How to Decorate Your Home With the Cottagecore Aesthetic

Shannon Quinn - November 8, 2020
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Dried natural materials like pampas grass can become great home decor. Credit: Shutterstock

21. Hang Dried Flowers and Other Natural Materials

If you’re lucky enough to have flowers in your garden, you can preserve them by drying them out. A lot of people will tie a string around their bouquets and hang them upside down so that they completely dry. Once this is done, you could keep the hanging flowers as a form of decor. Some people will also gather the dried petals to press in a book, or use as scented potpourri. Besides flowers, there are a lot of other dried materials you can take out of nature and bring inside as part of your decor like pampas grass, cotton, stems and cat tails. Just make sure you’re not allergic!

Have a cozy time with a good cup of tea. Credit: Shutterstock

20. Make Plenty of Cups of Tea

Here in the United States, a lot of people drink coffee or energy drinks to get their daily dose of caffeine. But in early colonial times, everyone was drinking tea. And in England, it’s still common for people to drink multiple times a day. Even their afternoon snacks are simply called “tea time”.  Ok TikTok, it’s common to see Cottagecore posts associated with making tea, especially if it has anything to do with loose flowers and herbs. If you’re not already a fan of drinking tea, you probably just had a bad experience. Instead of drinking bitter black tea, it’s best for newbies to start out by drinking something fruity. Target and Walmart both have large tea sections, and Trader Joes even lets you scoop out loose tea leaves. Don’t forget to add honey, sugar, or cream to help enhance the taste.

Try some outdoor activities, like playing croquet. Credit: Shutterstock

19. Start Doing Outdoor Games and Activities

Many people who enjoy cottagecore are inspired by Jane Austen. Those people enjoyed a lot of outdoor games like croquet, tennis, badminton, and so much more. If you’re really trying to channel that energy in your life, why not get your friends together and play one of these outdoor games? Croquet sets are a little bit expensive oh, but it’s the sort of thing that you can have for the rest of your life. There are also a lot of card games, scavenger hunts, and party games that were once played in olden times. It can be a lot of fun to try out some of these activities, especially if you’re stuck at home without much to do.

Baskets are both beautiful and practical. Credit: Shutterstock

18. Decorate Your Home With Baskets

Baskets are for more than just carrying things around. They can serve as a base for a floral arrangement, or hang on the wall as a piece of decor. In my mom’s kitchen, she has vintage picnic baskets on a high shelf. Sitting out in the open, they look like they could be grabbed and used at any moment, but they’re really a piece of art. Keep in mind that you don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive baskets like Longaberger. You should be able to go to your local thrift store and find something useable. 

Woven baskets are perfect for gathering mushrooms. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Keep Some Foraging Gear On Hand for Forest Adventures

A lot of people who love Cottagecore enjoy foraging in the woods for mushrooms, flowers, herbs, pinecones and more. If you plan to do the same, make sure you have your foraging gear ready. Get yourself some tall rain boots to keep out water, snakes, and critters. Also find a good basket with a handle or a tote back to help carry the things you find. Bug spray and sunblock is also an added bonus. So…What does this have to do with home decor? A lot of times, these objects become part of the decor. For example, my mom always keeps a basket of fresh, fragrant pine cones in her kitchen that she picked from her property.

When you have a lot of excess vegetables, consider canning and giving them to friends. Credit: Shutterstock

16. Consider Getting Into Canning 

Some fans of the Cottagecore aesthetic have taken up farming in their backyard. If you grew a lot of vegetables, you might realize that you have more than what your family can consume in one sitting. Sure, you could be generous and give some away to family and friends. But you can also get into the practice of canning, which preserves your fruit and vegetables in jars for the future. In order to get started, you’ll need to buy mason jars with metal lids, as well as a pressure cooker to help create the airtight seal. Even if you don’t go over-the-top, you can still do quick DIY’s with mason jars, like making your own pickles. Check out YouTube for tutorials on how to get started.

Home made fig preserves. Credit: Shutterstock

15. Making Homemade Jam

If you’re looking for a soothing Cottagecore pass time, consider learning how to make homemade jam. There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning with a nice cup of tea next to toast with jam. You’ll feel really proud of yourself knowing that you made it all by yourself, instead of buying a jar from the store. It’s a major bonus if you can harvest your own strawberries or other fruit to make the sweet stuff. There are a lot of video tutorials on YouTube out there teaching you how to make jam. It’s actually very easy. As an added bonus, if you’re into canning, you can make a huge batch and preserve enough jam to last you for the rest of the year. A lot of people also like to give jam jars to their friends as gifts.

