Are you wanting to mix farmhouse and cottage styles, or to move away from the farmhouse entirely? You are stumped with where to start and don’t want to waste money, or end up with decor that doesn’t work? In this post I’ll share my top three tips for blending to styles smoothly, and economically. Sources for images will be listed below the pictures.
#1 START SMALL
My first tip is to start small. Take a good look at your rooms and identify the common elements. For the Farmhouse look you might notice the common elements of neutral, or all white color palette, signs, and home decor that comes from a favorite “big box” store and is lacking originality. These are the areas you can first focus on to shift into the cottage style. Of these elements, removing the smaller decor items would be an easy place to begin.
Sources: Left:downshilohroad.com Right:beckwithstreasures.com
Next, identify common small elements of the cottage style you wish to blend in, or move towards. There are many cottage styles and if your are interested in learning more about them you might enjoy my post and video “Learn the Different Cottage Styles“. In most cottage styles the common elements would include: art, throw pillows, and lamps. All three of these items can be found economically thrift at the thrift store. In the stores I frequent find small lamps running $5 – $10, feather filled throw pillows are usually less than $5, and art ranges from $2 – $50 per piece. There is so much you can do with these items!
You can see from the picture above that art, lamps and throw pillows are not only present but add such a depth of personality, interesting shapes, and color.
In the picture below the same is true, but there is a greater percentage of art. These simple elements can be added in doses that suit your taste, and at a rate that gives you time to access and continue.
I would say art, lamps, and pillows are ideal not only adding glorious color, but for stamping your personality into your spaces. Choosing a piece of art, throw pillow, or lamp is a simple way to begin and is a much smaller commitment than painting a room, or replacing furniture.
Source: Rita Konig
#2 CONSIDER COLOR:
Color makes all the difference! In the pictures below you can see a perfect example of moving from a more neutral farmhouse color scheme, to a more cottage-y look with a subdued green. This is an example of a smooth transition. Moving from a neutral, or all white color palette to using color can not only be bewildering, but downright scary!
In this welcoming sitting room (and the one below) there is a neutral backdrop with a dainty sprinkling of color. A calm way to introduce color into your space. If you are moving from a neutral, or all white space it can be bewildering and downright scary! I would say to begin in small ways by adding color through your decor items, then move on to recover a chair, add patterned curtains, or paint a wall.
In this little desk nook (below) the back drop is neutral even though it has a wallpaper with a subtle pattern. Color and personality is blended softly through art, wood tones in the furniture, the rug, and floral arrangements. Many of these elements can be switched out to reflect the seasons or traded for something that may look better from another spot in the house.
Source: Rita Konig
In the kitchen the same principle applies. Begin with a soft neutral ~ this can be timeless. Then introduce color softly. This gentle yellow is cheery, but not electric. A definite plus first thing in the morning!
Sources: Left: thehomepage.co.uk Right: planete-deco.fr
These are the cottage colors we have used in our home thus far. The soft, creamy Ivory Lace had a delicate glow that looks good in all lighting throughout the day or night. Universal Khaki is a sophisticated mushroom brown that can appear, more grey, green, or brown depending on the lighting. I love how the chameleon color blends with the surroundings while calming and elevating the space.
Here is the Ivory Lace and Universal Khaki painted on the walls in our guest bedroom. The Universal Khaki grounds the room by being painted on the lower section of the walls and provides a gorgeous backdrop for the gallery wall. This soft, neutral color not only helped to calm the visual “chatter” of the art, but it also unified all the collection as a whole.
The glorious green we’ve landed on for our home color palette is my favorite! It is reminiscent of the vintage greens used in the 1930’s and 1940’s. If you’ve seen our recent patio makeover and patio DIY projects, you’ve seen this pretty green pop up several times. Below is the gardening buffet painted in Universal Khaki ~ it looks much lighter, more grey, and even has wheaten undertones. Such a great color!
Now that we have our neutrals and the green chosen I’m working on selecting a good blue for the house color palette. For this I find Miss Mustard Seed’s mood boards and personal home color palette inspiring. She has some great blues! Her green is similar to ours and she mixes them beautifully with neutrals.
#3 SLOW DOWN My third tip for your would be to slow down. Just as the phrase “collected over time” suggests, creating a meaningful, uniquely personal home takes time. For example: study the two sitting rooms below. Consider how many separate objects were chosen to create the whole look. That’s quite a few pieces!
Sources: Left:housebeautiful.com Right:houseandgarden.co.uk
It takes time, practice, and patience to find, fix, or make just the right pieces to flesh out a home. It’s a learning process as you discover more about yourself, your family, the home you live in, and what really works. Creating a home is fun! Enjoy the journey and make memories as you pick up a piece at the thrift store with a friend, or find that cozy English ottoman at an estate sale with your husband. It’s these memories that make a house a home.
Sources: Left:thelittlecorner.tumblr.com Right:sincerelymarie.com
#4 BEAUTIFULLY MIXED
Here is where you begin to see your style evolving ~ so exciting! You can tweak just how much farmhouse, cottage, or other styles you want in the mix as you define your unique look. As you begin to build confidence, try bigger ideas, bigger projects. Recently, I used that glorious green I love on a rather large area. I must say I was concerned it would overpower the rest of the area ~ but it didn’t! I was even saying to Matt “you don’t even notice the green anymore”. As you begin mixing in your new design pieces and colors you’ll be surpried as they begin to settle and blend with each other until they not only belong, but seem as if they’ve always been there.
In my interior design journey there are many designers that inspire me, and I’d like to share three that I continually refer to with you. These ladies have their own looks and design theories ~ I hope you find them inspiring as well!
Cottage Style Inspiration: THE DESIGNERS
Penny Morrison is a British designer who has her own fabric wallpaper, and pleated lamp shade lines. You can find her wares at: pennymorrison.com. Mrs. Morrison travels internationally which in turn lends a global influence to her designs. She has a wonderfully free hand with color!
Both images above are of Penny Morrison’s work.
I have become well acquainted with British interior designer, Rita Konig via her online interior design course. Her common sense practical approach and refined, relaxed aesthetic has made her a great teacher! Matt gave me her design course for my birthday last fall and not a week has passed that I’ve not re-watched one or more of her video lessons. She is an art lover and I’ve learnt quite a bit on how to hang art well!
The image above is Rita Konig’s cozy sitting room in her North Farm home. I love the green and the pattern mixing!
On the home front I’ve been inspired by an America designer Marian Parsons, aka Miss Mustard Seed. She is a prolific writer and in her book: Feels Like Home, she shares her home and several DIY projects. Marian has a normal suburban home just like you and I so her tips for decorating are especially relevant. Plus she uses a color palette in her home that is similar to ours!
All four images above are Marian Parson’s work in her own suburban home. Love that blue English Ironstone transfer-ware and that glorious green pain color!
For a little more of a deep dive in the cottage colors you would enjoy Andrea from her blog pineandprospecthome.com, and her YouTube channel: Pine and Prospect Home. Andrea has an English Cottage Revival style home and has several videos/blog posts sharing her experience choosing white paint and good neutral colors for her cottage style.
Both images above are from Andrea’s own home.
Friend, I hope you enjoyed today’s visit and feela bit more comfotable moving into a new style, or blend with what you already have. Please feel free to check out the design resources I shared and include a few of your own in the comments below ~ I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time, take care,