Hello friends and welcome back Vintage Cottage Weekends In this new series my friend Debra of Common Ground will be sharing all different kinds of vintage-cottage inpo each weekend! Today I am in the mood to talk decor and to share some thoughts on my decorating style and how it has changed (often back and forth) over the years. It has always been hard for me to define my style because I love so many different design elements, but in the end I always gravitate toward vintage-traditional cottage style.
It is so much easier for me to decorate with thrifted finds over the years and to live through the process of a room evolving rather than starting fresh and trying to create a look. I get overwhelmed with all the possibilities because I like so many different design styles, but in the end I almost always gravitate toward a mix of traditional and (vintage) cottage styles.
Light, airy and neutral rooms with the warmth of hardwood planks or European vibes always catch my eye in magazines and on Pinterest.
Here is an image that I have pinned to a couple of different Pinterest boards and shared in previous posts. It encompasses so much of what I love about decorating with white and neutrals, antiques, and chippy shabby finds. It is an elegant, curated look, but not too stuffy. I think you could sit down at that table with a messy meal and it wouldn’t hurt a thing (Ok, maybe I wouldn’t give a toddler a bowl of spaghetti, but I think you get the idea). This is what I love most about cottage style, the fact that it can be elegant and “lived in” at the same time.
“Cottage” style is not very definitive is it? It can obviously be interepreted many ways. For some it is farmhouse cottage, with lots of vintage farm finds and chippy furnishings, while for others it’s an eclectic mix of plaids, chintz, paisleys, worn leather and antique paintings that make up quintessential English cottage style. The photograph above is an example of the style that I end up pinning the most, despite my love of ultra shabby chic, Gustavian French, modern farmhouse, or even a bit of modern Boho cottage chic. I think that I am a “neutral” girl overall and I use mostly neutrals in our home, but I also love pops of color and mixing patterns for interest.
In the past couple of years I have been more drawn to a mix of my first decorating loves, Victorian, traditional English Cottage and country French. These days I am returning to a love of the colors and patterns similar to those in the settee above. Had I found a settee like this a few years ago I might have wanted to reupholster it with drop cloth or even go for a deconstructed look, but now I shudder at the thought of ruining such traditional beauty!
Now don’t get me wrong…I still love neutral furnishings, especially French farmhouse style. I swoon over French linen, drop, cloth, burlap or deconstructed French sofas and chairs, and I will certainly still use those types of pieces in our home for years to come.
I was on a neutral kick for about 12 years. It started with all white/Nordic and shabby chic decor at our previous cottage. When we moved to the yellow brick home in 2015 I was challenged by all the dark woodwork at first, but I have learned how to mix neutrals with the warmth of the wood tones. Having a neutral back drop makes it easy to change up things with pillows and accessories each season.
I love the look so much I am not sure I could ever go back to an all white palette. When you have neutral walls and furnishings, it is easy and inexpensive to change the look and feel of any room by switching textiles and adding seasonal decorative accents.
This room is a perfect example of the design style I am loving right now. There are some modern cottage elements mixed with vintage, and the style is relaxed and elegant all at once. There is a variety of textures and just enough color and interesting objects to keep things visually appealing without overwhelming the eye. Even with bright pops of color the overall scheme is neutral and calming.
“Cozy,” “collected” and “casually curated” are some words that come to mind when I think of what I love most about cottage style. I think those words really describe our home and my style as well.
In looking over my pinterest pins and even thrifted finds that I always choose for our home, I seem to gravitate toward traditional and southern style too. I love everything everything about this cozy corner, especially all the treasures and decorative accents. Let’s call this picture A, which we will contrast with picture B, below.
Here is where my dilemma is when it comes to trying to really define my own style. I love this photo as well (picture B) with cozy neutral farmhouse vibes all around. The room is inviting with fresh, modern farmhouse touches and bit of vintage for good measure. If I walked into either room A or B I would love them both, but if I had to live in one I would choose picture A. I think it comes down to the use of antiques and traditional accents in picture A that captures more of my heart.
Let’s talk Liz Marie cottage style. LOVE it! She uses mostly white and neutrals, tons of texture, pops of color with house plants and so many interesting chippy and vintage treasures. There are no decorative accents in her gorgeous home that I wouldn’t love to have in my own home.
Nevertheless I seem to crave more traditional and European decor to be mixed in with all the chippy white farmhouse goodness. My decor desire is to create a cozy room with a neutral backdrop to showcase an eclectic mix of vintage and antique finds along with lots of books, pillows, comfy throws.
Coastal cottage style is another decor style favorite! One day my husband and I plan to purchase a small cottage near the beach and I have already started collecting a few nautical vintage treasures.
Our home is a lived in historic traditional cottage with an eclectic mix of cottage style elements and vintage collections aquired from years of treasure hunting. Even though I love old, simple farmhouse wares, I never pass over more ornate French country and French vintage treasures while I am out thrifting. I just mix things together and follow my decorating motto: “Surround yourself with the things you love.”
