Whether you prefer beachside paradises or rustic gems hidden in the depths of a wooded area, cottages should ultimately feel like your home away from home – and what better way to do that than by incorporating some of your favourite design ideas? Cottage decor is typically all about colour and comfort, so we’ve compiled some of our favourite trends to help you brainstorm some ideas for your summer home.
Published June 1, 2013, Updated May 16, 2019
Add Plenty of Personal Touches
It’s your cottage, so make sure it actually feels like it. Adding subtle personal touches, like this memory string filled with cards and photos, is a great way to bring your “other” life to your summer retreat and celebrate family.
Your guests’ eyes will immediately travel upwards in wonder at your marvelous and unique lighting fixtures. It’s a simple and surefire way to spruce up any room in your cottage and makes for a great talking point.
We’d put good money on this being one of the first items cottage owners snap up after purchasing their property. Is there a better way to get a little R&R in the sun?
Looking to renovate your summer retreat? Ensure your cottage stays on-trend by installing sliding wood barn doors to separate main rooms like the living room from the kitchen.
Mix and Match Your Rugs
Can’t decide which rug to feature in your cottage living room? If you’ve got the space, opt for more than one, like these creative, yet complimentary, examples.
Glass Dining Tables
Considering its soothing, beachy vibe, it’s only appropriate that this cottage dining room feature a glass top table reminiscent of crystal lakes.
Carve out some space in your cottage where you can get out of the sun, curl up with a good book and just unwind. You won’t regret creating a quiet book nook, complete with bookshelf stacked to the top with the latest must-reads.
Don’t be afraid to make a bold statement by scattering a variety of unique knick-knacks throughout your cottage. It’s a perfect and simple way to add a little character to your surroundings.
Imagine waking up in the morning and enjoying a leisurely coffee in a cozy little breakfast nook in your cottage kitchen. Once you have that visual in your mind, it’s hard to erase.
You can easily class up your cottage social gatherings with a simple bar cart to help you store (and serve) drinks to your guests. We like this one, but there are plenty of options out there: find the one that perfectly matches your decor theme.
Not every decor idea has to include large pieces of furniture or a complete overhaul of the master bedroom. It can be simple things, too, such as choosing bright and bold placemats to compliment your crisp white marble dinner table.
A rustic wooden ladder, draped in Turkish towels or readjusted to display family photos, is a great addition to a living room or bedroom. It’s also easy to pick up and move around if you want to give it a test run in another part of the cottage.
Since most people don’t spend 12 months of the year at their cottage, dishes and glassware are typically kept to a minimum. So why not display some of your best and brightest pieces on a few elegant, floating shelves in the kitchen?
Think Outside the Box
Have fun when selecting your deck and sunroom furniture – it doesn’t have to all be wicker chairs and picnic benches. There’s a plethora of bright, unique dining sets that work wonders in your cottage.
Wood Coffee Table
A coffee table is often one of the main focal points of a living room, so why not give it a rustic twist by purchasing (or building!) your own from wood? There are even a variety of ways your can style your coffee table, so you won’t have to do the guesswork yourself.
Grey and beige are perfect neutral colours – warm and beachy – making them ideal for a cottage. If you’re over white or tired of bright, vibrant colours, opt for this soothing alternative.
Cottages provide an opportunity to utilize some of those family heirlooms and photos that frequently get overlooked back home. Creating a small gallery wall is a low-maintenance way to display some of your favourite images.
Outdoor Hanging Lights
Add a little ambiance with these subtle, but genius, light strings that will look positively gorgeous at night when you’re lounging with family and friends on the deck.
It doesn’t get much more “cottage” than this, so why not grab your own set of Muskoka chairs – perfect for optimal relaxation or fishing on the lake. Even those fussy with colour selection can’t deny that the possibilities are endless.
Stainless Steel Appliances
If you’ve left some room in your budget for a little renovation, sleek stainless steel appliances will give your cottage kitchen a clean and crisp feel. You might also want to look into an ultra-quiet dishwasher so as not to break your vacation-mode zen.
Get creative with your decor, both indoors and outdoors. Hanging antique lanterns around your deck, for example, are a simple way to create great accents for your cottage exterior while adding character beyond the typical summertime decor.
Bring the outdoors indoors with wicker chairs set around a classic harvest table in your dining room.
Cottages are spaces to have fun with decorating and take risks, like hanging a canoe from the rafters! So go ahead and get a little crazy when picking out some showpieces during your next reno.
Give a direct nod to summer fare like key lime pie and freshly-squeezed lemonade by incorporating bright tiles and decorative pitchers in your cottage kitchen.
Dress up a rustic outdoor table with simple linens and formal glassware for an atmosphere that creates a serene vibe while still looking luxe.
Against natural wood and basic white, a bright green paint job looks fresh and uplifting in a cozy cottage setting. Plus, it’s not a common colour choice, lending your space a unique twist.
Bring some gorgeous views to your cottage. You’ll come to appreciate it on those cold or rainy days when you’re mostly stuck indoors.
Plenty of Hooks
A cottage can never have too many towels, especially if you’re located right on the water. Shop for hook sets in bright, complimentary colours and spread them out throughout the cottage for an easy reach.
Easy, Breezy Decor
Your cottage is a place to play around with trends you’d normally shy away from at home, like these bright aqua walls and patterned curtains.
Retro Pendant Lighting
Cottages are all about family and history, so give a nod to past decor trends with vintage touches like these gorgeous pendant lights.
DIY Cottage Decor
Take a basic lamp and wrap it in boating rope for a totally personalized twist on traditional cottage decor.
We love the idea of mixing rustic old furniture with gorgeous linens and glamorous views.
Create an interesting entryway to welcome guests right off the bat. We love the simple trend of hanging sunhats around a mirror.
Contemporary Outdoor Dining
No need to go overboard: keep furniture simple so as not to distract from the incredible views around your cottage.
For those with a sunroom, consider decorating it with soft pastels and furniture that isn’t too clunky to help keep the space feeling light and airy.
Living Room Fireplace
For a winterized cottage (or for those cool summer nights) there’s nothing quite like a classic fireplace for the family to gather around.
Stick to a Theme
For the sake of consistency, find a theme you really love and carry it throughout your entire space. For example, a seaside theme of blue, white and natural wood always looks chic and fresh.
Only in a cottage can you pull off an outdoor patio set indoors – but in this relaxed space, it looks gorgeous.
Let the natural beauty of a rustic cottage speak for itself by pairing architecture with simple, classic decor. Consider coffee table books, small art walls and minimal furniture.
We love the look of a well-used kitchen – and it’s also a great way to show off family heirlooms on open shelves.
A Trip to Paris
You may not have a pied-a-terre in Paris, but your summer cottage can have all the same influences of a European getaway.
What better colour scheme to turn to than Canada’s finest? Red and white look fresh together and instantly bring the summer to mind.
Tour antique shops around your cottage for unique finds, like this classic life ring. Then show off your finds throughout your summer home.
Combine a dining table set with comfy couches for an outdoor space where your family can recline and enjoy each others’ company for hours.
We love this clawfoot soaker tub, even more after its striking coat of fresh grey paint.
This white and blue bathroom offers a beach vibe that also doesn’t take a huge budget to achieve.
A nautical vibe doesn’t have to be dated. We love this modern take on a seaside escape.
Think of your all-time favourite resort and recreate the look at your own summer oasis.
We love the cozy feel of this cottage with exposed beams and a stone fireplace. It’s perfect for cool nights and roasting marshmallows indoors!
At One With Nature
If you have a rustic cabin, give in to the design and embrace that classic cottage feel with a lot of wood, stone and animal-themed decor.