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Cottage Style Decorating

I am pleased to have Becky Chapman, owner and host of the website Chapman Cottage, write this feature article about Cottage Style decorating. The photos on this page are of Becky's own cottage, and as you can tell, the pictures reflect not only a knowledge of Cottage style but a true passion for it as well.

Before I just dive right in to discuss different cottage style decorating schemes, we first, must define cottage! Probably, this word means something different to each of us. Some may see a rustic, woodsy retreat, high in the mountains near a pristine lake with a wrap-around porch and green Adirondack chairs. Many may feel that their cottage dream reveals a glorious weekend beach house, high upon stilts, with visions of crisp, striped slip-covered furniture, seashell lined window sills, and the echo of cackling sea-gulls. And others, may picture a tiny, painted yellow house trimmed with lace curtains, cute wooden shutters, and a white picket fence surrounding the perfectly manicured rose garden and lawn in Anytown, USA! I think we will all agree that the word cottage suggests a small home with a vacation or holiday atmosphere, where we yearn to spend time with the ones we love, doing whatever our hearts desire. So, the question is: How can we decorate our "everyday" homes to feel like we live in a daily, dreamy vacation year around? Come with me, and I'll take you on a little adventure, showing you the things that I have learned in my everlasting search for the perfect cottage!

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Chapman's Cottage

"...every day feels like summer with crisp, cotton slipcovers; pale, yellow walls, and splashes of red accents. The dark, pine antique furniture and oak wood flooring contrasts lovely with the light colors."

The first thing to do is to pick your favorite cottage-style decorating plan that makes you feel happy and comfortable! Remember - cottage style is very easy-going and casual. Whether it be Shabby Chic, Southwestern, Rustic Camp, Country French, Americana, Contemporary, English Country/Victorian, etc., is entirely up to you. Your cottage style can even be a combination of styles. For example, you may wish to combine Southwestern with Contemporary; or even, Shabby Chic with English Country/Victorian. Visit the home decorating section at your local bookstore or library for ideas and clarification of styles. Whatever cottage style you choose, make sure that the decision completely comes from your heart, so you are very comfortable living this way.

"...antique white lace curtains, more slipcovered furniture for lounging & easy care; and lots of quilts draped here & there instantly suggest a casual & light-hearted flair."

Next, select your color scheme for paint and fabrics in every room throughout the house that commands the feeling of your style. In other words, if you have selected English Country as your mode, you might want to use colors such as: rosy pink, hunter green, and leathery brown. These colors, when combined with the proper accessories and some chintzy fabrics and aged leather, will help translate the wonderful English cutting gardens of the countryside and the dark, earthy colors of a gentleman's library. Maybe, you have decided upon a Shabby Chic cottage. The pastel colors of celadon green, palest ice blue, bashful pink, and creamy white will romantically compliment all the roughest textures of iron and peely-paint furniture that you will want to include. Maybe you wish your cottage to encompass the true Americana Cottage style of patriotic and simple colors of red, white, and blue mixed with dark, primitive wood furniture, and plenty of whimsical folk art and antique collectibles.

"...rustic, heart-shaped twig headboard, clad in denim & white linen, is right at home in a country setting. White, peely-paint shutters with heart cut-outs continue the country cottage feel."

Now, the fun part! Furniture and accessories, my personal favorite! Whatever cottage style you have selected, be certain to scour the flea markets, garage sales, antique malls, and outlet furniture stores! You can find wonderful treasures in these places at bargain prices. Let's say you have decided upon the Rustic Camp style and you are ready to do some shopping for the living room. How about a plaid sofa & bent twig chairs atop an Indian rug centered in front of that rock fireplace? You could add lamps with faux hide-covered shades, put some antlers up over the mantel, and maybe even an upright canoe with oars in one corner to use as a bookcase! Try to look at ordinary, everyday items in a whole new light, and you may ,quite possibly, find fun and exciting uses for them.

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