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How to Add Cottage Style to Your Home

Cottage style easily lends itself to farmhouse style. Some may say the two styles are interchangeable. And although I agree that they share a lot of the same design concepts, they are also quite different in many ways. The idea of a cozy cottage has a nostalgic feel, and you can’t help but think of an overgrown rose bush out front and sweet multi-paned windows highlighted by shutters. The farmhouse style is cleaner, sharper, and more utilitarian but gives off that cozy, nostalgic feel as well.

With a welcoming, homey look reminiscent of years gone by, it’s easy to incorporate cottage style into your farmhouse.


Cottage Style: A Brief History

As far back as the Middle Ages, the word “cottage” was used to describe small huts, but today it is more often used to describe a modest, two-story home with about four rooms.

The modern farmhouse style has gained popularity since the 2000s, thanks partly to HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.” The contemporary cottage style combines many of those same elements but embraces quaintness. The aesthetic is rooted in the country aesthetic with traditional English elements but still maintains a similar feel.

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Cottages are traditionally viewed as country homes and are sometimes thought of as second homes. They usually have stone exteriors, a pitched roof, and small rooms. Cottage style embraces the antique aesthetic while incorporating modern elements such as moody paint colors, reclaimed wooden pieces, and chunky textiles. When it comes to adding cottage style to your farmhouse, the goal should always be comfort, and every room should feel homey and welcoming.

The Modern Cottage: Key Elements

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For a modern cottage style, consider the following elements.

  • Cool, neutral color palettes. Use white and gray as neutrals, and then add bold accents.
  • Whenever possible, expose natural beams to create a rustic look and feel.
  • Focus on the hearth or fireplace: In modern cottages, warmth is critical, so wood-burning stoves and fireplaces are prominent.
  • Antique fixtures such as farmhouse sinks. If possible, mix in vintage country-inspired pieces.
  • White beadboard and wood paneling. White-washed wood paneling on the walls or ceiling lends a cozy cottage feel.
  • Open kitchen shelving. The modern cottage style is relaxed and humble, and open shelving works well in this setting.
  • Textiles. Set off your decor with handwoven throws and pillows.

Common Materials

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Natural materials such as stone and wood are traditionally used in cottage-style homes. Focus on raw materials rather than artificial ones in modern cottage style. In the bathroom, for example, opt for exposed bricks and stone.

Vintage pieces are popular in modern cottage style, emphasizing “old meets new.” For example, try mixing a vintage lamp with a stylish leather sofa or chair. Modern cottages may have a bit of an eclectic feel with their mix of materials and pieces, but they all should feel purposeful and cozy. Metal and plastic should be avoided.

Neutral Colors

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Avoid bright colors like reds, yellows, oranges, greens, blues, etc. Instead, choose muted shades such as tans, grays, creams, whites, and off-whites. Neutral colors go well together and complement one another.

One of the best things about modern cottage style is that you can truly make it your own. It is more about a nostalgic feel and a sense of warmth than a cut-and-dry list of features, so you can incorporate many standard features into your home however you see fit.

Lots of Plants

Plants add life to any space. They add a nice touch to the decor and help clean the air indoors. And believe it or not, greenery makes your home appear larger than it is! For an authentic cottage look, place a collection of easy-care indoor plants in a sunny window in the living room or on the kitchen counter. Even a collection of various cacti, succulents, and aloe look beautiful on a romantic cottage-style farmhouse front porch.

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Get Minimalistic

Since minimalism has become extremely popular lately, why not incorporate this trend into your farmhouse cottage-style decorating scheme? Minimalism is about keeping clutter to a minimum and ensuring nothing takes over. It’s about owning less stuff! And this is as true for cottage-style as it is for farm-house style!

In contrast to common perception, a minimal – or simple – home does not have to be austere. It can instead be filled with thoughtfully selected simple items. This approach emphasizes curation over clutter and avoiding unnecessary trends, fashions, and fads (and refraining from overt cottage-style sentimentality and sweetness.)

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