Modernizing Cottage Style
11 ways to lose the shabby and keep the chic
Houzz Contributor. Hi There! I currently live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta that I'll describe as "collected." I got into design via Landscape Architecture, which I studied at the University of Virginia. I've been writing about design online for quite a few years over at Hatch: The Design Public Blog.
Houzz Contributor. Hi There! I currently live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta... More »
When you think of cottages, what often comes to mind are small shingled homes, often near the coast, full of floral prints, stripes, perhaps some plaid. There's a bunch of wicker, hand-me-down furniture complete with peeling paint, and a few too many themed tchotchkes. While there isn't anything wrong with that, a lot of us have taken a good look around and realized our 1990s attempts at Shabby Chic are just looking plain old shabby lately. There are great ways to keep that cottage charm but update it and streamline it a bit. Here are some ways to de-shabbify and bring out the chic part!
Go for one bold floral print. Lots of cottages are full of old-fashioned florals. This room keeps things botanical but uses a bolder print. The rest of the room takes its color cues from the red in the fabric and balances it out with white walls, white framing mats and white contemporary headboards. This formula is white + one strong pattern + one strong accent color. Simple!
Tea roses and other old-fashioned floral patterns have been replaced by vibrant Missoni fabric here. The modern chairs combined with the French-flea-market looking table attains the perfect balance between old and new.
Keep inspiration from the coast, but tone it down.This cottage has kept a color palette and textures inspired by the coast, but mixed in mid-century modern furnishings. The result is a fresh contemporary look that is still comfortable, with plenty of room for gathering.
A coastal palette is used here with patterns that are more geometric. The artwork and the color of the gourd lamps recall the sea but are balanced out by light neutral window treatments, walls and carpeting.
Keep things crisp and tailored without losing comfort. The upholstered barstools add comfort and a fun polka dot print, yet they are also very tailored. The wooden plank floor keeps the cottage spirit alive, while the white elements in the kitchen make things a bit sleeker.
This kitchen/dining area has a spare Scandinavian sensibility. The shutters and trim give it some older elements; the slipcovers on the Parson's chairs keep things comfortable but streamlined.
Mix old and new. Grandma Mimi's drop-leaf table co-mingles with a contemporary light fixture and modern art.
This updated cottage mixes sleeker items with the old. A regency Jonathan Adler light hangs against a wood paneled wall, and iconic Platner tables mix with a well-worn rug.
Paint it white and let in the light. Unadorned windows bathe this kitchen in natural light.
Try a graphic black-and-white color palette. One aspect of cozy cottage style I'll never give up is comfy overstuffed furniture. This room keeps those pieces, but has updated its palette to black and white.
Cottage kitchens are often tiny and require clever storage solutions. This designer has kept things simple with the black-and white palette, then allowed for some fun with the chalkboard wall.
Update your cabinetry. Those white paneled doors and drawers are the refrigerator, which keeps the wall from being broken up by a bulky appliance. This gives the kitchen a more streamlined look.
Keep it to a few colors. This room has its fair share of cottage accessories, but the light wood plank walls, strict color palette, and unadorned windows keep this comfy spot up to date.
Try a vintage-modern mix. Some of the elements that give this room this style are cabinets reminiscent of bulter's pantry cabinetry, classic modern stools, subway tile, wood trim around windows and the light fixtures.
Here's another kitchen with vintage-modern touches, but applied with a lighter hand than in the previous photo. The light-colored tiles, cabinets and counters keep this kitchen fresh and streamlined. Details like the schoolhouse lights, bin pulls and other cabinet hardware, and mid-century cafe chair add cottage personality. Also, a modern chef needs spot for finding recipes online!
White ceiling beams and walls say cottage; industrial lights and a rattan hanging chair add texture; and the wood table and floors add a natural element.
Declutter! If you've got tchotchke overload, take it all down and let yourself put only half (at maximum) of it back. This room has kept overstuffed cottage charm, but the empty space left on the shelves and the updated coral fabric on the armchairs has freshened up the room.
This dining room has kept the cottage wicker and coastal blue-and-white palette. And it has plenty of texture provided by the wood table, floors and roman shades. However, it's spare and clean. There is just the right balance of beloved items and space for fresh breezes to blow through.
Open things up. If your cottage is a warren of tiny rooms, consider taking down walls and creating a more open floor plan. Also, if you have a low ceiling in a one-floor cottage, see if you can rip it out and go up to the rafters.
Ideabook updated on May 26, 2012.
"It's the Flickr of design idea sites"
"The online equivalent of clipping decor inspiration from magazines"
"A digital look book for interior-decorating ideas"
"So long scrapbooks and online bookmarks! ...it can be hard to stop. Consider yourself warned."
"One of the most comprehensive collections of home design images"
"One of Home and Living's favorite websites"
"Just click on the image you like and save it to your own Ideabook... It's quite an addictive site"
What are you working on?
News From Our Partners
People found the photos in this ideabook after searching for: