Photo: This little home library looks cozy for reading a book. Credit: Shutterstock
English cottages look like something out of a fairytale. They are adorable, cozy, and seem like an amazing place to live. Unlike the grand English country homes that you see in shows like Downton Abbey, cottages are lived in by normal people like you and me. If you love movies like Harry Potter, you might wonder how you could get your own home to resemble a cute British house. Here on Home Addict, we’ll go over 30 tips on how you can achieve that style at home.
45. Painted Floors
Most of the houses in England were made with hardwood floors. In America, natural-looking wood floors are considered to be a historic feature, and they are highly sought after. Many people have to pay a lot of money to get real hard wood in our houses. So we would never imagine doing anything more to the floors than possibly staining it to be a lighter or darker wood.
However, in England, these floors are so common, that people feel as though they need to do something different to make their space stand out. It’s not uncommon to see a white or blue floor, depending on the mood of the owner. They also seem to like using stencils to paint faux tiles onto a cement floor. As an American, this might make you cringe to think about painting over your floors. But remember that it can always be removed later if it doesn’t work out.
Many British homes have a conservatory, which is what we would call a “sun room” here in the United States. For Americans, we don’t see many houses built with a sun room unless it is in a state with warm weather, like Florida. We all know that England is not exactly a tropical paradise. But they want to have a room where you can sit down and bake in the much-needed sunlight.
These rooms usually work like a greenhouse, and are warm even in the colder months. Sometimes, they will have their own wood stoves to keep people cozy while they sit in their indoor-outdoor area. This can be a place where you have your potted plants, or it could be a nice area to read in the natural sunlight. Most conservatories also have a full view of the garden, so you can enjoy looking at the flowers without worrying about wasps of mosquitos.
The English take a lot of pride in their gardens. Since the country is so much smaller, land is scarce compared to the United States. Many village houses are very close together, and people grow up not having a yard at all. So whenever someone moves into a townhouse or apartment, they get excited even if they have a tiny back or front yard. They appreciate this land so much, that they do their best to create a cute little garden.
Most of these gardens are planned out on paper. They are symmetrical, and may have a garden path or water feature. Even if you don’t have space for an actual garden in your home, at least find some potted plants and flowers to bring green to your space.
Most English houses were built hundreds of years ago when all home with made of stone. This is such a strong building material, that houses have held up very well over the years, despite their age. Here in America, it’s incredibly rare to find a house made of stone. The colonists had to make their homes out of wood, and we continued to do the same in the following generations.
If you want to get the English cottage look in your own house, consider installing stone siding. This makes you house look much more cottage-like, even if your house is actually made of wood. You might also want to consider giving your house stucco siding, as well. Just like stone, this lasts much longer compared to vinyl siding.
In almost every British home, you will see some kind of quirky statue or piece of art. Some people have said every English home needs to have a piece that is “just a bit ugly.” It’s like they enjoy having a sense of humor and a playful side to their decor. In America, we can be almost too uptight when it comes to interior design, because we want everything to look picture-perfect. But the British way of doing things is far more likely to make you smile.
Of course, don’t go too far with the ugly decor. There is a big difference between having one or two pieces that are ironic, and having an entire house filled with truly weird and hideous things. At the end of the day, it should reflect your personality, and the things you truly enjoy.
SMEG is one of the most popular appliance brands in Europe. They started selling their products back in the 1950’s, so they still have an adorably retro style. They come in several different pastel colors. Here in the US, it is rare to find them in stores, but it is possible to buy SMEG appliances online. You may have seen them pop up in trendy Instagram posts.
Yes, these appliances are far more expensive than what you will find in Walmart. However, they are expensive because they are meant to last a very long time. Instead of replacing a $10 toaster every couple years, SMEG appliances might last a lifetime. They may even be passed down to your kids.
In every British home, it’s customary to ask a guest if they would like a cup of tea. Offering to “put the kettle on” is considered to be polite. During sad times, celebrations, breaks, and the end of the day, many people suggest drinking a cup of tea or coffee. There is something warm and comforting about indulging in a hot drink. Americans, on the other hand, don’t typically have a tea kettle in their house. We either use coffee machines, Keurig k-cups, or even microwaving water.
