Bring Your Summer Vacation Home: How to Achieve the Cottage Style

August 18, 2008 § Leave a comment

If you own a cottage or rent one somewhere, you know what the cottage style is all about: old painted furniture, vintage fabrics, mixes of woods and different styles of furniture. It’s all about care-free and comfortable living because that’s what vacations are for.

To bring that feeling and more importantly the lifestyle home with you, all you need is a relaxed attitude about your furnishings. Instead of upholstered furniture that warrants surveillance when your children and their friends are around (say nothing of the pets), just invest in some washable custom slipcovers. White is actually best since you can always bleach out the jelly stains if necessary. Cover the expensive sofa and chairs and just feel your blood pressure lowering. You’re relaxing already. And who says wicker is just for porches. A good coat of spray paint will freshen up even the most weather-beaten wicker and make it presentable for your living room.

If you haven’t inherited a cellar full of old furniture that would be perfect for your new relaxed cottage look, then let the furniture hunt begin. Plan what you need, of course, to avoid coming home with impulse purchases, but start the search for the perfect old coffee table, end table, console, buffet, china hutch, whatever you need to create your cottage lifestyle. Visit consignment stores, yard sales, thrift shops, and flea markets. The point is: If you like the piece and it fits, then buy it. If it fits and you don’t like the look, buy it anyway and paint it.

Cottages are typically dumping grounds for old furniture that’s replaced in the permanent home. And to make the furniture look better, it’s often painted. Time and wear rough up the edges on these cottage relics, but you can recreate the look with paint and some sandpaper. You don’t want things to match. Furniture and other items are acquired over time, sometimes decades, so if the piece has a function, it works.

The best part about the cottage style is how comfortable your guests will be when they visit you. No pretense. No uncomfortable questions about where to sit. Your home will feel warm and inviting to everyone.

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