Cottagecore Decor Style: A Complete Guide

Written by Laura W

In an age when technology rules the world and our daily screen time often competes with the number of hours we sleep, Cottagecore comes to the rescue. This new-yet-old style of decorating combines elements of nostalgia, fairytale romance, and nature — all with a European countryside vibe. It’s cozy. It’s whimsical. And it’s all the rage right now. If you’re not familiar with Cottagecore yet, think "The Secret Garden" (by Frances Hodgson Burnett) or "Tuck Everlasting" (by Natalie Babbitt).

Where Did the Cottagecore Decor Style Idea Come From?

This decor style surfaced in the early 2010s and really took off toward the end of 2019 and into the pandemic, when we were all at home and actually slowing down to bake and make things. However, you could argue that Cottagecore’s roots go back at least as far as the 1700s, when French aristocrats like Marie Antoinette escaped the formalities of royalty to a no-frills, village retreat. No matter the era, Cottagecore embraces a simpler, slower, homespun approach.
Who it appeals to: Young adults are typically attracted to Cottagecore, but anyone who loves romance and nature may find it appealing. It’s been called a “step below” Grandmillenial style, but that’s not a slam. Cottagecore tends to be more cozy and casual, while Grandmillennial is more formal and traditional. To put it another way, Grandmillennial is the English manor, while Cottagecore is the English cottage in the country. Both are beautiful, maximalist, and best of all, fun!

Cottagecore Decor Example

Cottagecore Decorating Style in Essence

Cottagecore stems from a maximalist foundation, embracing “more is more” and choosing boldness over bland. Because of this, the decorating possibilities are as long as a winding country road.

Like many other home design styles, Cottagecore overlaps patterns, colors, textures, and time periods — but in a deliberate way. When choosing furnishings, you have flexibility. For example, you could hang an ornate, gold-trimmed mirror over a velvet burgundy sofa or a gingham-print couch. Candles, specifically candlesticks, are very appropriate to add throughout the home.

Consider the allure that living plants and flowers bring to a space. Rich, wooden antique furniture pieces really feed into the vintage feel that this decor style aims to present. Play with texture and patterns on throw pillows. Think of a dreamy wallpaper (or even a colorful mural) to cottage-up the walls. Get excited about framed art and botanical prints — can you say, gallery wall?!

The Elements of Cottagecore

Here are a few components to keep in mind when decorating in Cottagecore style:

  • Live green plants
  • Dried flowers and live flowers
  • Vintage and antique furniture
  • Chenille, velvet, and lacy fabrics
  • Vintage rugs
  • Intentional color palettes
  • Victorian teacups
  • Botanical prints on chairs or sofas
  • Botanical prints in picture frames with brushstroke texture
  • Drawings or sketches of butterflies, mushrooms, or anything in nature
  • Baskets and wicker
  • Stationery and books

Room by Room Cottagecore Decor Ideas

These ideas may help get you started styling different spaces with Cottagecore éclat.

How to Integrate Cottagecore Into Your Living Room

Typically the largest space in a home, the living room will give you the most freedom to decorate, which is both an opportunity and a challenge. We recommend appointing a larger piece of furniture as your visual anchor. Think large, distressed wooden bookshelf filled with your favorite reads and accented with vining plants.

From there, multiple patterns and textures can really come into play. For example, find a beautiful vintage-style striped couch and layer it with vivid floral throw pillows. When mixing patterns, make sure you mix up the size; large-scale patterns can be dominant, while smaller-scale patterns work well as accents.

Texture can be added through rugs, window treatments, and furnishings in leather, velvet, or wicker. Incorporate some of this year’s popular colors, which include magenta, deep mossy green, raspberry blush, buttery yellow, and watery blue. You can even find rustic textures and enchanting colors in the cottage frames you choose. (Hint: When it comes to combining colors, keep in mind the 60-30-10 rule. That is, 60% of the room should be the prevailing color; 30% a secondary hue; and 10% your accent.)

Open lighting kitchen

Cottagecore Ideas for Your Kitchen

A simple large wooden table with mixed chairs for dining sets the scene. Don’t underestimate a vase with a bundle of baby’s breath flowers in the center. Elevated charm in this space could look like a window seat with tufted velvet cushions. On the bench seat, toss in throw pillows with a mushroom or leafy print.

Old family recipes add character to a kitchen, especially in a slim, ornate wood frame. Plants in the kitchen bring fresh life to the heart of the home. Dishes are most often overlooked when we think about decor, but with Cottagecore, plates and bowls could really be a pivotal addition. Think florals, bright colors, or a natural stoneware.

Bedroom Cottagecore Aesthetic

This can easily and appropriately become the most romantic room in your home, if you wish. Again, wooden furniture — even worn, white pieces — add a charming flair. A bouquet of flowers on the nightstand or dresser. Candles, of course. A colorful bedspread or a ruffled duvet. A four-post bed is very Cottagecore.

Picture your wedding photos framed in a French vanilla wood frame with tiered edging. Vintage-style rugs on hardwood floors add a touch of warmth. Rows of plants on shelves or even hanging in windows, vines trailing down. Again, Cottagecore is maximalist, but cultivated with forethought.

Bathroom Cottagecore Looks

Bathroom Decor Ideas

We’re envisioning a free-standing wooden vanity. Vintage-style bronze sconces as an elegant light source for the space? Yes, please! Hand-cut natural soaps. Glass or amber bottles dispensing hand soap, shampoo, all your pampering potions. Cottagecore in the bathroom is a decor style in which living plants can thrive — sunshine + humidity = botanical bliss.

Maximize the Mix

To sum it up, Cottagecore is meant to bring coziness, nature, and romance together artfully and functionally. It’s liberating, yet reigned in by intention. Because it is a maximalist design style, there are countless options when it comes to furnishings, colors, and textures — which all serve to open up the ways you can decorate your home in this casual, lived-in aesthetic.

Last updated October 12, 2023