There are two different kinds of kettles; electric, and stove top. Most stores in the US will only offer the electric kind, but it’s surprisingly difficult to find them, unless you shop online. It is up to you to decide which kind you prefer, but we highly recommend the Kitchenaid Kettles. They come in a variety of colors, and they last for several years. No matter what kind of kettle you buy, make sure you pour out excess water to prevent it from rusting.
One of the most iconic features of British village homes are the thatch roofs. You never see this in the United States, and many Americans would have no idea what it even is. This is a very old technique of using straw to make roofing material. Compare to slate roofing tiles, you might not think that straw would be very good.
But the reality is that thatch actually works very well for insulation, and it lasts for 40 to 50 years. Modern roofs only last 20 years. Since this is such an old tradition, you have to hire specialists to create a thatch roof. So it’s not exactly practical to suggest putting one on your house in the United States. However, it is still totally iconic for the English cottage look. What’s even better is that the thatch makers will sometimes add extra touches like designs or little animals on the top of the roof.
Technically, the style of building homes with stucco and tudor siding originated in Germany. However, this influenced people in England so much, that you can see it all throughout villages in the UK. These types of houses look adorable, and sort of remind everyone of the Hansel and Gretle sort of cottage that we have seen in story books as kids. In case you didn’t know “tudor style” refers to the design of wooden beams placed in the front of the house over top of stucco.
This is not as easy to implement in your home, since it is a huge job that would cost thousands of dollars. However, if you need new siding on your house, you may want to consider switching. Stucco siding lasts 50 years, and it is easy to repair by patching the cracks. Vinyl siding will only last 20 to 40 years, depending on how often you clean and replace the pieces. Eventually, it all has to be completely ripped off and replaced, while stucco only ever has to be repaired.
In most older English homes, you will find at least one room with wallpaper. These are typically big, bold patterns that some may consider to be too over-the-top for modern sensibilities. One of the most famous wallpaper companies in England is Morris & Co. You don’t necessarily have to buy or use Morris wallpaper in order to get the right look. However, it’s worth checking out their website for their current styles, or buying a book on the patterns throughout the years.
Not a fan of wallpaper? Maybe consider getting a household accessory in a Morris print, instead. There are loads of options to choose from online. This way, you can have your plain colored walls, with just a little splash of something with a wallpaper pattern.
For the majority of history, English homes were heated with fire. This is why most homes have fireplaces throughout the United Kingdom. In some of the larger stately homes, every bedroom has its own fireplace so that everyone could keep warm at night. Even when modern-day Brits have upgraded to using radiators, there is usually at least one fireplace in the home.
In America, you are not guaranteed to find a fireplace in a house. And even if there used to be a chimney or wood burning stove, they were sometimes removed in favor of an HVAC system. If you would like to get the quintessential British look, you may want to get a faux fireplace or faux wood burning stove, just so you can get the look. Even if they don’t actually burn wood, they still work like an electric heater.
Most English homes have low ceilings and exposed wooden beams that are meant to hold up the second floor. American homes tend to have higher ceilings, and modern builders stopped using exposed beams. Nowadays, if you want to have wooden beams in your home, you will have to ask a builder to install the beams.
This can be an expensive job, but believe it or not, they make faux wooden beams that are hollow on the inside. There are a lot more affordable, lighter to lift, and easier to install. Always do your research when hiring someone to do this sort of project, because you want it to be done correctly.
In modern times, most people hate the idea of a couch or chair with patterned upholstery. It reminds us of something our grandmother might have had in their home. Most Americans want to have solid colors, or leather. But if you want to make a home look more British, consider finding a piece of furniture with patterned upholstery.
One of the best places to have just a pop of pattern without going overboard is on the seat cushions of a wooden dining room chair. This is also one of the easier upholstery projects to do on your own. There are several different YouTube videos on how to do it. If you find old chairs at an auction or a thrift store, this could potentially be the perfect bargain DIY project for your house.
Nearly every interior design blog will tell you to put up artwork in your home. The main difference between a British cottage and an American home is the fact that Europeans may have antique family portraits that have been passed down through the years. Even if someone’s family didn’t keep their ancestor’s paintings, it’s easy to find them in a thrift store.
If you are looking for an antique portrait, you may want to check out Etsy and eBay, because it may be difficult to find in an American thrift shop. Not a fan of hanging pictures of people you don’t know? Then you could hire an artist to paint or draw a portrait of your family, instead.
