Anyone who’s ever spent any time in the highlands will have been struck by two things: it’s beautiful but sometimes inhospitable exteriors and its beautiful and always hospitable interiors. Warm, welcoming, cozy… visit any traditional Scottish residence, and you’re guaranteed to feel right at home. If you want to create a little of that same ambiance in your own home, it’s easy when you know a thing or two about the key elements that undercut the Scottish style. Here, we take a look at how to create your very own Scottish style kitchen. Hint… you’re going to need some tartan (the antlers you can take or leave).
Before introducing any other element into your home, make sure you get the colors on point. As the Guardian notes, Scottish designers love to bring an element of nature into their creations and nowhere is this more obvious than in their color palate. Forget about anything overly bright (or, even worse, neon), and stick to a muted color-scape that echoes the earthy tones of the great outdoors. Think of the muted greens and purples of heather strewn hills, the soft grays of a cloudy sky, and the deep blues of a bottomless loch… then find a color chart that matches and stick religiously to that. Introduce anything overly bright or tropical, and you’ll have Robbie Burns turning in his grave for days. If you really can’t resist a drop more color, try it out on some tartan tea clothes or table runners… you’ll get that splash of color you crave without killing the rest of the style in the process.
In the same way as it does with colors, Scottish homes like to draw on inspiration from nature when it comes to its furniture. Given how heavily forested Scotland is, you’ll not be surprised to learn wood ranks highly when it comes to its inhabitant’s choice of furnishings. In the kitchen, this means wooden countertops, wooden kitchen units, and wooden tables. Resist the urge to paint over them: Scottish interiors are about embracing the natural in all its raw beauty, not covering it over with a gloss of paint. If your kitchen is large enough to accommodate some comfortable seating arrangements, look for upholstered furniture with a tartan fabric: if it’s not to that scale, a small rocking chair in polished pine placed in the corner of the room will add a great Scottish flourish (you could even try draping a tartan throw over one of its arms to really up the Scottish factor) without taking up too much space.
Scottish interiors are, at heart, simple, rustic affairs: avoid introducing anything overly ornate or elaborate, and don’t feel obliged to add unnecessary bits and bobs that may look good but fail to add any practical value to the room.
When it comes to flooring, you have a few great options at your disposal. Caithness slate (a material found only in the very northern tip of Scotland) is a great natural resource that makes an excellent, durable flooring choice for your kitchen. As an added advantage, its finely ingrained, dark grey surface is the perfect complement to the other colors traditionally seen in Scottish interiors. If you can’t get your hands on any slate, a stripped wooden floor makes a great alternative: just make sure to add a few warm rugs to soften the effect… sheepskin is a traditional choice, and as an added advantage, tends to absorb any kitchen spillages without a trace.
When it comes to decorating the walls of your kitchen, Scottish interior design has a few tricks up its sleeves to add a stylish flair to any space. While the color palate of softs greys and muted neutrals can be employed to great effect, don’t feel you have to decorate all your walls in such a way. If you can handle a little drama, try making one wall a focus by adding a tartan inspired wallpaper, or using a stencil to add some interest to an otherwise plain wall.
What would a Scottish style kitchen, or indeed any Scottish inspired room, be without a few touches of tartan. While many tartans come in bold, striking colors (which, as you’d expect, play particularly well against the otherwise simple design of Scottish interiors), there are so many options available, you really have no limit when it comes to picking your personal preference. If you want to keep things muted, a few tablecloths and kitchen towels in a tartan of soft greens, greys, and creams are all you need. If you want to go all-out with the theme, kit your kitchen out with as many tartan accessories, soft furnishings, wall coverings and window dressings that you like (although avoid turning your room into a parody by keeping just this side of good taste, and sidestep any tacky decorations that serve no purpose other than adding an extra layer of tartan to proceedings).
Creating your perfect kitchen isn’t a paint by numbers kind of thing: if you want to really make your kitchen stand out, you’ll need to add a few unique touches that show off both the design style and your (obviously outstanding) personal taste. Few things are better equipped to do this than a few pieces of art. Landscapes are a big theme in Scottish design (which probably comes as no surprise, given the Scottish predilection for bringing a touch of nature into their interiors). Slightly more divisionary is the Scottish taste for animal heads… if you can bear to have a reindeer’s head glowering down at you while you cook up your lunch, go right ahead. If you’d rather not, try bringing the idea up to date with a few decorative pieces featuring antlers (and no, they don’t have to be made of the real thing- as Oka notes, some twisted wrought iron can replicate the effect delightfully, with none of the corresponding guilt).