Cottage style requires a different mindset and a bit of reprogramming. It is a style that highlights the imperfection of flea market treasures, thrift store gems and furniture without pedigree. Cottages themselves tend to be small, unassuming and full of charm, which also describes the style’s overall design aesthetic.
What is cottage style? It encompasses a number of different design influences, which makes it difficult to pin down. Basically, cottage style is all about found treasures, handmade objects and carefully curated furniture pieces that reflect personal style. It’s a mixture of old with new, color with texture, and form with function.
There’s nothing cozier and more comforting than a cottage style room. The best part is you have several options to choose from depending on your own personal style. With so many choices, it’s no surprise that cottage style decorating is a perennial favorite. Whether you yearn for a coastal retreat, a woodsy vacation cabin or a little urban bungalow, cottage-style is brimming with a casual details, fresh accessories and a fun vibe you can easily recreate in your home.
Coastal cottage is relatively simple to create—it all starts with simple furnishings and colors of the sand and sea. Think about the casual, airy and inviting spaces from your last seaside vacation. If you haven’t been to the shore lately, take inspiration from beachy photos and artwork.
Neutral or pastel wall colors are the first layer of a coastal cottage space. Next, select furniture with clean lines and familiar forms. A comfy sectional or seating group consisting of a sofa and accent chairs covered in cotton twill will look fabulous against sandy beige walls with white wainscoting and warm wood flooring. An oversize whitewashed bookcase and a few pieces of weathered wood furniture build on the coastal feel.
Introduce the colors of the sea through artwork and accessories. Bring in nature in the form of shells, driftwood and coral. Decorative pillows in the soft colors of sea glass bring the look full circle. Seagrass rugs, wicker baskets and gauzy white curtains make ideal accessories for your coastal cottage home.
Where else but a rustic cottage can you get away with wood covering every surface? Walls, floors, ceilings, furniture—it’s all part of rustic cottage style. Grab some of the outdoors and bring it inside. Items like wooden shutters and vintage advertising signs come alive indoors to create that signature lodge-like feel. Don’t worry if you live in the mountains—rustic cottage style looks equally fitting in the suburbs or a flat in the heart of the city.
Stay true to the rustic aesthetic by including elements from nature. Natural stone on the floors or fireplace, tree stump tables and rough-hewn ceiling beams echo the countryside. Warm up the walls with deep color, fun log wallpaper or opt for white to keep the look light and fresh. A cozy featherbed layered with sheets, a down comforter and quilt create the perfect spot to while away the hours on a cold winter day.
The vintage look is the one most people associate with cottage style. It is similar in nature to shabby chic, without the fussy details and frills. If flea markets, thrift stores and garage sales hold a special place in your heart, then this version of cottage style is right up your alley.
Consider wall colors that work with a variety of florals, stripes and checks. Remember, this style’s trademark is its deliberate mix of pattern and color, so you’ll want your spaces to look as coordinated as possible. Check out antique malls and flea markets for vintage fabrics. Old tablecloths can easily be transformed into stylish throw pillows. On occasion, you can even find vintage curtain panels that will pull your design together.
A cushy overstuffed sofa fitted with neutral slipcover looks right at home in a vintage cottage room. Use accent chairs and pillows as the primary sources of color in the space. A mix of wood and painted furniture pieces keeps the look unpredictable. Vintage pottery, lamps and artwork make cost effective accessories, are relatively easy to find and add the perfect finishing touch to your vintage cottage room.