquered brass pulls and knobs for a timeworn look
  • Reclaimed wood accents on range hoods, open shelves, and baseboards

Modern Layout With Rustic Function

An efficient layout removes barriers and improves flow while allowing the space to multitask. Ideas such as:

  • Open concept with few to no upper cabinets for a sleek appearance
  • Large kitchen island for dining, prep space, and casual seating
  • Built-in banquette seating surrounding a rustic wood table
  • Custom pantry cabinets for serious storage away from main entertaining areas
  • Recessed open shelving for frequently used items instead of upper cabinets
  • Butler’s pantry for storage, cleaning supplies, and small appliances

Rustic Contemporary Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Creative backsplash choices integrate function, subtle texture, and eye-catching style:

  • White subway tile with dark grout in a herringbone pattern
  • Stacked stone tiles in earthy neutrals and sandy hues
  • Wooden planks arranged in a chevron design for dimension
  • Tin ceiling tiles with vintage character and built-in “flaws”
  • Marble or travertine in a mosaic tile design for organic interest

Stunning Fixtures and Finishing Touches

Finishing details add the final layer of rustic contemporary polish:

  • Pendant lights suspended over islands and dining areas
  • Wrought iron lanterns for a timeworn look with modern wiring
  • Galvanized metal for apron sinks, shelves, and range hoods
  • Salvaged windows flanking the sink or stove as a feature
  • Cozy textiles like linen curtains and cotton dish towels
  • Fresh greenery and succulents in galvanized planters
  • Vintage signage and collected antiques for charming accents

8 Key Planning Considerations for a Rustic Contemporary Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling a kitchen requires addressing many details. Keep these top considerations on your radar throughout the planning process:

1. Layout

Evaluate how your existing layout does or doesn’t work in terms of function, flow, and aesthetics. Decide which modifications would optimize it as a busy cooking space and casual gathering spot.

2. Storage

Deep drawers, open shelving, pantry cabinets, and other storage innovations keep items handy but out of sight for a clean look.

3. Work Triangles

The sink, stove, fridge work triangle impacts cooking efficiency. Strive for accessible counters and at least 42” between stations.

4. Lighting

Task lighting, pendants, accent lighting under cabinets and shelves, and natural light combine to create ambiance for varied activities.

5. Countertops

Durable, low-maintenance countertops like quartz withstand heavy use while contributing to the aesthetic.

6. Flooring

Big, durable tiles or wide plank floors suit the casual rustic style. Materials like concrete, wood, or porcelain are attractive options.

7. Appliances

Evaluate the efficiency, layout, and aesthetics of appliances like the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Should any be replaced or upgraded?

8. Plumbing and Electric

Consider relocating sinks, gas lines, or electrical to suit the new layout. Update wiring and plumbing while walls are open.

5 Popular Types of Cabinets for a Rustic Contemporary Kitchen

Cabinetry plays a starring role in realizing your vision. Consider these rustic contemporary style options:

1. Shaker Style Cabinets

  • Signature square inset panels and rail frames
  • Clean lines with subtle rustic flair
  • Often combined with exposed outside hinges

2. Frameless Cabinets

  • Sleek, contemporary style with full overlay doors
  • Concealed hinges and minimal trim pieces
  • Achieves a streamlined, built-in look

3. Textured Wood Cabinets

  • Materials like oak, cedar, or pine with visible wood grain
  • Wire brushing or chiseling adds dimension
  • Fits beautifully with exposed beams

4. White Painted Cabinets

  • Crisp farmhouse style lightens up the space
  • Shaker style doors or recessed panels work well
  • Pair with natural wood accents and black hardware

5. Open Shelving

  • Airy, casual way to display cookware and ingredients
  • Doubles as attractive accent shelving
  • Perfect for smaller items, not heavy dish storage

6 Tips for Selecting Timeless Countertops

Choosing countertops is exciting but requires careful thought. Consider:

1. Durability

Opt for highly durable, low-maintenance materials like quartz, granite, or solid surface.

2. Ease of Cleaning

Non-porous countertops that resist stains, crumbs, and spills simplify cleaning.

3. Functionality

Select appropriate thicknesses based on use as prep space, eating area, or support for appliances.

4. Style

Match your countertops to the rustic contemporary look with materials like concrete, butcher block, or soapstone.

5. Edge Profiles

Square, rounded, or beveled edges impact aesthetics and ease of cleaning.

6. Installing Multiple Materials

Use quartz for heavy prep areas and concrete, metal, or wood for accent islands or built-in dining.

Choosing Flooring That Can Stand the Test of Time

Kitchen flooring endures heavy traffic and potential spills. Ensure your new floors pass the test of time with these tips:

  • Opt for large, durable tiles with textured surfaces for grip. Popular options include slate, travertine, and textured porcelain.
  • Wide plank floors made of oak, walnut, or pine make a beautiful rustic contemporary choice. Opt for engineered hardwood for added moisture resistance.
  • Concrete flooring offers great durability, especially when sealed and protected by rugs. Staining or etching the concrete adds dimension.
  • For a truly timeless look, choose natural stone like marble, bluestone, or limestone. Be aware that it requires resealing.
  • Avoid small, intricate patterns which show dirt and wear quickly. Instead choose materials and patterns that gracefully age.
  • Incorporate rugs, mats, and anti-fatigue mats in key areas for ergonomics, sound dampening, and warmth underfoot.

