In the language of decorating, cottage style is the equivalent of your great-aunt's lace handkerchief. Pretty and practical, the style also awakens the senses with eye-pleasing lace trims, the fragrance of candles and sweet-smelling soaps, and wide rocking chairs that welcome body and soul. Classic cottages may sit seaside, decorated with shells and sailboats. Sometimes they're found on the edge of town, covered with vines and flowers and filled with vintage spreads and wicker settees. The style, though, can surface anywhere; it's the attitude that makes a house a cottage.
Today's cottage style often incorporates a soft palette of greens, blues, yellows, and shades of lilac; it may rise to a brighter standard with crisp colors gathered from natural surroundings. Florals are everywhere, in wallpapers, fabrics, and dainty embroidered napkins. Glassware sparkles, whether it's clear or tinged with color. Cottage is serviceable, too, with handy tables, sturdy old beds from the family attic, and bare floors with throw rugs that are easy to sweep and shake out. Think flea markets, fresh flowers, vintage patterns, and a bit of romance, and you've defined today's expression of cottage country. Above all, it's light and airy, fresh and fun, and completely, unequivocally original.