In most modern American homes, we like having plain white dishes. Maybe you have gone a little bit out of the box with other solid colors, or just a stripe along the edge of the plates. Or, if you’re short on cash, your plates might be a mix of whatever you have collected over the years. In England, it is very common to find full patterned sets of china from companies like Spode, Wedgewood, and Royal Doulton.
Even though it is no longer popular in modern times, it should be easy for you to find sets of old English china in American thrift stores, especially if you live on the east coast. It is actually a lot of fun once you start collecting this china, because it can be like a treasure hunt in order to find another piece to your collection.
Americans tend to want to buy a brand new apartment or house, and put their own personal touch in their living space. But in England, it is far more common for people to inherit their family home. This means that they have loads of items that have been passed down through the years. When it’s done correctly, modern and antique decor can look very cool together.
If you don’t have a lot of antiques in your home, it’s as easy as going to a local thrift store to find something that catches your eye. Even better is if you have an antique mall, because these shop owners will have curated the best of the best pieces. Last but not least, you can just visit your grandmother or parents, and ask if they have any cool things hidden in the attic. You never know what you will find.
It rains a lot in England. In fact, it rains over 100 days per year! This means that there are plenty of gloomy days where you can’t go outside. It should be no surprise why reading literature has become such a big deal over in the UK, and it may also be why some of the world’s most famous authors were born and raised there. Everyone loves to read books to help them escape to a world inside their minds, instead of focusing on what’s going on outdoors.
Every English home has a big book collection, and some of the richer families have an entire library. Sure, we live in an age where people can download books on their iPad. But if you want your house to look like it belongs in the UK, you need to be some physical books. Hardback copies always look better with interior design. You could easily find some cheap color-coordinated volumes at your local thrift store, or splurge on something fancy, like the Tom Ford coffee table book. It matters more if your books can reflect who you are as a person.
28. A Guest Bedroom Ready For Your Friends at All Times
In the United States, people often take extra bedrooms in their home and turn them into a home office, gym, or craft room. But if you own a home in England, it is very important to always have a guest room ready for friends and family to stay. Hospitality always takes priority over having your own space for extra activities. Even if the second bedroom stays vacant for months, it is just the security of knowing that you are ready to welcome someone into your home.
These guest bedrooms usually have a bed made and ready to sleep in. They also make sure to have extra linens, pillows, and toiletries on hand just in case someone stops by. Even if you do not have a second bedroom, you can still do the British thing of planning for the possibility of friends coming to stay. Maybe buy an air mattress that can be inflated whenever someone comes to stay overnight.
We already mentioned how books are popular in English homes. Obviously, you need a place to lounge while you read. Whether you’re in a small cottage, or a fancy London flat, there is almost always a very comfortable chair to sit in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be made of leather. But if you can find one, it will add the rustic element of a country cottage.
Leather chairs can be very expensive, but you might be able to find one in a thrift shop. Sometimes, people will get rid of a leather chair if it has gotten scratched or worn down over the years. The secret is that you can actually restore these chairs with a bottle of Leather Rescue, and they will look good as new.
In the United States, one of the most popular instant coffee machines is a Keurig. But over in Europe, people use Nespresso. The concept of both machines is basically identical. You buy little pods that will make you a cup of coffee, so that you don’t have to worry about the messy cleanup. But instead of making plain black coffee, the Nespresso machines can make you an entire cappuccino, including the foam.
The machines also look a bit sleeker, and more fancy, compared to the Keurig. Your friends and family might be surprised, especially if they have never heard of the brand before. Their machines are actually the same price or cheaper, so you don’t have to break the bank buying this instead of a Keurig. If you are already planning to give your home a makeover, it will fit in with your European vibes.
One of the most iconic things about an English cottage is to see climbing ivy. We almost never see it in America, unless you are visiting a literal “Ivy League” school like Princeton or Harvard, where the buildings essentially look like castles.
Even though many of us love to see it, we rarely see climbing ivy on American homes. This is because ivy vines will only grow onto the cracks of a stone or stucco house. It can take decades for ivy to grow big enough to cover an entire house. But if you want to get this look on your own home, you will want to buy some ivy from your local garden center, as well as a climbing trellis.
In the era of college kids going to Ikea, it’s rare to find real wood furniture in American homes anymore. So many people think it’s cheaper and more covenient to get things made out of particle board, even if it eventually falls apart. But in England, you will still see mostly wood furniture, since it was made to last for hundreds of years. It’s common for people to go to charity shops or auctions and pick up pieces of furniture that are meant to last a lifetime.
