What defines cottage style?
In a nutshell – it’s a decorating style that isn’t specific.
It’s not exclusive to one particular style. Cottage style is:
- laid back
Cottage Style Décor – There’s No Place Like Home
It’s a decorating style that you can put your heart into – and it’s reflected in the humble, cozy atmosphere.
You want people to feel welcome. You strive for the lived-in look. Those old days when Aunt Millie put plastic runners on her wool carpets and protective coverings on her furniture to make them last forever are out.
Life is meant to be lived – and your home is meant to be lived in.
By combining basic concepts – airy, inviting, warm and cozy – you can create your own lived-in cottage style space that reflects your eclectic tastes.
And that’s an important part of cottage style decorating – there’s no ‘manual’ that says you must incorporate certain specifics. There are no formal requirements for fabrics, furniture, or colors. Anything goes – as long as it all comes together to create that welcoming, cozy cottage charm look.
Decorating cottage style lets you showcase your own unique tastes and preferences, a perfect fit if you love thrift store and antique shop finds.
Transform your ordinary ‘house’ into that old-fashioned, nostalgic feeling that whispers, “there’s no place like home.”
How? A few common elements seen in cottage style decorating that you can implement easily:
- Incorporate your gently used treasures into your living area
- Emphasize natural elements like hardwood floors
- Highlight each room’s best features with fresh, airy paint
- Or mix wallpaper with beadboard for an old-fashioned cottage look
- Add charming pillows & decorative throws to focus on comfort
History of Cottage Style
Back in the Middle Ages in England, a cottage was a small home that provided housing for the person who lived on a nobleman’s manor. Typically, the cottages had stone or wood walls, oftentimes with thatched roofs. Gradually these little cozy bungalows appeared all over the world.
In each location, the cottages adopted their own specific look. English cottages are famed for their thatched roofs surrounded by thick perennial gardens. Contrast that with coastal American-style cottages, such as on Cape Cod, that boast wood shingles that age distinctly in the salty air.
Cottages – and eventually, cottage style – became synonymous with quaint, country, cozy and charming. Remember back to your childhood days, when you listened to those ‘once upon a time’ stories where a fairy godmother or whimsical talking animal lived in a cozy cottage?
Fast forward to today – and experience the joy of living in your very own fairy tale cottage style home.
Cottage Style Decorating Tips
Cottage style decorating effortlessly combines casual, comfy, and lived-in to create cozy spaces that say, “Welcome Home…”
It works in large as well as small rooms, with an emphasis on gently shabby furniture, old, distressed wood flooring, light colored walls, and a variety of embellishments, such as antiques and other collectibles, such as artwork.
Thrift store finds and antique shops provide an endless source of aged, nostalgic, and one-of-a-kind items. Matching furniture is not a concern – eclectic is ideal – and each and every item compliments and brings out other décor.
Here’s a perfect example: a gently used sofa with comfy, oversized cushions is accented with a vintage chenille bedspread. If you’re not familiar with vintage chenille, check out this resourceful article.
Vintage chenille bedspreads and fabrics offer a dazzling array of colors, textures, and patterns. Once popular in the 1940s and 50s, vintage chenille can highlight your cottage style decorating and bring a warm and inviting dimension to any room.
Cottage-style decorating usually boasts old, worn flooring, accented with vintage throw rugs for color and textures. Don’t forget about vintage chenille throw rugs – with their thick tufts, they can add extra charm and flavor to any worn flooring.
Window treatments? Replace stuffy, heavy drapes and curtains with breezy sheers or lace panels that highlight the natural light in your room. Cottage style decorating often incorporates mixtures of fabrics, with a generous and cozy display of pillows, throws and table skirts.
Wall color? Soft colors, pastels and neutrals work best, and will provide a great background to highlight your art prints, antique frames, or other eclectic collections.
Furniture? Wicker furniture and wood add to the cottage-style charm, even wrought iron fits in, too. Remember, combining hard surfaces with big, cushy pillows creates a comfy and inviting atmosphere.
Let Go of Formalities – Cottage Chic Decorating Ideas
Cottage style decorating allows you to let go of formal decorating (and its costs) and incorporate casual, relaxing, and lived-in – right into your home.
Instead of buying standard big box or brand name décor, let your decorating passion run wild at thrift and antique stores – or online at eBay or Etsy, too.
Cottage decor is affordable – it’s about creating a casual place to relax – and the atmosphere of a cottage-style home invites you to do just that: to everyone who visits, they feel at home, laid-back and at ease.
And don’t leave out the chenille: thick, soft, and plush tufted spreads, with oodles of pom-poms or fringe, in florals, geometrics, stripes or plain (there’s just nothing plain about chenille!) – will add that cozy charm to your cottage-style home.
Everyone can identify with a fragrant garden, with beauty of sunset, with the quiet of nature, with a warm and cozy cottage. -Thomas Kinkade