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The décor trend that is sweeping social media, cozy English cottage-style design will make your home feel rustic and closer to nature than ever before. "English cottages are defined by their coziness and usage of local and traditional materials both inside and outside," says Ana Perez, owner and designer of Spinks Nest Cottage.
Meet the Expert
Ana Perez, who designs, owns and operates Spinks Nest cottage retreat in North Norfolk, England, embraces the English cottage interior design style in each aspect of her home.
Warm, comfortable, and inviting, this design style is characterized by extensive gardens, thatched roofs, and rustic interiors full of wood and antique furniture that hold a lot of character.
Ready to add some "cottage core" style to your own home? Read on for everything you need to know.
What is English Cottage Design?
English cottage-style design blends antique and contemporary design elements to recreate the look and feel of a quaint home in the English countryside.
There are many ways to implement this design style into your home, even if your home doesn’t classify as a cottage. Here’s how to incorporate elements of English cottage design into your home’s décor and create your coziest space for the wintertime—or anytime.
Plant Lush Greenery
Characteristic of classic English cottages is the focus on a green and growing exterior. Plant bushes, trees and other greenery native to your area, as well as creeping plants like ivy that will make your home look like it is emerging from nature.
Have Fun With Color
Beige brick, step aside: English cottage exteriors embrace the colorful and whimsical with color selection. Pops of pink, yellow, and blue are often seen in cottage-style design, as the small homes are unafraid to play with color.
Vintage window shapes, lush landscaping, and antique doors are great ways to incorporate some English cottage design to your exterior, even if it isn’t shaped like a typical cottage.
Embrace a Brick Exterior
Brick has a way of looking effortlessly classic and truly withstands the test of time, perfect for a vintage English cottage home. This home embraces a primarily brick exterior, and its shabbiness makes it all the more chic.
According to Perez, this style is very classic of an English home. "Soft red bricks and flints are very English."
Add a Cottage Door
There are ways to incorporate small touches of cottage style on the exterior of your home as well, with rustic elements like wood or an antique latch door that looks straight from the English countryside. And as Perez notes, "Fitted wooden pieces makes everything feel so special—designed for that space and that space only."
Cozy Your Space With Plush Textiles
This quaint bedroom embraces several elements of cottage style: rustic wood, antique art, and the incredibly plush and comfortable bedding that feels vintage yet modern. Layering textiles will add warmth and English charm to your space.
Incorporate Rustic Wood Elements
A great way to add a touch of history to a space is to incorporate reclaimed wooden elements, which add character to any ceiling or floor. This space not only features exposed wooden beams, but a wooden side table that adds personality and charm to the space.
"Making beautiful wooden furniture and fittings for a small space afforded by a cottage is really very important," Perez notes. "All English cottages need some elegant yet practical bespoke joinery to elevate them."
If your home doesn’t feature rustic wooden beams, it is possible to install them to be decorative, no structural load required.
Play With Windows
Add some architectural interest to your space with a cottage-style window, like this arched kitchen beauty that allows the sun to stream in to the space.
Go For Vintage Pieces
A lovely aspect of English cottage décor is making the old new again and incorporating vintage pieces in the home. Think: reclaimed furniture, antique trinkets and ceramics, and traditional lighting like ornate chandeliers, as pictured here.
Use Every Nook and Cranny
If your home features some angular, tight spaces, don’t be afraid to turn them into cozy and livable rooms. Features that are seemingly difficult to navigate are easily given purpose with a style like English cottage.
Create a built-in sitting area under a small window for reading and add lighting fixtures to give the space character, even with a low ceiling.
Add Visual Interest
An easy way to give your home English cottage character is incorporate traditional design elements, like beadboard, as featured in this countryside mudroom. The sage green color feels appropriate to the trend and close to nature while giving a touch of class to the walls.
Perez notes that this is an essential piece of English cottage design. "Beadboard is something we strongly associate with an English cottage, and in Spinks Nest we have lots of varied-width beadboard in every room, painted in different finishes: some mid-brown, some dark brown and rich greens—all with a narrow bead," Perez says.
Tone It Down
Another characteristic of English cottage style is a muted color palette, often featuring earthy neutrals and pastels. Like in this bedroom, feature one of these neutrals as the primary color of a space to have room to feature vintage art and other pieces.
Go With The Overflow
As cottage-style living is often in tight quarters, embrace the overflow of ceramics in your kitchen with open shelving and lots of decorative dishes to display. Diverting from the trendy minimalist style, cottage design embraces the clutter and lived-in look of a space, from kitchens to bedrooms.
Perez says that vintage pieces were key in designing Spinks Nest. "We love things that have character—and so many older pieces of furniture and vintage kitchenwares have so much style and just good design," she says. "All of these reclaimed and vintage objects brought so much design elegance for almost no money, and they brought their wonderful history and patina."