What do fresh flowers, wicker furniture, comfortable couches with slipcovers, painted bead board and wood floors have in common? They are all part of a relaxed, comfortable, cozy, easy on the budget, family friendly style of decorating called Cottage Style Decorating.
Cottage Style Decorating evolved from the time when a cottage was often a summer or vacation home and as such was furnished with hand-me-downs from the main house. Because of this anything goes, old, new, vintage, mix and match and anything in between. There are no hard and fast rules. You can just let your personality guide you and choose things that you love being around, things that make you happy or evoke a favorite memory.
While there are no rules, in Cottage Style Decorating you are trying to create a simple, relaxing, comfortable atmosphere, a retreat from the stress and fast paced life we seem to live these days. This can be accomplished by using furniture and accessories that have a lived in but loved look. Just like that comfortable shirt or pair of jeans that we reach for when we want to just “be comfortable”, we are trying to create a home where we can go to relax and unwind.
There are several elements that traditionally make up the cottage style and many of these can be found at local garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores and antique stores. You might also find just the right accessory already lying around the house or stored in Grandma’s attic or in a closet or cupboard. This makes it the perfect style for today’s economic climate and those of us who love to decorate our homes, but are on a limited budget.
What are some of the elements of Country Style Decorating?
The overall look is soft and simple with lots of white, especially in moldings, trim and architectural details. But white by itself is boring, so you want to bring in pastel shades of blue, green, yellow, pink and aqua on walls, painted furniture and accessories. Just think colors you see in nature.
When choosing wood furniture, lighter shades of oak and pine are best. Vintage or garage sale furniture can be left natural or painted white or a soft pastel shade of green, blue, yellow or pink depending on your room colors. Upholstered furniture should be comfortable and can be covered in pleasing floral print slip covers. Bringing the outside in is also a hallmark of Cottage Style Decorating so wicker and garden furniture also work well.
Simple and informal window treatments that let in lots of light are best. Ideal are white sheers or lace alone or with a simple valance. I also love the look of white wood shutters or wooden blinds.
Pretty cotton floral prints are most often associated with the cottage look, but eyelet and chintz can also add just the right touch. Chenille and vintage or new quilts look “oh-so-cute” on the bed and you can also use chenille for valances.
Wood floors are ideal, even if they are a little worn. That just gives them a vintage appeal, but if you need to they can also be painted. For warmth and interest, you can add a throw rug or braided rug in a coordinating pattern.
Here is where you can really let your personality shine through. Bring out those collections like tea pots, Depression glass, mismatched pottery and china, baskets, birdhouses, crystal and silver. They are right at home in cottage decor. You can also add things like ruffled pillows, fresh or silk flowers and embroidered linens. They all add to the relaxed and cozy feel.
Cottage Style Decorating is such a fun way to decorate where there are no hard and fast rules. You can just choose those things that make you feel good and that you enjoy being around. Things that make you feel comfortable and relaxed and make your home a cozy, nurturing place to live where you and your family will love spending time.