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How to achieve an authentic cottagecore aesthetic

In the countless home transformations that took place during and after the pandemic, the common objective was to create a personal sanctuary, one in which we felt cocooned from the outside world, offering a sort of dreamy escapism.

We introduced more greenery and pottered around our gardens, created little work stations, tackled DIY projects, and collectively bought into trends that felt comforting and nostalgic. There’s no finer example of this than cottagecore, in which a rose-tinted view of rural idyll is brought to life, and into our homes.

As a concept, cottagecore is escapism in its prettiest form, embracing a simpler and slower pace of life, with a heavy emphasis on sustainable self-sufficiency. Occasionally referred to as farmcore or countrycore, cottagecore romanticises the idea of living off the land – tending to a vegetable patch in a smocked dress, collecting freshly laid eggs, and filling your home with foraged wildflowers.

Gaining traction during lockdown, cottagecore has become nothing short of a movement with 4.2 million dedicated #cottagecore posts on Instagram, and an astonishing 12.3 billion views of cottagecore content on TikTok. Ironically, a trend rooted in off-the-grid living has played out on the internet.

What is the cottagecore aesthetic?

cottagecore aesthetic
L: Country Living, R: Brent Darby

Cottagecore is distinctly English in expression, with a romantic and nostalgic vision of rural living – the cottagecore canon is filled with soft-focus wheat fields, dappled country paths, and chocolate box cottages with year-round climbing roses.

In interiors, cottagecore draws some parallels to the Arts & Crafts movement, with an emphasis on traditional craftsmanship, and decorative folk styles. A strong affinity for environmentalism means that materials are usually natural – wood, stone, unbleached linens etc. – kitchens will be kept largely plastic-free, and modern technology deftly hidden away.

L: Penny Wincer, R: Kristin Perers

Left: Photography: Penny Wincer, Styling: Ben Kendrick, Right: Kristin Perers

Achieving your own cottagecore aesthetic hinges on the architectural peculiarities of your home – draughty cottage windows, heavy beams and creaking floorboards are a good start. If these are lacking – and a great number of cottagecore ‘influencers’ are themselves applying the aesthetic from within contemporary homes – you can rely on key cottagecore pieces such as a wrought iron bed frame, a freestanding bathtub, and antique or inherited wooden furniture.

Most importantly, cottagecore is well-lived, cosy, and welcoming – sofas are sink-in squidgy, furniture is slightly worn out, and nothing is intimidatingly pristine. Styling is haphazard and charming, with an emphasis on layering.

The cottagecore influencer pays particular attention to the kitchen – here the bucolic fantasy can play out to its fullest effect, where fresh flowers abound, cake stands are perpetually overflowing and the pantry becomes not a practical storage spot for unsightly packaging and modern gadgets, but an artful array of mason jars, apple crates and freshly folded kitchen linens.

Mark Scott
Pictured: Country Living Witcombe Chaise Sofa at DFS, Blossom Cushion and Bamboo Cushion, both at Birdie Fortescue, Kabibi cushion cover and Ocellus cushion cover at OKA, Coffee table Two and Side Table Two at Another Country, Everyday stripe cushion at Tori Murphy, Vintage Kantha quilt at The Running Stitches, Runda Glass Lamp and Seema Raffia Lampshade at Birdie Fortescue, Romanian Horezu Jug at Toast, Tray on coffee table at OKA, Handmade stoneware mugs at Rowen & Wren, Romanian bowl at Birdie Fortescue, Pencil Jug in Peach, and tumbler on side table, both Birdie Fortescue

Cottagecore has a strong inclination towards crafting, mending and DIY, as evidenced by the profusion of handmade quilts, knitting patterns, and tapestry kits appearing across Etsy. Similarly, bouquets of flowers are hand-picked, and maybe even arranged in a vase hand-thrown during a pottery class – cottagecore embraces the beauty in imperfections.

A cottagecore colour palette can err on the side of soft neutrals – crisp whites, buttery yellows, and natural woods – or it can embrace a rainbow of shades and pattern, mixing tartans, chintzy florals, and lace trims. A cottagecore calling card is a confident use of matchy-matchy print, using a single pattern across walls, soft furnishings, window dressing, and just about anything else you can upholster or paint.

The country bedroom selection
Country Living Ullswater Bed Frame
Credit: Mark Scott
Country Living Falmouth Ceramic Table Lamp
Credit: Homebase
Sheki Upholstered Ottoman

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Credit: OKA
Country Living Tarland Accent Chair
Credit: DFS
Morris & Co Strawberry Thief Cushion
Credit: John Lewis & Partners
Aster Arched Mirror, Matt Nickel
Credit: Rowen & Wren


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