We'll be the first to admit it. We all secretly want to escape to a little cottage and forget about the world. Luckily, with 5 design tips, you can bring that style to any home.
When you were little (or hey, even as a grown adult), did you ever watch Snow White and think to yourself, “Wow, she is SO lucky!” She runs away from her evil stepmother only to stumble upon a cute, eclectic woodland cottage. If that isn’t a dream life, we don’t know WHAT is. We’ll be the first to admit that we not-so-secretly want to escape and find a similar little respite… but probably without the seven extra roommates.
However, fantasy isn’t too difficult to create for yourself, as long as your know how to go about designing it. Read on for our five tips on how to accomplish that adorable cottage style decorating.
1. Natural Colors and Materials
First and foremost, cottages are meant to evoke the setting that they are in. And where is that? The enchanted forest. Ok, or just a regular forest. To reflect woodland surroundings, fill the interior with both natural colors and materials, naturally. Colors should stick to neutral earth tones such as white, taupe, cream, brown, gray, and some sparing black. Accent colors can be muted greens and blues.
And just as colors look to nature for inspiration, so too should the materials in the home. You’re trying to channel a rugged rusticity, so bring in the reclaimed wood (even if it’s white-washed), wood cuts, brick, stone, terra-cotta, and ceramic ware. Outdoors comes right into the home with the materials, as if you’re on a nature hike without leaving the comfort of your home.
And speaking of bringing the outdoors in, plants are ESSENTIAL to any cottage style home. (And arguably, they are essential for bringing life into any home.) The key for designing with greenery in a cottage is to make every collection look a little unkept, as if it was found on your stroll through the fields. You can go more simple with bouquets of wildflowers and ferns, or you can get more inventive. Creeping vines and pothos plants look beautiful when hung from windows or the ceiling, and certain type of trees (such as the fiddleleaf fig) will make a statement in any room. You can even incorporate pinecones, found branches, and, if you’re really daring, bone. If you happen to have a black thumb, never fear. Dried flowers can work too (and they happen to last longer).
3. Cozy Textures
Why do we love cottages so much? Honestly, we think it’s that calming sense of coziness that they have. Texture plays a big part in creating a space where you literally want to just curl up in a ball and read the day away. Bring in all of those nubby blankets, sheepskin, and chenille throws. A touch of macrame or woven wall hanging wouldn’t be unwelcome either. The floor can also be another opportunity for texture with patterned rugs. All of these elements bring in layers and weight to the space.
However, when it comes to window treatments, you want pieces than are light and airy. Imagine the gorgeous diffused afternoon sunlight peeking through into the home. To get that look, linen or cotton drapery is best.
4. Eclectic Art Choices
It’s time to rummage around in the attic and dig out those family heirlooms. When it comes to your art choices in a cottage style home, you want pieces that have history to them and tell a narrative of their own. Whether it’s old portraiture, silhouette work, vintage photography, or other mixed media, it’s time to bring the whole assembly together and throw it on the walls (in a tasteful manner, of course).
Don’t have any family heirlooms of that sort? Not to worry. Your local flea market will be your best source to find eclectic mixes of pieces to hang on your walls. And don’t rush it! Art is meant to be collected and curated over time. You don’t have to buy everything at once, just buy the pieces that speak to you. Our designers spoke all about the art of collecting here.
5. Collected Vignettes
Just like art curation, try to create curated vignettes throughout a cozy cottage. A healthy amount of clutter never looked so cute. In the kitchen, opt for open shelving to show off your dishes and servingware as well as other utensils. Turn your desk/home office area into a space for those little knick knacks that inspire you. Nightstands can become a space to collect objects that calm you before bed. Look to bring in different heights and shapes to keep the eye moving from object to object.
And in the same way, think of your spaces as vignettes. From a cozy sitting area to a breakfast nook, areas in your home can be just as cute and collected as your shelves and surfaces.