The same can be done in America, too! Check out your local thrift store or auction house for real wood furniture. Even if a piece looks scratched or worn down, you can still sand the wood and cover it with a new coat of wood stain or paint. If you take care of wooden furniture, it can last for the rest of your life, and be passed down to someone else when you move.
In the United States, it is rare to find a house that is over 100 years old. Many of our older homes were quickly built during the 1950’s to fit all of the Baby Boomers, and were subsequently torn down. But in England, houses were built to last. You might be living in a house that was built hundreds of years ago. The style of the home changes depending on the era it was built. In England, people like to embrace this history by collecting pieces that match the era of the home.
If you live in a house that was built last year, you can’t exactly pretend that an antique is going to match the era. However, there are still plenty of Victorian homes in the United States. If you happen to live in an older building, try to embrace it. You may find that some of the older furniture actually suits your space perfectly.
Since the English love gardening, it only makes sense that they are fascinated by botany, which is the science of studying plants. Some larger country homes will have a conservatory or greenhouse where plants can live. Others decide to have a little area of their home dedicated to botony. This could be done with some gardening books, potter plants, and little glass domes over top of “specimens” (even if it’s actually a faux plant.)
Another great way to add elements of botany to your home is to find old prints of plants. You can create your own artwork by cutting out pages from old books, or find some that have already been created on Etsy. Just search for the keywords “botany art”, and you will find a huge treasure trove of options on Etsy.
In America, we usually have a lot of white or cream colored rooms to help brighten up a space. And we usually stay away from having a color that is too bold on the walls. In England, they love to put colors on the walls, but they can get away with it, because they usually go with muted or pastel tones.
If you use muted colors, you can get away with painting an entire room a certain color, instead of just an accent wall. Some people also paint over the radiators, stair cases, or doors. This gives a lot of character and whimsy to a home, instead of it being the same colors that you see in everyone else’s house.
The stereotype is true- English people drink a lot of tea. They always call it “tea time” or take “tea breaks”, even when they are not actually drinking tea. This could just be having a snack and taking ten minutes to read the newspaper. Even so, they still do drink tea quite a lot, so it only makes sense for them to have a tea set. Most of the time, tea sets are permanently kept on a table or a counter top, since it is used so often on a daily basis.
If you don’t already have one, buying a full tea set is essential to making your home look like an English cottage. You could search for a set at your local thrift store, or buy one online. Bonus points if you find a set that matches the colors of your kitchen. This becomes a fashionable accessory that can also be used to drink out of.
English people work hard to maintain their gardens. So it would only make sense that they want a place to sit and enjoy the great outdoors. An English garden would not be complete without a table and chairs for you to enjoy a nice cup of tea, or at least a bench where you could read a book.
Normally, you would see something made out of painted cast iron so that it could last for years. However, in the United States, finding these pieces might be out of your price range. Every spring and summer, there are outdoor table and chair sets sold in the garden centers of Walmart, Target, Lowes, and Home Depot. If you’re doing this off-season, you can also search through the various styles online.
In large English country homes, there is almost always a “boot room”, which we would call a “mud room” here in the United States. After all, since it’s so rainy, it means that the dirt is usually very muddy. And in the bigger country homes in England, you would have people going outside to ride horses, hunt foxes, and gather firewood. Having a dedicated space to take off your shoes is necessary if you want to keep the rest of the house clean. At the very least, they have an area for their “wellies” or rain boots when you first walk into the room.
Not everyone in America can afford to build an entire boot room in their house. But what you could do is set up a large coat and shoe rack near your front or back door. This way, there is a designated space for you to organize all of your jackets, and take dirty shoes off before you track mud through the house.
Years ago, before the invention of the telephone, people would write letters to one another in order to communicate. So it was very important for everyone to have a proper writing desk in their home. Back then, people were a lot smaller, and they were not sitting at their desk all day long. So in some of these older desks, you’ll find that they might have drawers on the side, and a very small area to put your legs.
Today, we no longer write letters, but you may need a desk to work on your laptop. Some people simply use their kitchen table. But if you want to have a complete English cottage look, try to scope out a cute writing desk at your local thrift store. Bonus points if you decorate it with an antique typewriter, or an ink and quill.
