Leisure and comfort are two of the more integral things to remember when deciding on a Cottage decor. Other schools of design base their foundation on formality and pretense. Quaint and cozy can be your catch phrase for Cottage Style. Another tenant to remember is “practical”, yet comfortable.
When it comes to color schemes, stay away from primary colors. Cottage Style has always embraced the pastels and floral prints. In the 70″s and 80’s, Laura Ashley created an empire with her great calico prints. One specific line being done with ultra soft pastel prints, mimicking those of the 1800’s.
One more thing you’re going to want to look at is that not all cottages have the same theme. I’m referring to their area…….which often helps delegate the theme. For illustration……..If you’ve found a quaint cottage in the woods or mountains. You’re probablynot going to be decorating it Nautical antiques or using buoy’s and oars. Conversely a little cottage at the beach is not going to find lumber jack antiques suitable either. There are great indigenous things in each of these configurations that will look beautiful and if you’ve chosen one of these setting to be in it’s because the setting and surroundings appealed to you …….. as should those items of neighborhood shops that were built with their surroundings in mind. This doesn’t mean you can’t go outside to look for your furniture and appointments. The internet has opened the widest reaches of the country and the greatest assortment and variety of Cottage furnishings ever conceived.
Having designed a few cottages, I’ve found such resources that dealt in absolutely nothing but antique claw foot tubs and pedestal sinks. Then another company that dealt strictly rewired vintage lighting fixtures……. thing’s of this nature can be a “make or break” step in reaching the authentic Cottage feel you’re looking for. If you’re of a certain age you may recall visiting Grandma’s home and seeing the old plumbing fixtures and how well they seemed to fit in her house and how practical they were. The same holds true with the table lamps and wall sconces and even hanging ceiling fixtures. Recall…….there was nothing new about them. And all these individual things brought a certain relaxation and permanence with them. If you take the time to decide on these items…… you to will attain that same feel you may have recalled as a child.
A great way to work with specific definitive areas, like the beach, a lake, the mountains, tropics or desert…….can be with vintage local photo’s and advertising memorabilia. Always keeping in mind “casual , comfortable and practical” ……..the cottage theme song.
If you’d like to stay accurate with what an original cottage owner my have done when furnishing their place, start off browsing the thrift and second hand stores. Catch all the flea markets you can. Cottage style isn’t acquiring “new” things in the department store. Of course there will be things that you will want to be fresh and new like a mattress and box spring. But the frame that it goes on, is one of the most definitive pieces of Cottage Design furniture that there is………… antique iron beds. Many of the cottages I’ve seen, seemed liked most were built at the same time iron beds had reached their greatest popularity. Although the Austere straight line designs were the most common, I’ve seen some really fantastically scrolled and designed beds in Cottage settings. And what made them perform so well was the “finish” that had either been used or was an original paint finish from the foundry that had originally been applied when they made the bed. One of the draws of using iron beds back then was that cottage owners didn’t have to fear about it clashing with the rest of the pastel decor. They simply threw a coat of paint on it to make it look like it was originally meant for the setting.
After choosing a bed to sleep on, you’re going be wanting something to sit on. Overstuffed couches are a must. The more pillows and over-stuffing….. the better. Slip covers are a must for the “look”. They also have the practicality of being washable, unlike an upholstered couch or chair. You’d be doing well to find very soft pastel floral prints for the couch and then play on the colors when picking old wing back chairs etc. and the materials to recover them in.
If you can keep in mind the phrase “Shabby Chic” is a perfect barometer when deciding on furniture…..you’re home free. If it doesn’t have a few chips or wear marks, it would be regarded to new and formal. Even though……. if you see a piece you really like,purchase yourself a can of Acetone and have a blast. It can be toxic so use rubber gloves. Find an old washcloth and a cereal size bowl. Soak the rag, ring it out and start giving that “pristine” piece of furniture the once over. Try and think where would continuous usage eventually wear through the paint. It’s easy to do edges. But be sure and give it adequate wear to give it that worn look. If it still seems to new. Get a tube of Raw Umber Acrylics. Now take a wet rag and rub some of the umber on the the existing finish. This is a trial and error step, until you get a feel for how much you want left on and how much you’ll simply remove with the wet rag.
The possibilities are endless and have filled many a book on the subject. But furnishing a true Cottage should always be a fun ongoing process.
I hope you’ve found this blog informative . I invite you to revisit my website
to answer any and all questions you might have about antique iron beds.
I also invite you to take a look at our company Face Book page for multiple photo albums on Custom Finishes, Canopy Conversions and a comprehensive “Before & After” King Conversions album.