Once you bring your finds home, all you need is a few coats of paint to tie them together. Choose a shade that fits well with the color palette above — with either a matte or eggshell finish — and you should be good to go. That said, if you’re not big into DIY, slip covers are also very common in cottage looks and can go a long way toward making different styles of furniture look cohesive.
You don’t have to live deep in the woods or by the sea to understand the appeal of cottage style design. With its clean look and unique personal touches, it’s not hard to see why this aesthetic has been around for ages. In our opinion, it’s not going anywhere fast either.
Cottage style interiors revel in being anything but cookie cutter. In these rooms, each design element usually has its own backstory, especially where the furniture is concerned. It’s best to forgo purchasing unified sets in favor of hand-picking more eclectic pieces that catch your eye.
Rustic surfaces and streamlined palettes capture the sweetness of a cottage without sending you into sugar shock
Style Secret: Feminine FabricsAs much as any other element, fabrics define cottage style: delicate florals, ticking stripes, gingham, eyelet. Natural, textured materials, such as cotton, linen and burlap, fall right in step with the look.
Vintage fabrics, from hankies and dishcloths to flour sacks and aprons, pop up on pillows, quilts, chair seats and more. Curtains are usually simple, sheer and breezy.Hot tip: Keep a light touch with the floral prints.
It’s fine to mix and match a few, but too many can feel overly sweet, especially if they’re all small scale. Ditto for lace — you don’t want your house to look like a bridal shop.
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Shop a similar look: Clock | Armchair | Counter Stools | Pendants
Now comes the tricky part, putting it all together. Cottage style is by nature a little bit eclectic so how do you keep a space from feeling disjointed? One strategy is to repeat your color scheme throughout your room. Once you have chosen your colors stick to that color palette and repeat it. Inspiration can come from anywhere but common sources are a rug, dish, pillow, or favorite artwork. Textiles and artwork are also a great way to keep the palette together. To make furnishings that are different in style or finish seem more cohesive, consider painting them a unifying color such as white or black. Accessories are an important part of cottage style and should be highly personal. But going overboard on knickknacks detracts from the essence of cottage style. Keep it as simple as you possibly can.
Style Secret: Airy PalettesCottage colors feel as soft and clean as a cotton sheet fresh from a clothesline. No jewel tones or shocking brights here — think white mixed with ivory mixed with cream. Layer in pale pinks, blues, greens and other washed-out hues.
Don’t combine too many pastels; stick with one or two shades instead. Hot tip: If you can’t resist a bit of bold color, go right ahead. But limit it to a handful of smaller furnishings or accessories, and keep it tone on tone.
One turquoise pillow in a tumble of pale blue ones might look fresh and appropriate, but if you also throw down a chartreuse rug and paint the ceiling lemon yellow, the look veers in a different direction.
Find some new accessories to go with your soft color palette
While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to a color palette for cottage style, it is usually a good idea to stick to lighter colors. Common cottage style colors can be found by looking outside at nature and specifically the garden. Shades of pink, coral, green and pale orange, yellow, along with varying shades of blue are among a few. Blue and white combinations are very common. Many cottage enthusiasts prefer an all or mostly white color scheme for maximum relaxation. Whatever color you choose be sure that you love it.
With an artful balance between earthy and chic, French country style infuses a home with incomparable warmth and welcome
Cottages were originally summer or vacation homes or simple country houses. As a vacation house, owners were interested in it being easy to care for, fun, durable and mostly for spring and summertime use. They were often furnished with leftovers, hand- me downs, or bargains. Pieces were meant to be used and enjoyed. Time spent at the cottage was supposed to be full of pleasures for the senses.
What do you think of cottage style design? Would you use this look in your own interiors? Tell us in the comments below.
Regular readers of Freshome know we’re typically big fans of using restraint when it comes to accessories, but cottage style décor is an exception to the rule. These interiors are all about feeling cozy and lived-in. There’s no better way to drive that point home than by displaying your most prized possessions.
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Defining a style is a tall order to fill. For each person a slightly different mental image may be conjured up. When talking of cottage style, one might picture a quaint little house on the coast of Maine, a rustic shack by a lake, or a simple dwelling in a rural farming community.
As always, start with a neutral base. In this case, clean whites are the gold standard. Some cottage interiors even go so far as to build their design around an entirely white look. Doing so gives the room a simple and sophisticated feel. If you decide to go that route, just be sure to play around with plenty of different shades, patterns and shapes to give the room plenty of variety.
If an all-white look isn’t quite your style, primary color palettes are also popular with cottage styles. However, they’re often in softer shades. Consider using colors like raspberry, robin’s egg blue or cornflower yellow to add some visual interest to your neutral foundation.
