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June 30, 2015

Still formal, less elegant and ornate, the core of cottage style is painted wood.  The smooth colors make a little carving go a long way, so arches and ornamentation are left behind.  It is a clean, refreshing look that evokes simplicity, so solid colors and subtle details are key.

In love with cottage style but aren’t sure how to bring it to life for you? Meet your two best friends: paint and wood.

 Erin Whitt Hilker

Some cottage kitchens use a LOT of white. If this is your preference, look into picking a collection of different whites. Using these together prevents elements from blending straight into each other, and contributes to the collected look. It’s possible to balance the classic white with a collection of related pastels. White is also a strong base for having fun with a bright contrast color. Just stick to one, two at most though, or you’ll lose that simple look you love.

Cottage style uses the stark, straight lines and recessed panel doors of Craftsman style. The lack of natural woodgrain is countered by the use of planking or beadboard to emphasize the presence of wood beneath the paint. Beadboard is used frequently in cottage style kitchens; you can find it on walls, ceilings, as wainscoting, backsplashes and insets in cabinet doors. Beadboard is a little bit magic; it can dress up simple elements and add a practical sensibility to luxury materials. A little beadboard goes a long way towards establishing clean lines, so consider using it sparingly.

 Erin Whitt Hilker

 Erin Whitt Hilker

Built-ins like window seats and bookcases are great choices to go with this style. They were popular features during the era in which most bungalows and cottages were built. Glass front cabinets can keep it nice and airy. The knobs can be the traditional smaller close-set knobs. Bin pulls and large metal cabinet latches are very distinctive of this style, and oil-rubbed bronze has been a very popular finish in cottage kitchens.

As with traditional, mixing door styles and scale create a cozy ‘collected over time’ look. Since the lines and color of cottage style can get a little uniform, this subtle mixing keeps visual interest without looking too busy or cluttered.

Cottage style is very flexible.  It can feel “english country side” (more formal touches), ‘beachy’ (more planked elements, lots of light), and even vintage (bright and colorful). It can lean towards modern if you go for even cleaner lines and smoother surfaces.  Where cottage and country style meet is Shabby Chic heaven. If you like it rustic, let the plank elements of your kitchen be more chunky, leave some wood unpainted, and perhaps showcase some reclaimed lumber.


 Garrett Strang

 Erin Whitt Hilker

But you don’t have to take our word for it!

8 Elements of cottage style -Houzz is great for info and inspiration.

Tour a cottage proud of its 40’s glory

If you love the beadboard wainscoting of cottage style, read all about it here.

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