Break out the doilies, Cottage Style is back from its thirty year exile to the land of Shabby Chic! This comforting decor style filled with character and practical imperfection has been repurposed by a younger generation, now carrying the torch by way of a hand-dipped candle. In response to life in the fast lane, the quaint back to basics aesthetic started emerging five or six years ago, and has recently been popularized as a needed escape from the emotional overload of COVID-19. One can hardly scroll their Instagram feed or Tumblr page without coming across a knitting, baking, hand-something-making post. While simpler times never really existed, we insist on trying to revisit them. Women of the past knew how to create a home from little, and it’s that part we’re trying to glean: growing a kitchen garden, mending a holey sock, sewing a dress from old curtains, seasoning those heavy, cast-iron grannie pans to non-stick. We admire their ingenuity and hard-scrabble attitude. Though we may live world’s away from a cottage in the woods, getting anywhere becomes closer one stepping stone (or sourdough loaf) at a time!

Does a foggy morning forage with a steaming pot of tea, or a fireside knitting session in an overstuffed chair sound like heaven to you? Then read ahead for some ideas on bringing cozy Cottage Style into your home.

English cottage charm in California via the nordroom.com

  • Add natural and textural elements like driftwood, dried flowers, faux sheepskin, wrinkled linen, and chunky knits.
  • Dim lighting, use candles, open drapes to the daylight and windows to the fresh air; let the outside in.
  • Once temperatures drop, bake up a storm. Try natural sweeteners, grains and grain flours, and apple, pumpkin, and sweet potato purées to take advantage of a local harvest. The scents are delicious and the oven heats up a chilly kitchen.
  • Introduce soft and neutral colors. Take inspiration from what some are calling the Mineral Palette: amethyst geode, rose quartz, and the many shades of greys and beiges found in rocks and pebbles.

 

Choose a few pieces with character. Antiques, second-hand treasures, and new purchases with rustic finishes make rooms feel lived in and comfortable. A faded quilt, crackled pottery, and worn carpets add authenticity. But keep it minimal- remember the idea is to align with a  simpler life not add more to clean.

Avoid anything too sleek, too shiny, or too sensational. This style is humble and understated. We would call it plainly pretty. Anything beautiful is so without trying (or so it should seem): an orchard bouquet, a slant of light on the floor, a dog snoozing.

  

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. Creativity and resourcefulness often make for interesting homes. A ladder is blanket storage, a vintage bottle drying rack becomes cup carousel and focal point for a coffee bar, a threadbare carpet adds color and warmth to a headboard.
  • Buy less, and invest in more small batch, locally made items that connect your home to the surrounding community. Help support a neighborhood artisan, patronize an independent business, grab produce at the farmers market. Consuming these goods feels good, (and because these businesses need to answer to their neighbors, quality is generally higher than at big box stores) and reminds us of the talented, interesting people and special environments we’re lucky to live in.

Do you like Cottage Style? Could you get lost in its forests and florals? C’mon, your carriage is waiting!