What is Cottage Style Decorating?

C. Daw

Cottage style decorating is an interior decorating style that is informal, light and comfortable. It is very popular today, as it has been in the past, because it gives a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere that is great for relieving stress. Cottage style decorating makes use of charming, vintage-themed furniture, accessories and fabrics that are easy on the eyes and soft to the touch. It has neither of the cold, precise lines of modern motifs, nor the brooding, heavy and dark hues of masculine or formal styles. Neither is a real cottage even needed to have a cottage style feel. This style will work with a three-bedroom house, although it will not probably be suitable for the typical city apartment or condo unit with a rather limited space.

An ornamental birdcage fits with cottage style decorating.
An ornamental birdcage fits with cottage style decorating.

It is essential in cottage style decorating to get the furniture right. The ideal furniture for this style is light and breezy, as opposed to stuffy and heavy. Some good choices are wicker seats and tables, and furniture made with toile, chintz, and floral or plain fabrics. Overstuffed, upholstered or painted furniture can also work, as can shabby chic, cottage style furniture. The idea is to have a homey, casual and informal style overall. Use light colors on slipcovers and accessories.

Cottage style decorating is light, comfortable and informal.
Cottage style decorating is light, comfortable and informal.

People on a budget will appreciate cottage style decorating because it encourages mixing-and-matching of various items, including even old and faded ones. The use of slipcovers is also perfect for this style. A neat trick is to buy old or used sofa and chairs and put nice slipcovers on them. To get good results, choose furniture that has some style and nice lines.

Flea markets, consignment stores and yard sales are some good places to go to when looking for furniture and accessories in cottage style decorating. These places have old, but still beautiful, pieces that have character and aesthetic appeal. A little worn paint is perfectly fine. Accessories that have interesting decorations like shells, or those with unusual shapes and rich textures are also recommended. Put these on walls, or use similar interesting pieces like old tureen covers, vintage prints, old-fashioned signs, photographs, some stained glass, or even plates in holders. Just make sure that the final look is light, appealing, quaint and homey, maybe even whimsical, but never dark nor heavy.

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