How To Decorate A Dining Room In The Cozy Cottage Style

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If your home has a formal dining room, and your personal style tends to be more relaxed, cozy cottage style might be just right for you. Cozy cottage style design creates a light, laid back atmosphere, perfect for easy-going meals with friends and family.

Elements Of Cottage Style

The term cottage style actually describes a number of different decorating themes. Whether you're decorating in the cool seashore colors of a beach cottage style, the rustic, shabby elegance of French country cottage, or the soft pinks and floral patterns of romantic cottage style, these basic elements are common to all cottage style home design:

  • Eclectic combinations: Rather than adhering to strict decorating rules, cottage style is known for mixing furniture and accessory styles, patterns and time periods.
  • Personal touches: Cottage style is characterized by personal touches in each room such as favorite books, homemade crafts, collectible plates, memorabilia and any other items that reflect your unique personality and interests.
  • Informality: Rooms should be comfortable, easygoing and inviting.
  • Airy: Cottage style rooms have a light, airy feeling with plenty of natural sunshine and usually a pale color scheme with fun, surprising bursts of bright color.

Cottage Style Dining Tables and Chairs

Choosing a table and chairs for your cottage style dining room is lots of fun because you can go with just about anything that feels light, informal and inviting. Your table and chairs don't even have to match! You might want to match pale blue painted wood chairs with a white wicker table, or antique pine chairs with a distressed oak table. These materials work well for mix and match cottage style dining:

  • Natural wood
  • Distressed wood
  • Painted wood
  • Wicker
  • Rattan
  • Natural fabrics for upholstered chairs.

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Colors for a cottage style dining set include white or pale shades of blue or yellow, or natural earth tones.

Cottage Style Table Settings

What you put on your table is as important as the table itself when it comes to creating a light and relaxed cottage style dining area. Here are a few ideas for giving your dining room table a finished cottage look:

  • Tablecloths: Stick to simple, natural materials such as cotton or linen. You may want to try a pale solid, or introduce a pattern. Floral motifs, checks, stripes, lace, embroidery and floral patterns enhance the cottage style.
  • Placemats: Compliment a pale patterned tablecloth with bright solid placemats for a splash of color, a solid tablecloth with whimsical patterned placemats, or mix two patterns for an exciting cottage look. Cloth or straw placemats work well in the cottage style.
  • Dinner service: If your table is pale, brightly colored plates bring that characteristic cottage burst of color to your dining room. You may also enjoy setting your table with delicate china and tea sets, antique tea sets and vintage flatware.
  • Centerpieces: Try a pale blue vase of fresh cut flowers or a hearty green plant in a woven basket.

Other Furniture And Accents for Your Cottage Style Dining Room

Although a cottage style dining room should be light and airy, you'll need more than just a table and chairs to create that cozy, homey feel. Fill out your dining room design by adding a few of these other pieces and accents in complementary materials and colors:

  • Tall china cabinets to display your collection of dishes
  • Sideboards in painted or natural wood finishes
  • An antique serving cart
  • Buffet cabinets.

Remember, your table and chairs don't have to match your additional dining room furniture; they only need to compliment one another.Enhance your furniture layout with accents that invite light, warmth, relaxation, timelessness and fun. Here are a few ideas:

  • Lace or embroidered runners on sideboards
  • Chair pads and chair covers that match or compliment your table scheme.
  • Collectible plates either displayed in your china cabinet or hung on the wall.
  • Colorful teapots
  • Antique lamps and chandeliers
  • Green floor plants or potted plants on your sideboard
  • Baskets of fruit or flowers
  • Family photos in antique picture frames
  • Colorful glass and ceramic canisters.

Walls, Windows And Floors

  • Any soft, pale colors are good choices for the walls of your cottage style dining room. Consider pastel shades of blue, yellow, green, cream or soft white. Wainscoting and white molding give a real cottage feel to the room.
  • Cottage style windows let lots of light in. If privacy isn't an issue in your dining room, consider leaving them bare entirely. Or choose light airy window treatments such as billowy white or sheer curtain panels, cotton floral curtains, bamboo shades or white wood blinds.
  • Flooring for your cottage style dining room should be easy, light and natural. Hardwood floors are perfect whether they are stained, stenciled, distressed, painted or natural. If your existing floor doesn't lend itself to a cottage feel, try covering it with vintage braided or woven area rugs.

With cottage style design, you'll create an inviting, friendly dining room that will get lots of use over the years.

Last Updated: December 19, 2011
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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