Related: All Cottage-style homes | Cottage Style Foyer Ideas | Cottage Style Landscaping | Cottage Style Dining Rooms | Cottage Style Living Rooms | Cottage Style Primary Bedrooms | Cottage Style Primary Bathrooms
What is cottage style?
PLEASE NOTE: Below our extensive write-up on cottage style, we showcase many excellent photo examples.
Thinking about a cottage interior design style?
It’s a relaxed, laid-back and comfortable environment. Well-lived in. A vacation place where you kick-back your shoes and unwind. There are flea market finds, treasures upon treasures of bargains, repurposed bits, and pieces, wash and wear fabrics, simple in aesthetics yet still exuding elegance, fun, and taste.
A cottage style home can have a broad range of looks and designs. They are typically smaller than what we would consider a normal size house. When we think of them, cabins, beaches and lakes often come to mind. They are a cozier type of home with paneling or stone on the outside. They have a clean look and distinct geometrical shapes giving them a unique look. While they are a stark contrast to contemporary styling, they are beginning to pop up in more urban areas.
Interior Style Features
Most cottages have a base that is neutral giving it clean lines with bright whites. The furnishings contain distressed woods and rustic looking accessories. The inside of these homes are inviting and relaxing and a place where you want to come back to every day.
- Sturdy Walls and Beams: these are commonly found in cottages and may need refinishing from time to time. Often you will see wood planks throughout cottages.
- Interior shutters: You are used to seeing shutters on the outside of your house, but many cottages use them on the inside. You can maximize your space in a smaller cottage by using shutters that completely fold away from the window allowing unfiltered sunlight into the cottage.
- Eaves: cottages have many slanted ceilings and walls, which make cute and creative nooks for you to place a bed in a bedroom. This allows you to be creative with your space, by determining what to do with all the nooks that are created.
- Unique Flooring: wood floors are typical in cottage homes. You will see them in various states from stained to painted. No matter how they are treated, they always add a level of warmth and texture to a cottage home. Another unique look is to paint the wood floors and the walls the same color.
- Planked Walls: wood was initially used throughout a cottage home because it was an economical way to build. Today, the style continues even though there are now more affordable options for walls. Some cottage homes have wood planks from floor to ceiling, while others have them only halfway up the wall. In some instances, you will even find planks on the ceiling to create a cozy boxed in feel.
Exterior Style Features
Cottage homes often have a characteristic or two from another style of house. All cottage homes have a sense of charm and coziness to them, no matter if they are a small or a mansion sized home.
- Landscaping: all cottage houses have amazing landscaping. It is a requirement for a cottage home. They may have bushes that are out of control, vines, or flowers that are perfect as part of a table scape. You could also choose shrubs that are always maintained and neat.
- Porches: not only is a porch an essential part of your cottage, it must have seating for you to curl up and relax. If you are going to have a porch, you must also have plants on it.
- Patios: in addition to a porch on the front of the house, you should expect to see a patio in the back. This helps to extend the living space of the cottage and give you more room to entertain.
- Window Boxes: a cottage home must have window boxes. These boxes sit right below the window and provide a place for flowers and greens. They can be used to decorate for whatever the season is and always add to the charm of a cottage house.
- Shutters: any cottage home worth its salt has shutters on the outside of the house. It gives your home a cozy feel and they add to the cottage look of the house.
- Stone Walkway: it may come as a surprise to know that many cottages are not built from stone. Stone is an integral part of a cottage, so it is usually incorporated in some manner. A common placement is a stone path or walkway up to or around the cottage. Perhaps there could be stone around a flower bed, or stone could be incorporated into the landscape in some other way.
- Painted Trim: While the outside of your cottage may be painted white, or some other neutral shade, many cottages have trim painted a much deeper color to compliment the white. Just adding this bit of color on the trim gives the house a vintage look and feel.
Cottage furniture has a feel to it. You know when you are in a cottage because of the way it looks and feels to you. Some of the best places to find cottage style furniture is at flea markets, estate sales, or thrift shops. If you see something you love, but it does not feel like it belongs in a cottage, perhaps you can try taking a sanding block to it. That may give it the feel you want.
Cottage style furniture is:
- tends to look rough around the edges
- full of character
- often unique
Some examples of cottage style furniture are:
This table has a distressed vintage white paint with soft brown showing through in some places giving it a elegant and vintage style. It is made from wood and veneer and fits perfectly into any space.
This day bed is a classic cottage style daybed that comes with a trundle and drawers that allow for storage. It has a sturdy frame made of wood and ready for your mattress.
