Cottage-style decorating can range from log cabin rustic to the gentility of an English country home, and it often focuses on two design motifs that have become synonymous with cottage living - seashore and garden. But whatever form it takes, the tradition of a cottage often evokes coziness and comfort for the people who live there.
Hues usually associated with cottage design are dusty, muted tones of pastels that reflect the ocean and gardens. Florals convey a genteel atmosphere while plaids fit best with a rustic decorating scheme. Cushions for soft upholstered furnishings are often slipcovered in different colors and patterns according to the season.
Another way to create a vintage look found in traditional cottages is to encase windows in shutters. Usually finished with a light wood stain or painted white and off-white, they are an attractive complement to pastels. Gray with a hint of blue offers a good base color for the traditional white trim, fabrics and painted furnishings of cottage-style decorating.
Hardwood floors coupled with area rugs fit the cottage style. While such flooring imparts a look of warm floors, homeowners can achieve the real thing by installing radiant floor heating that will give any cottage-styled room a toasty warmth.
Some contemporary furniture can be integrated into this type of room design. Rather than a fussy, cluttered look, cottage decor often has a clean, white-washed effect that's a good match with modern furnishings.
Whether a home is styled with antique or new furniture, cottage decor is also known for its light and airy feel. According to CottageStyleDecoratingGuide.com, whatever furnishings homeowners choose should create an atmosphere that reminds them of vacation time when day-to-day living is comfortable and carefree.
Wicker is a favorite material in tradition cottage furniture. It can be used in a set of love seats and chairs or just as accent pieces like side tables.
Integrate old and new
Accessories for cottage-style home design may be collectibles that homeowners have gathered through the years or vintage finds from flea markets. Baskets are traditional accents, but they also have a practical use as storage for odds and ends around the house.
The backs of cabinets or the wall behind open shelving may be painted in an accent shade that will allow displayed treasures to stand out, recommends Better Homes and Gardens magazine.The backing will also be in contrast to lighter wall colors. It's just one of the design tricks that homeowners can use to give their cottage-style rooms personality.