Florals and antiques are the go.
How to Recreate English Country Cottage Charm in Your Home
Florals and antiques are the go.
Mushroom decor, ‘soft goth’, biophilic design… niche interiors trends are rampant. But if there’s one that’s not going anywhere, it’s cottagecore. Not least because in the UK, it’s simply a way of life.
In pretty countryside villages, old houses come with beautiful beams, higgledy-piggledy staircases, and wonky walls as standard. And there’s an art to decorating them: the cottage is the happy place of floral prints, wall panelling, layered textiles and above all else, antiques.
We’ve scoured some of our favorite cottages across England for tips on how to bring that dash of English eclectism and charm your own home (unpredictable weather not included). Minimalists, look away now.
Be generous with cushions and blankets
…and the more mismatched and well-loved, the better. Pristine doesn’t equal perfection in a country cottage - in fact, you’ll earn more points layering up a battered old sofa with all the soft furnishings you can get your hands on. And yes, the dog is always welcome to curl up with you.
Go garden-themed on walls (and ceilings)
In a historic cottage, ‘bringing the outside in’ isn’t done with slick bi-fold doors and a neat patio. Rather, painterly prints celebrating seasonal flowers and wildlife through fabrics and wallcoverings are the way to go. The artist Rachel Bottomley’s spare room features a mural-like wallpaper covered in woodland ferns, bluebells, primroses, forget-me-nots, strawberries and wild roses, and is wrapped around ceiling beams too.
Embrace brown furniture
A home that is hundreds of years old calls for some equally aged furniture. Rocking chairs, trunks, writing desks… anything brown is in. It's a sustainable way to decorate – make friends with antique dealers if you’re looking out for something specific. Otherwise, enjoy the thrill of the find at car boot fairs and charity shops.
Make the kitchen the heart of the home
Thanks to technology (hello: central heating), most cottages now enjoy mod cons throughout. But there’s still something about a welcoming, cosy kitchen. Wall plates, dressers and table lamps all help a functional area feel less sterile, as does an injection of uplifting colour.
Use table linen, always
In keeping with the tactile theme, surfaces should be soft wherever possible. An outside table is the ultimate setting to show off your new tablecloth; add seat pads and napkins for long, leisurely meals.
Curate and display
Cottages and brick-a-brack go together like strawberries and cream. Proudly display your treasures on open shelving. Top marks for rainbow-themed categorisation.
Add a touch of whimsy
Whether that’s with a ruffled cushion or a handpainted flourish (or right at the top end of the spectrum, a bed straight out of the pages of a fairytale). The charm of a cottage is about shutting the real world out, so carving out a little fantastical nook is key.
Tongue and groove for the win
Wall panelling is inexpensive, impactful, and can hide a multitude of sins (it’s cheaper than re-plastering). Keen DIYers can get to grips with this one, sourcing up their handicraft with bold paint colours and equally statement wallpapers.
Everything should have its place, but the concept of ‘tidiness’ is subjective in a small cottage. The look to go for is shelves packed with personality, and groaning with postcards, trinkets, hand-me-downs and crockery.
Discover more British design inspiration.