Cottage décor easily updated with fresh style
IHAVE a good friend who has always spent summers at the family cottage. The opening weekend is about the necessities of hooking up water, checking for new mice homes, raking, sweeping, cleaning and the odd repair. Not my scene exactly, but oh, how I look forward to an invitation each year to tramp through the woods, then loll on the dock, and eat around a campfire. The cottage never changes, it has been well kept-up, but the wood and wicker furniture, the colourful rag rugs and the old sandy floorboards are part of the cottage history that cannot be disturbed.
It always makes me think about the most enduring of all decorating styles — country or cottage or rural, however you name it, this is all about nostalgia. Wallpapers with tiny flowers, checkered tablecloths, iron bed frames, a brick fireplace or castiron stove. And lots of wood. It’s a summer style, too, so fresh whites are seen everywhere, no matter if they are slightly tattered or crumpled. It is a style that connotes no-fuss living, easy upkeep, and patterns and shades that connect us to our grandparents, our childhoods, and happy carefree memories of summer vacations.
Cottage style emanates from the surrounding landscape and feeds our visual and tactile senses. Whether you are lakeside, beachside or tucked into the woods, the life you choose to lead while in this environment will become the common decorative theme that immediately reawakens and solidifies memories. The cheerful vignette shown here is filled with images of sunny summer days. Cath Kidston is a hugely successful British designer of nostalgic ’50s and ’60s prints. Her delicately patterned wallpaper and cushions, the cotton weave mat on the seat and matching suitcase are pretty and welcoming as a summer breeze.
Here is short a guide to the best in summer decorating; my guess is you will have gathered a lot of mementoes already.
Blue and white is a timeless combination; shades of blue from nautical to pale sky blue or sea blue/green are a perfect choice for towels, linens, blankets and bedspreads. Pastel shades of green, yellow and pink are each spring garden fresh and work alongside wood panelling and floors to keep the mood light. Cabinetry is either left natural or painted a crisp white. The palette of greys and browns found in stone are subtle hues drawn from the rocky shores of a lake and rugged mountain pathways. These complementary colours look great and are practical for upholstered sofas and chairs, or mixed in a paint colour wash to add a bit of colour to wood floors and walls.
Stripes and checks are familiar patterns that decorate kitchen and dining room linens. Lattice is the pattern that evokes garden images. You can insert lattice into kitchen cabinet doors, or paint a lattice design on the wall. Other patterns drawn from nature’s notebook, specifically flowers and birds, bring the outdoors in on wallpapers, fabrics and artwork. Simply framed botanical prints hang alongside photographs taken on country walks. Trophy walls show off the family sailboat, the catch of the season and kids holding their summer treasures.
If this is your summer to update the cottage, check out your fabric and wallpaper store or go online. You will have no trouble finding nostalgic prints, colours and motifs that will continue the traditions already set.
Nostalgic patterns and pastel shades play a key role in summer decorating.