Unlike the United States, we are very patriotic when it comes to flying the American flag. We put up American flags during national holidays, and some people have a flag on their front porch at all times. In England, people rarely fly the Union Jack. They are not anywhere near as patriotic as we are, and it’s rare to see the flag flying anywhere. However, if you are trying to make a British-inspired home, it only makes sense to buy an accessory to show your guests that you are trying to make an English theme.
There are a lot of options to how you can show off the very cool design. You could buy a flag, or maybe a Union Jack Smeg toaster. Or, if you already have red, white, and bleu accessories since you’re an American, you can possibly reuse it for the British flag. Luckily, we still have the same colors, so get creative!
Before there was running water, people in England had to take baths by boiling water on the stove and carrying it over to fill the tub. Many of these clawfoot tubs were made to last for multiple lifetimes, and they still exist in many English cottages. Of course, there are modern replicas that have been made as well. Even if a home doesn’t have a clawfoot tub, it’s likely that they have some sort of tub in the house. Since England can be very cold and rainy, it’s common for people to want to relax with a nice warm bath.
Here in the United States, we are very hardworking, and many of us don’t like to waste time. Bathing is seen as a necessity that we need to get done quickly in the morning by taking a shower for 5 to 10 minutes. Many American houses don’t have a bath at all. And when they do, it’s usually something that looks very dated to the time the house was first built. In England, it’s still very much a part of their culture to make sure there is a bath in the house. There is even a town called Bath, named after the Roman baths that are still in the area. Most English baths- like the clawfoot tub- are so classic that they still look good even after a hundred years.
In English gardens, it’s common to find small statues, fountains, benches, and other stone accent pieces. These are beautiful, and bring art to your outdoor living area. Something I had never seen before visiting England were these face plaques called The Green Man. This is based on a Pagan legend about a nature spirit that brings upon the renewal of spring. These were all over the place when I visited the UK, and I saw several other versions of women’s faces that were very beautiful. Some of these “Green Man” and “Green Woman” plaques also double as a planter.
Here in the United States, it’s not as common to find statues or plaques in people’s backyards. It’s also not easy to find them somewhere like a garden center of Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowe’s. You really need to go to a family-owned garden center where they offer statuaries. A great place to go shopping for “Green Man” plaques is on Etsy, where they have amazing handmade statues created by talented artists from around the world.
In England, they put a huge emphasis on having a really good view out your window. And if you aren’t lucky enough to have a good view, a lot of people try to make one of their own. This is accomplished by giving yourself a lot of flowers or a beautiful tree in your backyard to look at out the back window. Many people also plant flowers in their front window so that they can see it when they look outside. The fact that so many people are into gardening in England makes a big difference in what your view looks like when you look outside.
When I visited England, I was surprised to see how well manicured every single garden was. There wasn’t any trash on the street, and absolutely nothing looked overgrown in the fields. According to the UK Woodland Trust, trees actually drive up property value in England, because it gives you that view of nature. And if trees have something called a Tree Preservation Order, you’re not allowed to cut it down, even if you’re the property owner. This is the polar opposite of how it is in America, where forests are everywhere. Trees are commonplace, and people tend to take them for granted.
Most English homes are heated by radiators. In the bathroom, it’s common to find a towel rack that doubles as a radiator. These are actually amazing, because you can hang a wet towel on it and it will try within a few hours. And if you need to try any laundry, this can also help you to try any wet clothing that you have. These are usually set on a timer, so they can turn on before you wake up in the morning, and the bathroom will be nice and toasty for you when it’s time to take a shower.
Here in the United States, we have towel racks, but they are simply a bar that hangs on the wall. It’s possible to buy a heated towel rack, but they usually run on electricity, rather than the hydraulic heat running through the towel racks in England. If you can afford to buy one, I highly recommend it. They range from $60 to $250 depending on the style and model you choose. While it might seem like a big expense in the short-term, this could be one of those items that helps to sell the home later.
On average, it rains 156 days a year in England. That’s nearly half of the entire year spent in cloudy, wet conditions. Even on days when it’s not raining, the sky still might be overcast. That’s why English people actually appreciate sunlight a lot. And many homes make it a point to have large windows to bring in natural light whenever possible. Sky lights are also commonly put into the roof of a home, which helps give light in the daytime, and make mornings a bit more cheerful.
