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checekred sink skirt

Usually there’s no way of knowing where a home is located just from looking at photos. But when we see a kitchen with a sink skirt, spacious pantry, and decorative plates on the walls, we are pretty positive it’s in the English countryside. Brits seem to follow a distinct set of rules when it comes to designing a cooking space: Lemon yellow cabinets are always a good idea, pendant shades that resemble flower petals emit an ethereal light, and an aged brass faucet one-ups a high-tech touchless tap any day.

Fortunately, you don’t have to own a grand manor in Sussex or a historic cottage in the Cotswolds to bask in all the coziness. Ahead, we’re sharing six features we almost always see in our favorite English country kitchens.

An Island That Resembles Furniture

You won’t find a monolithic block of granite smack-dab in the middle of an English country kitchen. Instead these spaces often revolve around a central worktop with legs like a table. Because you can see underneath it completely, this island style can make a cramped space appear larger than it really is. And even if it is a permanent structure that’s secured to the floor, incorporating warm paneling and seating around it makes it feel more like a gathering place than an obstacle. 

A Roomy Pantry or Larder

A walk-in pantry sounds like an extravagant thing, but it’s all about practicality. Oftentimes, these areas not only serve as storage for dried goods and crockery but also include a prep station where you can cut bread or mix greens when guests are over. In many cases, they also function as a larder, meaning they are designed to stay cool so you can naturally refrigerate items like eggs and butter. 

Cushy Seating

For DeVol’s creative director, Helen Parker, the secret to a welcoming English kitchen is stealing furniture from the living room. In her Victorian home in Leicestershire, Parker put a squishy Chesterfield couch in the corner so guests can get comfortable while their host is busy.

Classic Patterns

Add stripes, checks, and gingham to your pattern wheelhouse. By introducing a traditional print on a large scale in this fairy-tale–inspired vacation rental, interior designer Emma Ainscough was able to go all in on Hansel and Gretel vibes without it feeling kitschy.

A 3D Gallery Wall

Rather than curate a gallery wall of oil paintings, Brits prefer to mount old wicker baskets and playful plates in their kitchens. In particular, this nonfunctional use of vintage dinnerware and picnic staples lends a major dose of charm to small galley kitchens. 

Pots and Pans at the Ready

The biggest indication of an English country kitchen is whether or not the space looks like it gets used. So instead of shoving your timeworn strainer in a drawer, display it on an open shelf or rail with other everyday tools. Function comes before perfection.