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country cottage surrounded by green grass with ivy climbing the doorway

Cottage-Style Homes: Everything You Need To Know

Morgan McBride5-Minute Read
August 28, 2020

There are lots of popular house styles that potential home buyers look out for as they’re trying to buy a house, and one common type buyers might encounter is the cottage-style home.

What Is A Cottage Style House?

Cottage-style homes are naturally charming and cozy. Traditionally, the term “cottage” refers to a small home. European countries often refer to their homes as cottages, while in the United States a cottage is more likely to be a vacation home.

Historically, cottages were small homes on the property of a greater manor. These small cottages were inhabited by indentured servants or slaves. They were initially small, cheap and purely functional in design. However, this style of home has since been romanticized to represent quaint, country living, without regard to the more negative aspects of servitude and class inequity that they might have initially depicted.

Cottage-style architecture often reflects a mixture of multiple styles, including Georgian and Tudor. Regardless of the specific style, a dose of historical charm is important for giving a small home the cottage look. It also helps to have the home surrounded by lush greenery or gardens for a true country feeling.

Characteristics Of A Cottage House

While cottage-style homes can encompass a lot of different looks, they have some recognizable characteristics. If you would like your home to have more of a cottage feeling, try to incorporate some of these ideas.

Irregular And Varied Designs

There isn’t a singular architectural design used for cottage-style houses, but characheristics can be combined to create very distinct properties. For example, there are Tudor cottages as well as Cape Cod cottages. This lack of specific architectural elements leaves a lot of wiggle room for transforming any small home into a cottage. Adding a variety of historical home elements will help you to achieve this look.

Smaller Size

While many cottages are one-and-a-half or two-story properties, the overall square footage tends to be lower. They tend to be more about the surrounding property and outdoor spaces than sprawling floor plans.

Many cottages can be described as “quaint” or having “character.” Of course, many modern cottages are actually quite large. However, the style and feeling of the home should be cozy and comfortable. Cottages don’t have cavernous great rooms and open concept floor plans. Even large cottages should feel snug. If your home features large, open rooms, designate different “zones” or “nooks” to help give it a cozier feel.

Outdoor Spaces

Nature tends to be a valued aspect of cottage living. Common features of many cottages can include a front porch, a back deck, or some other kind of area conducive to spending time outdoors. Focus on making these spaces feel comfortable and cozy with plenty of seating, layered cushions and potted plants. Window boxes go a long way towards adding lush greenery to the facade of a cottage style home.

Beautiful landscaping can also be a major component of a cottage house’s exterior. The yard surrounding a cottage should make you feel like you are in the countryside. Really layer on evergreen greenery for a year-round lush look, with seasonal flowers mixed in for pops of color. Cottages can really get away with unruly-appearing plants, as they just add to the charm of the space. Natural stone elements like rock walls and stone paths also go a long way toward giving a yard a cottage feel.

Cottage House Interiors

While no two cottages are identical, there are some common characteristics found in the interior of a cottage-style home. A big trend currently is the cottagecore style. This style reflects a return to simpler times. Cottages have that old-timey, cozy feeling, similar to the coziness of other interior decor trends like hygge.

Coziness

A key feature of a cottage-style home’s interior is a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. Smaller rooms go a long way toward making spaces feel cozy. However, you can add to that feeling by layering lots of textiles – pillows and blankets especially, as well as curtains and rugs – for a very homey feel. Focus on furniture that feels comfortable and inviting – nothing stiff or stuffy – to really perfect this look.

Open Floor Plan

Open and informal floor plans are a common feature of cottage-style homes. A formal dining room isn’t really cottage-y, so work to make each space feel accessible and useful for everyday living. Traditional small cottages don’t have square footage to waste, so it’s important to make each room feel usable each day. Turn sections of a large room into eating areas or reading nooks to instantly get a more cottage feel. Eliminate anything overly elegant, like a crystal chandelier, and instead focus on making spaces feel broken-in and comfortable.

Natural Elements

Wood, brick and stone elements are crucial to giving a home a cozy cottage vibe. These textures combine to make a real historical feeling. A great way to add characteristic elements to a home is by adding wooden beams on the ceiling. This can really make a larger room feel smaller and more cottage-like. Incorporate natural stones into bathrooms, backsplashes and fireplaces for another layer of coziness.

Pros And Cons Of Cottage Style Homes

There are definitely benefits and drawbacks of living in a cottage-style home. You’ll have to balance each of them to determine if this is the right home style for you and your family.

Pros

Cottages are an appealing option for many home buyers. The smaller size can be good for those who are downsizing, and smaller houses are often more affordable than their larger counterparts. If you love the feeling of a garden in the country, then you will likely enjoy living in a cottage setting. Cottages are also perfect for those who enjoy historical homes with natural elements incorporated into the decor.

Cons

There are some drawbacks of living in a cottage-style home that could deter some potential home buyers. Traditionally, cottages are located in a more remote location. If you want to be near a city, this might not work for you. Additionally, if you have a large family or want sprawling space with extra rooms that you use only occasionally, a cozy cottage might not fit the bill. If you prefer sleek, modern design elements, then cottage style is definitely not for you.

Where To Find Cottage Homes

Cottage-style homes are most traditionally found in the countryside of England. However, there are pockets of cottages in the United States, as well. These cottage-style homes are most often found in older sections of New England, but cottages are one of the most popular styles of homes across the entire northeastern United States. This makes sense as these areas of the country were historically more populated, and therefore only had room for smaller, cottage style homes.

Modern cottage-style houses can be found outside of the traditional rural cottage settings. These homes are more like cottage-reproductions, but can still evoke the same style and feelings as their more traditional counterparts. Contact a Rocket HomesSM Real Estate Agent for assistance in finding the perfect cottage-style home.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a cozy, comfortable home with historical appeal, a cottage style home might be perfect for you and your family. Be sure to check out more home buying articles on the Rocket Homes blog.

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Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at CharlestonCrafted.com alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.