A rustic aesthetic can go one of two ways: charming antique fixtures and subdued colors that make you feel like you’ve intruded on the chicest Airbnb in Provence or early-2000s “Tuscan-inspired” nightmare, replete with bronze finishes and way too much brown. We’re here to ensure that your foray into the design style leans toward the former option, and it’s all down to picking the proper rustic kitchen cabinets. 

Choosing a solid base sets the tone for the whole room—and makes your life easier when it comes time to select accents. (Do you go warm-toned and cozy or something more neutral?) These five spaces show us how to do rustic right

The One-Tone Wonder

Photography by Aaron Bengochea

The space: An earthy home nestled near Las Vegas and full of organic, sustainable materials, including in the kitchen. Hardware- and molding-less, the glazed maple cabinetry looks surprisingly polished. Most important, it’s definitely not one-note. 

The styling trick: While the cupboards and backsplash are covered in the same material, visual intrigue comes in via the blue-stained island. Follow suit with a vintage china cupboard or even a nearby bar cart in a bright hue. 

The shoppable version: These sleek doors may look like real wood, but they’re actually melamine. (This means less maintenance down the line.)

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Impression Tahoe Fronts, Semihandmade (Price upon request)
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The Unexpected Contrast

The space: DeVol Kitchens’s 18th-century London showroom, where mottled metal and tinted beachwood cabinet fronts bring modern flair to the historic architecture.

The styling trick: The built-ins don’t get all the glory; the hand-aged copper counter almost steals the show. That patina, coupled with the blue-gray shiplap, makes for quite the charming vignette. 

The shoppable version: You’ll have to source your own countertops to replicate this space, but these deep gray base cabinets (an exact match!) will get you going.

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Single Door Base Cabinet, DeVol ($1160)
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The Stand-Alone Star

The space: An 18th-century farmhouse belonging to none other than the founders of Hawkins New York. 

The styling trick: If you don’t want to install rustic kitchen cabinets, you don’t have to. All it takes is a trip to your local antiques store to find a console for extra prep space and a hint of that homespun style. A stretch of shelves (the Hawkins duo made these themselves, from salvaged floorboards) only adds to the effect.

The shoppable version: Not everyone has access to a vintage market; this brand-new weathered gray sideboard makes a convincing dupe. 

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Terrace Sideboard, Burke Decor ($1758)
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The Textured Twist

The space: Another kitchen by DeVol, inspired by an old haberdashery. Stunning tambour cupboard fronts are set against a limewash charcoal-colored wall, making a strong case for ditching the all-white look for lots of dramatic texture. 

The styling trick: Mix and match your storage to keep your rustic kitchen cabinets from overwhelming your space. Here, glass-front cupboards and open shelving break things up.

The shoppable version: Start with the closed base cabinets to hide your bulkier cooking equipment—save the visible shelves for your trendiest dinnerware

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Tambour Doors, DeVol (Price upon request)
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The Bright Oasis

Photography by Sara Tramp for Emily Henderson Design

The space: Emily Henderson’s mountain house, proof that rustic doesn’t have to mean dark. We love the unfinished wood and clean white backdrop, which lend a breezy feel.  

The styling trick: When working with big swaths of raw materials, elevate them with contrast—in this case, the sleek black metal hardware.  

The shoppable version: Don’t sleep on IKEA’s kitchenware section; you can personalize its inexpensive fronts basically any way you want. However, we would leave these as is to really make the most of the natural grain coming through. 

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Sektion Base Cabinet, Ikea ($501)
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See more kitchen design ideas: Vinyl Flooring Is Cooler Than We Remember 11 Shaker Cabinets That Live Up to Their No-Fuss Name Why Settle for Boring Kitchen Countertops When These Colorful Versions Exist?