Rustic kitchen tables are tables formed from various types of wood with rough and aged surfaces with simple designs. They are not highly polished, but are practical and hardwearing, and can take hard knocks without spoiling the finish, since there is no finish as such.
In bygone days when people lived in log cabins, there were no butcherblock kitchen islands, and most of the food preparation was carried out on the table. The rustic table was frequently the chopping board, preparation area and eating surface, all combined. It was not expected to be a piece of fine furniture, but a functional part of the kitchen that could be scraped and knocked during normal use.
General rustic décor is simple and straightforward with few frills, using natural materials and rough finishes. It is, however, very endearing, probably because it plays on our sentiments for the old days of pioneering and the log cabin. It is coarse, unfinished, but comfortable, and certain elements of the old country style are incorporated in some modern day kitchens. The rustic table is one of them, with old wooden Windsor spindle chairs or ladderback chairs.
Rustic tables are generally of rectangular shape, with a thick unpolished top. The chairs can be hand painted with motifs such as flowers or birds, and the rustic theme can be applied to the rest of the kitchen if desired. Stone tiled floors, lots of ceramics and baskets, and the occasional old oil lamp can set off a large rustic table very well. However, many of the newer ‘rustic’ style tables are provided with a polished top that has to be maintained.
The material of construction in the early days of the American settlers was what was growing around at the time. Hickory, maple, pine, spruce – all were used for the traditional rustic table and the same is true today. Pine, however, is the most popular choice, and also tends to be a lot less expensive than hardwood. Walnut is sometime used, and some of the grain effects obtainable from this wood are very attractive. Also very expensive!
Rustic tables, therefore, are available in many types of wood, and the reason that pine is the most popular is likely due to cost and its ease of working. It is easier to form pine into the shapes require than it is to work hardwoods, and it is hard to beat a good lodge pole pine kitchen table with root ball legs and claw feet. You get them with drawers and breadboards, and they can be finished with a hardwearing varnish to prevent undue damage in use
They tend not to be used as the main chopping and food preparation surface as in bygone days, although there is still no reason why they can not be. Most people, however, use custom kitchen furniture and working areas for these tasks. In fact, just about all of them! The likely reason for that is the cost, as new ‘rustic’ tables can be expensive, particularly hardwood tables, and nobody wants to start chopping and cutting on their expensive new table. I don’t blame them! Wood is becoming an expensive material worldwide at the moment, and it can sometime be difficult for many to find a good rustic table at an affordable price.
Nevertheless, many people still prefer to have their tables made to order to their own design. Many outlets provide this service, although it can be quite expensive. In fact, you really have three options. You can have a rustic table made to your specifications, you can purchase a new table either online or from one of the many stores that retail them, or you can buy an old rustic table either from antiques shops or online. You can use online furniture stores to make your selection of genuine country style rustic tables to view when you visit the showrooms.
You will also get chairs to go with them, but there is no shortage of reasonable priced chairs that go well with wooden tables. There are plenty of spindle and ladderback chairs available both online and offline. You could also use one of the more modern styles of kitchen table chair to provide a contrast between the old and the new.
Whatever choice you decide to make, rustic kitchen tables look good in a rustic setting, but even if your kitchen is not of a rustic design they are functional, traditional and hardwearing. You will never regret your decision in purchasing what will likely become a family heirloom.