Cozy Cottage Style Ideas For The Living Room

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Cozy, cottage style decorating creates an attractive, informal living room atmosphere just right for relaxing with friends and family.

Understanding Cottage Style

Timeless cottage style design owes its popularity to the light, welcoming atmosphere it creates. Whether you live in an actual cottage, a larger home or even an apartment, cottage style fits almost any existing space.

You may find conflicting descriptions of cottage style in decorating literature; this is because cottage design incorporates one or more types of the many cottage-decorating styles. These include:

  • Country cottage: This farmhouse inspired style uses rich colors, rustic fabrics with stripes, checks and floral patterns, and warm woods.
  • Shabby chic: Create this look with garage sale bargains and soft, pastel colors.
  • Beach cottage: A seashore palate with dreamy blue, aqua, turquoise, lavender, sea green and sandy brown is the foundation of the beach cottage style. Seashells, pale woods and wicker help complete this breezy look.
  • Cottage garden: This cottage style aims to bring the beauty of a spring garden right into your living room. Flowers, green plants, wicker baskets, watering cans, garden tools and decorative fountains are part of the cottage garden signature.
  • Romantic cottage: Feminine floral fabrics, lace, embroidery and lots of gentle pink shades bring this cottage style to life.
  • French country: Inspired by the casual sophistication of French country cottages, this cottage decorating style uses rich reds, blues, yellows, greens, warm woods and fabrics such as toile, chintz and calico.
  • English cottage: Get this historic English village look with overstuffed furniture, delicate china tea sets, live plants and a color palate including greens, browns and floral patterns.
  • Swedish cottage: With uncluttered furniture arrangements, pale pastels and whites, Swedish cottage style brings a cheerful, light feel to your living room.
Ready for Planting Finished Product

Cottage style is very relaxed, with no strict rules. As long as you are creating a room that feels cozy, light and informal, you've got it right. Feel free to mix and match ideas from different cottage styles to design your own unique cottage living room.

Cottage Style Living Room Furniture

Cottage style furniture can include just about anything that is light, comfortable, informal and doesn't weigh the room down. Here are a few ideas for choosing furniture that will make your living room feel like a cozy, cottage retreat:

  • Comfy, overstuffed sofas and chairs
  • Natural fabrics
  • Soft colors in either a pastel or natural earth color scheme.
  • Wicker or rattan seating, tables and cabinets
  • Natural wood tones
  • Painted or pickled wood in white or pale shades.

Cottage Style Window Treatments

Natural sunlight is an important element in cottage style design, helping to establish that friendly feeling of lightness and warmth. Maximize the airy feel of your cottage style living room with window treatments such as:

  • Sheer gauze curtain panels
  • Billowy white curtains
  • White wood blinds
  • Plantation shutters

The simplicity of bare windows also compliments cottage style decorating, and is a good option if you don't have neighbors close enough to you to create a privacy issue.

Cottage Style Walls And Floors

Your choices for walls and floors enhance the cottage atmosphere of your room. Cottage style floors are generally light and informal. Hardwood floors are ideal if they are an option for you. Consider natural wood, a light stain or white painted wood. Hook rugs or antique rugs compliment wood flooring.

Some cottage style wall options include:

  • Paint in pale blues, yellows or greens
  • White window frames and door frames
  • White molding
  • Wainscoting
  • Pale or painted wood paneling.

Personalizing Your Living Room

Cottage style is all about filling the room with things that express your unique personality and make you feel you're truly in your own special space. You may want to display:

  • Collections of favorite books
  • Artwork you've done
  • Musical instruments you play
  • Personal embroidery or needlework
  • Travel souvenirs and knick-knacks full of memories
  • Seashell and beach glass collections
  • Antique teapots.

Cottage Eclectic

One of the things about cottage style that is the most fun is that it is eclectic. You can really mix things up and it still works. Here are a few ways to bring eclectic cottage style home:

  • Mix old and new design ideas: Try a modern Swedish table with an antique lace table runner, or a vintage book collection in a sleek, white modern bookcase.
  • Complimentary mixed patterns/textures: You can have a striped sofa with a floral pattern chair, or add a throw pillow with a fabric of a completely different texture.
  • Splashes of bright color: Surprising bursts of strong color, such as an electric blue pillow on a white couch, or a fire engine red vase of flowers keep cottage style decorating fresh and informal.

Accessorizing Your Cottage Living Room

Cozy accents complete your cottage style, giving it a finished, lived-in look. Here are a few accents for cottage style charm:

  • Lace linens under lamps and on the backs of chairs
  • Antique table runners
  • Antique picture frames
  • A refurbished old trunk for a coffee table
  • Vintage clocks
  • Folk art sculptures and paintings
  • Collectible plates
  • Potted plants and cut flowers.

With so many cottage styles to choose from, you don't have to follow a strict set of rules to design a cottage style living room. By choosing light, airy, informal elements that reflect your personality, you'll enjoy a cottage style living room that is unique, attractive, charming and comfortable.

Last Updated: April 10, 2012
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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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