Morgan McBride5-Minute Read
UPDATED: May 23, 2023
Cottagecore is a style that celebrates returning to simpler times. This aesthetic is best described as an aspirational form of nostalgia and focuses on traditional crafts such as baking, pottery and foraging. This style can be applied to fashion, home decor and even the lifestyle that one portrays on social media.
Ironically enough, since it’s based on a return to nature and decrease in technology, the cottagecore aesthetic has risen in popularity on social media, including Instagram, Tumblr and TikTok. It’s very popular with Generation Z, and especially the LGBTQ+ community within that demographic.
Cottagecore is a direct response to be the opposite of hustle culture. Cottagecore celebrates nature and the purity of the outdoors. It includes an emphasis on escapism from the modern world, which became especially relevant during quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic.
This return-to-nature lifestyle has been further propelled by trends like the popular game Animal Crossing and the resurgence in popularity of “grandma style” for “grandmillennials.” All of these trends have combined to create the perfect breeding ground for the cottagecore aesthetic.
If you want to incorporate the cottagecore style into your home, take note of the key identifying characteristics of the trend: nostalgia, the simple life and harmony with nature.
A major theme of cottagecore is a strong sense of nostalgia for a more quaint, rural lifestyle outside of today’s hustle and bustle. This aesthetic features vintage pieces that appear to be handmade, along with simple materials and, in general, things that would appear to have fit right in on “Little House on the Prairie.”
A driving force behind the cottagecore aesthetic is a desire for simplicity and living a slower, more intentional life. It’s minimalistic without being cold or bare, which can be a hard balance to strike. There’s an intentional lack of technology – except for sharing the whole experience on TikTok, of course.
One of the most important aspects of cottagecore is pastoral romanticism and becoming more connected with your natural surroundings. It includes a very romanticized view of nature without any of the unclean realities of farm life or the outdoors. Natural elements, such as farm animals and wild mushrooms, are appreciated for their looks but not necessarily their sometimes-unpleasant realities.
Whether you plan to live a complete cottagecore lifestyle or just dabble in the trend, there are many ways to bring this aesthetic into your home. Here are some of the ways in which cottagecore can be incorporated into your interior design.
Having a moodboard is an excellent way to pare down your current belongings and carefully curate what you add to your home.
An easy way to begin familiarizing yourself with cottagecore can be to create a moodboard with pictures of the forest or a rural landscape, sunlight, flowers, farm animals, gingham or floral patterns, along with cozy activities like baking bread or reading in the grass.
Consider creating a Pinterest board or going fully analog with a posterboard and magazine cut-outs to fully capture the aesthetic that most inspires you. Keep this moodboard handy and, before you bring any specific item into your home, compare it to the moodboard to see if it furthers your vision for the space.
One of the pillars of the cottagecore aesthetic is bringing nature indoors. These natural elements are often hand-crafted or vintage in nature, overlapping two of the major aspects of this style.
Focus on natural-styled items made from natural materials for a well-balanced look. It’s important to have a muted color palette and not decorate with mass-produced items.
Some examples of nature-based decor commonly used in cottagecore-styled living spaces include mushroom figurines, garden gnomes, porcelain tea sets or vintage mugs, pressed or dried flowers and leaves, artwork of cute animals, embroidery and indoor plants.
There’s a huge emphasis placed on unplugging and minimizing tech use within the cottagecore trend. Reducing the number of screens and technological devices in your home can help you to slow down and take on more cottagecore-friendly activities such as baking, reading, journaling and knitting.
Someone trying to bring this aesthetic into their home could, for example, opt for a record player rather than a wireless speaker and play cottagecore-appropriate music on vinyl instead of streaming on their phone.
Identify each major piece of technology in your home and brainstorm more analog or vintage alternatives. Of course, you’ll need to keep your smartphone handy for sharing your on-trend looks on social media.
The decor and paint colors you choose when cultivating a cottagecore space ought to be ones that create a comforting and relaxing atmosphere. Focus on colors that occur in nature, like shades of green or yellow. These colors should complement the nature-based decor you’ve incorporated into your home.
Pair these muted, natural colors with creamy whites and lots of natural tones – this could mean raw wood, stone or natural textiles like jute and wool. Combining muted colors with vintage and natural elements is really what this style is all about.
Choosing furniture that feels like it could’ve been taken out of your grandma’s home or out of a charming little house in the forest can play a significant role in rounding out the look of a cottagecore living space.
Look for vintage pieces with simple lines. They can be refinished in natural, muted colors for a completely custom look. Don’t forget to include plenty of wood tones and textures for a nature-inspired look. Upholstered pieces can be a bit bolder, with tweed florals and thick nubby fabrics completing this look perfectly.
Growing plants in general and cultivating an outdoor or indoor herb garden within your living space fits into the cottagecore aesthetic. Houseplants are a perfect way to bring the outdoors inside. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, small herb gardens are easy – and useful – to grow in any size home. Indoor plants will give you the look that you want, as well as the “return to nature” intention of this lifestyle.
One of the most important aspects of the cottagecore lifestyle is spending time within nature. Setting up an outdoor space where you can properly appreciate the nature surrounding your home will help you get more in touch with this aesthetic.
Ideas for outdoor spaces to enjoy include a front porch, a back patio, a hammock, a garden, a fire pit with surrounding seating, or even a coop where you can raise backyard chickens. Identify the best parts of the outdoor space available to you and maximize it so you’ll want to spend your time out there.
Cottagecore is a new decor fad, but it’s similar to many trends that have been around for a long time. Focus on nostalgic pieces, simple and low-tech touches, and bringing nature inside to best get this look in your home. Be sure to check out more Homeowner Tips on the Rocket HomesSM blog.