Get the Cottage Look: 10 English Cottage Decorating Ideas

english cottage decorating ideas
Photo by HarryJBurgess

If you love the classic look of quintessential English country decor, but you live in an apartment in New York City, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to get the cottage look without moving your entire life from the city to the countryside. 

We’ve compiled ten of our favorite English cottage decorating ideas for creating an English-style interior. This will make you feel like you have acres of land even if you live on 2,500 square feet in the heart of Manhattan. 

Here are ten ways to get the cottage look in your home without leaving the city.

1. Plaids

Plaid is quintessential to any cottage-style decor. It evokes coziness and comfort and can be used in various ways to achieve your desired look. 

Drape plaid blankets over sofas and chairs, use them as table runners or placemats, or hang them as curtains. You can even frame plaid fabric for a quick and easy wall hanging. Mix and match different patterns and colors to create an inviting and homey space.

2. White Walls

Having white walls is one of the most important aspects of achieving the English cottage decorating ideas look. This creates a blank slate that you can then add your personal touches. White walls also help reflect light and make a space more open and airy. 

Here are a few ideas for how to decorate your white walls 

  • Display pieces from your travels worldwide on gallery walls or shadow boxes. 
  • Turn old windows into picture frames and use them as accents on an otherwise bare wall. 
  • Hang a collection of family portraits with black frames in groups on one wall. 
  • Create an accent wall with chalkboard paint so you can write messages or draw pictures as art projects with your kids!

3. Add Color With Chairs, Pillows, and Accessories

For a touch of color in your cottage-style decor, try adding chairs, pillows, and accessories in your favorite hues. Wicker furniture is a great way to add texture and color to a room.

They can be easily sourced from thrift stores or online retailers. Add some floral-patterned pillows to your couch or bed, and drape a colorful scarf over a chair for added dimension.

Also, don’t forget about accessories! A vase of fresh flowers or a beautiful piece of art can add just the right amount of color to your space.

4. Cheerful Red

Red is one of the most cheerful colors you can use in your English cottage decorating ideas. It’s a great way to add warmth and personality to a space. 

Here are a few ideas for how to use red in your cottage decor:

  • Paint an accent wall or door with a vibrant shade of red 
  • Add a bit of red with pillows, flowers, or small accessories like frames and trinkets 
  • Warm up your furniture with throws or blankets in different shades of red. There are so many options when it comes to painting your home. You could also choose deep plum purple or burnt orange as another alternative!
  • Choose fresh green plants as well as bright white paint for crisp, clean spaces 
  • Bring in nature by adding potted plants and dried flower arrangements throughout the house

5. Painted Paneling

One of the most iconic looks of an English cottage is painted paneling. This technique is often used on walls and ceilings and can give any room an instant feeling of warmth and coziness. 

To get this look, start by painting your paneling in a light color, such as white or cream. Then, choose a second color that you’ll use to accentuate the panels. This could be a bolder shade of the same color or a completely different hue altogether. 

Once you’ve decided on your colors, it’s time to start painting! Use a brush to paint the base color onto the panels. Then use a smaller brush or a sponge to apply the accent color in a stippling motion.

6. Porch Rugs

As soon as you step onto an English cottage porch, you’re enveloped in a world of comfort and relaxation. Part of the charm comes from the flooring beneath your feet. 

Start with a natural fiber rug in a bold pattern or graphic design to get the look. Stripes are especially popular in cottage-style rugs, evoking a nautical feeling.

Choose a color that will complement your overall cottage color scheme. And don’t forget to add a few rocking chairs or hanging swings to complete the perfect porch experience. This is one of the best English cottage decorating ideas.

7. Table Runners in Bright Colors

One of the easiest ways to get the cottage look is by adding some color to your home. A table runner is a great way to do this; you can find them in various colors and patterns. You can add some candles or other decorations to make your table stand out.

Another way to add color is by using throw pillows or blankets. You can find these in a variety of colors and patterns as well. Just make sure that they coordinate with the rest of your décor.

You can also use rugs to add color to your home. Rugs are available in various colors and styles, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs. Just make sure that you choose a rug that is durable and easy to clean.

8. A Lamp Shade is a Good Place to Start

For a rustic cottage look, start with your lamp shades. Dress them in fabric and lace for a softer look, or keep them simple with burlap. You can also add some extra charm with a stenciled design.

Another great way to implement English cottage decorating ideas is to switch your standard light bulbs for some Edison bulbs. These give off a warm, vintage feel that is perfect for a cozy cottage.

9. Beautiful Chair Upholstery

Upholstered chairs are a cozy addition to any cottage-style room. Look for chairs with floral or gingham fabrics for a classic cottage look.

Choose chairs with antique-inspired details like carved legs or rolled arms to add a touch of elegance. If you’re on a budget, you can find inexpensive chairs at flea markets or secondhand stores and then have them reupholstered.

Opt for upholstered chairs in bold colors or patterns for a more modern take on cottage style. Whatever style you choose, make sure the chairs are comfortable so you can enjoy spending time in your cozy cottage retreat.

10. Outdoor Spaces Can Have a Great Feel Too

While most people envision an English cottage as a thatched-roofed home with ivy crawling up its stone walls, many English cottage decorating ideas capture the feeling of an idyllic countryside retreat.

No matter where you live. If you have a porch or patio, make it feel like an extension of your living space. You can do this by adding comfy furniture and decor that encourage relaxation. 

Also, add some greenery in the form of potted plants or hanging baskets. Don’t forget a few birdhouses or feeders to attract feathered friends. You can create a lovely garden path to your front door using paving stones or brick pavers.


Nestled in the countryside, an English cottage is a perfect place to relax and escape the city life’s hustle and bustle. But what exactly is it about these homes that make them so special? They often boast charming features like stone walls, exposed beams, and leaded glass windows.

Plus, they tend to be surrounded by idyllic gardens full of roses and lavender. If you’re looking to bring a bit of cottage charm into your home, these are ten English cottage decorating ideas that will get you started.

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