Our Barn Conversion Kitchen Design Tips, What We Learnt


When we bought our barn conversion, the first big job we wanted to do was to change the ’80s lounge into a modern family kitchen; for us, as a family, this is where we spend most of our time. We always cook from scratch and love entertaining, so having a large entertaining space was important.

During the design journey of our DIY barn conversion kitchen, we wanted to reintroduce a little rustic charm our home was missing. But wanted this to meet modern functionality with a contemporary edge. We bought the kitchen from DIY Kitchens and thoroughly recommend them; the quality is fantastic.

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In this guide, we’ll delve into the tips we picked up when planning the interior design of our barn kitchen.  Tips and accents that helped us capture the essence of a rustic look with a contemporary edge but also cater to the demands of modern family living. From the choice of materials to the strategic play of lighting, each element contributed to us creating a kitchen that is not just a place to cook but a family haven where memories are made.

Top Tips for planning a barn renovation kitchen

Tried and Tested Tips for Designing a Barn Conversion Kitchen

Modern Or Rustic Barn Conversion Kitchen Design?

This is a personal choice; we opted for a rustic design, which we are thrilled with. However, an ultra-modern design would have looked equally amazing. This is all down to personal taste. We wanted a shaker-style kitchen, and it works in our space. 

Embrace Rustic Materials

Use natural materials and original features like reclaimed wood or natural stone for the flooring; a hardwearing floor is essential in the countryside. We didn’t want to worry about visitors having to take their shoes off when they visited, so we opted for a stone floor right through the downstairs of the barn.

Transforming Our Home with DIY Kitchens A Comprehensive Review

Also, consider keeping exposed brick or stone walls for an authentic barn feel; if you have natural materials, use them. We had two stone pillars jutting into the room, which caused some design headaches. However, they look incredible now the kitchen is complete.

We also reused the old stone hearth to line the window seat; it’s still a comfy place to sit as we have filled it with comfy cushions and a throw. Plus, it looks so much better than the old, dated cushion. 

Kitchen Reading Nook

Go For Bold Heating Solutions

We chose not to add a log burner as we cook a lot, but wanted to have a heat source that fit the room. After much thought, we invested in cast iron radiators to give the room a rustic feel that fit the barn but in a bronze, shade to add another natural texture to the room.

Radiators in a barn conversion kitchen

Open Shelving

Fit open shelves made from reclaimed wood and metal brackets for a practical and rustic storage solution. Display vintage or farm-style kitchenware or a shelf herb garden to enhance the barn ambience and make it a functional cooking space.

We decided to opt for shelves on the walls with no high cupboards, apart from one larder. We wanted the kitchen to feel airy but also look rustic. 

Our Barn Conversion Kitchen Design Journey, What We Learnt

Farmhouse Sink

Choose a large farmhouse sink as a focal point. It adds functionality and fits well with the rustic theme. Belfast sinks are also great for washing everything; it’s also a great idea to buy a liner to protect the bottom from scratches. 

Our Barn Conversion Kitchen

If You Have Space, Go For An Island With Lots of Seating 

This was the whole focus of our kitchen layout. We wanted somewhere to congregate, chill, entertain and cook. But also wanted lots of cupboard space! The final island has an oversized breakfast bar that seats eight as an alternative to a dining area. We purchased comfy chairs so that it’s a comfortable place to sit for long periods of time. 

The cupboards underneath are in an L-shaped formation, allowing everyone seated to have ample space and leg room; it was important to us that this was a spacious, comfortable seating area. This took a lot of planning, but we have achieved a space that does it all. 

Barn Lighting

Install pendant lights with a rustic or industrial design over the kitchen island or dining area; we chose oversized contemporary lights with a rustic feel to become a feature of the whole kitchen.

This was also combined with recess spotlights around the cooking area and counters to create light when cooking. Thus, we are able to set different levels of ambience depending on the mood and occasion. 

Also, consider decorating open oak shelves with fairy lights to add warmth; this is especially effective in a large barn kitchen. 

Large kitchen island

Go For Solid Wood Doors

Opt for wooden cabinet doors; although there are some great wood effect doors available, keeping with quality materials makes a difference in the feel of the final kitchen renovation. We chose a combination of neutrals and bold statement cupboard colours, opting for cashmere and carbon as design elements to create a contrast and fit with the natural stone.

Consider open cabinets with baskets or chicken wire inserts for a farmhouse look. Also, look for space-saving solutions for closed cupboards, such as carousels for tin and packets. Additionally, deep drawers with baskets inside create a lot of storage space for dinner services and pans.

Mix Materials For The Worktops

We had marble worktops in our last kitchen, which we loved; however, we always felt the island felt a little cold. This time, we opted for white granite around the edges with a slight glittery sparkle; the white complements the cashmere and provides the perfect cooking area. 

But we used oak on the island to make it a warm, comfortable place to sit. I was a little sceptical about this, but I love the contrast between the surfaces it works really well. 

Transforming Our Home with DIY Kitchens A Comprehensive Review

Combine Vintage And Contemporary Appliances

Look for vintage-style appliances such as range cookers with a matte finish to complement the rustic theme, combining them with an industrial, oversized cooker hood in steel to blend the old and new and avoid an outdated look. An American fridge freezer and wine fridge will add extra storage, keeping to either mat or steel to keep the synergy between old and new.

Consider The Colour Palette Carefully

Don’t go for outlandish, bright fashion statements unless you can live with them long-term. Kitchens are a huge investment; you need it to stand the test of time. This will ensure the space always looks fresh. Our cashmere and carbon units bring out the colour of the stone floor and walls but still feel natural. Consider adding pops of colour with accessories like colourful kitchen utensils or pottery.

Diy kitchen review

Natural Light

Maximise natural light by avoiding heavy blinds or curtains. We are only overlooked from one window. So installed wooden shutter blinds to let in light but obscure the view into the kitchen. 

The two biggest windows have open views of a field with little or no footfall. Therefore, we decided not to obscure the views with blinds; we had great-quality windows and doors fitted with thermal qualities in the glass, which kept out the cold but allowed us to enjoy the view. 

Also, consider the effect natural light has on the room. We wanted a carbon wall to match the units. However, after trying many grey paints that all looked blue, I visited a local paint shop who helped me find the perfect shade of grey with no blue pigment in the mix. They explained that because of the light and natural stone in the room, the paint was throwing out blue shades.

Tips for renovating a barn kitchen

Loving Life In Our New Kitchen

Our commitment to preserving the authenticity of the space while incorporating modern conveniences, resulted in a kitchen that not only serves as a functional hub but has also resulted in an inviting space. Whether converting a barn or renovating any space, the key lies in finding that delicate balance between preserving the past and embracing the future.

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