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Cottagecore and You: Building The Look and Living The Lifestyle

We’ve talked before about that new cottagecore movement that’s on everyone’s minds and what it is. Today, we’re going to elaborate more on how to achieve this look in your own home, and why it’s trickier than you’d might think. While we prioritize how a home looks, how it’s created is actually more important when it comes to this particular style.

Top Tip: Start Slowly

Reclaimed Slab Wood Dining Table, 6117003 by Elk Home

It’s easy to get swept up in the idea of reinventing or remodeling your entire home and commit to too many projects at once. The biggest tip I can give you for transitioning to a cottage style is to do it one room (or one piece) at a time. Not only will you get a better sense of whether or not you like this trend before investing too much into it, but implementing your ideas in increments is easier on your budget. Try highlighting one or two cottagecore pieces in each room to give a strong impression of the style without completely redecorating. Bonus: cottagecore style is intentionally piecemeal, so the final look will benefit from gradual, curated collecting rather than purchasing a matching set.

See How It’s Made

An image of a modern living room that features lots of wood and soft upholstery, which give it a subtle cottagecore quality.
Handcrafted furniture can be expensive, but tends to last longer than mass-produced counterparts (by John Wooden Interiors)

The real distinction between cottagecore and similar styles is in sourcing the material. You can have a very modern-looking living room, but filled with furniture from independent crafters. The internet makes it easy to find and buy handwoven rugs and handcrafted tables and chairs directly from the experts. This has lower ecological impact than mass-produced alternatives over time, especially if there’s a local artisan you like. That said, mass production is what makes furniture cheaper, so expect a high initial price tag.

Reuse Old Materials

Stratford Reclaimed Wood Etagere, 24248 by Uttermost

If buying new, more ethically-sourced furniture isn’t in your budget currently, there are alternatives. In some ways, cottagecore translates to rustic or vintage. Finding gently used or recycled furniture can be cheaper and still within the cottage lifestyle. Coffee tables, bookshelves, and bed frames are some examples of commonly found secondhand items that look as good as new (or better). Reclaimed wood is currently trendy, making finding pieces that fit your space easier than ever.

Live More Outdoors

An image of a small enclosed patio. A concrete firepit stands in the center, surrounded by comfortable-looking wood chairs.
When it comes to outdoor furniture you’ll actually want to use, choose function over form every time (by Bankston May Associates)

Part of cottage living is the “back to nature” aspect. While you don’t need to become a hiker to pursue cottagecore, you should take advantage of your local greenery. For those with a house, this is usually done by using your porch or deck more. Buy reliable and comfortable garden furniture that you and your family will want to sit in, not just what looks nicest. This can be hard to invest in if you live in an area with harsh winters. Thankfully, modern fire pits can help make the outside more livable all year round. Most use the same fuel as a grill, but provide warmth and light in darker and colder days.

Rely on Natural Lighting

Set Of 4 Mirrored Wall Panels 138-137/S4, by Elk Home

Energy-efficient bulbs are great for the environment and your electric bill, but can be fiddly in terms of getting a color and quality of light you like. Adding windows to your home is a huge renovation, so it’s easier and cheaper to utilize what you already have to keep your space well-lit. Keeping your windows unblocked during the day can make the room brighter and more friendly without needing to flip a switch. If you don’t get a lot of natural light, you’re not out of luck. Mirrors reflect what light you do get around the room and are a more affordable than tearing up your walls. If you place mirrors next to your lamps, you also get this effect at night.

Make Space for Others

Bushwick Wooden Queen Bed In Brown, cdf-B7050 by Contemporary Design Furniture

An important aspect of the cottagecore is invisible: kindness. It can be hard to suddenly be a good neighbor to strangers, so start slowly in this aspect as well. Be the best you can be with your friends and family in little ways. For instance, if you have an extra room or even space in your basement, consider converting it to be a guest bedroom. An extra bed or couch can make a huge difference for your guests when it comes to long travels and overnight accommodations.

Remodeling based on a trend is always risky. But if you choose furniture based on its history and creation like in cottagecore style, you’re more likely to make a home that is truly timeless.