Discover how to carefully and beautifully decorate your home to create a charming cottage style everyone will by swooning over.
You deserve a refresh that helps you (and your home) feel your best. If you love the cottage style, I’m going to be sharing a few practical ways to implement it into your home. We can all benefit from being surrounded by a tidy, calming environment that is welcoming to both us and house guests. If you want a softer, more decorative approach to the rustic country home, the cottage style home is for you.
Let’s dive into how to curate a cottage style into your home…
First of all, let’s talk a bit about what the cottage style is.
This is what a cottage means to me: a cozy, humble home—probably older—small, and adorably decorated. It could have a white picket fence and small acreage (or at least a garden in sight).
The inside style has mismatched patterns (us cottagecore folk love florals!) and wood grains that somehow end up coordinating perfectly. Perhaps vintage landscape art is spread throughout the household, too.
Cute knick-knacks are strewn about the room, yet they’ve somehow formed a collection in the space they’re in. Any “decor” is usually practical–it actually serves a purpose and is used regularly.
Maybe I’ve gotten too specific with my idea of a cottage, but I’m betting you probably already had a similar idea, too.
Here are some practical ways to curate a cottage style in the home
Experiment with different patterns and textures
By this, I mean to try to combine textures that complement one another. You might be pleasantly surprised.
For example, velvet can easily be seen as cheesy when styled improperly. But pair it with satin, in the perfect color, and it can really add depth to the character of the room.
Another way would be to use starched, striped linens in the kitchen, but maybe use a chunky, knit table runner in the dining area to balance each other out.
Play with pastels and color in general
Okay, unless you truly, truly love white. But don’t be afraid to bring some character into your home. Do you really want every single room in your private retreat to be bland?
Maybe you do love white, and that’s fine, but you’ll need to be sure to add character in other ways.
Get comfortable picking up paint samples to try out before painting entire rooms. Look at color palettes online. Get a feel for the mood you want for each respective room of your cottage. Colors will help hone that vibe.
Incorporate nature into your home
Cottage-style homes are known for embodying natural elements. Bring in some nature!
One way to do this could be to bring in fresh flowers, whether from the garden or a local florist. You could have fresh vegetables out on the counter, too.
Houseplants are another beautiful way to bring some cottage style into the home. Maybe you’re making a winter centerpiece for the table and you want to bundle up branches with green foliage (from evergreen trees) and some olive branches or holly berry branches.
Even dried flowers and berries can add a pop of color and can add a simple, subdued beauty to them once dried. (Hydrangeas are notorious for being gorgeous dried florals that enhance the cottage style.)
Keep it cozy
Make it livable and comfortable. If you feel like it’s “too nice” to live in or mess up, you aren’t going to feel comfortable living in it.
For instance, if I had curious small children or ornery pets in my home, I wouldn’t be adding lots of vases and glass jars (at least within reaching distance). That just wouldn’t be practical, and I’d constantly be worrying about breaking things.
I also won’t keep expensive art in my home because I’d feel like I’d constantly have to be careful around it. Who wants that day in and day out? We need to be able to create a style that is comfortable.
Additionally, to give your home a cottage style you’ll want to create little nooks and crannies in the home for cozy reading or sipping a hot cup of tea.
A small space you can occasionally escape to when you need to decompress can serve as the perfect space for you. Creating a calming environment like this is what motivates me to have a cottage in the first place.
When you’re a high-anxiety person, you need to have the most comforting environment to rest and recharge in.
One way to create a little nook would be to create a small space by a window, whether it’s a cozy chair or a cushioned bench.
Our bay window allows me to put some plants, a small storage bench and a few throw pillows nearby for reading in the natural light and sunshine. Keep a blanket nearby, too, for an even cozier space.
Go natural with the floors
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a cottage with carpeted floors. Now, I understand that carpet can be cozier for feet, so if that’s a must-have for you then do what you will.
Most cottages have hardwood floors because they’re dated and that’s just how houses came back then. Hardwood floors are gorgeous when taken care of properly and are easy to clean up spills and messes from. (Just another reason to love them!)
Hardwood floors are so classic and will never go out of style like the many colors and styles of carpets over the years. They provide an old world sort of ambiance and the character you just don’t get from some other flooring.
