Country Cottage Decorating

There's something homely about country cottages that goes far beyond memories conjured up of sitting on your grandmother's sofa with a cup of tea. Cottage-style homes are once again fashionable and you can breathe a sigh of relief because they also make just about the coziest homes imaginable.

Choose your Colours

Take your inspiration from the countryside. This doesn't necessarily mean wall to wall florals but the key here is natural. Warm tones of creamy beige and brown can serve as a stunning base to palettes of pale green, crisp colours and blushing pinks. The key is to keep your rooms feeling as light and fresh as possible; that means light-reflecting colours on the walls and nothing too dark.

Think Textures

If there's one thing to remember about decorating a country cottage it's all about texture. A country cottage is, as well as being beautiful, must be serviceable, and the design should reflect this. Comfortable fabrics on sofas and armchairs are best left in neutral shades, while mismatched cushions strewn casually about provide comfort and add a warm and cosy feel to the room.

Go Overboard with Ornaments

Eclecticism is encouraged in country cottage living, which makes things that much easier. Mantlepieces can be adorned with heavy glass vases filled with fresh or dried flowers, unusual picture frames can hang form your walls, while knick-knacks of all kinds can be displayed in a cabinet of their own or scattered on every available surface. Scour secondhand shops and markets for trinkets. Think of throw rugs slung across well worn sofas. Floors are best left bare if you have wooden floorboards to show off, though thick rugs are a must

Go Back to the Past

The best country cottages look as though they have been perfectly preserved for the past fifty years and yet somehow managed to remain modern. This look is best achieved through furniture that has stood the test of time and if you haven't been busy scouring antique markets on your weekends then now is the time to start. Think of old wooden chests to store blankets and cushions, bumpy, imperfect surfaces on tables and chairs and elaborately carved picture frames updated with a favourite print.

Don't be a Slave to Trends

Ultimately you need to be sure that you like everything in your country cottage. It sounds obvious but regardless of how fashionable a certain colour or style is it won't work unless it represents your own personality and preferences. Don't splash out on a sale assistant's recommendation and hope that you'll learn to love it you won't.

Remember it's a Home

In the excitement of decorating it can be easy to forget that you'll have to live in the finished result. Although some things can look fabulous in display homes or the glossy pages of magazines they won't necessarily work in a home that will actually be lived in. If you have young children or boisterous pets then that stunning glass bowl filled with glass pebbles just shouldn't be on your low wooden coffee tables, regardless of how good it looks.

author: Kate Emery

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