House Tour: 10 Ways to Bring Home Cottage Style | Midwest Living

House Tour: 10 Ways to Bring Home Cottage Style

Fresh, colorful and kick-off-your-shoes casual, the cottage look is just plain easy to live with. See how Michigan homeowners brought this warm, comfortable decorating style to their 100-year-old house.
  • Embrace color

    Sunny, feel-good hues are a hallmark of cottage style. And it's simple to incorporate them into your decorating scheme. First, choose a background color that will provide a calm canvas for your favorite splashy brights. Nature inspired the living room walls in this Wisconsin lake home, where a pretty yellow offers a subtle setting for floral-like pops of red, yellow and blue. Tie it all together with white-painted trim, a cottage classic.

  • Say hello to slipcovers

    You've just gotta love removable slipcovers. For starters, they let you inject powerful color and pattern into a room without a together-forever commitment. They're also an affordable alternative to buying a new furniture piece. Here, a linen slipcover with box pleats camouflages an old leather ottoman--and since it's washable, worries disappear as quickly as a drippy ice-pop stain.

  • Pick a pattern mix

    Just like the living room, this home's sitting room pumps up the interest with a pretty pattern mix. The trick to success? Limit yourself to two or three different patterns, like a floral or two and a stripe, and keep all of your motifs in one color scheme. This ensures the vibe remains fun, not frantic. Include some solid-color accents from your chosen palette, such as throw pillows, for visual relief.

  • Include classic touches

    White-painted recessed-panel cabinetry in the kitchen, paired with stately crown moldings and traditional hardware, keeps a cottage look grounded. Deepen the warm, collected-over-time vibe with a weathered island in an earthy hue. Then let a bright accent wall or lively backsplash, along with sassy accessories, serve as a vivid reminder of your overall color scheme.

  • Spotlight collected pieces

    An heirloom hutch (or one picked up for a song at the local flea market and revived with a coat of paint) adds an air of history to your home, especially when it holds your favorite collections. Use it like a mini gallery to evoke favorite memories and infuse a room with color. To ensure harmony, group your treasures by hue.

  • Keep nature close at hand

    A casual cottage look always embraces the great outdoors. Make the most of views and natural light by minimizing window treatments--even dare to go bare where privacy isn't a concern. Supplement the organic mood with wood and other natural materials--in flooring and furniture. Highlight texture, too, with accents such as neatly woven rattan, like on the backs of these chairs.

  • Have fun with it

    Add a touch of whimsy with accents like this Murano glass chandelier. The flower shapes speak to connections with nature, while the sparkle is just plain fun. Tuck a bit of your personality anywhere: Try an eclectic mantel display or perch favorite dishware in an unexpected place, such as the windowsill shown here.

  • Wrap rooms in beaded board

    Nothing brings home cottage style quite like classic beaded board. It's perfect for walls, and placed vertically, it brings an uplifting sense of volume to small spaces. But don't stop there! Line ceilings with beaded board, too, and you'll feel absolutely surrounded by sweet cottage charm.

  • Mingle old and new

    This claw-foot tub and the subway-tile wainscoting are new, but their classic looks are timeless. Add character to rooms with reproduction pieces, collected items and flea-market finds, like this airy stool all decked out in a new coat of paint.

  • Relax!

    Weather-resistant wicker furniture is just the ticket for comfortable outdoor seating areas that expand your living space and set a cottage mood right at your front door. Include indoor amenities such as comfy cushions and a coffee table for drinks and books. Then sit back and chill--after all, relaxed living is what cottage style is all about.

  • Living in style

    The owners of this fire-engine-red home, tucked in the trees above northern Michigan's Walloon Lake, wanted a low-maintenance, cheerful cottage style when they renovated the 100-year-old house. 


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