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Cottage-style design elements can enhance your deck, patio, or porch to create a cozy, casual outdoor room.
The natural connection between a cottage and garden is celebrated with outdoor "rooms" created within the sheltering arms of giant trees, porches outfitted with sofas and rugs, and dinner parties held outdoors.
With cottage style, you're as apt to hang a chandelier from an outdoor trellis as from a ceiling indoors. Vintage cupboards appear on the porch, filled with collections. This outdoor expansion "grows" living space as well, a boon to cottage life. New all-weather fabrics handle moisture, sun, and humidity, with ease. Life on the porch has never been so sweet.
Build "rooms" in the garden using plants as architecture, letting their shapes form walls and ceilings. The sense of enclosure makes outdoor spaces feel cozy.
Here, a table and chairs turn one corner of the yard into an outdoor dining room. Stones laid underfoot and around a blanket of moss imitate the look of a rug. Planted urns serve as a tabletop centerpiece.
Weathered adult and child-size Adirondack chairs look fresh and sophisticated against the pure-white paint of the buildings.
Lined up for a flea market, these vintage metal chairs reflect the colors of the flower garden, a good source for palette inspiration. Manufactured starting in the 1940s, the chairs offer a nostalgic look back and also have modern appeal. Create your own seating area along a flower garden or gather four chairs around a table.
Here are more ways to bring cottage style into outdoor spaces:
• Plant with a color scheme in mind. If you're using blue and white in paint and fabrics, choose flower colors to complement.
• Plan a focal point for every space. It might be a view down a row of trees or an urn that looks perfect from a nearby bench.
• Bring indoor furniture out to the porch. If the space is sheltered from the weather, use wood cupboards and tables.
• Opt for new, weather-resistant fabrics that bring a soft touch and a shot of color to outdoor spaces. Woven plastic rugs work great on porches and decks, too.
• Light up the night. A few candles might be all you need. Strings of electrical lights can stretch from a building to a tree to provide diffuse lighting. Consider a chandelier to dress up a porch.
• Use favorite collections, such as ironstone pitchers, to hold just-picked garden flowers. Turn vintage rakes into sculpture on the side of a shed.