Cottage Style Decorating Ideas
You don’t have to live at the beach, in the country, woods or lakeside to bring cottage style into your home. In fact, you may even see evidence of cottage style decorating in a Manhattan high-rise!
Cottage style is characterized by comfortable furnishings, fresh colors and natural elements. There’s really no right or wrong way to approach this cozy décor style. By incorporating just a few of these ideas in a room, you can create a warm and inviting space for the entire family!
Primary Elements of Cottage Style
Colors: Keep your large-scale colors (walls, large upholstered pieces, etc.) muted. Pastels and neutrals should guide you as you plan your cottage style room. Bring in soft colors found in nature like blues, greens, beiges, yellows and corals. If children and pets aren’t an issue, try a monochromatic white palette with a combination of oyster shell, white and light taupe for a crisp, clean take on cottage style.
Furnishings: Wood, wrought iron and wicker furniture will take center stage in a cottage style home. Tag sale and second hand pieces fit right in to this homey design style. Painting furniture is a great way to give your existing furniture a “cottage” personality.
Fabrics: Use neutral and floral fabrics on upholstered pieces. Throw stripes and checks in the mix to create additional visual interest. Don’t forget to add trimming and fringe to curtains and pillows as a finishing detail.
Finishes: Furniture, cabinetry and accessories should show gentle signs of wear. Don’t go overboard with white washing and sanding or you will end up with a country chic (ala Rachel Ashwell) room, rather than a traditional cottage interior. For the most part, we want the warmth of wood to shine through!
Cottage Style Ideas
Add a Punch of Color
If you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of neutrals, add a shock of color to your cottage style room. It can be something as insignificant as a green upholstered chair and lamp.
Use Natural Elements
Balance patterns and warm up hard surfaces with natural elements. A jute rug, reclaimed wood floor and organic fabric slipcover will bring your cottage design down to earth, where it belongs. Bring in an architecturally salvaged mantel as a counterpoint to newer furnishings.
Beadboard or wood planking is the prefect touch for a cottage. Use it on walls, ceilings and inside cabinets and bookshelves. Beadboard looks best painted white or off-white, while wood planks can either be painted or left natural!
Keep It Cozy
Always keep in mind the cozy factor. Cottage style is meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating. Each furniture piece and decorative accessory should look like an effortless addition -- as if they have been collected over time. Your cottage room should exude comfort and livability. Cozy does not mean cluttered. Edit your furniture and accessories to maintain an easy, simple vibe.
Mix Casual and Traditional
Maintain balance in your cottage home by mixing styles. Although I’m not suggesting anything crazy like mixing Queen Anne with rustic log furniture! Use good judgment and pick opposite styles that compliment each other.
Here’s a great example: Top a traditional, turned leg dining room table with formal place settings on wicker chargers. Take the wicker theme one step further by seating guests around the table in casual wicker chairs. See, opposites do attract!
Include DIY Projects
Cottage style decorating is a wonderful way to get your creative juices flowing. If you are a consummate DIYer or simply want to take a stab at it, now’s your chance. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of cottage project ideas online. Or just flip through your favorite shelter magazine for ideas. Something as simple as adding a chalkboard wall in your kitchen to cutting a larger table in half to create wall-mounted bedside tables will add cottage charm to your home!
This is my favorite part of cottage style. Think outside the box and give new life and a different purpose to vintage items! For instance, take a vintage, tiered wire stand and turn it into a charming spice rack for your cottage kitchen counter. It’s super easy to do, just put on your thinking cap when you’re browsing the antique mall – you can come up with new uses for almost anything old!
Identifying Cottage Style
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