There’s something undeniably charming about countryside cottages, and there’s almost a proud but humble characteristic to them, with their thatched roofs, exposed timbers and idyllic surroundings. But how do you embrace the history of your home, whilst bringing in 21st century elements?
The connotations between countryside cottages and modest living stem from the day in which they would typically house workers and labourers. Now it’s considered a privilege to own such a historically significant property, and the maintenance costs alone could be enough to dissuade the average buyer. Despite this, we still romanticise the idea of escaping the stress of modern life to a quiet, cosy cottage in the English countryside.
1) Balancing traditional and modern
The biggest challenge for many cottage owners, it seems, is how to incorporate modern technology and décor into classic styles. Where does the classic look end and the modern look begin?
Embrace the traditional interior design of your home! Don’t try to camouflage your exposed beams. Contrast the colour of your beams with light walls, and use accents and features to highlight these unique structures. But, obviously, the house you live in needs to be lived in. It’s all very well enjoying the traditional cottage décor, but you need to incorporate modern technology and décor into it. It’s about finding the balance.
Exposed brick wall? People pay good money for a textured wallpaper of just that. Take advantage of this as a feature wall; it can be a good way of throwing in a bold colour or tying a theme together. Don’t be afraid to add a modern twist to traditional features.
2) Layer textures
Deciding how to layer the textures of your cottage home can be one of the most enjoyable aspects when decorating. It’s as tactile as it is visual, so it can be quite satisfying when you achieve the perfect combinations. Traditional textures include lace and knit, as well as natural textures such as wood grains and stone. Mix and match fabrics, and don’t be afraid to drape one on top of another. There’s something very homely about layered fabrics; a certain cosiness to it that is both comforting and stylish.
For best results, opt for soft pastels and romantic colours. Avoid the cold and contemporary finishes such as piano black high gloss, and find more muted colour alternatives. For example, choose a creamy white over an intense bright white to achieve a more vintage style.
3) Choose wooden furniture
The natural beauty of wooden furniture is difficult to resist. Rustic, simplistic pieces are perfect for traditional cottage homes – especially if you’re willing to invest in some antiques. An elegant wooden dining table is the ideal centrepiece to any dining room, allowing you to get a bit more modern with your other dining room pieces, or you can mix and match mis-matched dining chairs for a more eclectic dining room design. Wooden furniture is a staple of cottage furniture, and can also be extremely resilient suffering quite a bit of abuse… Saying this, a little bit of scarring adds character. You can, however, easily restore wooden furniture if you’re after a cleaner look.
4) Inject some personality
The common mistake when decorating your home from a thematic approach is that home owners neglect to incorporate their own unique interests into the décor. You may strive to have a cottage home that looks like it’s straight out of a catalogue, but it won’t feel like it’s really yours until the décor is as unique as you are. By curating meaningful items, paintings, and photos, you can add a personal touch that brings everything together to make it feel like home. These decorative pieces can be used to add touches of colour in areas you feel are too bland.
5) Take inspiration from the outdoors
Whether you live in the sticks or the suburbs, bringing outdoor elements into your cottage home can energise your living space and remind you of the adventures to be found outdoors. For an authentic cottage feel, consider the humble British wildflowers which you can gather yourself in the local area without a trip to the florist. But, if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can opt for any of your favourite indoor plants and flowers to greenify your home. The naturally calming scents of plant life will remind you of the world outside.
The type of cottage you have may be from any era. In recent years, there has even been a revival in contemporary new builds featuring the classic thatched roof as homeowners are attracted by the idea of a traditional house in a more modern environment. A thatched property insurance website estimates this figure to be around 50,000 – 60,000 in the UK, but with many of these being listed buildings homeowners of thatched properties face limited options when it comes to renovations in regard to the architectural design of the house. But why would anyone want to modernise such a uniquely stunning throwback to 19th century rural England? Instead, embrace the history of your home and simply incorporate modern life into cottage living with our top 5 tips for furnishing a cosy countryside cottage.