Cottage Style

I got an email from a gal named Traci recently, and I thought I’d make a blog post out of it since cottage style is one of my favorite things to talk about. She said it was okay for me to share it here today, so here’s what her email said:

Dearest Layla,
I love the way you mix the old with the new and make it look crisp. I, too, have just moved into a new house this past Fall, and am trying to create the home I’ve always wanted, but I can’t seem to pull it all together. The items I have are dated a bit, not just by the age, but both in style, and colors. I have a needlepoint runner that I just adore that my grandmother made and had on her bedroom on her dresser when I was growing up. I have two very different sets of china in green and pink rose patterns. I have old pieces of furniture that could use a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware. I don’t really care for the “shabby chic” look, but most of the pieces I have seem to lend themselves that way.  I have two boys in the house so I don’t want things to look too feminine. What I have loved about the way you put things together is mixing the old and the new so that you still achieve the a balanced and appealing feel. To sum it up, I would really like to use and display the items I have in my home without making it look too dated and fussy. Being a single mom of two boys, one with significant special needs, I really want things to look crisp and kept. If you can offer some advice, I’d greatly appreciate it!  Thank you, in advance! : )

Best Wishes,

First off, thanks again for the sweet email, Traci! I really do love a “crisp cottage” look, and I’ve found that I’m most drawn to interiors that are made up of a mix of vintage elements with some (or all) of the following things:

– chunky, warm wood tones

– lots of white

– pops of color

– fun fabrics

-painted furnishings

– typography

Here’s a visual, just for fun:

Lettered Cottage Style

So, keeping vintage elements mixed with warm woods, lots of white, pops of color, fun fabrics, painted furnishings and typography in mind…check out the cottage style interiors below. Can you find at least four of each of those things in each photo?


(Shannon Quimby)


(The Painted Hive)


(note: you can read more about Ashley’s workspace at CreativeMama)


(Kristin Alber)


(The Lettered Cottage)


(The Lettered Cottage)


(Polished Pebble)


(Southern Living)


(Country Living)


(Miss Mustard Seed)


(Southern Living)


(Southern Living)


(Sarah Richardson Designs)


(Sarah Richardson Designs)


(Sarah Richardson Designs)

Sarah_Richardson_Designs_Farmhouse_Staircase_Kitchen(Sarah Richardson Designs)


(Sarah Richardson Designs)

These last four photos are of a farmhouse bathroom Sarah Richardson designed. There’s lots of vintage goodie/white/fun fabric/painted furnishings going on in this fabulous little space, too!


(Note to Traci: notice that even though the print on the drapes is a floral in this room, it’s a stylized, gender neutral-colored floral, which keeps it from feeling overly feminine.)


There’s a nice balance in the finishes in this room, too. The (painted) concrete and clear glass elements play perfectly with the glossy whites and shiny chromes.



And how about that yellow-painted secondhand mirror? What a fantastic way to further balance the room by bringing more of that gorgeous yellow color all the way up from the tub!

Anywho- I hope that helps a little, Traci!

PS- My friend Melissa from The Inspired Room also answered a reader question over at her blog today. Click on the banner below to swing by her place for a visit!


Painting The Pantry

Have posts from The Lettered Cottage sent right to your INBOX!


  1. Susanna says

    Oh Layla! This post made me happy, happy. The pictures were all so beautiful! And I love how you broke down the elements of cottage style design. The best part for me was looking around my space and thinking, “I nailed it!” LOVE YOUR BLOG, SISTER.

  2. Erika says

    Layla, this is probably the 7th time I’ve returned to this post so I figured I should leave a comment! I LOVE this post. It is so informative and helpful and really provided some simple, direct, and easy to follow advice for creating the cottagy style I have come to love of your house and blog! I would absolutely love to see more posts like this one – keep up the AWESOME work!

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Erika! I loved putting it together, and look forward to blogging about lots more cottage style “stuff” in the future! 😀

  3. says

    I love each & every room. I hope to be able to try to put some of your ideas into my apt. It’s nice to see someone with ideas near my own I can use as a template. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. says

    What beautiful homes Layla! The earthy textures and crisp hues fuse together seamlessly. The floral drapes in the farmhouse bathroom are an unexpected yet stunning finish – definitely my favourite. Thank you very much for sharing all of these. As an interior designer myself, you have truly inspired me!

    John Croft

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