If you want to bring in the natural sunlight in your own home, the only way to do it is by adding additional windows. You can also remove curtains or replace heavy drapes with sheer ones. Try to pay attention to which rooms in the house gets the most sunlight, and arrange your living around that. With so many people staying home nowadays, it’s still important for you to get your vitamin D, what are you getting it through the window or by going outside in your own backyard.
10. Keep Reusable Bags by the Door For Nearby Shopping
Here in the United States, most of us have to drive at least a mile or more to the nearest grocery store. We are so used to receiving plastic bags that are given to us for free, that we often forget to bring our own reusable bags. But in English villages, there are sidewalks everywhere. Most houses in a village are within walking distance of their High Street, which is what we’d call Main Street here in America. Every High Street usually has at least a small grocery store or news agency where you can buy your everyday essentials like milk, eggs, meat, produce, snacks, and alcohol. You could survive on these High Street shops alone without ever taking a car to a larger grocery store. When I stayed in England, I kept my shopping bags by the front door hanging on the hook so I could grab and go.
Since people can purchase small quantities of groceries when they walk down the street, it’s far more common for English people to use reusable shopping bags. In fact, grocery stores will charge 10p per plastic bag in grocery stores as a way to motivate people to switch to reusable bags. When you go places, you’ll always see these reusable totes and shopping bags for sale. It has become sort of a fashion statement, and people tend to look down on you if you use plastic. Here in the United States, it’s the opposite. There are some people who use reusable bags, but they’re usually seen as being “hipster” because they’re environmentally conscious.
Here in the United States, we tend to all have the same doors in our houses that were manufactured by companies like Home Depot and Lowes. In England, many cottages still have the old doors that have been there for hundreds of years. These include the old style latch locks, which are very cool, and fun to use. These older doors give a lot of historic character to home. It’s a really good reminder of how old the cottage actually is, even if certain aspects of it are modernized.
Here in the United States, if you want to find old doors, you’re going to have to go searching at an antique store. This is a style technique often used by interior designer Joanna Gaines. She loves to find old barn doors, as well as doors from churches and other historic buildings in a local area. Check out a salvage yard, or somewhere like The Habitat for Humanity Restore for leftover building materials.
Most homes in the United Kingdom run on radiator heat. However, there are still a lot of cottages in the countryside that rely on wood burning stoves. Sometimes, people will use both. Unfortunately, radiators don’t heat your house as well as central heating here in the United States. Even when the radiator is on, people in England typically wear sweaters, socks, and slippers indoors to keep themselves warm in the winter. The great thing about having a wood-burning stove is that you can double cooking and heating your house at the same time. One of the most famous stove brands in England is called Aga, and they are known for getting hot enough to heat an entire cottage.
In the United States, you can buy your own wood stove, but it would cost a pretty penny, since they don’t typically come standard like they do in England. Even if you have central heat, it can be a way to bring the temperature of your house up without running the HVAC at all times. This will eventually cut down on the cost of heat. However, if you don’t live in a wooded area, you would need to purchase firewood. The cost of paying for a wood stove and the logs might cancel out the amount you would save.
Everyone has heard of the white picket fence. This is a quintessential part of the American Dream, and it has been popular for decades. But you also find it a lot in England, where people have been using white picket fences in their front yards for as long as anyone can remember. This serves as a barrier between the sidewalk and the front yard. Growing a lot of plants in the front garden can also add a sense of privacy, and make the most out of the front yard.
Before the white picket fence, Europeans have been making stick and stone fences around their property for thousands of years. This was often necessary for keeping out predators and protecting livestock. Now, it’s mostly used for aesthetic purposes. Here in the United States, you should be able to easily find a white picket fence at your local hardware store. Just keep in mind that if you want to install one, you need to abide by height regulations in your local area.
In Europe, it’s not very common for people to have clothing dryers in their home. Even if they have an all-in-one washer and dryer, there are plenty of people who consider this to be very wasteful. People are still practicing the old tradition of hanging their laundry to dry on a sunny day. Believe it or not, many of them even hang their clothes to dry in the winter time. If you need to dry something in the middle of the winter, a lot of people will hang their wet clothes over the radiator or the heated towel rack.
Here in the United States, most houses have a washer and dryer, or we take our clothes to a laundromat where we can rent a dryer. If you want to try hanging your laundry at home, this can help to reduce your electricity cost. It also helps the environment. And in the summertime, you don’t have to heat up your house by running the dryer. Clothing racks are available on Amazon. Or, you could always do the old fashioned method of tying a clothing line between two trees. Clothing line rope is usually sold at Dollar Tree, as well as clothes pins and baskets.
