Sunday, November 15, 2009


There's something inviting about DOWN-TO-EARTH cottage style. This popular look invites guests to kick up their feet and relax. Cottage style is an attitude, not a set of hard-and-fast rules. The goal is simply to create a bright and happy space that reflects the informality of a home away from home.

Light-and-airy is the order of the day for a cottage-style room. Crisp white or creamy ivory should cover most surfaces, from trim to furniture, to create the perfect background for small pops of color. For accents, choose colors plucked from nature (green, blue, brown and yellow) to mimic the look of sun, sand and sea.

Bring the outdoors in with accessories made from natural materials. Choose trays, coffee tables or accent chairs made of wicker, rattan and bamboo to add layers of texture to a simple, white room. Take the look a step further and turn nature into artwork by putting starfish, seashells or butterflies on display.

Nothing says "cottage" more than crisp white slipcovers. Use them to coordinate a group of mismatched furnishings or to give a formal sofa a more relaxed look. Simple slipcovers are comfortable, attractive and easy to clean.

In keeping with the informal feeling of a cozy cottage, the look of bare wood floors is a good option. Choose new planks with imperfections or a heavy grain for a warm, lived-in feeling. If keeping floors uncovered feels cold, add area rugs made of natural fibers, such as sisal or cotton.

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