How to Give Your House The Cottage Look

Updated April 17, 2017

Cottage decor runs the gamut from breezy beach-inspired decorating, pared down modern cottage flair to eclectic English cottage style. But you don't need a bungalow by the ocean, an English manor or a cosy house in the country to achieve the cottage look in your home. Choose a relaxed, sand-in-your-shoes vibe. Evoke a contemporary mood or create a home that is all about collections and repurposing things you already own. Whatever your personal cottage decor style, create a cosy and welcoming home.

Welcome guests with a porch that invites them to sink into a wicker rocker with overstuffed red white and blue striped cushions. Include a table large enough for casual dining. Throw in a porch swing or hammock and your company may never leave.

Lay wood plank floors and paint them blue, white or pale yellow to mimic the ocean, sky, sun and clouds. Install bead board on the walls. Paint it white for an open, breezy feel in even the smallest space.

Bring the outdoors in by creating a conversation area around the fire place with Adirondack chairs painted traditional colours like deep green or mix and match primary colours to make the room pop. Substitute a lobster trap for a traditional coffee table. Cover the top with a piece of glass cut for that purpose.

Switch out closed cabinets in your kitchen for open shelving.

Fashion a "beachy" headboard from a vintage surf board or a fish net embellished with buoys.

Brighten a worn couch. Cover it with a quilt or throw. Add coordinating throw pillows. Choose some with floral designs. Pair it with overstuffed chairs upholstered in chintz featuring the same colour palette as the quilt or throw.

Replace traditional kitchen cupboards with a large hutch featuring open shelves on top for holding everyday items like dishes, silverware, salt and pepper shakers and kitchen utensils corralled in a pottery crock as well as displaying collections of things like china teacups with floral designs.

Create a den either in one area of your living room or a separate room. Install floor-to-ceiling book shelves and fill them with books, collections and family photos. Use an overstuffed, gently worn leather club chair, a shabby chic side table and floor lamp with a leaded glass shade to form a reading corner.

Tone down your collections. Display one or two of the best examples or the ones you like best.

Avoid too many colours and patterns in one room. Cover upholstered furniture with neutral slip covers and highlight with pillows in stripes or florals.

Add an industrial flair with vintage tin or metal pendant lights culled from factories. Find these at flea markets and places that sell restoration items.

Keep window dressings simple with Roman blinds or bamboo shades.

Things You'll Need

  • Wicker chairs
  • Table
  • Porch swing
  • Hammock
  • Painting supplies
  • Bead board
  • Adirondack chairs
  • Lobster trap
  • Glass
  • Surf board
  • Fish net
  • Quilt
  • Throw
  • Pillows
  • Club chair
  • Upholstered chairs
  • Hutch
  • Dishware
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Crock
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • China teacups
  • Books shelves
  • Books
  • Photographs
  • Side table
  • Floor lamps
  • Slip covers
  • Pendant lights
  • Roman blinds
  • Bamboo shades
  • Hutch
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About the Author

Jan Czech has been writing professionally since 1993. Czech has published seven children's books, including “The Coffee Can Kid," which received a starred review from School Library Journal. She is a certified English/language arts teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Niagara University.