Cottage Style on a Budget

Cottage style is a great choice for those of us decorating on a budget. Floral patterns, organic textures, weathered finishes and traditional lines typify this charming decorating style. The casual nature and shabby appeal of cottage decor make it one the easiest and inexpensive styles to curate.

Anything from true white to soft, muted colors are suitable for your cottage style walls. Paint colors like muslin and eggshell can serve as a neutral palette for floral artwork, pillows and upholstery. If your taste runs more toward formal English cottage with elaborately patterned chintz fabrics, you may want to opt for subdued tone-on-tone stripes so as not to upstage the fabrics.

Use floral wallpaper as an accent, rather than papering all four walls. A lovely floral pattern looks quite fetching on the feature wall in your bedroom or lining the back of built-in shelving, an armoire or china hutch.

Beadboard is an economical way to add architectural interest and that touch of cottage to your walls. Purchase sheets of beadboard from the home improvement center and wrap your room with bright white or distressed wainscoting and top it with simple rail molding.

Iron and wicker furniture add to the casual feel of cottage interiors. Pair those hard surfaces with soft, down-filled cushions--perfect for settling in with a cuppa and a good read. Give gently used wood furniture a second lease on life with a distressed paint finish and new hardware.

When selecting used furniture, look at the overall style and quality of construction before you purchase. Minor imperfections can be fixed with a coat of paint and fabric. Slipcovered furniture is a popular option for cottage style rooms. You can slipcover a rescued sofa or check out retailers like IKEA for economical slipcovered seating.

Soft Goods

Rumpled cotton and linen fabrics embody the feeling of comfort found in cottage style rooms. Natural and pastel solids are a lovely backdrop for subdued cabbage rose florals, vintage yardage, stripes and plaids. Chunky knit throws add a cozy touch when draped over a chair or the foot of a bed. Rag or hooked rugs warm up a room and highlight the vintage nature of this style.

Hit up antique malls for items that can double as unique accessories in a cottage style home. There’s nothing like scoring a weathered corbel to place on the mantel, a crystal doorknob to use as a paperweight or an old pitcher reinvented as a vase for fresh flowers. This is the quintessential example of one man’s trash being another’s treasure. The possibilities are truly limitless given a little imagination and persistence as you search for vintage accessories.


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