How to Achieve a Cottage Style

What comes to mind when you hear the word “cottage?” For me, it’s something like a humble, storybook home of crumbling stone, with an ancient wooden water wheel creaking along the side and lush flowering greenery wildly clamoring along the edges. The picture is complete in a rose-tinted hue, full of simplicity and serenity.

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Cozy, charming cottage style is evocative of a simpler day. This style, above most others, is intensely personal and always forgiving. It is both filled-to-the-brim with treasured items and a quaintly simple lifestyle. It is a perfect, albeit ever-changing, blend of old and new, of rich and poor, of the worldly valuable and the personally invaluable. It’s all about blending the things that you love, in a way that you love, for the life that you love.

Pretty Cottage Color Palettes.

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Although everyone’s idea of a “pretty” color palette is different, cottage style has an inclusion for each one. The point is that you’re looking for what makes you happy. A limited color palette of pale hues (verging on monochromatic) lends serenity to spaces, while an overflowing eclectic blend of colors lends personality and charm. Either, or both, or somewhere in between, is perfectly acceptable in a cottage styled space.

Touchable Cottage Fabrics.

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Keeping textiles down-to-earth yet adding in a touch of the ethereal is a lovely way to bring in cottage charm. Simple, natural-fiber fabrics such as cotton and linen tend to work well in providing a welcoming space. Cottage style is a perfect blend of being clean yet lived-in, stylish yet warmly welcoming.

Relaxed Cottage Comfort.

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Going back to a time when life was simple (theoretically speaking, of course… I often doubt that life was ever “simple,” despite what it may seem in retrospect), cottage style embraces the sense that life is to be lived…and lived enjoyably. To this end, functional style choices are made – slipcovers are washable, finishes are painted. Forms and shapes are kept non-fussy and informal, and colors are pleasant and unimposing. When you are physically and mentally able to relax, such as one is in a cozy cottage style, that space becomes the ultimate in comfort and charm.

Keep it Cottage Simple…But Not Too Sweet.

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Pastels certainly have a place in some cottage styles, but their place most likely isn’t at the forefront. It’s important in cottage style, as it is in any style, to provide balance. Yin and yang. Sweet charm with solid support. Although the color palettes are often soft, other additions to the space can keep things from drowning in sweetness. Consider leaving in original features, such as wood floors, high ceilings, and worn woodwork, to provide a subtle yet grounding contrast to the cottage softness. Wood planking or beadboard paneling are cottage style landmarks as well.

Embrace Vintage Cottage Charm.

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A piece with a sense of history and a life well-lived not only has charm but it is also a perfect addition to a cottage styled space. Choice salvage pieces add nostalgia and style to any cottage space. Look for solid pieces with worn or chipped finishes, or unique pieces such as claw-foot tubs and vintage pedestal sinks. Careful choices in vintage pieces ground the cottage space while simultaneously lending it an undeniable charm and character.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.