The cottage is the epitome of a “great escape.” It’s become the North American dream: a getaway from the everyday, a retreat to relaxation and recreation, and a return to nature and a simpler way of life. It’s a place to unplug, unwind, and put your feet up. Oftentimes, that wooded, waterfront, or countryside haven is miles from home. But what if your great escape is in the urban jungle?
Leave your worries at the door. You too can achieve sweet serenity with cottage house plans, regardless of your physical location. Whether you’re building a brand-new home, renovating an existing one, or redecorating a room, here are some of my favorite ways to bring that coveted cottage lifestyle a little closer to home.
Country Cottage Materials
Materials are an effective way of expressing this distinctive style. In this case, I like using cottage-inspired elements that come directly from nature, such as natural wood, raw stone, and organic textiles like linen, cotton, and wool. These materials often evoke strong emotions that draw many to this decorating style—namely feelings of being cozy, relaxed, comfortable, and welcomed.
Wood floors are a common characteristic of cottage style homes—informal and perfectly imperfect. Conveying a message of “No, don’t take your shoes off—just come on in,” wood floors seem to beckon to arriving residents and guests. All it takes is a sweep and occasional polish to bring them back to their original glory. You can amp up the rustic casual aesthetic charm by selecting a wide plank floor. Reclaimed species like hemlock and pine are beautiful. For new solid and engineered hardwood, European white oak is my top choice for its consistent grain and coloring, plus its wide range of stain options.
Photography by Gillian Jackson
Beadboard or shiplap wood panelling are common finishing options for cottage style walls and ceilings. To avoid being swallowed up by a uniform wood finish, which can leave you feeling closed in, consider painting the shiplap or beadboard in a fresh hue that complements the natural wood in the space. Washed wood can also be incorporated to create a cozy, cabin-inspired look and feel.
TIP: Wood furniture is the obvious choice for a cottage-style home, solidifying a relationship to nature and suggesting warmth and history through every dent and ding, which are not only accepted but welcomed. However, it’s not the only option. Achieve an eclectic, “collected” vibe by incorporating a few painted pieces, whether metal or glass.
What are the elements of cottage décor?
Yes, decor is less of an investment than built-in items, but don’t discount its power or value. Accessories, art, accents—it’s these seemingly small, individual elements that combine to achieve a greater whole and the carefully considered cottage vibe that, if done right, comes off as completely carefree.
Photography by Gillian Jackson
Having many cottage house designs under my belt, I can attest that a coat of paint can go a long way. When designing cottages (whether actual ones or homes inspired by them), I often complement the space by choosing organic materials with a nature-inspired color palette. Whites, off-whites, and soft creams are the perfect base for that relaxed, rustic style that’s so popular. And with new trending hues for 2022, the move toward gentle green tones seems practically tailored to this cottage aesthetic—a perfect color to solidify one’s connection to nature.
Underfoot, rugs bring warmth to bare feet and to the broader mood in the home. Source a vintage, “second-life” rug; a fun braided style; or a flat-weave. Even very traditional styles featured in casual settings can gain new life and renewed appreciation.
Last but not least, try incorporating some “authentic” or fun accents to underpin the “cottage” vibe and look. For example, find a vintage painting or a pair of antique skis or snowshoes to mount above the fireplace. Throw blankets, baskets, and unusual found objects or antiques are all wonderful additions. Use them to highlight focal points in the space, such as a window, fireplace, or entertaining area.
Focal Points in Cottage Houses
Although every home is different, many share two common focal points: the fireplace and the kitchen. But not all fireplaces and kitchens are created equal, and yours may need to be “country-fied” to suit your intended country cottage aesthetic.
Even in an urban setting, you can enhance a home’s cabin appeal by focusing some attention on the fireplace. Start by upgrading the unit itself. Depending on your budget and inclination to redecorate or renovate, you can replace your fireplace or give your existing one a fresh coat of paint and perhaps a new mantle in a warm wood finish Then, bring focus to your new fireplace by positioning your furniture around it. Highlight it with dedicated lighting or a great piece of art.
Photography by Gillian Jackson
The kitchen is another common focal point in many homes, particularly in small cottages designed for socializing and entertaining family and friends. Ensure the kitchen maintains a consistent atmosphere in line with the rest of the home, particularly if it is open to the main living and dining area. Thankfully, there are plenty of opportunities to put natural materials front and center.
We’ve already discussed hardwood flooring in the cottage, but it’s worth mentioning again specifically in the kitchen. Run continuous hardwood floors through the entire home, including the kitchen. Doing this blurs the boundary between living areas and kitchen, making the entire space look larger and feel more cohesive.
Complement your wood floor with wood cabinets and an organic backsplash, such as natural stone tile or, if you’re aiming for “cottage chic” (stress on chic), marble. Then draw the eye upward with open wood shelves that enhance the kitchen’s function and style. Use these to store your frequently used cooking essentials so they’re easily on hand or reserve these prime spots for a few thoughtfully chosen decorative items, such as handmade pottery and live plants.
Photography by Stephani Buchman
Cottage chic may be an overused term, but there’s a good reason people keep drifting toward this look, whether at their recreational property or principal residence. Much like the cottage lifestyle that inspires it, this decorating style is casual, comfortable, and carefree—and, in most cases, anything goes. At the end of the day, have fun and incorporate the materials, finishes, and pieces that inspire you to kick back and enjoy life. After all, this is meant to be your “great escape” from the daily grind and the stresses that come with it.
What type of underlayment should you use? How many inches thick? How do you install it? And how do you avoid damaging your floors in the process?
When you work with Factory Flooring, you don’t have to worry about these questions. Our team of professional flooring installers will handle all the heavy lifting for you — literally. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the savings on your energy bill.
Need to get more flooring ideas first? Our design blog has dozens of articles to help you get started. Whenever you’re ready to tackle your insulation project, we’ll be here to help. Contact us online to get started, or call Factory Flooring at 469-583-7053