Cottage looks are all about embracing comfort, so you have plenty of opportunities to work pattern into the room through textiles. As you bring the space together, focus on using a variety of throw rugs, seat cushions, blankets and pillows to make it feel as warm and inviting as possible.
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Cottage kitchens can be a sunny, cheerful hub to anchor your home. Is this easy, breezy style for you?
Style Secret: The Power of PaintCottage decorating mavens have never met a wrought-iron bed or battered side table that they couldn’t liven up with a paintbrush. Whether you want to rescue a ratty finish, brighten dark wood, or unify pieces that carry the mismatched look a little too far, paint is your friend.
It’s cheap, it’s quick and it’s fuss free. Hot tip: Worried that a just-painted piece will look glaringly new? It’s easy to get a worn look with a little strategic sanding or filing. Period (or period-look) drawer and cabinet pulls and other hardware also help.
Style Secret: Collected ChicHere’s the key to making collections work: power in numbers. And that’s especially true for the flea market finds and vintage castoffs that tend to populate cottage-style rooms.
If they look too scattered, so will the space. Massed together, these glass bottles have a collective impact.Hot tip: A room full of quirky displays, offbeat furnishings and cheeky accents can easily slide into eclectic territory.
If that isn’t the look you want, keep the foundation of the room true to cottage conventions.Add some unique decorative accents to your collection
For comfort and relaxation consider overstuffed or at least cushy upholstery pieces. Slipcovers are popular in cottage style because they extend the life of worn out sofas and chairs and are budget friendly not to mention easy to care for. Slightly weathered pieces add an informal feel and won’t make guests nervous to put their feet up. Warm wood finishes bring life and interest to a cottage space. Painted wood and pine pieces are also often used. Many furnishings in a cottage house may have had a previous life – perhaps with different upholstery or a different paint finish. Garden and patio furnishings find their way into a cottage space, often in the form of iron or wicker.
Style Secret: Open ShelvingNot so long ago, kitchens didn’t have the banks of upper cabinetry that are standard now. What they had instead was shelving, home to stacks of plates and bowls, canisters of dry goods and baskets of edibles.
And in cottage interiors, not much changes in the translation, although nowadays the look is as much decorative as it is utilitarian. Hot tip: Open shelves are not for the chronically disorganized, so you’ll have to keep clutter in check (and commit to a little extra dusting).
Dishware that hews to a similar look and palette, such as ironstone, creamware or basic white porcelain, is ideal for cohesiveness. What does cottage style mean for you? Tell us in the Comments section.
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Bright and breezy, coastal style transports you straight to the beach no matter where you call home
If you’re a fan of relaxing cottage vibes, this post is for you. Keep reading to receive the ultimate education on how to make this look work in your interiors. With our advice even the busiest spaces can be transformed into a calming oasis.
Style Secret: Old-Fashioned FlooringEver seen a classic cottage with wall-to-wall carpeting or slick vinyl? We haven’t. You want more rustic materials that can take a few hard knocks. Wood (stained, painted, pickled, stenciled or simply left natural) is queen, but you can bring in brick or stone as well.
Keep rug materials simple, such as sisal or braided cotton. Hot tip: Although tile isn’t the first material that comes to mind when you think about cottages, it can work as long as you choose a style that reads as vintage (for example, the small hexagonal tiles that often turn up in bathrooms).
Pattern will help bring the room together. Image: Martha’s Vinyard Interior Design
Traditionally, cottage furniture has a vintage feel to it, too. Don’t be afraid to look at some outside-of-the-box sources to find the best buys. Keep an eye out at local antique stores, thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets. You never know what treasures you’ll stumble upon (provided they’re in sturdy, functional condition, of course!).
I like to think that cottage style is more of an attitude than a list of design details. The gentle breeze of a summer day, the relaxed bliss of a vacation, a cold glass of lemonade enjoyed on a porch swing, waking to the chirping of birds, and the scent of fresh cut grass bring a mindset of comfort and relaxation. Those sensory experiences can be duplicated in cottage style design. The trick is to find pieces that you love that summon cottage attitude while still producing a cohesive look.
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One thing we don’t talk about quite as often is window treatments. With cottage interiors, you want the room to feel as though a refreshing breeze could come through the window at any moment. Placing a few sheer panels around your window frames is an easy way to achieve this aesthetic. They, too, could benefit from a healthy dose of pattern.
Here, what you choose to display is less important than how it’s done. Cottage interiors have been known to house anything from personal collections to reclaimed, rustic items and coastal décor. However, it’s important to make sure your surfaces look purposely styled rather than thrown together. The key to that is knowing how to create groupings.
There’s no definitive rules on this, but in general, designers recommend sticking to odd-numbered groups of items and playing around with arrangements of varying directions and heights. If you find yourself getting stuck, take a moment to search for some design inspiration and pattern your aesthetic after those looks.
