Vintage Cottage Style Decorating Ideas

A simple, organic style of decor and living

Vintage Cottage Style

Vintage cottage style decorating ideas that will help you create a natural cottage home with vintage and reproduction materials and furnishings.

Learn how to put it all together here.

Simple vintage chic is good!

You’ve made the decision to create a cottage style home using vintage products and materials. That is the first step, and it’s a big one. Why? Well, there are different approaches to cottage decor, and some are more ‘cutesy’ than others.

The vintage approach requires a commitment to elements and materials of years past, but does not necessarily mean rustic and sparse. Quite the contrary.

A cottage style home created with vintage chic, as I like to call it, can be very cool. Just take a look at the photos here. How cool are they?

Take a few moments to study the rooms you see on this page...a living areas, a bedroom and a couple of neat vintage style kitchens.

Vintage Cottage Style Bedroo

The common elements found in Vintage Cottage Style

What do you notice about each of these photos? There are some common elements that are a good indicator of vintage cottage style decor.

Organic materials are present. Notice the wood floors, wood plank ceilings, beamed ceilings, even the brightly painted walls in the kitchen are woodl

Simplicity of the space. No crowded rooms here, and if anything, the decor is simple and uncluttered.

Collections are present in each room.

Notice the plates above the kitchen door...the vintage mirrors on the living room wall...the artwork above the headboard of the iron bed...simple, yet indicative of how a room would be decorated years ago.

Casual Vintage Living Room Styl

Take these inspirations and add to the some of the following elements to create a vintage cottage look in your own home:

Plank floors and ceilings, possibly exposed beams

One of the most widely used organic elements is wood. Consider rough sawn planks for the floors to create the most authentic vintage chic look. A stained and sealed wood floor is just fine, too, for the foundation of your vintage cottage style home.

I once lived in a vintage home, actually it was a Sears Catalogue home that had been built in Michigan in the 1950’s. My husband and I took up the carpet in a first floor bedroom and found beautiful wood floors underneath. We sanded and stained, and had a gorgeous wood floor that fit the era of the home perfectly.

If the style of your home (and your budget) can accommodate, how about wood planked ceilings in selected rooms, and/or rough sawn beams. This works particularly well if you have cathedral ceilings.

Beaded Board walls
I love the vintage look that beaded board on the walls creates, and it is a perfect choice in this style of cottage home. You really can’t over use this element here, so let your creative juices flow.

I have seen beaded board put two-thirds of the way up a dining room wall painted a lovely cream color, then a beautiful soft paint on the walls above. It is a great look.

TIP: Try running the beaded board horizontally instead of vertically. It creates a chic vintage backdrop in a space.

Kitchen in Vintage Cottage Decor

Wall colors and textures
A vintage cottage style home can have a soft color palette, but it may also carry some brighter shades, as found in the photo of the kitchen on this page.

Deeper neutrals, such as chestnut brown, could also enhance the natural simplicity of your cottage style home, but be careful of becoming oppressive and overly dark.

How about wall paper? It was quite popular in the 30's and 40', and if you are selective in the style and placement, could be a very cool choice.

Slip covered furniture
Whether you purchase upholstered pieces that are specifically created for slip covers, or you use this option to take what you own and repurpose for a vintage cottage style home, your furniture will blend well into this style of decor.

Slipcovers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, fabrics and prices, so you can find just about any style of slipcover for a sofa, chair, love seat or even an ottoman.

Just remember the mantra...simple, organic, vintage...cotton fabrics in light solids, stripes or small prints would be good, just always be aware of the simplicity of the style you are creating.

Distressed furniture
This can be interpreted literally, as in vintage pieces found in flea markets, at antique shops and garage sales. The distressed look is literally from years of use.

I liken the nicks and dings in vintage furniture to wrinkles that we get in our skin as we age. It’s a sign of character. (That’s what I tell myself, anyway).

A cottage furnished with authentic vintage pieces will be a true representation of a cottage style home from the earlier part of the 20th century.

Repurposed/Painted/Reproduction furniture
Realistically, at least some of the pieces you’ll use in your vintage chic home will be reproduction, such as an iron bed like the one shown in the photo on this page.

Colorful Vintage Cottage Style Kitchen

Or, you might find the perfect chest at a flea market to use your the dining area, and decide to paint it so the piece fits your room’s decor. is not too difficult to paint a piece and keep the distressed look about it.

Here is a source with simple instructions for painting furniture for you.

This approach might work very well when selecting for the kitchen and the bath. A reproduction claw foot tub might be a more practical find than scouring around for the authentic piece. And, you’ll know that it will function well!

Area rugs constructed with natural, organic elements will help to create visual interest, cover floors that you don’t want to accentuate, and provide some texture to your vintage cottage design.

The flooring in your home might not be exactly what you would do if the budget were unlimited, but no worries...area rugs to the rescue! Keep them simple and natural, most often of neutral color, and you’ll keep the mood consistent with the theme.

Chic vintage entry collectio

Collections are always an integral component in cottage style decorating, so vintage chic is no exception.

Remember, though, the goal is authentic, not cutesy, overdone, or ‘more is better’.

Think of displaying your collectables in unique ways, such as this eye catching entry display of wall plates. (I have misplaced the source of this photo, so please let me know if it is yours, so I can give credit back to your site...thanks!)

Collections don’t have to be nestled together, either.

You might have a nice variety of vintage creamers and small pitchers, for example, so you might place them in various locations in your cottage style home.

Vintage vase from One Kings Lan

A collection of three could find a home on the dining room buffet, with a larger pitcher on the dining table, with some beautiful flowers in it.

You might have an old wood shelf on the dining wall and display several creamers on it, with a few other vintage items in attendance.

The dining area is quite spacious, so you have two small accent chairs tucked into the bay window with a vintage end table in between. There are a couple of creamers on this table, too.

That is an example of taking a collection and displaying it throughout the room.

Some final thoughts & tips for your Vintage Cottage Style home:

Entry with vintage pillows and area rug

uploaded to Pinterest

Keep furnishings simple in both style and number. Don’t “over furnish” the space.

A bedroom, for example, might have a bed, nightstand, dresser/mirror combo, and a small accent chair. That’s it, except for a simple piece of artwork on the wall.

Refer to the bedroom photo at the top of the page for a great example of the simplicity of this style of decorating.

Simple, simple, simple - use materials or reproductions of those that were available in the earlier part of the 20th century.

The Bella Cottage is a great online source for vintage cottage style, shabby chic, country french and similar type home decor. I was quite happy to find it when researching for the creation of this page.

Finally, use vintage finds to create unique, one-of-a-kind decor accents, like this!


You might also enjoy:

Shabby Chic Decorating Ideas

Eclectic Decorating

Shabby Chic Accessories

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