Nothing could be more evocative of a quintessential Canadian summer than the words “cottage country”. Even those of you born and bred in a city probably have some made-up image of what a May-Two-Four by the lake looks and feels like. If you want to recreate a country cottage style in your home, look no further. Chances are, you already have some of the right pieces sitting in your living room already… because the beauty of the country cottage look is that it’s fun, laid-back and cozy. This is not a for those of you who hanker after sleek uniformity. If you like to mix and match, read on.
What is country cottage style?
Country cottage style is exactly what it sounds like – a beautiful blend of two traditional looks, the country look and the cottage look.
Cottage style feels well-loved, warm and humble. It often features natural fabrics like burlap and canvas, and softer colours, creating a lovely airy feel. Vintage, second-hand objects and painted, slightly distressed-looking furniture add a comfortable, cheery charm.
Country style echoes similar elements, however it draws inspiration specifically from a period when most people lived on farms. In fact, it isn’t so much a made-up style as it is the product of a lifestyle. Country style can be European influenced or American influenced, though either way, you’ll notice similar features. Artisanal items, for instance, are de rigueur in a country style home, as are classic textile patterns like gingham in the case of American country style. Functionality is also a key behind things like furniture selection.
How to Achieve the Country Cottage Look
In country cottage style, the goal is to mix the best of both country and cottage design without falling into the trap of recreating your great-aunt’s attic. Pick and choose some functional, handmade items as you would for a country style home, but aim to arrange them in a way that keeps your home feeling spacious rather than cluttered.
It’ll probably be more difficult to successfully pull off a country cottage style if you live in a smaller home such as an apartment. That said, it’s not a reason to shy away from the style. Simply practice discretion when picking and choosing furniture and accessories in order to achieve the look without overcrowding your home. You’ll want to create the warm, rustic feeling of a lived-in home without giving yourself claustrophobia, and the same principle applies to larger homes as well.
Big Features… in Small Doses
Country cottage style often features large, heavy pieces of furniture such as the classic farm table, like the Highline Trestle Table. These pieces can be overwhelming when cluttered together into one room with other large pieces of furniture. Deceptively simple features such as the classic cottage beadboard can also be overpowering if overdone. As such, try to keep the eye drawn to one large focal point per room – whether that’s the furniture, or a particular feature like a beadboard ceiling.
Pops of Colour
Country cottage homes often favour soft pastel paint colours, faded prints, and light, flowing fabrics such as the Evita Grommet Drapery Panel. Try not to use too many shades of pastel at once – generally two, maybe three work well together. This will help to offset the heaviness of the larger, more typically “masculine” furniture pieces.
However, it’s a fine line between vintage chic and straight up shabby! While bright jewel tones aren’t necessarily a country cottage feature, the occasional bold nautical blue or yellow might add a little pop of colour so that your home doesn’t seem faded, and the distressed furniture doesn’t look, well, too distressed.
That said, don’t go too crazy with the bold-coloured accents. This is definitely one case where less is more. Little bits of colour here and there can add just the right amount of eye candy, but too much can be a headache. Online furniture stores are often a treasure trove of beautiful, little accessories in bright, bold colours. Smaller items like this set of Antra Serving Trays in blue or the Amanda Throw in dark blue that you can order from Furniture.ca are great examples of functional items that can add just the right amount of colour.
As far as furnishing goes, another way to balance out heavier pieces is by choosing other open-concept pieces as well. Furniture.ca’s Coastal Living Retreat Etagere in Saltbox White is a perfect example of quality furniture designed for a country cottage home. Using open shelves instead of cabinets can be just as functional without being overpowering to the eye, and they are a great way to create that country cottage touch, even in a smaller home or apartment.
Open shelving units are also a great way of showing off all the little knickknacks that make up a country cottage home, including those occasional bold-coloured accessories we talked about earlier. Antique bottles can be displayed together on a shelf in an impressive display. Note the use of the word “together” – try not to pepper them around your home, otherwise they’ll just look like empty bottles somebody forgot to throw away.
Country Cottage Success
It shouldn’t be too much of an effort to pull off the country cottage look. Take your time with it – scour some old antique shops for the right vintage accessories, and browse a few online furniture stores to pick and choose sturdy, good quality furniture from the comfort of your home. So long as you avoid cramming items into every nook and cranny, your place should soon feel warm and inviting, and definitely worthy of being featured on somebody’s Pinterest!
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