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Home Interior Design Styles: What is Cottage Style?

Light and airy vintage comfort

By Mikael Short
March 17, 2022

The signature cottage interior design style has been inspired mostly by the cozy English cottages of the 19th century.

More adaptations of cottage style have emerged within the last couple of decades, from English cottage, coastal cottage, rustic cottage, French cottage, and modern cottage styles—mostly distinguished by the colors, patterns, and style of accessories and heirlooms highlighted.

Rustic Cottage 

Rustic cottage style

Coastal Cottage

coastal cottage

English Cottage

English cottage

French Cottage

french country cottage

The common denominator of cottage styles is creating a cozy, inviting, and familiar place to settle in and unwind, featuring palatable colors, patterns, and vintage features.

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What Is Cottage Style Interior Design?

You don’t need a cottage to incorporate cottage style designs. Creating a bright and cozy home environment is the goal of any cottage style.

cottage style kitchen

The key to cottage style is to create a space that feels lived in and familiar, a place that feels like it’s been home for a long time, gathering beloved trinkets and history along the way. This approach aligns well with the Scandinavian hygge, a word the captures the feeling of "cozy contentment." Much of the charm of cottage style comes from incorporating vintage pieces and a hodgepodge of furniture and decor that may not match but create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

Featuring neutral colors and pastels, the cottage home style is also enhanced with patterns and floral designs. Playing with color and patterns is encouraged in cottage designs, like pairing floral patterns with stripes.

Cottage decor in a kitchen

Cottage style is a cozier, softer, and more decorative take on natural rustic or farmhouse sensibilities. This could look like implementing meaningful trinkets and accessories, vintage throws or pillows, antique finishes, and other natural materials into the space.

Due to this, cottage interior design is very easy to personalize and make your own.

Characteristics of Cottage Style Interior Design

By embracing natural elements and colors, combining patterns and florals, and incorporating comfortable furnishings, you can create a cottage style that fits your personality. 

Nostalgic Decor

antique pots and stove in cottage home

Invoke a feeling of nostalgia with vintage and antique features and accents.

Natural Materials

warm wood tones in cottage home

Use warm, naturally occurring materials in furnishings, like wood, iron, and organic fabrics.

Wood Flooring

wood flooring in cottage home

Wood, stone, or wood- and stone-look flooring provide a solid foundation for cottage-style rooms.

Cozy Corners

cozy corner in cottage style home

Defined areas of the home (not always open layout). Create cozy nooks for snuggling up in.

Crafty Displays

recycled diy cottage decor

Recycled, repurposed finds, or DIY creations are welcome.

Antique Lighting

antique lighting over cottage style kitchen table

Layered lighting with repurposed lamps or vintage-style wall sconces work well in cottage style homes. Chandeliers can also elevate your cottage style.


How to Create the Cottage Look in Your Home

Cottage interior design has unlimited potential and possibilities to be customized, so it’s all about finding a theme that showcases your personality to offer cohesion to the space.

Cottage Color Palette

In general, the cottage color schemes tend toward warm neutrals like creams and pastels, with small pops of blue, green, and pink as your accents. The color scheme takes inspiration from floral patterns and the nostalgic coziness of aged, antique heirlooms.

Warm, Neutral Colors

neutral cottage color scheme

Cottage style features a neutral color palette base, like creams, whites, and pastels.

Light, Natural Accents

cottage blue cup

Muted naturally occurring or primary colors create lovely cottage accents, like soft blues, greens, corals, and yellows.

Floral Patterns

floral cottage decor

Florals—in patterns or real plants—give a nice pop of natural color.

Playful Prints

cottage patterns on display

Have fun with patterns! Stripes, florals, plaid, toile, or gingham are right at home in cottage style.

Creating a Unique Color Palette for Your Cottage Style Home

Your home's color palette may vary depending on which cottage style you lean towards. A French country-inspired cottage is going to look different than a rustic or coastal cottage design. To help refine your unique cottage color scheme, take inspiration from the history and decor of the region you want your cottage to emulate.

For example, your coastal cottage color scheme may be inspired by a cream-colored seashell and light-blue waters. Your rustic cottage color scheme may lean more towards dark woods and deep greens, emulating the forest.

Rustic Cottage

rustic dining setting to inspire rustic cottage color scheme

Warm wood tones, dark greens, and gold with rustic cottage

Coastal Cottage

coastal cottage color scheme inspired by seashell

Subtle blues and beiges for coastal cottage

French Country Cottage

French country cottage color scheme

Light yellows, purples, and reds for French cottage

English Cottage

english cottage floral color scheme

Pinks and floral greens for English cottage


Cottage Style Furniture

Think flea market, antique shop, vintage, recycled or repurposed materials when seeking furniture for your cottage-style home design.

It’s not so much about making everything match, but making the space cozy and inviting—to inspire someone to curl up in a comfy chair with a blanket while reading a book or drinking a cup of tea.

Vintage Styles

antique cottage style furniture in a living room

Traditional furniture or living room chairs enhance the cottage aesthetic, creating a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the space.

Florals & Pastels

pastel couch with blue flowers

Neutral or light pastel colors or floral patterns work well on cottage living room furniture.

Natural Textiles

wool slipcover on a couch

Cotton, wool, and linen fabrics feature well in upholstered cottage furniture.

Flea Market Finds

antique tub in cottage style bathroom

Hand-me-down furniture from family or second-hand pieces from yard sales feel homey.

Repurposed

repurposed cottage style coffee table

Reuse or repurpose vintage furniture in new and inventive ways, like an old sewing table as a desk or a vintage wooden bench doubling as a coffee table.

