7 key elements of a Hamptons-style kitchen

Master the effortless East Coast style.
Hamptons kitchen with large blue central island and marble splashback.Photography: Chris Warnes | Styling: Lucy Gough

Laid back but polished Hamptons-inspired interiors are one of the most timeless decorating styles in homes and there are few more quintessential aspects of a Hamptons-style home than the kitchen.

From shaker style cabinetry to seating, lighting, hardware and materials, we’ve asked Tahn Scoon, interior decorator and Home Beautiful stylist, to tell us the specific elements that will give you an elegant, East Coast design in the hardest-working room in the home.

Consider this your ultimate checklist to creating a classic Hamptons style kitchen, including what sets Australian vs USA Hamptons-inspired kitchens apart.

1. Cabinets and hardware

The right style of cabinetry is key to the Hamptons look in the kitchen. “As the Hamptons style is steeped in luxury, cabinetry tends to be very detailed,” says Tahn. “Door and drawer fronts are never flat but instead feature shaker profiles. Cabinetry hardware is also ornate, and generally made from solid metal.”

This Hamptons-inspired kitchen features custom joinery by Wyer + Craw in a shaker profile and brushed brass hardware. (Photography: Louise Roche | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

2. Kitchen island

In an East Coast-inspired kitchen, “The island is the focal point and often includes elaborate skirting instead of kickboards, shaker or criss-cross front and side panels and is most commonly topped with Carrara marble,” says Tahn. “Of course, a more affordable option is engineered stone. The new marble-look versions look almost as good as the real thing – and have the added benefit of being a little hardier.”

Food writer Louise Keats’ kitchen features not one, but two central islands because her entire extended family love to cook. “When you’re cooking at the central island, you can face the people sitting over at the other island,” she explains. (Photography: Nicki Dobrzynski | Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones)

3. Butlers sink

Perhaps one of the most quintessential elements of a Hamptons kitchen is the sink. A deep white “butler’s sink suits both traditional and contemporary Hamptons kitchens, and has the added benefit of allowing you to hand wash large serving dishes when entertaining, which presumably they do a lot of on Long Island!”

hamptons inspired bungalow upper north shore kitchen farmhouse sink

(Credit: Photography: Chris Warnes / Styling: Lucy Gough)

4. Lighting

One of the most popular lighting styles in a Hamptons kitchen is a classic, glass lantern-shaped pendant. Size also matters, and Hamptons-style “pendants are generous in size and generally made from traditional materials such as metal or glass” says Tahn. “However, for a more contemporary look, try large drum shades in white linen.”

A Horchow lantern hangs above a Carrara marble benchtop at the home of interior designer Melinda Hartwright. (Photography: Abbie Melle | Styling: Lisa Burden)

5. Colour palette

If you’ve ever wondered what sets USA and Australian Hamptons-style homes apart, it mainly comes down to the colour palette. “The Australian version of a Hamptons kitchen is generally less formal and more pared back, both in design and colour,” says Tahn. In the USA, “white and blue schemes have dominated for a while now, but for a fresh Australian take team white with teal, olive or emerald,” which suits our natural surroundings and works in the country or the coast.

“I steered away from blue – often the Hamptons go-to – and chose an earthy look, with black and warm grey accents,” says the interior designer owner of this Hamptons-style home on Sydney’s North Shore. (Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Corina Koch)

6. Seating

“Stools can be in timber or rattan to emphasis the coastal appeal of the Hamptons,” says Tahn, “or try upholstered stools for more comfort. Just a word of caution though, as pretty as stools upholstered in light linen look, it’s not practical in a kitchen. Try linen-look outdoor fabrics or washable slipcovers instead.”

In this Southern Highlands home, bar stools have been dressed in custom slip covers by The Classic Outfitter in Fabricut ‘Cosada Stripe’ fabric. (Photography: Sue Stubbs | Styling: Bree Oliver)

7. Decorative touches

Tahn also recommends that when styling a Hamptons kitchen, “try to create a more unique look by avoiding ubiquitous blue and white ginger jars. Tweak the palette a little. Try adding handmade ceramics in beautiful shades of green, a trio of potted herbs and/or a potted orchid. To create a feeling of abundance, fill bowls with sumptuous fruits, such as pomegranates, apples or cherries – and for a final touch of luxury, replace old cotton tea towels with 100% fine linen.”

Hamptons style kitchen island with organic vase and metal lantern pendant light
No Hamptons kitchen is complete without accessories. Try a bowl of fruit, a collection of handmade ceramics or pure linen tea towels, says Tahn. (Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Corina Koch)

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