Born out of a desire to disconnect from our digital world and return to the simpler days of the past, cottagecore is an aesthetic trend that has been sweeping the internet this past year. Tipped to become the biggest home décor trend of 2021, cottagecore is all about re-establishing a wholesome connection to nature, with nods to sustainability and eco-living.
After a tumultuous year that needn’t be expanded upon, increasing numbers of us are looking to escape modern-day stresses and find calm in simpler things, whether that’s exploring the natural world or taking up traditional skills like baking, pottery and foraging. Forget digital, cottagecore represents an embrace of the analogue lifestyle of the pastoral past.
What is cottagecore?
To put it briefly, cottagecore is basically maximalism taken back in time and with a vintage twist. Country decor has always been popular, but cottagecore encourages you to embrace character and even clutter to achieve a truly authentic homely feel. So, imagine a traditional English country home – thatched roof, roaring fireplace and all – and build from there.
How to create a cottagecore home
Cottagecore is all about natural imperfections, so there’s no need to splurge on brand new pieces of furniture. Prioritise characterful pieces that may show a little wear and tear but have a story to tell. Your first port of call should be your local charity shops, vintage stores and antique dealers (or your granny’s house). The aim is to create a warm and cosy home that sparks conversation and creativity.
To achieve the ultimate cottagecore aesthetic, clutter is your best friend. You can comfortably reject throwaway culture as everything has its place with this trend. Whether it’s a dresser brimming with vintage china or a bedroom overgrown with houseplants, clutter is the new minimalism.
Handmade touches are a hallmark of the look. Take up crocheting and make a colourful throw or create your own wall hanging using natural materials like cotton and yarn. Why not make a bespoke piece of personalised initial wall art? As we know, a bit of comfy clutter is key to cottagecore, so go wild with gallery walls that incorporate hand-painted prints, vintage China plates and macramé wall hangings.
A key aim of the cottagecore aesthetic is to bring the outside in, literally and figuratively. You want to create a natural and soft aesthetic that calms and inspires. Take inspiration from your granny’s humble abode and introduce florals into your home.
A couple of cushions or a vintage vase can be a perfect subtle way to incorporate florals, but if you prefer a statement, go all out with floral wallpaper. To get the cottagecore look in your bathroom, combine muted florals with white panelling and for a traditional finishing touch, go for antique-style brass taps.
Before you start, take a look at how to wallpaper like an expert.
As well as floral prints, a few living, breathing botanical beauties will add that natural touch. Trailing vine adds an ethereal and romantic touch to the aesthetic or for a more disorderly take on the look, gather together an array of potted plants of varying sizes and heights. If you really want to stay true to the values of cottagecore, why not forage for some wild flowers yourself and display them in vintage vases?
If you’re not green-fingered, there are plenty of faux options on the market that’ll still help to create the natural haven you’re aiming for. Try this decorative vines set or this Yucca tree artificial plant.
Avoid modern materials and instead seek those that would have been around centuries ago. Wooden furniture and surfaces also promise to remain robust for years to come with the appropriate care. For a vintage feel in your kitchen, opt for reclaimed wood worktops. The rustic material is supposed to look slightly distressed – handy if there are meddling kids around!
There’s no such thing as perfection with cottagecore. ‘More is more’ is the motto, here. Rather than hide everything inside cupboards, get busy creating an organised mess on your shelves. We’re talking mismatched plates, quaint vases and all those questionable mugs you’ve acquired over the years.
Continue the cluttered look onto your kitchen worktops. There’s no need to worry about them being clear anymore. Hunt for pleasantly old-fashioned pots to put your wooden spoons in and install hooks below your cabinets to hang your mugs from.
Even if you’ve done all of the above, it wouldn’t be cottagecore unless it was cosy. Whether you’re reading a book, getting crafty or simply taking an afternoon nap, carving out comfy nooks is the way to go. Start with an armchair or sofa, then layer up the patterned cushions, and drape with a patchwork quilt (handmade is preferable) and you’ve got yourself a cosy corner you’ll never want to leave. An upcylced bookcase brimming with well-thumbed classics never goes amiss too!