Cottage style decor is light, airy and cosy. Decorate your entire home in this comfortable and worn-in style or create a special room of your own using the cottage-style basics: lots of white with touches of light-coloured or natural wood, and pastel colours.
Paint walls white or very pale shades of blue, yellow or green. Add some faux wainscoting with white moulding, painting the lower section a shade different from the top section. Paint window frames white. Hang white sheers for curtains, and add a cotton print valance to the window in a light or very faded vintage fabric.
If you have carpeting with hardwood underneath, consider pulling up the carpet and painting your floors white, or sand them down and finish them in a light stain or a clear polyurethane to reveal the natural wood colour. Place antique or hooked cotton rugs in coordinating colours on the floors.
Paint two wicker side tables a pale shade of sage-green for the bedroom, and cover the bed in white linens. Find a white, wrought iron bedstead. Put a faded antique quilt at the foot of the bed. For the living room, place white cotton slipcovers over your sofa and side chairs. Hang curtains in a light vintage floral print, attached to a wooden rod and finials, also painted white.
Place lace-trimmed linens under lamps and ceramic objects on side tables. Find antique quilts, table runners and vintage linens and place them on tables, chair backs and coffee tables. Or, frame them in painted or antique picture frames. Purchase antique iron objects such as locks and keys, and display them openly on a coffee table or in a glass box. Take an old (or new) trunk and give it an antique or shabby chic-style coat of paint by sanding off the edges. This will give it the comfortable, worn-in look of cottage style decor.
You can customise your cottage style for a particular theme such as French country, using a faded, pink toile fabric on your walls or as pillow accents. Or, go with a beach cottage style, using seashell-pink and sand coloured linens and window treatments. Place faded pictures of shells in white frames. Use light coloured or ageing wicker furniture wherever possible, or paint the wicker off-white or a very light green.