Decorating in cottage style means using soft colors, vintage design, feminine florals and mismatched accessories. The true essence of cottage-style decor is a space that's charming and peaceful, where you and your family can find relief from the stress of work, school and other activities. You can make your home resemble a coastal getaway or a cottage in the rural countryside. The cottage theme gives your house the feel of a retreat untouched by time.
Neutral colors are often used as a backdrop for beach-inspired settings. White or pale blue walls that contain red accents creates a bright coastal feel, ideal for the summer. Create sun-kissed hues by mixing faded yellows, burnt oranges and deep reds in distressed finishes to give your interior a more weathered and older appearance. If you'd like your home to reflect the atmosphere of a log cabin, use dark wood earth tones with wide plank flooring and paneled wood walls or wainscoting.
Mixing furniture is crucial when decorating in a cottage style; however, don't stray too far from your theme. For example, don't combine light pine with dark oak, or you can spoil the cottage illusion. While your furniture doesn't have to come from the same designer or family, it should still have a sense of continuity. Use hand-crafted wood furnishings in vintage or retro styles with distressed or whitewashed finishes. Hand-crafted pieces are typical of cottage-style decor because of its historic origins, when craftsmen and artisans built their own homes and furniture.
Let in as much natural light as possible. Use drapes in floral, gingham checked or toile patterns, or natural wooden window coverings, such as bamboo blinds. If possible, install a skylight to allow natural light to brighten your interior. Use mismatched seashell, driftwood and distressed painted lamp bases combined with white or pale blue lampshades. Add light to dull areas by placing wrought-iron and nautical-themed lanterns on accent tables and furniture.
Display accessories on open shelving. Use a variety of decorative pots and baskets for storage instead of large, clunky pieces of furniture. Flowers in mismatched vases add color and provide a more natural country feel. Unify different types of furniture by purchasing vintage linens and using them as chair covers.