4 Popular Cottage Decorating Styles
What do you think of when you hear the term “cottage style”? Is it a sophisticated cabin in the mountains, a casual beach bungalow with coastal accessories or a cute little house with a picket fence brimming with collectibles?
The answer is yes to all. Cottage style could take some getting used to especially if you lean toward a modern aesthetic. It is a style that celebrates life’s imperfections and turns up its nose to high-end furnishings and the latest trends. That’s what makes this unpretentious style so popular and endearing.
There are a number of variations of cottage style decorating, each with its own personality and charm. If you are a fan of this quaint and cozy decorating style here are the four most popular options to consider.
1. Vintage Cottage
Vintage cottage is the type most closely associated with cottage style. If you have a fondness for flea markets and garage sales, this type of cottage style will certainly appeal to you. It allows you to let your imagination run wild. Picture a home decorated with a collection of old furnishings, accessories and fabrics from a variety of design periods. It should feel warm and welcoming including items that reflect your personality and interests.
When designing a vintage cottage room think about soft wall colors that blend with a variety of fabric patterns and colors. Incorporate white shiplap or beadboard for a true vintage flavor. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns like florals, plaids and stripes—that’s the true essence of this cheerful style. You can still find actual vintage fabrics, pillows, curtains, dishtowels and funky tablecloths to pull your design together.
Old tablecloths make great covers for throw pillows. On occasion, you can even find entire bolts of vintage fabrics just waiting to make a statement in your home. If you don’t sew you may be able to find curtain panels and pillow covers made from vintage floral fabrics.
Overstuffed chairs and sofas are a great choice for the living room. Throw on a neutral slipcover and use pillows and throws to bring color into the space. Mix different wood tones and painted furniture pieces. There’s nothing quite like retro appliances and light fixtures to round out a vintage kitchen. White cabinets paired with retro dinnerware and accessories serve as fun accent colors.
Vintage Cottage Decor Ideas
2. Beach Cottage
Beach cottage decorating is easy to achieve. Start with simple lines and comfy, neutral furnishings. Work with casual furniture and accessories with a color palette of the sand and sea. Think of light and airy spaces filled with old beach photos and coastal renderings.
Picture walls of beige, subtle gray or pastel blue with contrasting bright white trim. That's the first step in your journey to beach cottage style. Imagine a roomy sectional or sofa and loveseat pair covered in durable cotton twill. Add a large, whitewashed coffee table, side table and natural wood bookcase to round out your seaside family room.
An oil painting in subtle colors on canvas would shine over the mantle or a console table. A framed watercolor in soft sea hues can easily evoke the feeling of ocean waves. A still life shell print with a linen mat makes it a must-have for any beach style cottage.
Layer on a jute area rug, woven window shades and breezy curtain panels. Inject subtle colors of sea glass in pillows, chunky knit throw blankets and accessories. Sprinkle in woven baskets, shells, driftwood and coral specimens to bring home the beach cottage look.
Beach Cottage Decorating Ideas
3. Shabby Cottage
Shabby cottage has that faded charm that works in any contemporary home. It is wonderfully weathered, worn and imperfectly distressed. If you're in love with this soft and dreamy style it's a fun and inexpensive way to decorate your home. It features upcycled furnishings with a curious farmhouse feel.
Soft neutrals and muted florals blend with natural materials and textural fabrics to give this distinctive style its laid back look and feel. A mix of slipcovered seating, charming furniture and slightly rumpled textiles create a look that not only fits perfectly with today's relaxed lifestyle, it will remain fresh and relevant for years to come.
Try a furniture distressing technique such as antique glaze or a crackle effect to imitate aged pieces. The easiest way to distress a painted piece is to sand around the edges to give it a worn appearance. You can even age metal lamps and objects using similar faux techniques.
Create a refined take on this style by using an overall palette of off-white, parchment and antique beige. Add white-washed and distressed wood for interest and texture. To keep it from looking flat and boring layer in soft colors, minimal accessories and textural fabrics.
Shabby Cottage Decorating Ideas
4. Rustic Cottage
Whether it’s by the lake, on a mountain top or tucked away in a forest glen, rustic cottage style establishes a warm ambience featuring organic elements. It has a textural bucolic style that can be recreated in the city or country.
Select paint and fabric colors in earth tones and warm neutrals. To keep this style true to form a combination of natural surfaces and furnishings are a necessity. A stone fireplace and reclaimed wood flooring will give your home the feel of a sierra getaway. Add texture and color by layering your floors with beautiful woven Navajo, Kilim or Dhurrie rugs. Architectural features such as ceiling beams, columns and weathered wall paneling gives it depth of character.
Keep the decor simple, classic and sophisticated. Choose furnishings that would feel right at home in a mountain ski lodge. Take your cues from a worn leather chair, riding boots and faux fur throws. Fabrics in linen, suede and wool are ideal for pillow covers and throws. Look for quality pieces such as lodge style furniture, leather upholstery and sophisticated patterns to lend authenticity to the space.
Rustic Cottage Decorating Ideas
How do you feel about cottage decorating style?
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Linda Chechar