Whether new or repurposed from old scraps, the cottage house sofas would have overstuffed upholstery, covered in a light monochrome or pastel fabric. These sofas can be made of wood, wicker or even distressed metal.
Modern sectional sofas have found it’s way to cottage homes as well as large Victorian sofas dressed in the shabby chic fabric in solid whites or printed light warm colors.
The whole house will have lots of these sofas and individual stuffed chairs strewn all over the place so that owners and guests alike could just sit, read, nap, do crafts, or for a writer, think.
End tables, coffee tables, Dining Tables, Breakfast tables, all of these would have more charm when repurposed, distressed, repainted or reclaimed.
As most cottage furniture would have been painted over and over through the years, it’s vintage charm shines through when made to undergo the process of distressing. Various colors would come out of obscurity and will add to the vintage value of the piece.
Cottage tables would still have some kind of Victorian design incorporated into it. Or it might actually be an authentic Victorian piece. As cottage homeowners and shabby chic designers tend to look for flea market finds, many real Victorian pieces make it into these homes.
The beautiful craftsmanship that goes into cottage home cabinetry is truly rustic and quaint. Again, predominantly made out of wood, glass and some metal accents – cabinets, cupboards, armoires, among others – would have that country aesthetic reminiscent of French country homes.
Distressed wood, matte painted in white or varnished lightly, these pieces of furniture lighten up the house and give off a cheerful ambiance.
Wrought iron beds or carved wood frames dominate the bed styles of a cottage house bedroom. Daybeds, romantic four-posters, large beds, and really comfortable mattresses are staples.
Chenille throws, linen pillowcases, lace accents will be seen in a cottage house bedroom design.
Seemingly mismatched cushions will find harmony and balance through the predominantly light color scheme.
As most bedrooms are on the second landing where ceilings follow the slopes of the roof, pretty window seating would complete the storybook fairytale bedroom, where one can daydream, read a book or just chill.
Mismatched chairs in uniform or theme colors would not be out-of-place in a cottage home. They lend a vintage touch to the dining table.
A pop of color though would be a welcome addition to the most neutral and pastel theme. A visual outburst to enhance the mainly light-colored furniture and furnishings.
To break up the monotony of light colors, riveting artworks with bold strokes and palette must be strategically placed throughout the house. Though gentler watercolors could also be placed to dress up a colored wall.
Antique bric-a-brac from flea markets would also add romance and nostalgia to any room of the house.
Taking inspiration from French and English country kitchens, the cottage kitchen interiors would have a rustic feel but with modern state-of-the-art appliances. Blending the old with the new into a seamless and cohesive design.
50’s type oven facade but with modern technology functions, Pink or white Stand Mixers, as well as stainless steel refrigerators, countertops, and modern sinks can blend well in a cottage kitchen. It’s the eclectic mix that adds to the charm of the place.
The color palette for cottage interiors are mostly neutrals or monochrome – shades of whites, beiges, pastels.
Robin’s egg blue is also a favorite color choice for both the walls and the furnishings.
Another neat theme is light browns and mocha. These colors will be on the walls and furnishings. As these colors were mostly related to each other, a pop of red, yellow or blue and green would serve as statement pieces
Cottage homes are known for the smaller floor plans and lower square footage. That combined with the more modest styling allows them to be more economical. That does not mean, however, that you should expect all cottage homes to be small or economical. When looking for cottage homes, you will find dormers, arched entryways, wide porches, eaves that over hang, and roof lines that are steep. You may even see cottage house that have columns to support the wide porches on the front of the house.
Common materials you find in or on a cottage house are:
- Brick: brick is durable and requires little to no maintenance and is often found on cottage style homes. It naturally absorbs moisture and releases it without damage to the brick. It is a great insulator to keep your house at a perfect temperature and helps to increase the property value of a cottage home.
- Stone: this material is not always used on the outside of a cottage, but it is often an integral part of a cottage. Usually when used on the exterior, it is blended with other materials. The stone is usually from various places so they all look different and unique. Stone may also be used for a porch, walkway, or in the landscaping.
- Stucco: this is plaster that is applied directly on masonry or over wood. If cared for properly, stucco can last but may still be damaged by water.
Cottages have decor with a distinct look in that it creates a certain type of feeling within you. However, there are various ways to decorate your cottage so that it matches your style and still gives you that cozy feeling.
- Kitchen decor: cottages are known to have small spaces. The kitchen is not usually a large space, so you may need to be creative in your kitchen by using small appliances.
- Fabric: in cottage homes, you find various types of fabrics. You may find florals, stripes, and plaids. You will find throws, pillows, slipcovers, curtains, and table skirts.
