The English Country Cottage’s rural charm is an enduring decor aesthetic that can be interpreted in most homes, not merely ones in the English countryside with a thatched roof, ivy covered exterior walls and leaded windows. This design style’s focus is comfort and the look evokes nostalgia for the way of life of labourers and craftsmen of the 18th century — that is, a lifestyle that is humble, unassuming and above all, cozy. Colours are soft and subdued and accessories are pretty, never fussy.
A Brief History
The Western world was introduced to the English Country Cottage style by British aristocrats, who had admired the simple beauty of the homes of the craftsmen and farmers. They commissioned architects to create similar homes for their gardeners and other staff — small homes that were either timber-framed, stone, brick or sometimes mud (mud homes are primarily found in the Southwest area of England, in Devon in particular). Thanks to the cottage’s small scale, which made owning a home more accessible, this style became popular in North America.
How to Get the Look
- Use pale paint colours — walls can be white, cream or eggshell to make the room appear larger, or try soft shades of blue, yellow and sage green.
- The English Country Cottage is the perfect decor aesthetic if your home has flooring made of pine, oak, or maple. Leave them bare, with runners or area rugs to protect only the high-traffic areas.
- Decorate your windows with pretty lace curtains or a floral fabric.
- This design style is all about being easy to care for, so a slip-covered, oversize sofa is a must. Try a fabric in a cabbage rose print, where the colour is picked up in other details in the room.
- Adorn your walls with framed botanical prints, animals or historical events.
- Have a bay window? What could be a more perfect place to build a window seat to indulge in the most British of traditions — a cup of tea?
- Looking for a weekend project that will completely transform a room into an English Country Cottage? Install beaded board to the walls. This look, often used in kitchens and bathrooms, is clean, casual and timeless.
- Every proper English Country Cottage has a large freestanding cupboard, handy both for storage and to display treasured collections.
- The exterior is as important as the interior when trying to achieve an English Country Cottage look. The garden should feel as carefree as the aesthetic indoors — plant bursts of colourful blooms, and roses or ivy to climb trellises and arbors. Don’t forget to furnish the garden with a wrought-iron garden bench and perhaps even birdhouse.