The 7 Most Important Features of Log Home Kitchens

Rustic kitchen design, while similar in many ways to conventional kitchen design, requires a bit more imagination and creativity.

Address the 7 most important features of a rustic log kitchen, and your new log home kitchen will be a dream kitchen, with everything you need and want!

Log home kitchens, just like the kitchens of yesteryear, are the heart of the home. And they are also the center of entertainment. Have you ever entertained without serving food?

Because of the open floor design of most log and timber homes, the kitchen is visible to family and friends, from other rooms or sitting areas.

Kitchen that is open to the great room for entertainment
The open floor plan of this log home invites interaction with the cook. Food preparers can still be part of the conversation in the Great Room sitting area, and they are part of the fun!

The 7 Rustic Kitchen Design Elements

When planning your rustic kitchen, keep these important areas in mind:

#1 Logs or No Logs – Logs are both decorative and functional. But they can also get in the way. For example, while it is possible to install straight back cabinets to a bumpy log wall, it is more challenging and will take more time.

On the other hand, decorative log beams and posts can enhance the look of your rustic kitchen. And log or timber posts can actually help define the boundaries of your kitchen area.

If you decide to include logs in your rustic kitchen design, consider using painted cabinets or light and dark woods to provide a contrast with the wood of your logs or timber beams.

Log home kitchen island made of logs
Logs can be incorporated into a log home in a number of ways. This clever design includes logs in the island. The hanging lights over the island provide light for work and dining, and the indirect lighting above the window, is a pretty backdrop for the decorative metal art above the window.

#2 Log Home Lighting – Wood, whether logs, timbers or tongue and groove boards, absorbs light. For many homeowners who build a log home, this is a surprise.

You dream for months (or years) of your beautiful log home—only to discover that it’s dark in your kitchen after sundown.

Plan ahead, and your home will be light and cheery—any time of the day. So how do you do that? Natural lighting will give you lots of light during daylight hours, if you make sure to install a large window or skylight in your kitchen area.

Natural light in a rustic kitchen
This pretty curved window brings natural lighting into the kitchen. Consider how windows will affect your rustic kitchen design.

Task lighting, or lights that are place in work or dining areas can give you needed lighting after dark. For general lighting, consider overhead lights in the center of your kitchen, if your ceiling is lower than a cathedral ceiling.

Lights placed under the cabinets (or over them) lend a nice ambiance when you are entertaining, and they help to brighten the kitchen area.

In addition, you can lighten and brighten your kitchen with a tile backsplash, a light colored tile floor or a drywall ceiling painted white.

log home lighting in kitchen
This timber frame kitchen was thoughtfully planned. Note the lighting over the island sitting area, over the sink area, the built-in general fluorescent lighting above, the task lighting in the stove alcove and the lights under the cabinets, illuminating the dark granite counters.

#3 Rustic Kitchen Design Layout – Since most log or timber homes have an open floor plan, you will need to design your kitchen with this in mind. Your kitchen will be front and center, so your kitchen design will affect how your kitchen is used–for entertaining or strictly for cooking.And the kitchen layout will also help define where your kitchen begins and ends.

log home kitchen design that is too open
A rustic kitchen design can be too open. In this log home, you get an uneasy feeling, not knowing where the boundaries are. The kitchen area needs to be grounded and defined. You could improve this kitchen by using tile to define the floor space, and using posts to subtly define the kitchen area.

An island or counter can help define your kitchen, give you extra work space (or eating space) and also provide additional storage, if you use cabinets for the base. Islands or counters with bar stools, invite guests to sit and talk with the cook, while he is working in the kitchen.

#4 Kitchen Storage – One of the classic issues when you plan your rustic kitchen design, is where to store everything. It is hard to visualize all the many kitchen things you’ll need to store. But it is important to make a list, and decide exactly how you will store everything.

log home kitchen storage
Storage is at a premium in a rustic kitchen design. Plan to use every available space for storing kitchen items and food. In an open floor plan, you can use both sides of a counter or island for storage, if you use 42″ high cabinets as the base.

A pantry is a dream come true, if you can figure out where it would fit—and if you have the space. But, there are other ways to increase your storage space. Consider building a counter or an island, using 42” tall kitchen cabinets. Your builder can top it with a pretty stone or faux stone counter.

Pots can be stored in large drawers, or consider a pretty and decorative pot rack that hangs over the stove or an island.

Open shelves are less expensive than cabinets with doors. And they make it very easy for guests to help with setting the table, serving food, etc.

This rustic kitchen design has some good storage ideas. A pot rack over an island is decorative, as well as functional. It lends an informal tone to the kitchen, as do the open shelves that house dinnerware and serving dishes. How would you like to sit in one of these tractor seat bar stools?

#5 Plumbing and Electrical – I’m not suggesting that you need to do the blueprints for the plumbing and electrical plans for your home. However, it is important that you know where you want sinks (Do you want an extra one in your island?), windows, appliances, etc. Pipes and wires are run before cabinets and appliances are installed. If you know exactly what you want, installation of plumbing and electrical features will go smoothly and take less time.

#6 The Cozy Factor – One of the reasons that we all love log homes is that they are so cozy and romantic! But, they don’t get that way without a little help. Wood and stone are hard surfaces, often with severe angles.

And tall cathedral ceilings, while they give you the feeling of spaciousness and grandeur, don’t give you the feeling of intimacy and coziness.

So what can you do to make your kitchen a gathering area, feel intimate and inviting? Varying the height of ceilings gives the area with the lower ceiling a feeling of coziness and safety. And providing bar stools for dining counters or an island, invites others to join the cook.

Cozy kitchen island in log home
Under the counter lighting, a lower log ceiling and a sitting area for casual dining, help make this little kitchen a cozy one. The softness of the curtains (to the right of the kitchen) add to the feeling of privacy and intimacy, even though the floor plan is open.

#7 Add a Touch of Fun – This is the kitchen that you have dreamed about for a long time. And, while it is true that decorating your kitchen will give it your personality, you will still need to consider adding some permanent fun features and color to your kitchen, and you will increase the enjoyment of spending time there.

One way to add color is to use molded cement counter-tops, in a more artistic approach. Cement counter-tops can be colored to match or contrast with other colors in your rustic kitchen design.

To go with your rustic kitchen cabinets, consider using natural materials like granite, tile or marble countertops. Kitchens are meant to be pretty, and they are not just for cooking anymore!

Don’t Delay Your Rustic Kitchen Design Planning

Many rustic kitchen design ideas, like rustic kitchen cabinets, rustic ceiling fans, log home lighting, and rustic cabinet hardware, require installation by the builder.

So, if you do your homework, your log or timber home kitchen will come together painlessly. And it will insure that the building process will go smoothly, you won’t have any unhappy surprises, and your home will be finished in a minimum of time, without costly delays.

Creating a country kitchen in a log home or timber frame home is more complicated than just buying a couple of throw rugs and kitchen towels.

But, when completed, your rustic kitchen will have the features that you want—and it will be consistent with the rest of your rustic home or lodge.