If you love to paint, consider going out to the garden. Credit: Shutterstock

14. Painting in the Garden

One of the common Cottagecore activities I see online is people painting flowers with watercolors. If you enjoy cooking, you don’t have to stay inside. For years, artists grabbed an easel and sat outside to paint landscapes. If you enjoy painting as one of your favorite hobbies, this might be a great investment. And once your artwork is done, you might want to hang it on your wall, stick it on the fridge, or have the easel on display somewhere around the house.

Classic fairytales helped inspired cottagecore. Credit: Shutterstock

13. Keep Fairytale Books in Your Library

Cottagecore Is often credited to some of the stories that we read when we were children. Novels like The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Howl’s Moving Castle are all stories people compare the aesthetic to. If you haven’t already read those books or movies, it’s probably a good idea to check those out to help get inspired. Books can be a great form of home decor, especially if you find the beautiful hardback classics from Barnes and Noble.

Music can help brighten the mood of any household. Credit: Shutterstock

12. Play Whimsical Music

You can completely change the vibe of your home with music. There have been studies that even show that plants grow better when they have music in their environment. So, if you’re looking to bring some cottagecore vibes into your home, why not listen to the music that inspires you? A lot of people choose to listen to the instrumental music from Studio Ghibli films. These are inspiring, beautiful, soothing songs that you can play in the background in almost any situation. It’s perfect for studying for getting work done too. 

Take selfies in nature. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Embrace Your Natural Surroundings

If you are lucky enough to live in an area with abundant nature, take advantage of it. Go for walks when it’s nice outside, visit your local parks, and appreciate everything around you. This might also be great if you’re trying out cottagecore aesthetic clothing and want to get a good selfie. How does this affect home decor? Once you start to really be present in your surroundings, that can often change how you behave in your own home. For example, during lockdown, my family spent a lot more time outside. We all started gardening, and this led to us buying items for home that would help us in doing that. It also resulted in us bringing more fresh flowers inside from the garden, and so much more.

Teeny tiny fairy gardens are whimsical. Credit: Shutterstock

10. Make a Little Fairy Garden in Your Backyard

When I was a little girl, my mom brought me to a fairy garden event at a local plant nursery, where we were told that the forest was full of them. That same spring, daffodils grew in a circle, which I believed was the mystical “fairy circle”. Now, I know my mom purposely planted those bulbs in a circle for my benefit. Part of cottagecore is connected to the nostalgia of the emotions we had as a child. We believed in magic, and that anything was possible. This is why some people like to have a little fairy garden in their backyard, especially if they have kids. It can be as small as having a little bird house, or as big as having hidden houses in the trees. I highly recommend watching the short documentary called The Mystery of the Kansas Gnome Homes By Great Big Story. This will get you inspired to start making a fairy garden of your own. 

It’s good to spend more time outdoors doing what you love. Credit: Shutterstock

9. Take Up New Hobbies That Keep You Away From Screens

The spirit of Cottagecore is to go back to a time before television and the Internet. You could be who you wanted to be without worrying about comparing yourself to others, or feeling the need to put it on social media. So, if you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands (especially in 2020) why not take up new hobbies that will get you outside? Consider playing a musical instrument outside, write, or simply take walks through the garden. Find what you love, and take it outdoors. Even video games can be played outside now, if you have a Nintendo Switch or a Smart Phone. Sometimes, hobbies can bleed over into your home decor. For example, a lot of people who surf keep a surfboard leaning against a wall. No matter what you’re into, you can figure something out.

Sage, crystals, and herbs are often used in spiritual healing practices. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Sage, Crystals, and Other Spiritual Items

Sometimes, cottagecore has a lot of overlap with another aesthetic called witchcore. (Think of the vibe from movies like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Practical Magic.) As the name suggests, this is the celebration of witchcraft and wicca. Since witches use natural herbs for their spells and plant medicines, it only makes sense that the two aesthetics can blend together. Beginners should try “smudging”, which is the act of burning sage and palo santo. This can make your house smell great, but it also helps to neutralize your space so that you can enjoying good vibes in your living space. If you’re interested to learn more, check out this article on How to Spiritually Cleanse Your Home.

Buying local helps businesses, and it often tastes better. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Shop From Your Local Farmers, Bakers, and Butchers

Years ago, there were no supermarkets. People had to grow their own food, barter, or buy goods from other people in their area. Butchers, bakers, and farmers did the work to supply so that other people could go about their normal lives. Nowadays, people take it for granted that they can go to Walmart and get everything they need right in front of them. Personally, I started shopping at two of my local farmer’s markets. I found that the produce is a lot cheaper, and yet it tastes ten times better than what I find in a grocery store. In my local area, there is also a meat wholesaler, and a bakery that makes some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted. Obviously, you might not have access to these kinds of places, depending on where you live.

