Most of the photos here at Rabbit Run Cottage
can be enlarged just by clicking on each one!
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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Decorating Cottage Style

One of my favorite books....
It's not what you DON'T have, it's what you do with what you DO Have! ~Designer Kitty Bartholomew
This is one of my favorite decorating books and helped lead me into decorating my home "cottage style" in a BIG way!

America's early settlers didn't have much in the way of creature comforts. Their homes featured walls and floors of fresh-cut wood, few windows, and little ornamentation.

Items pleasant to see and touch were brought in: fabrics, furniture, and small items. The rough-and-rugged surroundings made these items all the sweeter. Cottage style is rooted in the decor of these humble homes.


Decidedly simple, cottages have always evoked a get-away-from-it-all feeling-a place of childhood dreams and special family memories. From those cozy nooks and corners in the bedroom to the sunny window seat in the living room, cottages are quaint yet functional, a virtual doll house on a large scale. Just what I love about this style. I once had someone say to me, "Your house looks just like a Barbie House. Small and Cutesy." Believe me, they did NOT mean it as a compliment! You can imagine their surprise when I answered, "Thank you! That is just what I was going for!" Okay, so that was a sarcastic answer to a sarcastic comment but I think you know what I meant! I like small. I really am not aiming for "cute" but there are far worse things someone could say about my house!

The cottage-style living room invites you to slouch on the couch, put your feet up and sit for awhile, read a book, take a nap. Furnishings are relaxed and unpretentious. A style that suits me totally. I am about as unpretentious as you can get. As you know, elegant surroundings with ME in them would be laughable! If you are going for a cottage look, the first thing you need to do is to pick your favorite cottage-style decorating plan. Choose what makes you feel happy and comfortable! It is all about an easy going and casual life style. It could be in the realm of Shabby Chic, Southwestern, Rustic, Country French, Americana, Contemporary or English Country/Victorian. That is entirely up to you. Your cottage style can even be a combination of many styles. For example, you may wish to combine Southwestern with Contemporary; or even, Shabby Chic with English Country/Victorian. Whatever cottage style you choose to live with, make sure that your decision completely comes from your heart! When it comes from your heart, there is no way you can go wrong! ~~~~~~~~~~
Sofas should be relaxed in attitude, such as an overstuffed style with a homey fabric like a floral, an awning or pillow tick stripe, or a nubby cotton. Look for big rolled arms and a cushioned back. Just the sort to sink into with a huge bowl of popcorn and watch a movie.
Look for easy chairs that are in the same general style but don't match - cottage style is eclectic.
That is what I like best about this way of decorating! I was eclectic long before I even knew what this word meant!

Make the sofa and chairs more comfy by adding pillows, possibly in vintage-look fabrics such as a 1940s floral, salvaged quilt pieces or old-style cotton chenille.

Make sure the coffee table invites you to put your feet up. Try to find an old kitchen table that you can cut down - or even a chicken coop to which you add a glass top. How about an old trunk?
Dress the windows simply or leave them bare - you want lots of light in a cottage-style room. Choose simple unlined curtains, sweet valances. Also look for plain white wood or matchstick blinds if you must cover them. Shutters also make a wonderful cottage statement.

Accent artfully with the things you collect and love. Favorite books, heirloom jewelry, old family photos, and other mementos express who you are and can have a place in your decorating scheme. Composing like items in groups tells a story and adds to their overall impact within a room.

Hang old-style pictures in old-style frames. Look for quilts and plates to hang on walls, too. ~~~~~~~~~~
Top tables with folk art sculpture and casual flower arrangements. Use dried flowers and potted plants in the room, and try to keep the containers humble. Bring the outdoors in with garden furniture and ornaments. Wire plant stands, metal garden chairs, tole-painted trays, and botanical prints are often inexpensive, easy-to-find elements that mix well in a cottage room. Plain pitchers overflowing with bouquets of flowers increase the feeling of garden abundance. Whether from your own garden or purchased from your local supermarket or farmers' market, flowers add life to any space. Add candlelight, a simple yet elegant way to put romance in a cottage room. Include crystal candle holders for more sparkle. Use candles scented with florals or spices for another delightful sensation.
Choose your paint colors by your choice of cottage style. If you have selected English Country as your mode, you might want to use colors such as: rosy pink, hunter green, and leathery brown. These colors, when combined with the proper accessories and some chintzy fabrics and aged leather, will help translate the wonderful English cutting gardens of the countryside and the dark, earthy colors of a gentleman's library. Maybe, you have decided upon a Shabby Chic cottage. The pastel colors of celadon green, ice blue, bashful pink, and creamy white will romantically compliment all the roughest textures of iron and ever so gently peeled paint furniture that you will want to include. Maybe you wish your cottage to encompass the true Americana Cottage style of patriotic and simple colors of red, white, and blue mixed with dark, primitive wood furniture, and plenty of whimsical folk art and antique collectibles.
Personally I love the darker, richer colors. Reds, golds, browns and blues. I also love dark oak, pine and cherry. But I also love a home done with a lighter hand. Just go visit Bethy's blog and see her truly lovely home! ~~~~~~~~~~
Because cottage style is humble in nature, it can be executed on a budget. Don't feel you must have new pieces; you can make finds at flea markets, tag sales, thrift shops and secondhand stores. These are often the best sources for wonderful cottage style finds! Just check out Kim at Daisy Cottage or Cindy at Romantic Home. Their blogs can be accessed by clicking on their names at the right of this page! Both of these ladies have the most delectable homes and much of their decor was purchased via thrift shops and flea markets! Pay them a visit, their homes are glorious! ~~~~~~~~~~

Also visit Pat's home, Andrea's, Donna's, Rhoda's, Allie's....we all have slightly different color schemes and our homes vary in size and style but their houses all bear the mark of someone who truly loves their spaces, has the knack for arranging their treasures and lives to create a warm, happy nest. I can easily relate to anyone who is a true Nester! What I lack in house size and money to do what I wish, I make up for in desire! Oh but my wish list is looooong.

And look at the wonderful homes and gardens that Pea, Betty Jo, Cherry, Rosemary, Chris, Teresa, Andi, Jolene, Tammy, Sharon Kay, Leona, Terri, Sheila, Deb, Sheila, Kate, and so many other blog friends have created and shared with us in their blogs! If I have forgotten to add your name here, I will make it up to you I promise! ~~~~~~~~~~ The bottom line is this, your home has to suit YOU and your family. Not the neighbors, not the lady on the 3rd street over from the elementary school, not the in laws. Not me, not the other bloggers. It belongs to you. Make it any style that makes your heart sing. When you walk in the door after a hard day, your home should say, "Hey! I missed you! Sit down and relax." Okay, so not LITERALLY you know...ahem...but I comfortable in your spaces. Be surrounded by the things you love. Be *at home*....*at home*.


PAT said...

Hi Sue! I love this post. I knew I would when I saw Kitty B. You really do have a great blog, here!

Thank you for mentioning me and our home!

I love the Lilac post, too! Just this time, last year, we were about to visit Mackinac Island, for the Lilac Festival! What a great time and all those beautiful fragrant Lilacs!

Enjoy your weekend.

Back Porch Musings

Sheila said...

I loved Kitty B's Decorating shows on TV. WE don't get them now, maybe she doesn't make them anymore. I know one thing I want to get this book and I'm off to Amazon to look for it.
I agree with you about Nature Girl's garden, it is heavenly, and she has the greenest fingers around.
Have a great weekend.

Andi said...

Love, love, love this post!!! My favorite one of all posts on all blogs ever!!!

Now I want that book too!!!