Home & Garden

Cottagecore Decorating by the Season

Learn the secret of cottagecore style decorating each season of the year. With lots of creative tips and tricks, there’s something new for everyone looking to add some rustic cottage charm to their home.

Cottagecore decorating is shown in the winter with snowflakes and more in a dining area.

It’s a new year, so I think most of us are ready for a refresh. Many are taking holiday decorations down, preparing their homes for a calmer season, and all around cleaning it up for some hunkering down over these next cool months. 

Although I will be partaking in most of those activities, it may surprise you that I actually don’t have to take any holiday decorations down (bar the single Christmas tree we added to the living room). This is because I don’t really decorate for the individual holidays. 

Instead, I focus on decorating for the seasons.

A stroke of genius if you ask me… (and the way to do it if you like a no-fuss approach to life).

You don’t have to decorate for every single holiday. Decorating for each season instead will do just fine.

A cottage living room has spring flowers out in the warmer months.

I heard of this years ago online and decided this would be the approach I would take to decorating my home. I’ve applied this concept ever since we bought our house nearly three years ago, and I am still in favor of decorating for the season.

I’ve never been fond of most holiday-specific decor anyway. Most of it consists of cheap materials (usually plastic) dressed up in bright, gaudy colors that I can personally do without. Maybe you love this sort of cheesy decor. That’s perfectly fine, but this approach I’m sharing here probably isn’t for you…

I take a simpler, more practical approach to decorating. 

If you’re tired of lugging around junky bins of the same decor out of the closets and basement every single month just to take them down and start over again in a few short weeks, then this post is for you. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m able to switch decor out only four times a year, reusing pieces that are a bit more subtle. If you appreciate a more lived-in, natural home, you will probably appreciate this very much.

Take what you want and leave the rest, these cottagecore decorating tips will help you hone your seasonal decorating to get you through the months and years without pulling your hair out. You’ll save time, money, and space. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Join me today for these cottagecore seasonal decorating tips…

In the fall, a living room has pumpkins and dried florals in a vase on a side table.

Cottagecore Seasonal Decorating

All About Color | cottage decorating by season

If you’re afraid of color then start getting more comfortable with it. Too many people are worried about the complexities of colors that they won’t even try them in their home. Like everything else in life, you won’t learn it until you do it. Even if you read an entire book on color theory, nothing beats practice.

Light, positioning, time of day, other present colors in the room, and more will determine hues and saturations of colors in your home space. What looks like one color in your home will look completely different in mine. That’s why you have to practice.

Try introducing new colors to your home each season. Stick to color saturations toward either end of the spectrum, darker and lighter hues. This will prevent you from choosing brightly saturated colors that will look tacky and be difficult to work with. 

As each season changes, try thinking of colors you normally see during this time of year. Look to nature to see all the colors changing outside. What colors jump out at you during this time of year? Which colors do you see in other homes during this time? What colors feel like the season we’re currently in? These are all good places to start when decorating your home each season.

A summer afternoon shows bright colors in a beautifully decorated cottage.

Oftentimes, I will gather items that are seemingly rather plain. It may be a mundane item, something I could use any time of year. But it just so happens that it is in the perfect color for that particular season, and this piece ends up being the best addition. It doesn’t always have to be something so overtly made for that season (like a big Easter bunny cut out). 

For example, maybe that throw blanket in the closet is a perfect robin egg blue that coordinates so well with the rest of your spring decor. You just know it was meant to be placed out this time of year. …Try this approach when you get stuck and need decor ideas. 

Symbolism, Not Signs | cottage decorating by season

There are so many ways to represent the seasons. Don’t feel the need to rush to the nearest home decor store to load up on 15 signs that say “fall leaves, apple picking, pumpkin patches” etc. Instead, use a bowl of dried/faux leaves, apple patterns on pillows, and real pumpkins sprinkled here and there around your home this time of year. Show the actual things that would be written on the signs instead of adding all the signs.

Pumpkins and a cinnamon broom are in a bay window in a cottage living room as part of cottagecore decorating by the season.

You will probably save more money doing this, and it is so much more clever and creative than just buying the signs that say all of those things you want to represent. Use the actual things or symbols of those pieces in your decor. 

Multiple signs with a bunch of words can create visual clutter, be obnoxious, and cost a fortune. Besides, if I want to enter a really eclectic room with a bunch of signs I will visit an old diner or an antique store… 

I’m probably going to ruffle some feathers with that comment, but I guarantee if you look at the most well-styled homes you will not see signs in them. And here’s why: They make spaces look cheap. 