There’s nothing better than curling up with a knitted blanket. Credit: Shutterstock

6. Knit Blankets and Other Knitted Things

Long ago, you couldn’t just go to the mall when you wanted to buy new clothes. People made their clothing by hand, and the same went with blankets, gloves, scarves, and more. Fans of cottagecore are learning how to knit and crochet like their ancestors. Not everyone has the time, skills, and patience to knit an entire blanket. But if you’re still looking for the same look, I recommend finding an artist on Etsy who is selling their stuff. You can also ask your grandma, or browse local thrift stores for second hand knitted goods. One time, I went to an estate sale and purchased a huge pink blanket that was knit by the family’s great great grandmother, and I gladly paid the $12 asking price. These types of blankets might not be everyone’s taste. But one person’s trash just might be cottagecore treasure. 

Handmade ceramics help give your home a vintage vibe. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Start Using Hand Made Ceramics in the Kitchen

Long ago, people purchased ceramics like mugs, bowls, and pitchers from local artisans. Or, they took the time to make their own pottery from mud they found in the earth. Today, we have mass-produced ceramics that are easily found at most stores. Instead of buying your products from places like Ikea, consider finding a ceramic artist on Etsy, or a local craft show. Personally, I find a lot of handmade ceramics from a local cafe that doubles as an artist co-op, as well as a glass museum and art center.  Some towns also have ceramic studios where you can stop by and make something yourself. Lastly, you could buy some ceramic tools online, and try it out at home.

This old kitchen has a cottagecore vibe. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Buy Vintage Kitchen Appliances

One great way to feel like you’ve gone back in time is to start using vintage kitchen appliances. People have been cooking for a very long time, and tools have stayed relatively the same long before the existence of microwaves and toaster ovens. Cast iron pans, copper pots, and wooden rolling pins have been around for over 100 years, and they still work just as well as they did in the olden days. Start browsing thrift stores, eBay, or estate sales to find some vintage items to use around your kitchen. Some people, like YouTuber Michael Petherick, have even gone so far as to restore a vintage Aga oven for his gardener’s cottage remodel. If you want the vintage vibe, but you still prefer modern conveniences, take a look at Smeg products. They’re made in Italy, and still have the same style from 1948.

Hanging your clothes saves energy, and it’s very satisfying. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Hang Your Laundry Outside

The idea of Cottagecore is to feel like you’ve gone back to simpler times. One way to achieve that is to start hanging your clothes outside on sunny days in the spring and summer. Here in the United States, most people use a washing machine and dryer. But in most European countries, people don’t own a dryer, so it’s common for people to hang their clothes outside. Several months ago, I rented a cottage in England, and it didn’t have a dryer. I got used to hanging my clothes to dry in the garden, instead. After about a week, the cottage began to smell almost identical to my grandmother’s house. It really does feel nostalgic, simple, and satisfying to hang your clothes. When I got home to America, I bought a laundry drying rack so I could continue to do this in the summer. 

Cooking is a valuable skill. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Start Cooking Your Own Meals

Part of the cottagecore dream is waking up with the sun and making your own breakfast. Some people dream of cooking and living off the land, and nothing else. So the advice to cook on your own might be obvious for a lot of you who are now eating at home during lockdown. However, one of the best ways to get in touch with your ancestors is to start cooking from home. Instead of going through the drive-thru of McDonald’s, start making eggs with toast and jam in your own kitchen. On Tik Tok, a lot of people in the Cottagecore community experiment with new recipes that they find. Try doing this on your own, and you just might find that you enjoy cooking. As an added bonus, you could focus on recipes that were made in the olden days. 

Rent a real cottage on AirBnB. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Visit a Real Country Cottage For Inspiration

Last but not least, you should visit a real life cottage if you want to model your home after cottagecore. Not everyone has access to an old country cottage, but you never know if you actually want the lifestyle until you try. There are a lot of museums and historical societies that try to preserve the integrity of older buildings in every state. You can also rent an Airbnb at a cottage that’s close to you. Personally, I was able to rent English cottage for an entire month before travel restrictions were in place. While I stayed there, I was inspired by how different the lifestyle was in the UK compared to the United States. It’s one thing to look through Pinterest or watch TV shows. But that can’t replace actually going somewhere in person, living there, and really experiencing what it’s like. 

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