What Are the Best Tips for Cottage Lighting?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Cottage lighting works with the theme or design style of a cottage to subtly enhance furnishings and architecture. Depending on the style of the cottage, some lighting solutions may be more appropriate than others. Some of the most popular forms of cottage lighting include natural light, lanterns, candle-based lights, and vintage or reproduction lamps and fixtures.

Since cottages are usually small, cozy structures, natural light can be an important part of adding a feeling of space and breeziness. To maximize natural light, windows should use very light curtains that can be easily thrown back, such as linen or gauze drapes. Mirrors placed at strategic angles can help bounce incoming natural light around a room, making it appear larger and brighter. Other ways to increase natural cottage lighting include installing skylights or replacing exterior doors with glass doors. Natural lighting can help add an aura of openness to a beach-style cottage, or allow bright sun to beam into a cozy, shabby-chic space.

Lanterns bring a touch of rustic decor to a woodland or lakeside-themed cottage. One very popular style of lantern for cottages draws on the traditions of California arts and crafts design, incorporating milk or stained glass with carved wood or copper pieces. Lanterns can be free-standing, mounted on walls or exterior posts, or even used as overhead lights. Lantern chandeliers are dramatic and often quite beautiful, and can make a stunning centerpiece for a dining room.


Since cottage decor tends to focus on simplicity, candles can be a wonderful cottage lighting solution. Inexpensive and easy to replace, candles can be placed in hurricane glasses or closed lanterns to reduce the risk of fire. Clustering several candles in a fireplace can create a gentle, glowing alternative to a traditional wood fire. For those who do not like dealing with wax cleanup, consider using battery-operated candles, which flicker realistically but can be used time and time again.

Another major design scheme for cottages calls upon vintage styles, such as art deco or Victorian design. One of the best ways to complement a distinct, era-based atmosphere is through vintage or reproduction lighting. Haunt flea markets and secondhand stores for great deals on vintage lamps, or look online for custom fixtures particular to a certain design aesthetic. Using vintage cottage lighting can put the finishing touches on an era-specific design scheme, while providing practical use as well. For those who only wish to hint at an era of design, a single vintage lamp can be a perfect accent for a room.


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