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What makes a kitchen Tuscan style?

Tuscan style kitchens are known for their charming old-world aesthetic that brings the warmth and beauty of Italian countryside into the home. This decorative style features earthy colors, natural materials, and rustic textures that come together to create a cozy and inviting space. Keep reading to learn all about the key elements that define the look of a Tuscan kitchen.

Use of Natural Stone and Terracotta

One of the most distinctive aspects of Tuscan style is the abundant use of natural stone and terracotta. Both of these materials have an organic, raw texture that adds to the rustic appeal. Stone surfaces like marble, travertine, and limestone are commonly used for countertops, backsplashes, and flooring in a Tuscan kitchen. Terracotta is popular for floor and wall tiles, pots, and decorative accents. The earthy reds, tans, and browns found in natural stone and terracotta perfectly align with the color palette of a Tuscan kitchen.


For countertops, marble is the quintessential Tuscan stone. Its elegance and veining provide visual interest. Other suitable stones include travertine, limestone, and granite in subdued beige, tan, or brown hues.


The backsplash is a great spot to incorporate patterned stone mosaic tiles in terracotta, brick, and earth tones. Travertine subway tiles also work well here. For a less costly option, use travertine or terracotta tiles on the backsplash and marble laminate for the countertops.


Large slate or travertine tiles make an attractive Tuscan flooring choice. Terracotta tiles laid in a herringbone pattern provide another classic option. For a more rustic look, use a mix of polished and honed stones. Ensure the tones connect to the overall color scheme.

Warm, Earthy Color Palette

The colors used in a Tuscan kitchen are heavily influenced by the natural hues found in the Italian countryside. Earthy terracotta, warm yellow ochre, deep red, green, andnature-inspired tones create a cohesive palette. Avoid cool colors like grays and blues, which don’t fit the Tuscan aesthetic. Instead stick to various shades of:

  • Terracotta
  • Yellow ochre
  • Red
  • Green
  • Ivory
  • Brown
  • Gold

When selecting paint colors, look for tones inspired by Tuscany’s landscape. For example, terracotta mimics clay roof tiles, warm yellow ochre reflects golden rolling hills, and earthy green connects to vineyards and olive groves.

Rustic Beams

Exposed wood beams are an essential element that adds character and charm to a Tuscan kitchen. Wood rafters crossing the ceiling create visual interest and a feeling of being outdoors. For an authentic look, use large hand-hewn beams stained in a natural wood tone. Distressing the wood adds to the rustic vibe.

If your home doesn’t have an exposed structure to work with, you can add faux beams made from wood planks. Place them strategically over the kitchen island or sink to bring in that Tuscan style.

Arched Architecture

Arches are a hallmark of Italian architecture and an important feature of Tuscan style. The arched shape lends old-world charm and elegance to kitchen doorways and windows. For a Tuscan-inspired look, use brick or stone to create arched niches, alcoves, or entryways in the kitchen. Arched detailing over cabinetry and range hoods also fits the aesthetic.

Arched Windows and Doors

Frame kitchen windows and doors with architectural arched molding. For added flair, include an arched transom window above the main window. Distressed solid wood doors with iron bolt locks also help achieve the Tuscan look.

Arched Niches and Alcoves

Niches and alcoves with arched tops provide pretty display areas for treasured wares and accent lighting. Built from stone or brick, they make charming additions to a Tuscan kitchen. Place them around the periphery or use one to house the cooking range or wine storage.

Wrought Iron Accents

Incorporating wrought iron design elements enhances the old-world Tuscan style. Iron fixtures and accents add lovely visual weight and texture. Plus, iron’s dark color pops against natural stone backdrops. Use it strategically throughout the kitchen with accents like:

  • Wrought iron light fixtures
  • Decorative pot racks
  • Window railings
  • Knobs and handles
  • Chair or barstool frames

For a cohesive look, opt for wrought iron accents with graceful curves and ornamental scrollwork.

Rustic Wood Cabinets

The cabinetry plays an important role in creating a Tuscan kitchen motif. Stick to cabinet styles that align with the overall rustic aesthetic. Options include:

  • Distressed cabinets with visible wood grains
  • cabinets with a worn, weathered finish
  • Knotty alder cabinets with an irregular wood pattern
  • Unstained wood cabinets to show the natural tone

For door fronts, use reclaimed wood panels or wrought iron grilles for an authentic style. Skip modern features like high-gloss lacquer and sleek handles.

Traditional Kitchen Island

A kitchen island anchors the space and provides additional storage and counter space. Select substantial island designs featuring:

  • A thick countertop made of wood, marble, or travertine
  • A distressed wood plank base
  • Cabinets with arched iron grilles or wood doors
  • An overhang for casual dining
  • A built-in prep sink

The island’s size and layout impacts the overall flow and functionality. Allow enough room around it for traffic routes and pulling out chairs. Position it close enough to chat with someone cooking but not crowding the work area.

White Distressed Hood

For the range hood, steer clear of modern stainless steel. Instead, opt for a substantial distressed white iron hood. The light color helps it stand out against the wood cabinetry while the visible wear adds character. Other features that enhance the Tuscan look include exposed chimneys and decorative tile accents.

Pots and Pans Display

Show off beautiful pots, pans, and ceramic wares by mounting them on the wall for decor. This ties into the Tuscan practice of proudly displaying copper pots and handcrafted ceramics. Hang them from pot racks, wall-mounted utensil rails, or simple floating shelves. Arrange by color, shape, or material for the best visual impact.

Textured Ceramics and Pottery

The craftsmanship of Italian ceramics shines through in a Tuscan kitchen. Introduce handmade clay pots, pitchers, bowls, and olive oil cruets. Display them in open cabinets or shelving using decorative brackets. Terracotta, earthenware, and ceramic pizza stones suit the style. Work one statement piece into the design as a focal point.

Wine Storage

No Tuscan kitchen is complete without proper wine storage. This might be a wine rack, full-size wine fridge, or temperature-controlled wine cabinet. Include it near the dining area for convenient access. For smaller collections, open wine rack shelving lets you display the bottles. Any wine storage should keep light exposure to a minimum.


Tuscan kitchens beautifully incorporate natural materials, warm colors, and old-world charm. Rustic wood, stone surfaces, arched details, iron accents, and terra cotta tiles are hallmarks of the style. By keeping the overall color palette and finishes cohesive, you can design an inviting space that feels connected to Tuscany’s pastoral beauty and rich traditions.