I even like to complement the hardwood flooring with wood furnishings that coordinate well with them. That doesn’t mean every piece of wood should match the grain of the floors, what I’m implying is to play with wood grains that are in a similar shade or a complementing shade that fit well with the other.
Being too matchy-matchy can kill the style in any home and I always advise against this method.
Books, books, everywhere
I love peppering books, old and new, throughout my home. Books I’ve read, books I’m reading, books I’ve been meaning to read but still haven’t. You could even head to the antique store to pick out some vintage books to have on shelves or on a side table in your den. Books are practical and aesthetic and perfectly cottage style!
Use antique & vintage-inspired hardware
Whenever you get the chance, use antique-inspired hardware. I’m talking about cabinet handles, door hinges and knobs, floor registers (vents), basically anything made of a metal. Paying attention to these small details can affect an entire room and really create a collection of stunning, cottage-style decor.
Get to know the year of your home and try to stay with pieces that fit this time period (this can be said for more than just the hardware, but also with everything else, too). What looks amazing in one cottage may look horrendous in another. Style your cottage for what it is and not just what someone else did on Pinterest.
Shop secondhand or make some decor yourself
When trying to curate a cottage style, shopping secondhand can benefit both the look you’re going for and your wallet.
The unique pieces you find at thrift stores, garage & estate sales, and antique stores will be your most treasured pieces because they’re so one-of-a-kind that they can’t be found just anywhere else.
Complement your existing furnishings with some DIY decor. This is another excellent way to make your home yours. The value of all of it will increase when you know you’ve put so much time and effort into creating things by hand.
Whether you’re building a coffee table or simply pressing flowers to create some art for a wall, you have total control over the end result. And you’ll feel so much pride when your cottage is pulled together by these final touches that make it fit for any small family to grow in.
Make the kitchen the heart of the cottage
It’s no secret that the heart of the home is the kitchen. It’s where many of us spend a great deal of time with our families–eating, socializing, creating memories. It brings everyone together for a meal at the end of the day. It allows us to teach new life skills to little ones. Brings us solace when pursuing creative passions.
Center your kitchen so guests and your family know this is the main part of the home. If space allows, invest in a long dining table to fit everyone around it. Add in bench cushions to benches that invite everyone to stay a little longer for some tea and biscuits.
Keep it smelling wonderful even if you aren’t the cook-from-scratch kinda person. This can be done by adding dried fruits, spices, and florals to a simmering pot of water on the stoevtop for a few hours. Your home will be incensed with all sorts of inviting aromas.
Make it beautiful with rustic, homey decor that double as practical items you actually use in the kitchen. Rolling pins, copper pots and pans hanging from a rack, and cutting boards of varying shapes, sizes, and grains are all great examples of this.
Make animals and children welcome in your cottage style home
This one I think is essential because you need your home to welcome others and be a warm and friendly environment. Make sure you’re welcoming to all guests and pets!
Keep some hidden toys in a storage bench in the living room for visiting children or keep a cozy, quiet corner dedicated just to your dog.
When my nephew steps into my home, I watch his face light up because he’s just tickled by all the detail and beautiful colors going from room to room. He loves to explore his aunt’s cottage!
One of my nieces exclaimed the last time she came by “Your house is so aesthetic!” That one made me laugh because I’d never heard her use that word before. I think she is right, though!
Kids are very honest, so I can count on that being a true statement.
Taken more literally, I also mean that incorporating decor with animals on them can bring together the entire cottage style. In the spring I love to display a small medium-sized porcelain rabbit in my living room or kitchen, usually off on a shelf or corner spot.
Maybe you love foxes, then you could order throw pillowcases with french country foxes emblazoned in the pattern and use this to dress up the pillows on the couch.
Two summers ago I made a fairy lantern for my cottage, and I placed this on a ledge in my living room. It is so detailed, and when I gaze at it it feels like I’m stepping into a magical world for a moment. So mystical and enchanting.
This short list of ways to curate a cottage style should have you transforming your abode slowly, but surely, over time.
With these tips and a little creativity, your home will be something especially unique to you. Your cottage will be the perfect environment for cozy reading, DIY crafting, gardening, and cooking. After all, it’s the heart that really makes the cottage a home.