I do pin modern farmhouse, boho chic and even minimalist rooms and I am not opposed to mixing in a few new trendy pieces here and there, but my love of antiques and passion for collecting means that a modern minimalist look would never make me feel truly at home. I have however starting editing collections, reducing cluttering and getting rid of anything that we really don’t need.
Our family room makeover might be an exception. Right now I am leaning toward playing around farmhouse-cottage look since it is so small. The room is a newer addition so it doesn’t have all of the original dark woodwork or the historic feel of the rest of our home. I like the idea of going with white walls and maybe shiplap or tongue and groove with white trim. I am keeping my eye out for a small camel colored vintage sofa too. It is one of the only rooms in our home that gets a lot of light so I want to take advantage of that. We are going to be installing a French door that will lead out to a new patio which will let even more light in. It will be a great place for plants and using green, my favorite decorative accent color.
Then again, since the French doors will open from the patio to the family room, perhaps it would be better decorated with a Frenchy cottage garden style theme and lots of green…decisions, decisions! It will probably all depend on what junkin’ finds I discover between now and then. Sometimes one picture or piece of furniture can completely dictate the direction a room will go.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on decorating and that you have found these lovely rooms to be inspirational. I am definitely going to return to the subject of defining style in some future posts.
To enoy more of this vintage cottage weekend, head over to Common Ground to check out Debra’s post on Spring Shopping at the Vintage Peddler. So fun!
Do you have the same dilemma when it comes to defining your own style or do you have one particular style that is all you? Let’s talk decor! I love hearing from you, dear readers!
Thanks for visiting today!
Hello Amber! I just love your blog and have been visiting for years! You mentioned that your happiest decorating style is a marriage of traditional and cottage. I think that look is beautiful and so much more warm and inviting than a strictly farmhouse style. (I feel that too much white looks sterile, personally.) A “collected” look with textures, history, neutrals, and at least some color, just invites one to come in and sit right down. These types of rooms exude warmth and personality!February 17, 2020 at 4:42 am
I agree Laura, too much white can be sterile looking. I love those rooms that seem to invite you in to sit down with a cup of tea and a good book, or a chat with a friend.
So nice of you to follow along!February 17, 2020 at 11:03 pm
I get this dilemma, Amber. I still love Shabby Chic and country decor, but I love French style so that always jumps in. Funny how we can like so many different styles at the same time! I have a favorite blogger that began one way and now her style has changed so much, it’s not what she originally was and I am finding the new style not really my style. Pretty as it is is has become a bit too sterile. Glad you are enjoying your home and that you’ll have a fun project to work on this summer! More light is something I wish we had more of here at our Texas home. <3
Happy weekend to you,February 17, 2020 at 10:54 am
I know exactly what you mean. There are a couple of bloggers who are on blospot that I have been following for over a decade that had very brocante, romantic farmhouse style and now have changed to a bit more boho farmhouse. I like many of those elements too but I have to have the vintage romance mixed in!February 17, 2020 at 11:01 pm
I am over the moon for cottage style! That April Cornel couch in a riot of colors has stolen my heart. Pinning!February 18, 2020 at 8:49 pm
Amber I am so excited to see what you have in store for your home this year! You never disappoint with your decor! I love how you use a mixture of styles to create your own unique style. I have a hard time deciding what style I love, but I think it’s definitely European! I love French pieces so much and French style wall moldings. I’m still loving my white walls and for some reason I’m being drawn to animal prints. I can’t wait to see what you do! You truly are so talented and I’m so happy to have you as my friend!February 18, 2020 at 9:05 pm
I love your style of decor and romantic cottage is what I would like to aspire to! The pictures of all white kitchens with islands that you could do surgery on just make me cringe! I loved the warm, welcoming pictures in your post.February 20, 2020 at 8:04 pm
You know I love me some coastal cottage style… still working on actually getting there! 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts and sources! I’m delighted to be featuring you tomorrow at Tuesday Turn About! Pinned!~February 25, 2020 at 12:58 am
Not even sure how I came across this post but I love it. I know you’ve been transforming for a while but what I’m most impressed with is that you’ve kept things cozy with subtle changes. That tells me you know what you like and aren’t afraid to stick with it no matter what the trend is. You seem to have your own unique beautiful style that I’m drawn too. Maybe it’s the dark woods and lighter colors mixed in but I think it’s the way you style everything. I tend to want to keep things sparse and uncluttered. Then I look at it and it seems staged and not cozy at all. Hope you’re still blogging when y’all get that beach house. I’d love to see it with your treasures in it AND come visit of course. 🙂April 20, 2021 at 11:41 am
Hey there, Amber! Just wanted to say thank you for linking up at Share Your Style. I happily featured your post at this past Wednesday’s SYS #300. <3 I like your thoughts on the different decorating styles. I do find what worked in one home doesn't necessarily work in the next.
Enjoy decorating your sunroom as you put in the French doors!April 27, 2021 at 3:37 am