We often use social media to find inspiration or reprieve from stressful events. And the rise of cottagecore is the perfect example of that. Cottagecore is a lifestyle and aesthetic developed by young adults and teenagers on the internet. It’s a reverie of pastoral pleasures that’s visually typified by the charms of the old English countryside.
As a lifestyle, it’s a visceral rebuttal to the realities of hustle culture, where slow-living, self-sufficiency and environmentalism are embraced with activities including (but not limited to) painting, making bread and growing food.
As an interior style, the cottagecore house seeks to quell the harsh lines and negative space of modern minimalism by celebrating a maximalist flair. Dotted with antique pieces, mix-matched patterns, and earthy tropes, its desire for informality and softness creates a home that feels relaxed and lived-in.
While the cottagecore aesthetic started as an internet fantasy, it has managed to reinterpret itself into the dimensions of our current interior design world. You don’t have to reside near rolling hills and farmland to enjoy its liberties in your home. No matter where you are, cottagecore design can animate a space with its cosy, countrified theme.
HISTORY AND CAUSES OF THE COTTAGECORE AESTHETIC
Cottagecore is primarily founded on the romanticism of bucolic living — days spent in picturesque countryside, engaging in creative pursuits. But the aspiration of wanting “the simple life” can be found even as early as Ancient Greece.
It is interesting how the concept of lifestyle simplification and escapism can retranslate into a contemporary context, with cottagecore ideas developing online by the millennial and Gen-Z community throughout the 2010s, to then be coined in 2018 on Tumblr.
Cottagecore style in both the interior design and fashion world shot to public awareness in 2020 via Pinterest and TikTok, the yearning for nostalgia heightened by the quarantine period of COVID-19. The innate desire for country life seemed like a direct response to the stresses of what was unfolding, where doing nothing could be more enjoyable if it were in a natural, spacious setting. The data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reflects this, showing the largest net migration to regional areas the country has ever seen. Around 43,000 people moved out of capital cities in 2020.
So, whether you want to escape to the country or keep it casual in the city, cottagecore interior design encourages a look through rose-coloured glasses to soften your space with rural beauty. Here are some ways you can incorporate it into the home.
THE BASICS OF COTTAGECORE INTERIORS
Cottagecore interiors are the meeting place of traditional and bohemian design, underpinned by an evident appreciation of country styles. Stepping into a cottagecore room can be overwhelming for those who prefer rigidity in their schemes, as it displays one’s belongings with pride, allowing the home to be a gallery of unfettered personal expression.
The colours in a cottagecore house are typically muted but aren’t restricted. Soft tones like sage, baby yellow, periwinkle and beige are a great place to start. Patterns are also an integral part of the design style, where the mix-matched and camp are encouraged.
Cottagecore décor is resoundingly vintage, as the soft edges of aged items create a welcoming and intriguing environment. Complementing that ideal is the aspiration of being closer to nature. It adores the mystique of a secret garden, so try incorporating greenery, florals, and natural light liberally.
All in all, cottagecore interiors are humble with a propensity for free, un-fussed living. It’s not so much about stepping back in time historically, but into the utopic feeling that nostalgia presents.
CREATING THE COSY COTTAGECORE KITCHEN
The cottagecore kitchen has a very “bear witness” approach. Pots and pans hang from racks, cutlery is exposed on shelving, and herbs line window sills. It’s unruly yet inclusive, allowing each person to see its unabashed heart on its sleeve. It also means that most utensils are readily available, making cooking and entertaining a more straightforward process.
To establish the vintage feel, wooden floorboards, exposed beams, brick walls, and colourful cabinetry are standard in the cottagecore kitchen. But if you want to avoid sourcing antique fittings for this space, you can incorporate items like a farmhouse sink, magnetic knife rack and brass tapware to still create that traditional, pragmatic look.
Related article — ‘Country Kitchens: Your Guide to Achieving the Look’
CHARM GUESTS WITH A COTTAGECORE DINING ROOM
The charming cottagecore dining room hosts a wonderful opportunity to display knick-knacks and homemade ornaments. Nadia Harrison from @_thechroniclesofnadia_ told us a simple way to create your own vases, which effortlessly suits the rustic tastes in cottagecore design.
All you need are PVC pipes, clay, and paint colour of your choice (optional). Cut the PVC piping to the size you want, and cover with clay. Once dry, you may paint it to suit your scheme.
For an authentic cottagecore look, arrange them on a weathered timber dining table with lots of fresh or dried flowers. Complement the table by putting a Persian or jute rug underneath, and the more distressed it looks, the better. As for lighting, ornate wall sconces and a classic chandelier achieve the soft elegance that stops cottagecore from descending into total kitschiness.
Feel free to experiment with lots of patterns and decorations in the dining room, such as floral curtains, an art wall, embroidered pillows, books and candles.
RELAX WITH A FANCIFUL COTTAGECORE BATHROOM
Typical bathrooms are minimalistic and bare. But the cottagecore bathroom invites the opposite. Being closer to nature is a pillar of the cottagecore lifestyle, so the concept of the bathroom acting as a mini garden is a sensible avenue. This area is exemplified by its connection to water, making caretaking an easy job.
To take it a step further, hang a bunch of eucalyptus under the shower. Hot steam activates the oils in the eucalyptus leaves, issuing a pleasing aroma known to relieve congestion, reduce stress and even lower blood pressure. Just ensure eucalyptus is appropriate for your respiratory system.
Related article — ’10 of the Best Plants for Bathrooms + Free Downloadable Care Guide’
For fixtures and fittings, we suggest vintage-looking pieces like a clawfoot bathtub with provincial tapware. If you add a standing shower in your bath, choose a whimsical shower curtain to adorn the space with an artistic character.
Second-hand mixers and spouts may not be practical for everyone, so we think the best modern designs for a cottagecore aesthetic is the Barre Progressive Mixer and Gooseneck Swivel Wall Mounted Bath Spout. They’re stylish but graceful, working well in antiquey spaces. Make sure to match your wastebasket with your fixtures—our Avi Pop-Up Waste comes in six shades to make cohesion easier. We suggest sticking with tapware finishes like brushed brass, brushed copper or brushed nickel to express that classic feel.
The cottagecore bathroom is a free platform to play with colour, patterns and textures. It’s a style that beckons wallpaper back from design banishment, and you can even pair it with wainscoting such as VJ and shaker.
FEEL DREAMY IN A COTTAGECORE BEDROOM
Our bedrooms are where we rest and drift into dreamland, and the cottagecore bedroom allows us to stay in the ethereal plane when we wake. Plush furnishings, translucent curtains, with ambient or fairy lighting make the room float like a cloud. What brings it back down to Earth is its rugged country aspects.
A wrought-iron bedframe is a common furniture piece in the cottagecore bedroom, along with weathered timber flooring and, yes, more plants. To provide some femininity, you could tie small bunches of dried flowers and adhere them to the wall with tape. It’s an eccentric substitute for hanging art, but you may still use artwork of course, to cultivate extra personality.
For artworks that reveal a sentiment of cottagecore aesthetic, go for vintage oil paintings of pastoral landscapes and posters of plants and animals.
DON’T FORGET THE LAUNDRY
There’s no need to neglect the laundry room. It can still incorporate the fancies of cottagecore life, regardless of the pessimisms that surround this space. Pick your favourite themes mentioned from the other sections and find a creative way to work that into the scheme.
Whether it’s a feature wall with floral wallpaper, an antique workspace for sorting clothes or displaying washing powder and fabric conditioner in classic jars from a charity shop — the cottagecore utility room isn’t impossible.