- Lighting: when it comes to lighting in a cottage home, you can have fun by adapting items that are not typically considered lamps, such as an old tin or vase. You can give your cottage a quirky look by turning a collectible into a lamp.
- Open Shelving: cottage style homes often need decor that is open since the house itself tends to be smaller. Open shelves are a great way to store items in your kitchen such as teacups or jars. It allows your items to be on display instead of hidden in cabinets.
- Accessories: anything you can find can be considered an accessory in a cottage style house. You can find these treasures anywhere, so you always want to look for interesting items, including frames, plates, hats, and macrame wall hangings.
Styles That Mix Well With It
The great thing about cottage home style is that many other style combine well with it, so you can create a comfy home with a unique twist all of your own.
- Contemporary Cottage: this style allows you to mix sleek contemporary looks with the natural decor that you love. You can mix simple and natural together throughout your house. You can mix woven baskets with stainless steel. The vaulted ceilings in a cottage home are perfect for a stainless steel pendant light. The clean lines of a cottage are the perfect backdrop for all the contemporary art that you love.
- Modern Cottage: this style gives you the charm of a cottage with the addition of simple design. The clean lines of a cottage easily allows you to mix the rustic cottage with modern pendant lamps. This is where the minimalist in you crashes into your comfortable side creating a mix that will not send you into clutter overdrive.
- Industrial Cottage: this is combining a traditional rustic look with subway tiles or distressed metal. You are able to mix cotton and linen, which are low maintenance fabrics with the flair of an industrial look. You can add seating that is modern or a rustic chic look in combination with reclaimed wood and weathered finishes.
Brief Historic Overview
Cottages go all the way back to medieval times. It comes from the word cotter, which meant a person being able to live in a small home while working the land for the owner of the house. These homes usually a ground floor for living space and bedrooms below that. These houses had a roof that was pitched.
The terminology was expanded to anything enclosed by a fence on the land. Over time, the word cottage came to mean small house. The term small did not equal any particular size, just something small. In the late 1800s, cottages became more popular and considered comfortable. In more modern times, cottages are owned by those who are considered wealthy and are found in or near mountains. In certain parts of the world, a cottage is a primary residence, which in other parts, it is more of a home for vacation.
More recently, more cottages are found in the suburbs and considered cottage-style homes, which tend to be larger. Cottages are known for their charm and no matter where they are built or how large they are, the goal is to maintain that charm.
Why It Looks Great
A cottage home style looks great because it is comfortable and personal. It is the perfect way to live in your home. The fabrics and furnishings are inviting and call for you to plop down on them. The furniture beckons you to come and sit after a long day. It is a house that allows you to put up your feet.
There are no rooms that you cannot walk in or make you feel like you have to take off your shoes. A cottage says something about the person who owns it. It says they are humble and full of love. A cottage home is full of blended styles, fabrics, and accessories. A cottage house is an everyday house that wants you to have your friends over and wants them to stay.
A cottage home allows you to decorate it without spending a lot of money. Do not get me wrong, you can spend a large amount of money decorating your cottage home, but you do not have to. This type of house is a estate sale and antique shopper kind of house. This is a house that quickly and easily becomes a home.
Examples: Cottage Style Homes (Exteriors)
Check out these spectacular homes showcasing the Cottage style architecture.
1. Lovely Sagaponack Cottage by Axis Mundi
Brick cottage house enclosed in green hedge plants that blend in with the lush lawns and trees. It has gray framed windows and a wood plank walkway leading to the staircase. The outdoor ambiance adds a welcoming tone to the already inviting house.
Relaxing back part of the house with an elevated patio and tinted glazing. It is bordered with stone pathways that contrast the green lawn for a more interesting look. A gorgeous tree stands in front to give an added shade and beauty to the overall look.
2. Cagney Cottage Sparks Old Hollywood Charm
Front view of the cottage house showcasing pristine white walls with stone accents for added texture. Subtle greeneries in front softened the modernity of the house along with the concrete driveway.
This is the backyard where towering trees surround the cottage house for optimum privacy and completing the serene landscaping at the same time. Lush, green lawn complements the sparkling swimming pool with integrated jacuzzi and a nice flagstone paving.
3. 4 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom Cottage-style Home Near the Heart of Culver City
A lovely cottage house features a vibrant blue front door that stands out against the textured gray walls. It is framed with wrought iron railings with matching pipes as their support. Lush green lawn with hints of red-colored plants completed the look.
