Why I love cottage living
Home sweet home: a view of my cottage decked out for summer
As someone who loves making a home—through the way it looks, feels and functions—I’ve naturally gravitated to cottage style when creating my living spaces. There are many versions of cottage style but in some ways it’s more of a mindset, a way of being, rather than a single aesthetic.
So what makes this style and cottage living an enduring choice for so many of us?
A quick history of cottages
First, I think it’s helpful to rewind a minute to see why and where cottages originated.
The term cottage stems from the word cotter. Cotters were peasant farmers found in the British Isles in medieval times. The homes that cotters (also sometimes spelled cottars) lived in were very modest dwellings called…you guessed it…cottages!
The cottages were generally surrounded by a yard or garden area. These homes were small and typically unassuming. They were simply constructed and usually one or one-and-a-half stories tall.
Because cotters had no wealth to speak of, their cottage furnishings would have been handmade, passed down, homespun, salvaged, re-purposed or any combination thereof.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Fast-forward ahead to modern times here in America, these characteristics still hold true for what we recognize as cottages and cottage style.
My musings on cottage living
In today’s world, many of us seek simplicity, charm, connectedness and a welcoming place of one’s own.
Cottages and cottage living are the epitome of informal comfort. The unpretentious coziness of smaller spaces naturally breeds relaxation. Homes that feature aged—or even worn—surfaces and patinas allow for our human imperfections to contentedly co-exist with these surroundings.
In reflecting on why the cottage mindset resonates with me, I know that having a not-too-large home feels good. It’s built on a very human scale, manageable to care for and affordable to live in. There are no wasted spaces in my cottage and I’ve gotten creative to best use the space within its walls.
Within the breadth of cottage style, I can embrace my love for eclectic and vintage items. The collected look of cottage style means that many of the objects and the furnishings in my cottage were found over time and thoughtfully gathered. Floral prints play with natural textures and painted woods. Old pieces of furniture are found alongside new linens or dishes.
The fact that cottage style can be quite colorful brings me particular joy. As I decorate with cheerful hues that lift my mood daily, I love that my cottage feels like, and is, a happy place. Guests and visitors never fail to respond to the playfulness the colors create. And the palette of red, aqua, yellow, green and pink conveys a lightheartedness that’s usually irresistible.
What feels so right to me about cottage living is that it’s an expression of the people and things you love. Cottage living is personal and beautifully individual. Cottages, their inhabitants and the trappings inside are unique expressions of authenticity. And that’s something that never goes out of style.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on cottage living and what it means to you in the comments below!
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