Unrefined Edges

cottage bathroom

Avoid too much whitewashing or sanding since that lends toward more rustic, country, or farmhouse aesthetics.


Cottage Style Decor

The important thing about the cottage decorating style is to make it look lived in and comfortable, but not messy.

That being said, cottage decor can be almost anything you want. Here are some ideas to stir your imagination:

Cozy Throws

throw pillows and blanket in cottage style home

Throw rugs or blankets draped over a sofa adds coziness and warmth.

Woven Materials

woven pillow decor

Knitted, braided, or woven materials and accents create a sense of home and familiarity, like settee or table coverlets.

Plants

plantlife cottage decor

Plantlife brings the outdoors inside, such as hanging potted plants, flowers in a vase, or artwork featuring plants.

Inviting Rugs

jute rug in cottage interior

Rugs made of jute, sisal, and seagrass offer a natural material underfoot. Floral-patterned rugs also work in cottage decor.

Mirrors

antique mirrors

Antique mirrors make the space feel bigger.

Airy Textiles

lace sheer cottage window curtain

Sheer or lace window treatments create a light, airy feel inherent in cottage styles.

Plush Pillows

pillows by window

Plush pillows and cushions add comfort and design with patterns, florals, and colors.

Patterned Curtains

cottage with red curtains

Curtains and window treatments with patterns can add intrigue or color.

Vintage Lamps

Refurbished lamps are also popular additions to add layered lighting and unique decor.

Refurbished lamps are also popular additions to add layered lighting and unique decor.

Beadboard

beadboard in cottage dining room

Beadboard and shiplap on walls, ceilings, open-face cabinets, or cabinet doors add dimension.

Eclectic Gallery

vintage cottage decor in kitchen

Vintage artwork and gallery spreads add intrigue and pops of color.

Decorative Flourishes

crown molding

Crown molding, trim, and other decorative built-ins harken back to English cottage edges.

Decor for Different Cottage Styles

Similar to a cottage style color scheme, your cottage decor is going to vary depending on the region and style you want to portray. Consider the following decor ideas if you want to create a specific aesthetic:

English Cottage

English cottage reading nook

Book nooks and plenty of patterns are at home in an English cottage interior

Rustic Cottage

rustic cottage wood accents

Consider exposed wooden beams for rustic cottage or country cottage

Coastal Cottage

coastal cottage seashell decor

Decoriate with driftwood pieces or seashells for coastal cottage

French Country Cottage

French country cottage featuring flowers

Choose floral curtains or wallpaper and gold metal finishes for French cottage


Cottage-Style Kitchen Ideas

Cottage style homes have a reputation for the coziest kitchens, which is why we think it's worth outlining the design choices that make the cottage style kitchen so loved.

Wood Flooring

wood floors in kitchen

Go for a classic cottage foundation with wood floors to add warmth and character.

Open Shelves

open shelves cottage kitchen

Opt for open-faced shelving or glass door cottage kitchen cabinets to show off your vintage or antique dishware collections.

Antique Lighting

lighting in cottage kitchen

Choose vintage lighting with wood, glass, or antique metal finishes. Exposed bulbs also lend to an old-fashioned vibe.

Classic Cabinetry

butcher block materials kitchen

Traditional decorative cabinetry and Shaker cabinets work well with the vintage aesthetic of cottage kitchens. Natural materials work best as countertops in a cottage kitchen, such as butcher block, concrete, or engineered quartz.

Farmhouse Sinks

farmhouse sink in cottage interior kitchen

Farmhouse sinks add beautiful functionality to cottage kitchens. A wall-mount kitchen sink also has old-fashioned appeal like you might find in old cottages.

Bridge Kitchen Faucets

bridge kitchen faucet in cottage kitchen

Bridge faucets contribute to the vintage appeal to create a cottage kitchen.

Traditional Backsplash

dark backsplash kitchen cottage

Traditional porcelain, ceramic, or stone tiles work splendidly as cottage kitchen backsplash.


Cottage vs Farmhouse vs Rustic

While cottage, farmhouse, and rustic styles share an affinity for natural elements and warmth, they express their similarities very differently.

Cottage style is the least rustic of these three similar design types as it leans more toward a soft, feminine, country antique aesthetic. It’s more decorative, with a blend of vintage or antique features with soft touches and furnishings for comfort. Cottage carries a more romantic or even whimsical feel, with smooth and subtly ornate lines, pastel colors, and a playful application of patterns and florals.

modern farmhouse kitchen

In contrast, the farmhouse style is more structured, with strong and simple designs with cleaner lines, focused on function rather than comfort. The palette is more color neutral, with whites, beiges, and washed out wood tones. Farmhouse features intentional vintage or antique touches with a much lighter hand than the more eclectic, lived-in cottage style.

rustic kitchen

Rustic interior design is the most rugged and raw of the three rustic types, leaning heavily on unfinished natural wood and stone, warm tones, and animal hides or antlers to accentuate the style. Function before form designs reign in rustic designs, much like farmhouse, but accented with dark greens and golds befitting a forest rather than a farm.


Cottage style homes, while inspired by cottages of yesteryear, are here to stay in all of its variations, thanks to creating a warm and inviting environment. The playful approach to colors and patterns make the cottage aesthetic especially homey and personable. The incorporation of natural elements and features brings an organic warmth and familiarity to the cottage style as well.

Ultimately, it’s about finding your happy spot in terms of color palette, pattern appeal, and vintage furniture and touches to create a cottage aesthetic that draws you in and feels like home. And if you still need help crafting your cottage home style, our expert Vevano Home interior designers can help! Reach out to our expert interior designers for a FREE design consult.