The backyard consists of an outdoor lounging area that showcases sleek wicker furniture accented with blue pillows and a barrel bin. It sits in the middle of concrete tiled flooring which transitioned from the green lush lawn.
4. Cottage in the Treetops with 3rd-Level Roof Deck and Separate 1st-Floor Apartment
Bright apartment in cottage style with white beadboard walls contrasted by gray gable roofing. There’s a tall staircase on the side designed with terracotta treads and decorative tile risers leading to the side entry door and a spacious roof deck with beautiful treetop views.
The side part of the house showcasing glazed windows and a gray garage door breaking the monotonous white scheme. Green shrubs and tall plants add life to the simple cottage apartment.
5. Beautiful Tiny Beach House Cottage on Cape Cod
Breathtaking beach view sets a magnificent backdrop to this two-story cottage with a beaming white front door that stands out against the old brick walls. It has white framed windows with green shutters and a red brick chimney that sits in the middle of the gabble roof.
The garden in front extends to the right side of the tiny cottage house bringing an added touch of nature. We can also see a street lamp over the lush lawn which perfectly suits the beach theme.
6. Quaint Nantucket Timber Frame Colonial House circa 1735
This exceptional cottage house features brick paneling above the stone base and side staircases in front with a shared landing leading to the gray front door. It is fitted with plenty of white framed windows and a concrete chimney on top of the roof.
The backyard has a serene ambiance with its luscious lawn that transitions to terraccotta pavement where cozy white loungers sit. On the sides are wood fences and a stone retaining wall filled with green plants.
7. St Adolfe d’Howard Cabin by Jean Verville architecte
An A-frame cottage beautifully nestled in nature boasts dark brick walls along with sleek glazed windows and front door. It has an enchanting surrounding that balanced the contemporary look of the house.
The back part of the cottage offers more glazing and wood plank furniture that complements the majestic forest. It has a combination of flat and A-frame roofing which blends with the brick walls maintaining coherency.
8. Rugged Vega Cottage Project by Kolman Boye Architects
This sleek cottage house with a minimalist structure perfectly blends in with its surroundings. Magnificent mountain along with rocky slopes completed the picturesque view.
A closer look at the back of the house showing the aluminum roofing and rich wood paneling that runs throughout the exterior. It harmoniously goes well with the environment because of its neutral wood color scheme.
9. Cross Laminate-Timber Cottage project by Kariouk Associates
A modern cottage that sits in the middle of the enchanting forest showcasing flat roofing and full-height windows that overlook the lakefront view. There’s a straight staircase on the side that leads to the upper-level patio which is a perfect place to unwind and chill.
Full height windows are echoed at the backside of the cottage allowing expansive natural views. It is complemented with towering trees and green lush lawn.
10. Innovative Gate Lake Cottage Project by Boom Town
Boxy cottage house with sleek beadboard walls and stone bricks on the side breaking the monotony. It includes stone pathways that perfectly blends with the surrounding.
Flagstone paving with neutral tones leads to the cottage house which features an open patio and glazed windows warmed by wood plank walls. There are hints of bricks that add texture and character in the lake cottage.
11. Base Architecture Adds Ultra Modern Addition to 19th Century Heritage Cottage
Street view of the large cottage house enclosed in a concrete fence that complements the modern structure of its exterior. It has a contrasting black and white hues softened by tall plants in front.
This is the backyard where modernity is boost through its glazing which runs throughout the house. Its sleek architecture is balanced by vast greeneries. Swimming pool and pond completed the ultra-modern look.
Cottage Style Interior Examples (by Room)
The following are photo examples of Cottage-style interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive Cottage-style photo galleries for each room.
This cottage living room showcases a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams in white and natural wood matching with the wide plank flooring. It is furnished with cozy seats and a dark wood coffee table over a jute rug seated across the corner fireplace.
This kitchen offers pristine white walls and a shiplap ceiling contrasted by a large wooden beam. It is equipped with stainless steel appliances and an undermount sink fitted on the kitchen bar that’s illuminated by an oversized copper pendant.
Cottage dining area on an open concept house featuring a wooden dining table flanked by wicker chairs and a striped cushioned bench. A large wooden framed mirror stands out against the white walls.
The wooden bed and matching nightstands complement the white walls and ceiling in this cottage bedroom. It is styled with sleek drum table lamps and a framed artwork that brings a pop of color in the room.
Black granite countertop contrasts the white shiplap walls and sink vanity cabinets in this cottage bathroom. This is filled with a walk-in shower and black-framed artworks along with a rectangular mirror that creates a larger visual space in the room.
Cottage Style Home Landscaping