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What is Cottagecore? | All About the Cottagecore Aesthetic

Learn all about the cottagecore aesthetic and the lifestyle that inspires it. With humble roots and lots of sweet, simple touches, this style is sure to stay around for a while…

Cottagecore aesthetic is shown by a woman wearing a blue pattern floral dress in an orchard as she holds a basket of berries.

Cottagecore was a term coined just a few years ago, right around the time that simple living was making a comeback. You may have seen the word floating around on social media or used to describe a home or fashion style. Well, today, I’m going to discuss exactly what cottagecore actually means. 

There is a lot of confusion about if cottagecore is an aesthetic or a lifestyle, so I’m going to clue you in on that as well. I’ll also clear up any misconceptions about what it is. My hope is that you will walk away with a better idea about what the cottagecore movement is, along with a few ideas on how to add the cottagecore aesthetic into your home.

After all, you probably found this post due to your curiosity about how the style realistically looks in a home.

Let’s get into the cottagecore aesthetic and lifestyle…

Flowers are near a breakfast spread on a table.

What is the cottagecore lifestyle?

The cottagecore lifestyle, for me, is about getting back to my own roots growing up on a small farm. The cottagecore lifestyle is representative of people who want to reduce technology in their life and rely less on others. The old-fashioned movement is all about self-sufficiency and getting back to “simpler ways.” (Though we all know these “simple ways” are not always so simple when you look at all the work that goes into being self-sufficient.)

Some everyday tasks in the whimsical cottagecore lifestyle:

  • Sewing and mending clothes
  • Raising animals and gardening
  • Cooking from scratch
  • Building furniture and creating art
  • Repurposing old or secondhand finds

A big part of it, though, is romanticizing your life and appreciating all the little things, even the more menial tasks we do day in and day out to maintain a home. Domesticity is often emphasized because family togetherness is a very important value in this lifestyle. 

All in all, it is about living more consciously and more presently… in a way that reconnects you back to the natural world.

A woman is picking berries in an orchard.

What is the cottagecore aesthetic?

The cottagecore aesthetic is all about creating a cozy space for your family to retreat to at the end of the day. Bringing natural elements into your space is emphasized. Stone, reclaimed wood, natural linens and fibers, flowers and branches, and more often come to mind. 

Cottagecore combines these natural elements from nature along with family heirlooms (or other antique/vintage finds), handmade goods, and even woodland or mythical animals into your home. It’s about creating a humbling, comfortable space to fulfill all the necessary tasks one must do throughout the day.

The key is to hone the cottagecore lifestyle into a look. You want people to take a quick glance and quickly gather that you’re into a more natural lifestyle, a slower pace of living, and getting back to the roots of tradition and family life. 

A cottagecore home is decorated perfectly for spring.

How to Incorporate the Cottagecore Aesthetic into your Home

Nature | cottagecore aesthetic

I’ve already mentioned some outdoor elements you can bring into your home for a cottagecore look. But I haven’t yet detailed how to decorate with them. 

Here are a few ideas I have:

  • Stone fireplaces or stone siding
  • Real hardwood floors
  • Bundle of firewood in a corner or near a fireplace
  • Quilts on beds or hung on display
  • Naturally dyed (and/or neutral-colored) pillowcases, throws, blankets and sheets)
  • Small vases or bundles of fresh or dried flowers placed on tabletops and shelves throughout the home
Flowers are placed on a dining room table.
A cottagecore dining room has the total cottagecore aesthetic package.

Some of my favorite cottagecore finds even have animals incorporated into them. I love using toads, foxes, squirrels, deer, rabbits, and butterflies in various forms for a cottagecore feel. 

For example, this could be through a print on a quilt or a pillowcase. It could mean buying a tiny figurine to place on a shelf. Or it could mean making your very own DIY fairy lantern like this one HERE for a true cottagecore style. 

Find ways to sprinkle in these natural elements from the wild into your home for a rustic, cozy ambiance. It’s about adding just enough for you and those around you to feel like you’re in a true cottage out in the middle of nowhere.  

