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Category:  Decorating

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Secrets To Cottage Style Decorating

By Julie Lohmeier

Cottage style decorating is a popular style right now. Just look at any home decorating magazine on the shelf – all will talk about it, some exclusively cover it. It so common, familiar, and reminiscent of vacations of your childhood past, you may not even realize that it's a decorating style of its own.

What are the secrets and characteristics of this everything-old-is-new-again style? Let's see.

1) Comfortable and cozy. The first secret is to make your décor comfortable and cozy. Soft fabrics, fresh colors. Nothing pretentious or ostentatious. Nothing ornate. Simple lines. Cottage style, obviously, refers to the small homes used for vacation getaways. Think of trips to the lake or the woods. This is ambiance you are trying to create. A place of relaxed comfort that's warm and inviting.

2) NOT shabby chic. This was a trend popular in the 90s that has long faded away. Cottage style is not shabby chic, but it is its more classic cousin. Instead of shabby and worn, think vintage charm. Gently used and classic. Tailored but not stuffy. While estate and garage store finds are perfect for cottage style, you do not want the chips, huge gouges, and dilapidation that were the hallmarks of shabby chic.

3) Vintage accents. A great way to start is with a vintage piece like a coffee table. Paint it to add even more character. Cover an older sofa with one of today's modern slipcovers. Select a lamp from your childhood for the end table. Eclectic is good.

4) Don't match everything. Mix patterns. Have different colors. Include variety. While things should look like they belong together, they do not have to be perfectly matched and coordinated. For example, a red lacquer asian motif dresser would not fit in your cottage style, but your furniture can and should mix styles, patterns, and colors.

5) Romantic color palette. Although white tends to be the dominant color, accent that with creamy yellows, berry reds, powdery blues, and soft greens. These patches of colors should be found in your furniture, pillows, slipcovers, throw rugs, and décor pieces as well as architectural accents like beadboard ceilings, wainscoting, panels, and more.

6) Décor details. Themes are often found in cottage style. Think of where you find cottages. Lakes. Woods. Ocean. As a result, you'll find that decorating to this style follows suit. Nautical items such as oars, life vests, lanterns. Wicker and rocking chairs from porches and decks move inside as do flowers from the garden. Sea glass, shells, driftwood fit a beach scene. Use accessories made from twigs, willows and pine for a north woods décor.

The goal of a cottage style home or room is not fussy or fancy but comfortable and relaxing. Its purpose is to evoke a feeling of escape and vacation – all within the cozy comfort of your own home.

About The Author:

Julie Lohmeier is the veteran of numerous home remodeling and building projects. From working hands on and doing much of the work herself to hiring contractors and construction managers, she has seen the entire spectrum of home improvement. She shares her remodeling tips, home decorating ideas, and other various rants at Subscribe to her free newsletter at:  


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