Here in the United States and Canada, a lot of people have at least a half acre to an acre of backyard. Many of us don’t try to put up a fence unless it is absolutely necessary. In fact, some people believe that it is rude or unfriendly to put up a fence between you and your neighbor’s backyard. But in England, it is expected that every single person is going to have a tall privacy fence blocking out their neighbors. As an American, I was shocked to see that many houses in England even had tall fences in the front of their house, too. Since so many people walked to the village, and it’s understandable that they don’t want neighbors seeing into their windows or when walking by.
When you go into a backyard garden in England, it is always so fenced in, that you feel protected. There is little to no chance that nosy neighbors are going to see what you’re doing while you spend time outside. It really does feel like an extension of the house. When I got back home to the US, it really made me crave having that privacy in my own backyard, especially during quarantine, where this was my only option to get outside. If you want to do this at home, this can be accomplished with tall shrubbery, trees, trellises with ivy, or- of course, a tall privacy fence.
Along with the white picket fence, a rose covered trellis is another thing that you can add to your front yard to give it that English cottage vibe. This gives you a beautiful shaded entryway that smells good, too. The Queen of England even has her own rose garden that the public can come visit to get inspired. Noble families around Europe tended to grow their own rose gardens as well. It’s nowhere near as common here in the United States. Even the famous Rose Garden at the White House has been changed and renovated so many times, it’s no longer a rose garden at all.
If you don’t have space in your front yard for a rose covered trellis, this may be something that is more appropriate for a backyard. This can be a great way to segment off your backyard into different gardens and vignettes. A rose trellis is always a welcoming sight, no matter what area of the yard it happens to be in. Before you jump into buying the supplies, do some planning first. Consider hiring a landscape architect if you have enough money in your budget to do so.
In England, eggs and bread are not refrigerated. These are often left out on the counter so that you can reach for them quickly when it’s time to make breakfast. However, if you’re living in the English countryside, there’s always a chance that a mouse might get in the house. A bread box protects your loaf of bread from critters, but it also helps to clean up your countertop.
Here in the United States, our eggs are pasteurized in such a way that makes the egg shells thinner, which is why we need to refrigerate them. And some people put their bread in the fridge to keep bugs away. But if you’re trying to get the English cottage look, a kitchen wouldn’t be complete without a bread box. If you’re looking for a vintage style bread box, you can find these at thrift stores, on eBay or Etsy. Many farmhouse brands are also coming out with bread boxes, which can be found online.
Something that you see a lot in England and France is a painted front door. This gives your house a pop of color that can help you stand out from your neighbors, who most likely kept the standard brown color. In France, a blue door is a symbol of royalty, because the dye was only accessible to the aristocracy for a long time. As soon as commoners were able to afford blue paint and dye, it began to appear all over England and France. This is a sign that you could afford the small luxuries in life, even if it was only enough paint for your front door.
Door knockers are also popular in England, because houses were built long before doorbells existed. A brass door knocker can actually show a lot about your family heritage. For example, in the photos I included in this article, the door knockers are of a lion’s head. This is typically a symbol of English royalty. My family happens to have Irish heritage on both sides, so our brass door knocker is the Claddagh. There are a lot of different shapes and size door knockers out there available online.
In The United Kingdom, many houses in affluent areas have a name plate outside of the home. This isn’t necessarily the name of the family, but rather a nickname given to the house itself. The name can be passed down from one owner to the next, and it’s rarely changed by the new occupant. Anyone who has seen Skyfall already knows that this was the name of James Bond’s family home. The name doesn’t always have to be that original, though. Many people might call their home after their last name, like Quinn Cottage or Smith Manor. In most cases, the name gives a nod to the house’s history.
Here in the United States, naming your house isn’t something people do, because it’s seen as being pretentious. It’s much more common to see a sign with someone’s last name inside of the house, rather than outside. We might have our house number by the door, but that’s it. However, if you want to do this for yourself, you should consider hiring an artist on Etsy to create a custom sign for you. After visiting England, I felt inspired to give our family home a name, since it was built in the 1800’s, and will likely be passed down to me. After much debate, we decided on Cedar Manor, because we’re on a large piece of land next to a cedar forest. However, we haven’t made the sign yet, because we are- in fact- afraid of coming off as pretentious!