Style Secret: Gentle PatinaNot so long ago, cottage was practically synonymous with shabby chic. Although that term feels stale now, the elements that made it so popular — light colors, floaty fabrics, mismatched furnishings — are still mainstays of cottage décor. Faded prints, rumpled fabrics and peeling paint contribute to the vintage charm that underlies this style.Hot tip: There's a fine line between pleasantly distressed and plain beat up. To avoid crossing it, balance aggressively weathered pieces with newer ones and keep color schemes soft and simple. The gracefully aged furniture in this space appears more striking against clean, updated walls, trim and window treatments.