A squash and pumpkins are part of cottagecore decorating in the fall season.

Repurpose, Reuse, Create | cottagecore decorating by season

This is one of my favorites. One way I make our little cottage feel special each season is by repurposing old items into new and improved ones. Sometimes it is best to just reuse items already on hand and revamping them in a new way to bring out the true nature and beauty. Doing either this or creating your own decor from scratch can really yield a high impact. 

One of my favorite additions in our living room is a DIY fairy lantern sitting on our mantle. I already had a lantern on hand and few supplies. After a run to the craft store, I was able to add some fairy additions to make this look perfectly cottagecore. I styled the mantle with this one-of-a-kind decor alongside some books about flowers, a jar I painted pink, a house plant, some stationary with french stamps, and a candle. It perfectly embodies the cottagecore look and although I keep this out the entire year, this fairy lantern is especially perfect for the spring and summer months. 

A DIY fairy lantern is part of the cottagecore decorating scheme in this midwest cottage.

I have quite a few examples of items I’ve made from scratch, repurposed, or reused in some new way throughout our home and they are always the most loved. Don’t be afraid to make your own decor or repurpose previous existing pieces. 

Shop Secondhand or Handmade Small Business Shops | cottagecore decorating by season

If you feel the need to add to your seasonal decor or are just starting out in a new home, I recommend buying from secondhand sources or shopping from small businesses. Secondhand goods are so affordable and sometimes they may surprise you. There have been times when I’ve looked at something thinking it was junk, but after seeing someone else style a similar piece in their home, I realized it’s more about how you style it rather than what it is. 

A tv stand has a wicker basket, a pink jar, a blue candle, and a photo on it.

Even old things can be spruced up when layers are added and it’s stylishly placed in a curated home. It’s all about how you plan to use a piece and what you place alongside it. Keep this in mind when shopping secondhand (because you will find some worn and weird pieces). Your creativity will serve you well in mastering the art of thrifting.

Additionally, I recommend shopping at small businesses. Not only are they great ways to better support communities, they often offer handcrafted pieces that are unique and will last much longer than something made in a factory. One key ingredient to a well-curated space each season is using one-of-a-kind items that stand out. They could be unique to the season or just have a noteworthy appearance… Regardless they have an impact on the tone and mood of a room. Using these types of pieces will really change the way your home looks season to season. 

Bring Nature Indoors | cottagecore decorating by season

You’ve heard me say this before and I’ll continue to say it again. Using things already available to you in nature will save you in more ways than one. Go outside to use things directly from the earth. This is a huge time and money saver.

Even if you don’t have a smorgasbord of elements available to you in your backyard, at least use nature as your inspiration. After all, nature is the very thing that changes in each season. It only makes sense to show your home changing seasonally with the outdoors. Look to see what grows outside during the different seasons to get ideas.

Daisies sit on a dining room table as part of summer decor in a cottage.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Pine cones, berry and olive branches, wintergreen and evergreen branch bundles, and firewood in the winter
  • Eggs, nests, feathers, tulips and daffodils, and spring vegetables in spring
  • Sunflowers and daisies, seashells, citrus fruits, and dried wheat stalks in the summer
  • Cinnamon sticks, pumpkins and gourds, dried florals, and apples in fall
Berry branches hang from a chandelier in a cottage kitchen.

Some of these items can last several years when stored properly. That being said, if you are short on space, simply “discard” these pieces back to the earth after you’re done with them. They will eventually decompose. A few of these may be grocery list items you plan to eat throughout the week. That’s fine. Place them out on a table or counter in the meantime as seasonal decor.

Final Thoughts | cottagecore seasonal decorating 

Seasonal decorating in your home doesn’t need to be a complicated, expensive matter. Hopefully these tips have shown you that. By using some of these ideas, your home will be less cluttered, flow together more seamlessly, and create a more sensible, mature style every season of the year..

A blanket ladder is decked with throws in the winter alongside a hanging snowflake.

More Decorating Posts

Winter Cottage Home Decor  

Simple, Natural Fall Home Decor  

Decorate with Antiques in a Cottage Style Home 

My Top 5 Favorite Decorating Tips  

What is Cottagecore? | All About Cottagecore Aesthetic  

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