Cottage style isn’t just a mix of castoffs - Metro US

Cottage style isn’t just a mix of castoffs

Ikea’s line of Hemnes furniture evokes relaxed cottage style.

A cottage should be a place that says “Put up your feet and relax.” Should be easy, right? Not always so.

The cottage is casual, but that look doesn’t just magically appear. You aren’t going to get the feel you want when you cram your cottage full of an odd assortment of cast-off furniture, dishes and other bits of hardware. (We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with cast-offs.)

A cottage works well with a blend of serviceable but comfortably used furnishings — preferably wicker, wood, or even outdoor furniture plumped up with pillows and cushions.

But you’ve got to be selective. You must carefully choose among all your donated treasures, and augment with newly acquired pieces especially chosen to achieve that “relaxed” look. And if your cottage feels crowded, start offloading immediately.

To prepare, get yourself in the cottage mood. Think light and airy, casual and relaxed. Since cottages are close to nature, stick with natural or organic materials. Nothing should be formal, uncomfortable, or ultra-modern with bright plastics or shiny chrome legs

Unless your cottage is a country home, do not go for matched furniture sets. Instead, take separate pieces and tie the look together with similar colour or fabric. To achieve an old-fashioned look, you can paint wooden furniture white or a pastel shade. You can also glue on curlicues or other embellishments, or use stencils to create a unified feel.

Watch out if you buy brand new furniture. High-end may not be the best choice since cottages tend to be used by people with sandy feet, wet bathing suits and sunscreened bodies.

But if you do buy, avoid buying furniture with a suburban feel — it won’t fit into a cottage setting. If you don’t have any suitable well-used bits of furnishings, visit flea markets, second-hand stores, and thrift stores for charming pieces that would lend a vintage-y, well-used feel.

Sofas should also have a relaxed style, and that means big rolled arms and cushioned backs to invite lazing about. Wicker settees with lots of pillows look great as well. Choose armchairs that are a different style than the sofa, and tie the look together with pillows, cushions, and light blankets. And if the sofas and armchairs have seen better days, consider covering them with constructed slipcovers in casual cottons.

Catch Arresting Design on W Network; visit www.wnetwork.com.


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