What it is: In some ways, cottage style is as much a frame of mind as it is an approach to decorating. There’s an everyday ease in the way it celebrates imperfections, ordinary treasures and blended families of furniture.
Cottages tend to be humble, unpretentious and full of heart — traits most of us would be proud to claim.Why it works: Comfy, casual and personal, cottage style is perfect for the way we really live.
Fabrics are forgiving; furnishings invite us to flop down and prop up our feet. There’s a lot of leeway for the individual expression that anchors the way we think about decorating these days.You’ll love it if.
.. You rock the straw-hat look. Shiny surfaces leave you cold. You bought slipcovers way before they were trendy. You’d take a pitcher full of hydrangeas over a bouquet of long-stemmed roses. You’re on a first-name basis with local flea market vendors.
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Cottage style design is all about creating eclectic simplicity. Image: Marie Flanigan Interiors
Cottage design is all about creating light, bright and airy spaces. When designing these rooms, this should be your primary consideration, starting with the color palette. Since many cottage interiors have an eclectic edge to them, color often ends up being a strong, unifying factor.
Soft textiles in the form of rugs, pillows, drapes, and throws are both comforting and an easy way to repeat your color scheme throughout the room. Fabric choices include floral, stripes, checks, and solids, sometimes mixed all together. Cotton fabrics are an obvious choice because they are easy to take care of. Again, there are no real rules, but stick to fabrics that are not too fancy or difficult to keep up. Woven fibers in the form of baskets and rugs are a great way to bring more texture to a space and are seen frequently in cottage homes.
Use an eclectic mix of furniture. Image: Cabbages & Roses Ltd
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Cottage style is difficult to pin down. When you get in the cottage mood it is difficult to imagine being anywhere else. Who wants to leave when you are on vacation? After being a student of Southern Oregon University’s English Program, Angela Stephens along with her husband Joel created http://www.PenielProducts.com, an online retailer of Inspired Home Furnishings and Decor. As well as being the Chief Product Coordinator for Peniel Enterprises LLC, Angela has dedicated herself to the study of interior & furniture design styles for the past 6 years.Through the creation of the Simple Solutions page on http://www.PenielProducts.com, Angela & Joel hope to educate their buyers on what constitutes good design & quality manufacturing, and to encourage them on taking on the not-so-daunting task of proper Spatial Planning & Design.
Cheerful, laid back and welcoming, cottage style feels like a giant hug. Find out how to make this appealing look work its magic
Feel free to put your own stamp on cottage style design. Image: Legacy Classic
Cottage style design has been around for ages — and for good reason. This traditional take on shabby chic is the perfect choice for creating a relaxing haven away from the stress of everyday life. If you’re ready to have your interiors feel like your own personal oasis, keep this guide close at hand. It has all the information you need to bring a cottage look to life.
Style Secret: SlipcoversSlipcovers and cottage style were made for each other. What’s more laid back than tossing a sheet over an old sofa and calling it a day? OK, so it’s not quite that simple, but the right slipcover does lend a low-maintenance charm — and hides a multitude of upholstery sins.
Hot tip: The sheet thing? Really, don’t do it. Slipcovers should be tailored, closely contouring the piece beneath. There are loads of ready-made styles on the market, but if you’re willing to invest a little more cash, you can have one custom-fitted for a crisper profile.
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Start with light and airy colors. Image: Cabbages & Roses Ltd
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Incorporating pattern is another way you can bring together the hodgepodge feeling that sometimes comes with cottage style designs. Historically, floral patterns were very popular, but to make the look more modern, consider using a chevron or geometric pattern.
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Style Secret: Gentle PatinaNot so long ago, cottage was practically synonymous with shabby chic. Although that term feels stale now, the elements that made it so popular — light colors, floaty fabrics, mismatched furnishings — are still mainstays of cottage décor.
Faded prints, rumpled fabrics and peeling paint contribute to the vintage charm that underlies this style.Hot tip: There’s a fine line between pleasantly distressed and plain beat up. To avoid crossing it, balance aggressively weathered pieces with newer ones and keep color schemes soft and simple.
The gracefully aged furniture in this space appears more striking against clean, updated walls, trim and window treatments.
Style Secret: BeadboardIf there’s one thing that shouts “cottage,” it’s beadboard. This classic grooved paneling is a perennial favorite, and for good reason: Not only is it easy to install, but it’s a no-brainer for adding warmth and character to a bare wall, a blank ceiling or bland cabinetry.
You can’t go wrong by painting it creamy white, but it’s also fun to add a hint of subtle color and distress it ever so slightly. Hot tip: Beadboard can be a strong addition to a room, so a little goes a long way.
The paneling in this bathroom pops because of its texture, despite being in the background.