It goes without saying that we’ve all been spending (a lot) more time at home lately than we usually would. Our homes have become like bunkers, where we hide away from the pandemic making an almighty nightmare of itself outside. They’ve become our offices, our cinemas, our playgrounds and our schools.
This change in lifestyle around the world has had some pretty significant impacts on interior design trends, as we seek safety, comfort and inspiration from our homes, rather than just a place to retreat to at the end of (what was once) a normal day.
Those of us who live in metropolitan areas, where the lockdowns have been most brutal, find ourselves dreaming of country escapes – green, quiet places where our five-kilometre radius might include more than just suburban streets being consumed by townhouses and reluctantly home-schooled kids at loose ends.
It’s no surprise then, that one of the interior design trends that’s going a bit nuts at the moment is Cottagecore, a classic style that celebrates idyllic country cottages, rural calm, and a return to the simple life.
The design gurus at FURNISHD. are big fans of the Cottagecore aesthetic, and have let us in on a few cottage style home ideas to make your home feel as cosy as a (chic) country cottage.
What is Cottagecore, exactly?
Cottagecore is an interior design style inspired by a romanticised version of the English countryside, that’s as much about the look as it is about the lifestyle.
While we can’t pack up and go and live in an actual English country cottage, Cottagecore interior design is having a pretty major moment here in Australia.
Cottagecore means we can emulate the feeling of idyllic rural living anywhere, even if that’s deep in Metropolitan Melbourne or Sydney, where as we write this, hard lockdowns are bringing anything but a sweet escapist vibe.
It’s whimsical, nostalgic, relaxed, and welcoming, and it’s a style your granny would’ve wholeheartedly approved of.
Homes decorated in the Cottagecore style are homely, wholesome, and inviting – an antidote to modern life.
It’s a style that lets you indulge your quirks a little, welcomes imperfection, and gets down on its knees and begs you to light the fire, and settle down to do some crafting.
Even if you’re not keen to transform your home into a Cottagecore sanctuary, just scrolling through the Cottagecore images on Pinterest and Instagram will feel like a breath of fresh air.
It’s not just a look, it’s a lifestyle
The Cottagecore lifestyle invites us to return to simplicity and slow the hell down, and flies the flag for environmental sustainability and self-sufficiency.
Gardens aren’t just for looking at or dumping grounds for the kids’ bikes, they’re for growing produce to harvest and collect in baskets, before you skip back into the house to turn them into a wholesome family meal.
They’re bursting with colourful blooms to pick and dress the table with.
They’re for spreading out the picnic blanket for fresh scones in the sun.
A Cottagecore kitchen smells like freshly baked bread, and entertaining friends means rustic, casually arranged cheeseboards and homemade cakes served on perfectly mismatched plates.
Expensive hot-house floral arrangements are replaced by sweet posies picked from the garden and displayed in repurposed jam jars.
Lunch is a simple garden picnic, and dinner means gathering around a table set with a tablecloth, napkins, sweet crockery, and decorated with candles, flowers and foliage from the garden.
The Cottagecore lifestyle is a return to simplicity, and while this isn’t always going to be possible, especially if you have, you know, a job, or kids who seem as though they may have been surgically attached to their devices when you weren’t looking, it’s still a nice fantasy to indulge once in a while.
"Cottagecore means we can emulate the feeling of idyllic rural living anywhere"
So how do we do Cottagecore?
TIP 1: Go hunting and mix-it-up for the ultimate Cottagecore furniture
Touches of luxe are welcome here too, especially in a Cottagecore living room – think a deep armchair or ottoman upholstered in lush velvet, or a cashmere throw for those cool nights.
Dining chairs can be mismatched, and jumbled around a table decorated with flowers from the garden, gingham or lace tablecloths, and ceramic bowls filled with fruit.
The key to nailing the Cottagecore look is to shun perfection.
Cottagecore is about comfort, function, sustainability and simplicity, and these values are reflected in the furniture.
You won’t find anything with a high-shine finish in a Cottagecore home, and signs of wear and distress are coveted rather than seen as faults or something to be covered up.
TIP 2: Accessorise with all things handmade and natural
Accessorising a Cottagecore home is FUN.
It’s hands on and crafty and wants absolutely nothing to do with minimalism or matchy-matchy pieces chosen to blend in to the rest of the décor.
Cottage décor ideas include hand-made pottery, hand-picked floral arrangements in jars, lace tablecloths, baskets to house craft projects or firewood – hell, you can even break out the doilies if you want to.
Vintage family photos in frames personalise Cottagecore homes, and wall art, if you want to stay true to the Cottagecore look, centres around rural themes and landscapes.
And while Cottagecore looks very different to the Scandi style (link to other article here), it still has a strong sense of the nordic Hygge (link) in that it revolves around creating a sense of comfort, safety and cosiness to cocoon you from the outside world.
Cosy blankets, beds piled with soft layers, and scented candles all help to create an atmosphere of absolute comfort and relaxation.
TIP 3: Bring the cottage garden inside
A connection to nature is key to the Cottagecore aesthetic as well as the Cottagecore lifestyle.
Cottagecore homes work in harmony with nature, which stands to reason, given that the style is inspired by pastoral living, green spaces and fresh country air.
So, how can you recreate that feeling in your city home?
Well, you bring the cottage garden inside, that’s how.
Fill your home with plants, fresh cut flowers, dried arrangements, foraged foliage, and found items like pinecones arranged in a bowl or basket.
Grow herbs in pots in your Cottagecore kitchen, or hang dried ones.
We’ve talked before about the benefits of bringing nature into your home (check it out here and here), and this connection to nature is just another reason to fall in love with the Cottagecore interior design trend.
TIP 4: Choose warming colours and eclectic patterns for your Cottagecore home
As with any design style, colour and pattern can make or break the success of its execution.
True Cottagecore style is created with a base of warm neutrals and earthy colours, although some Cottagecore homes break free from the neutral base, using muted colours from nature like pastel pinks, sage greens and dusty blues.
Your colour palette is highlighted with floral, botanical and gingham patterns on soft furnishings and textiles.
Patterns can be mixed up to create an eclectic, thrown-together vibe, but be careful to draw the line before it becomes crowded and overwhelming.
The idea with Cottagecore is to create a calling, enveloping home, not an assault on the senses.
TIP 5: Give your walls the Cottagecore treatment
If you’re deep-diving into the Cottagecore aesthetic, you can even give your walls the Cottagecore treatment.
Consider a wallpapering a feature wall in a botanical motif, or installing wood panelling.
If you’re not keen on committing to wallpaper, consider removable wallpaper to get the look without the commitment.
TIP 6: Get the lighting right for the ultimate Cottagecore home
Lighting is crucial to creating the dreamy ambience of Cottagecore, and downlights just ain’t going to cut the (probably homemade) mustard.
To really finish your Cottagecore transformation, you’ll need vintage inspired pendant lights and wall sconces, floor and table lamps, candles (that you’ve poured yourself of course) and even string lights, both indoors and out, to really give your Cottage-inspired home a sense of magic and escape.
If you’re ready to escape to the countryside but you need some help turning your place into a dreamy cottage hideaway, the team at FURNISHD. is here to help.