Expert Tips for Updating Kitchen Lighting

Great lighting transforms how a kitchen looks and functions. Follow these expert tips:

  • Increase wattage in existing fixtures to at least 75-100 watts for sufficient light.
  • Layer lighting elements for ambiance and task lighting with pendants, accent, and under cabinet fixtures.
  • Incorporate LED lighting for energy efficiency and clean, bright light. Dimmers help control brightness.
  • Add windows or skylights to draw in natural light and views. Strategic placement prevents glare.
  • Choose fixture finishes like brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, or aging brass that have timeworn appeal.
  • Position pendants thoughtfully over islands and sinks, allowing proper clearance.
  • Hide unsightly recessed can lights behind beams or cove lighting for uninterrupted ceiling appeal.
  • Install lighting controls like smart panels, switches, or voice assistants for one-touch control.

8 Inspiring Rustic Contemporary Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Creative backsplash design is a chance to integrate amazing textures and patterns. Consider these rustic contemporary options:

  1. White subway tiles in an offset brick pattern
  2. Natural stone slabs in layered earth tones
  3. Weathered reclaimed wood planks
  4. Rustic tin tiles or embossed tin panels
  5. Brick veneer tiles or faux brick panels
  6. Stenciled patterns on tile or tutorials
  7. Clear glass tiles with natural stone inserts
  8. Wood-look porcelain planks with modern shape and tone

When selecting backsplash materials limit yourself to just 2-3 complementary textures, tones, and patterns. This helps the space feel curated rather than busy or overwhelming. Leave negative space between materials to keep the look feeling contemporary.

How to Make Cabinet Hardware the Focal Point

Like jewelry for your cabinets, hardware makes a statement. Try these strategies:

  • Opt for oversized hardware in matte black or brass for high impact.
  • Choose hardware with rustic character like galvanized metal, rope knobs, or leather pulls.
  • Select hardware that contrasts with cabinets for emphasis, like brass on white cabinets.
  • Use different but coordinating hardware on upper and lower cabinets for interest.
  • Incorporate handmade ceramic knobs and pulls for an artisanal accent.
  • Install open shelves without hardware for a streamlined look.
  • Accent furniture-look pieces like islands with eye-catching corbel details.
  • Display frequently used pans and utensils from ceiling mounted racks.

Let your hardware tell a story and reflect the rustic contemporary aesthetic you love.

Designing an Efficient Kitchen Layout

A kitchen layout directs the rhythm of your space. Keep these layout tips in mind:

  • Limit upper cabinets for a clean, contemporary look. Use thick open shelves instead.
  • Ensure at least 42” between counters and appliances for spacious work aisles.
  • Position the refrigerator near the prep area for efficient movement between stations.
  • Place the stove on an island or peninsula for safe separation from traffic paths.
  • Include a beverage center, desk area, or homework station to extend functionality.
  • Incorporate corner cabinet optimizations like blind corners and lazy susans.
  • Allow room for sentimental clutter like framed photos, cookbooks, and unique collections.
  • Keep cleaning supplies organized but out of sight in a pantry, closet, or built-in cabinet.

Thoughtful kitchen layout enhances both form and function for the heart of your home.

Common Materials to Avoid and Embrace in a Rustic Contemporary Kitchen

While remodeling, strategically avoid and embrace materials as follows:


  • Dated oak cabinets with ornate trim
  • Flimsy plastic laminate countertops
  • Small chaotic floor tiles prone to grime
  • Thin vinyl flooring that shows wear
  • Elaborate moldings and medallions
  • Crooked “old” finishes that feel forced


  • Wood cabinets with clean lines
  • Durable natural stone or quartz counters
  • Wide plank floors that age gracefully
  • Exposed beams and architectural accents
  • Vintage accents with authentic worn patina
  • Imperfections that naturally occur over time

Carefully curating finishes allows the rustic contemporary look to feel comfortable, nuanced, and authentic.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rustic Contemporary Kitchen Remodels

What are the standard kitchen remodel costs?

According to the 2021 Remodeling Impact Report, the national average for a major kitchen remodel is around $66,000. High end remodels range from $125,000-150,000.

What elements bump up costs?

Structural changes, high end finishes like granite and marble, extensive cabinetry, new top of the line appliances and lighting, and extensive relocation of plumbing or electrical.

What factors create budget-friendly remodels?

Refinishing existing cabinet boxes, using IKEA systems, sticking with a simple layout, and focusing on 3-4 high impact finishes like countertops and backsplash tile.

How do I avoid going over budget?

Build in contingencies, limit changes mid-project, comparison shop for materials and labor, use budget-friendly DIY touches like new paint and shelf styling.

How long does a kitchen remodel take from start to finish?

Kitchen remodels typically take 4-8 weeks from demolition to a final walk through. More complex projects with structural changes can take 10-12 weeks.

What are tips for living through the remodel?

Plan for appliance storage, establish a temporary kitchen, set expectations with contractors for clean up, stick to normal routines as much as possible, and communicate clearly.

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