Functionality | cottagecore aesthetic

I couldn’t talk about the cottagecore style without bringing up the fact that most of what you add needs to be functional. Although the cottagecore style can be very adorable and photogenic when we browse social media, in reality it is more about practicality. 

Furthermore, I always encourage using what is already available to you. This style shouldn’t be overly complicated.

Every piece should serve a purpose, from a whisk laid on the countertop to drying herbs in the corner to the pillows and throws sprawled about the couches. Not many things are just for decoration.

A vintage scale and books are placed on a shelf.
Vanilla extract and a cutting board serve as both practical purposes and as decor in a kitchen.

Here are a few practical pieces that you can use when styling your home:

  • Vintage scales
  • Books (literally everywhere)
  • Jars of goods
  • Potted herbs on the windowsill
  • Embroidery supplies on a side table
  • Rolling pins and wooden spoons on display
  • Candle holders and sticks in table centerpieces
  • Wicker baskets hung on a door

Pastels and neutrals | cottagecore aesthetic

I strongly encourage you to explore the world of color. I love neutrals (grays, tans, off whites), but there is such a thing as too much of something. An all white or all gray home is very boring. 

Now, it may be trendy and it is calming which makes for a more simple approach to decorating. But I do wish more people would incorporate more color into the cottagecore/simple living style I see online so often these days. 

However, we have so many stunning pastels and softer, more natural colors at our disposal these days. Don’t be afraid to play around with color and learn how to create your own color palette. (I have a great post with tips on creating color palettes HERE.) 

There is a way to use these softer hues to embody the cottagecore look. Nature can be so colorful and vibrant at times… I would hate for people to think they have to rid themselves of color to live a more “natural” or cottagecore life. There are even so many eco-friendly, plant-derived paints on the market today. 

Furthermore, even if you feel you must keep neutral-toned walls, there are so many ways to add color with decor rather than with the walls of the home. 

A living room has lots of pastels and florals.

Some of my favorite cottagecore colors:

  • Sage green
  • Vintage tea rose
  • Terra cotta 
  • Olive green
  • French blue
  • Chiffon yellow
  • San Marino blue

Simplicity | cottagecore aesthetic

As I’ve already mentioned, the cottagecore style is all about simplicity. That doesn’t mean you have to be a minimalist, per se. If you love extravagance and all the cute things, by all means, decorate accordingly. 

What I mean is that simple living is a big part of cottagecore life. Simple living is defined as living more consciously, more slowly, with less technology, and with less reliance on the system. (This doesn’t mean you have to be reclusive, though. Community is so important!). Take this into account when decorating. 

For me, this means trying to disguise the technology I do use. I try not to keep most of it in plain view. 

However, I will say that our tv is a bit hard to disguise… To balance this out, I try to use lots of natural pieces around it. I also disguise other components of our entertainment system with lace curtains. I love the idea of an art tv, but we haven’t invested in that one yet. 

Bottom line: Try not to oversaturate your space with tons of electronics (or put them away when not in use). Get creative with disguising them. And be open to using less technology in general.

A living room has a blanket ladder, mantle, books, and more.

Additionally, simplicity can mean not overcomplicating rooms with crazy, trendy pieces. That means sticking to the basics, getting rid of extra clutter, and not oversaturating spaces with too much. 

Use secondhand or handmade pieces when it’s an option. Choose desaturated colors. Don’t decorate with super flashy items (though you can create some lovely focal points with patterns). 

Overall, you want to create a calming atmosphere.

Final thoughts…

If you follow even just some of these basic guidelines, you’ll find that you can make your home feel like it’s deep in the countryside of the UK, even if you’re really located in suburban USA like I am. It’s all about having a simpler mindset and adding some of these little touches in to make it perfectly cottagecore.

More Cottagecore Inspiration

Cozy Cottagecore Winter Watch List ​​

Impossible Meat Shepherd’s Pie  

Spring Table Decor for Your Next Dinner Party  

Cottagecore Master Bedroom Reveal  

DIY Outdoor Fairy Garden  

Cottagecore Salt Dough Christmas Ornaments  

DIY Flower Arrangements  

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