English Country Comfort
The mood of the Cotswold cottage evokes a comfortable, cozy atmosphere based on warm textures, natural colors and worn woods. Traditionally, the English country cottage style was a result of villagers and farm workers with simple, unsophisticated taste. Materials used were simple and basic and created for function. Furniture was often locally made.
Today, English country can range from casual to formal, based on practicality. A tasteful blending of old and new lends to the comfort and serenity this style invokes. Background colors are taken directly from nature. Muted shades of chestnut, greens, pale yellows and pale pinks on the walls resemble the colors of the natural surroundings of the nearby gardens outside. Handmade rugs and the warm glow of lamps placed throughout the room lend to the cozy and warm feeling. Large, overstuffed furniture with a timeworn look adorned with numerous pillows invite the visitor to relax near the crackling fire.
Dark oak and pine are frequently used as furnishing fabrications, as are brass and iron. Built-in bookcases, housing real or faux books with well-chosen accessories such as candles, flowers, china plates and photographs, can act as another focal point for the room. Chests and benches are often stenciled or painted to correspond with the colors in the room. Walls are embellished with botanical or animal prints and groupings of china plates. Decorative wall sconces provide more intimate lighting. Valances and tieback curtains are usually made with simple designs and small prints. The lightweight fabric flows just below the sill level to give way to a more casual feel.
Creating the Comfort
You can acquire the cozy and comfortable style of the Cotswold cottage by choosing furniture and accessories that evoke a warm and serene feeling. The charm of an English country cottage is achieved through attention to detail.
Start by choosing your color palette for the room. Colors in a cherished painting or tapestry are an excellent place to start. Pull three or four colors from your focus piece and look for those same colors in the furniture upholstery, curtains, rugs and wall color.
Fabrics in floral chintz, stripes and pleasant checks can provide texture and color by simply choosing three main colors that appear in all the fabrics, regardless of print, stripe or chintz. Break up the fabric by introducing a leather chair and ottoman – an ottoman or butler's table can take the place of a coffee table. Chests in a rustic worn finish and benches painted with stenciled botanical designs add to the natural and worn feel that is country cottage.
Skirted tables in coordinating fabrics are both functional and beautiful when family heirlooms are displayed on top. Built-in stripped pine or painted bookshelves and fireplace mantles are wonderful focus pieces when they are adorned with fine bone china plates, fresh flowers, treasured photographs and books. Placing your most precious items throughout the room will inspire good conversation.
Use plenty of table lamps and wall sconces for intimate lighting. Curtains in paisley or bird motifs are perfectly suited to this style, as are valances and tiebacks. The muted color of the walls will provide contrast to showcase family photos, botanical and animal prints in gilt frames and an arrangement of china plates. Several soft pillows and lots of blankets draped on seating pieces invite a long stay on the sofa to enjoy a good book or nap. Feet are kept cozy and warm with various tapestry and needlepoint rugs.
The lived-in look of the Cotswold cottage is so warm and inviting, you may never want to leave.
Cotswold Cottage Architecture
Originating in the Cotswold region of southwestern England, the Cotswold cottage architectural style actually stems from the Tudor Revival style. This medieval-inspired architecture first became popular with American architects during the 1920s.
Characteristics of Cotswold cottage architecture include:
- An asymmetrical form
- A steep roof line
- Small, irregular interior rooms
- A large chimney
- A roof made to mimic the look of thatch