Cottage Style Decorating Ideas & Tips

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Decorating a home in the casual and informal cottage look is such a versatile and friendly style of decor. Nothing pretentious or contrived about this type of design. On the contrary, a cottage theme of decorating says, “come on in, make yourself comfortable and stay awhile.”

The other great aspect of simple cottage decor is that it can fit into any type of home...a literal cottage of course, but also a traditionally styled home, a condo, apartment, town’s all about the choices made to finish out the interior.

Cottage Style Living Room Idea

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Budget friendly? Absolutely! That is a major appeal of this style of decor. You can literally use flea market finds, consignment shop bargains and garage sale treasures to furnish your home.

Let’s take a closer look...

Cottage style decorating idea

COLORS The use of soft shades of color is one of the most widely used palettes in cottage style decorating. You’ll sometimes see bolder, bright reds and blues, for example, but for the most part cottage style decorating will utilize the softer shades of blue, green, peach, yellow and pink, with white and shades of off white always present, too.

Here are some beautiful colors from Sherwin Williams to inspire you:

Sherwin Williams Timid Blu

Timid Blue


Sherwin Williams Pinkis



Peach Fuzz


Sherwin Williams Peach Fuzz

Dancing Green


Use these shades on your walls, and don’t hesitate to use different colors in the various rooms of your home. Or, put bead board on a portion of the walls in a room and finish off with a soft shade of rose, such as Possibly Pink. That would look great in a bathroom, wouldn’t it?

Continue the use of this color palette as you select the fabrics and accents for your cottage style home.

Use deeper shades of your palette as accent colors in wall decor, collectable displays, etc, but keep them off of the walls and larger pieces of furniture. You want the overall look of your home to reflect a soft and light appearance.

FLOORS Wood floors are great, and fit right into the natural, simple, organic flow of cottage style.

If you don’t have the option of wood or wood-like laminate, keep the carpet light and overall neutral in color.

Use area rugs to soften the look of tile or other types of flooring, as well as create a cozy feel to the space.

I live in a home that is tiled throughout the living, dining, kitchen and entry areas. If I were going to go with cottage style decor, I’d be sure to use a variety of sizes, shapes and textures of area rugs to define and create a soft, colorful foundation for the rest of my decor.

If the floors in your home are truly rustic wood, think about painting them, stenciling a border or stenciling a rug on them, too. Why not?

Casual Cottage Kitchen

Here’s an example: I can visualize a cottage style kitchen with a wood floor painted a soft shade of blue.

The photo shown here has some similarities to my envisioned space so we'll use this as a reference.

The cabinets are vintage (that’s a nice word for saying that they are old cabinets!) and thus are painted a creamy shade of off white. The walls are plaster and are painted with a simple, wide stripe faux finish (each vertical stripe is about 5” wide) in a very soft shade of blue and off white. The counter tops are a neutral beige solid surface with a subtle white fleck in them.

Some of the finishing touches:

* There is a braided rug under the table in the nook with blues, greens, yellows and pinks.
* The table in the nook is a natural oak finish. There is a bench on one side that is painted a soft green; two mismatched wood chairs are painted creamy yellow and creamy white, respectively.
* Several of the upper cabinets have open fronts to display vintage dinnerware and serving pieces.

FURNITURE Here is the aspect of cottage themed decor that responds really well to a limited budget!

Decorating in Cottage Styl it what you will...if you find a piece of cottage furniture that you love and has the simple, rustic appeal of cottage style, go ahead and use it.

Your treasured piece might need to be sanded and painted, and that’s perfectly okay. If you think of a true ‘cottage’, it almost includes furnishings that have been around for awhile (in a good way!)

Or, you might find reproduction furniture that has the simple, casual appeal you are searching for.

Light wood finishes are always a good choice, as are painted wood finishes in the soft color palette discussed above.

FABRICS Cottage style decorating utilizes small prints, florals, stripes, checks and solids in the colors described and shown above. Have fun with mixing and matching them, and in fact, please do so. You won’t find a ‘perfectly’ matched set of anything, including fabrics, in this casual style of decor.

If you are going to use existing upholstery, such as a sofa, loveseat or chair, the use of slipcovers can be a cost effective way to find your cottage style voice. And, the slip covered look is just the style you want, so consider this option in any event.

WINDOW TREATMENTS Maintain the simple and casual philosophy with the windows, and use natural fabrics, wood blinds or shutters. Nothing fancy or overdone here, just comfortable and functional.

How about a simple pull down window shade? Functional and clean, it would look just fine with cotton side panels and a simple valance across the top.

Cottage style decorating is fun, simple and budget friendly, so enjoy putting together your casual home decor wherever you live!

You might also enjoy:

Country Style Decorating

Beach Home Decor

country style living area

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