Cottage Style decorating can have many variations depending on personal taste, but one thing is certain–comfort, ease of living, and a welcoming feel take priority. The style lends itself well to small spaces, whether you live in a home, condo, or an apartment. My husband and I have decorated all 11 of our dwellings during our 25 years of marriage in several variations of Cottage Style and we have found it to be a flexible and affordable way to create a comforting and welcoming home.
What’s your favorite Cottage Style?
Romantic: Think lots of colorful flowers on everything from upholstery to pictures, plates, and linens. Colors are often soft pastels of pink, peach, green, and rose, but can be more vibrant hues of gold and burgundy and deep green. Antique wooden furniture with soft curves is often mixed in with curvy wrought iron gates and beds. Furniture finishes can be original dark wood, or painted white or a favorite color.
Eclectic: Think artfully arranged collections of the owners, both in furniture and accessories. Treasured items purchased while on vacation, or at flea markets and art fairs are proudly displayed. Favorite colors of the owner are also used. Upon entering this home, it has a sense of “personal style.”
Beachy: Easy-breezy! This one might include lots of white and blue, and maybe a touch of yellow or red. Furniture lines are often simple and a tad rustic in keeping with the casual lifestyle at the beach. Think white slipcovered sofas, blue striped pillows, painted wood floors with sisal rugs, Adirondack chairs, and of course, shells displayed in interesting containers.
Garden: Cottages often blend both indoors and outdoors for a comfortable “garden-y” look. Just do inside what your garden’s doing outside! Think cabbage rose prints on linens, vines and leaves stenciled on a wall, birdhouses and trellis. Textures found in nature include furnishings in wicker, rattan, or twigs.
English: This cottage style is aristocratic–the result of the landed gentry scaling down after changing economic circumstances–a blend of the grand with the inviting. Think large armoires, floral camelback sofas with rolled arms, leather-bound books, and generational family photos. A faded look of age which includes Oriental rugs and tapestry footstools and chair seats is typical.
Shabby Chic: This style was started by Rachel Ashwell. It usually includes lots of white walls with pale pink, green, and robin’s egg blue linens and accessories, quirky old chandeliers with crystals, white loose-fitting slipcovers, distressed painted furniture, with a touch of Old-World French style tossed in for charm.
Modern: Forget the cozy clutter. This one has furniture with modern simple lines but perhaps accented with a touch of softness and favorite colors in the throw pillows or textured throws on the sofa. A few carefully chosen and favorite accessories and art are present, but not overpowering.
Cabin/Camp: If a cozy retreat in the woods is your passion, then this is the Cottage Style for you. Knotty-pine walls and bookcases, berry red and forest green plaid blankets, twig furniture, and Native American artifacts like arrowheads are the hallmark of the camp cottage look.
Vintage: Generational family photos in black and white, lace curtains and tablecloths, family heirloom antique furniture, and aged floral draperies used for upholstery fabric make this Cottage Style. Collections might include old figurines, pottery, handkerchiefs, and jewelry.
French: This style blends tradition with a twist. Graceful curves on some furniture combines with other durable farmhouse furniture for a refined yet rustic look. Colors often include mustard and royal blue. Toile prints on fabrics and wallpaper are popular.
No matter which variation of Cottage Style is your favorite, by artfully arranging your personal things, you’ll be on your way to your very own cozy, comfy Cottage Style home.
c2005 Kathryn Bechen. All rights reserved worldwide.