Fresh and Frugal Cottage Ideas

22 affordable ideas that add up to sweet cottage style.

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  • 1 of 23

    All About Windows

    Simple window treatments ensure ample light. Any lightweight fabric will do. Find tab-top panels, or simply hem raw fabric-by-the-yard edges and use clip-style curtain rings over rods for an easy project.

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    Cozy Slipcovers

    Slipcovers reflect the easy-living attitude that's crucial to cottage style. Sewn from affordable cotton or canvas, most slipcovers easily slip off and into the wash.

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    Simple Accessories

    Vases look charming with or without flowers. These antique perfume bottles are perfect for a blossom or two. Select flowers that might grow in the cottage garden, such as lilacs, roses, and daisies.

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    Cozy Details

    Vintage fabrics might seem pricey, but consider their design punch. A curtain panel should yield enough fabric for three 20-inch-square pillows. Shop for damaged or stained pieces that can be cut to make a pillow top. Add new coordinating fabric on the back.

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    Charming Walls

    Beaded board creates cottage style faster than any other element. Find faux beaded board at local home improvement stores for a low-cost, easy-to-install option.

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    Simple Surfaces

    Worn paint suits cottage furniture. Paint furniture and rough it up with sandpaper for a time-worn finish.

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    Classic Floors

    Hardwood floors offer warm wood tones and an easy-care surface that looks good with soft fabrics and subdued color schemes. Leave the floors bare in summer and add rugs in winter.

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    Quaint Fence

    Lattice adds cottage charm to walls and more. For a lattice panel that reflects the garden, buy ready-made panels at a home center. Add trim to top and bottom to encase the panel.

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    Seaside Charm

    Bring the beach home by displaying found shells in clear glass containers. Sharing the things you love gives your home personal style.

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    Casual Dining

    Romantic chandeliers add charm to any room. You can add paint, crystals, and lampshades to an existing dining room light fixture. Or check out home centers for stylish new chandeliers for less than $100.

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    Pretty Fabrics

    Printed fabrics in soft colors cozy up any bedroom. Lots of pillows and a ruffly bed skirt give this bed a boost of cottage style.

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    Feminine Curves

    Feminine curves on the rustic iron bed frame suit the romantic nature of cottage decorating. Look for antique pieces of furniture at garage sales or thrift stores to get the look for less.

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    Show Off in Style

    Collections are key to cottage style. But the freshest way to show them off is with restraint. A windowsill is the perfect place to display these antique lather brushes.

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    Natural Fibers

    Baskets give a room casual style. Keep bathroom shelves organized by storing extra towels and supplies inside matching baskets.

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    Charming Light

    Style a lampshade with buttons and trim. It takes only a little craft glue or self-stick lampshade to create this look. Take it a step further and hang unique trinkets, like these keys, from the edge of the shade.

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    The Small Things

    Details such as pretty ribbon and buttons on pillows sweeten the look. Keep it simple and monochromatic for fresh cottage style.

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    Bring the Outside In

    Wicker brings the feel of the porch inside. For a new twist, cover the piece with black spray paint. It's a chic alternative to traditional white.

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    Make a Statement

    Architectural fragments -- such as old mantels, corbels, brackets, and molding -- bring aged cottage elements into a new home. Look for vintage pieces at flea markets and antique shops.

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    Sweet Touches

    Knobs dress up a utilitarian piece of furniture. Adding glass or crystal knobs freshens a dated sideboard. Look for new or vintage knobs at flea markets and garage sales.

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    Smart Storage

    Wire baskets add charm as well as storage. Below a desk, they can hold favorite books or magazines.

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    Relaxing Bath

    Claw-foot tubs offer instant cottage style in the bathroom. Check our salvage and antique stores to find a vintage tub in your area.

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    Classic Wainscoting

    Wainscoting wraps a bathroom with charm. Bright white paint tops the beaded board with restful color. It's easy and inexpensive to redo when your color mood changes.

  • Next Slideshow English Cottage Style for Your Inner Austen

    English Cottage Style for Your Inner Austen

    English cottages radiate with charming floral prints, unassuming furniture, and relaxed but dignified design. The following rooms will have you swooning more than Mr. Darcy himself.
    Begin Slideshow »
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