Over the last few years, the cottagecore aesthetic has taken the social media world by storm. Although the pandemic and months of lockdown accelerated the growth of the trend, it’s been on the rise for quite some time, since the 2010s in fact. Dreaming of open spaces, timeless interiors and beautifully crafted decorative pieces has Instagram users in their millions intrigued by the aesthetic. So, what is cottagecore and why has it become so popular?


What is cottagecore?

According to dictionary.com, the definition of cottage core is an aesthetic or imagery inspired by an old-fashioned, rural lifestyle, characterised by rustic décor and fashion, a revival of traditional handicrafts, etc.

Essentially, cottagecore is all about embracing the English countryside, un-modernising interiors and living more simply and sustainably. The romanticised idea encourages people to focus on comfort, happiness, and the beauty of nature, rather than living the fast-paced, continuously connected lives we have become accustomed to.

Why is it called cottagecore?

The term cottagecore is quite simply the words ‘cottage’ and ‘core’ put together to create a new meaning. A cottage is a small, country house, typically located in rural landscapes with more shabby, rustic interiors. The term core refers to a new category or theme, hence the new term cottagecore.

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How to achieve the cottagecore aesthetic in your home

Cottagecore lends itself perfectly to vintage and antique pieces thanks to its nod to eco-friendly homewares and old-fashioned pieces. Think antique confit pots, vintage blue and white china and rustic vases. Of course, if you live in a cottage or the countryside (double points if you’ve got both) you are already halfway there.

Include natural materials

Credit: @grove_cottage_

White and shiny surfaces are out when it comes to cottagecore interiors. Think natural materials for your furniture, especially your dining table. Surrounded by potted plants, it’s an easy way to bring the outside in.

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Display your favourite pieces with kitchen shelving

Credit: @mysimplehome

Cottages, particularly those in the English countryside, tend to have much lower ceilings than the average house. And many have slanted ceilings (like this one) and somewhat awkward spaces. To make the most of the useable space, kitchen shelves are a popular and aesthetic way to create storage space whilst making a beautiful display with your favourite ceramics and kitchenware.

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Hang your pans

Credit: @indooraworld

Similarly, space is more restricted as cottages are smaller homes, so you have to be inventive with your space. If you want to do this with the cottagecore aesthetic in mind, why not hang your best-looking pots and pans? Copper pans display beautifully on hooks in your kitchen, pantry, or dining room, and will instantly give your space a more rustic, country home feel.

Think about your walls

Credit: @nuproperty @themisfithouse @kristinkarch

When emulating cottagecore interiors, it’s important to start with the walls. Bring in dainty floral wallpapers in earthy, natural colours. Vertical shiplap panelling is very typical of the aesthetic too, often painted white or in heritage colours like this bathroom. Paired together will give your space a vintage, cottage feel.

Focus on the fireplace

Credit: @thebusycottage

Fireplaces are a key feature in cottages and are a real focal point in the space. Wood burners are particularly popular in cottages because their fireplaces are often large open areas in a wall, like this one pictured. A wood burner not only looks great, but it can stand by itself, so the rest of the space can be filled with antiques, baskets, and feature flooring.

If you have a fireplace in your home, think about how you decorate it. It doesn’t matter whether you have a big open fireplace or a style typical of Victorian houses, adding a few antique pots and ornaments will instantly offer cottagecore style. Just make sure they aren’t in pristine condition and have a bit of rustic charm. And if you have the space and budget to invest in a traditional wood burner, it’s worth considering!

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Spruce up your bedding

Credit: @mrs_trufflepig

Going back to the ditsy florals we mentioned when discussing wallpaper, the same applies to your soft furnishings. In spaces you have neutral walls, add cushions, rugs and bedspreads with cottagecore-style prints. Using slightly clashing patterns in a consistent colour palette give your space a vintage look without looking too dated!