- Cottagecore aesthetic is a trend in design that emphasizes a comfy, cozy, countryside home.
- The term cottagecore comes from fantasizing about escaping to a rural life and living “in a cottage.”
- Tips from the experts include planting gardens, adding cozy decor, and maximalist shelf decorations.
- Visit Insider’s Home & Kitchen Reference library for more stories.
Cottagecore is a dreamy, cozy design aesthetic that has captivated an adoring audience on social media. Today, it’s evolved into a highly sought-after design aesthetic.
The term cottagecore is said to have been coined by the Tumblr community in 2018. All throughout the early 2010s, young people would romanticize a rural lifestyle and document it in their photography. Their photos often show romanticized scenes from countryside homes decked with vintage, floral design elements. People don lace, large hats, and flowy, ethereal gowns. Teapots, vintage chandeliers, and outdoor claw-foot tubs also each have a cottagecore claim-to-fame.
What is ‘cottagecore’?
The cottagecore aesthetic often takes one back to simpler times — cooking, picking daisies, running barefoot through a field, and feeding goats are all big cottagecore energy. To Sarah Ellison, creative director of the London-based interior design studio Frank & Faber, cottagecore centers, “comfort, space, and well-being.”
“As always, our interiors are inspired by the world around us,” says Ellison. Ellison’s Frank & Faber often designs elevated, cozy natural spaces in homes and gardens that emulate a cottagecore aesthetic. “The outside world has been pretty bleak and people have not been able to take solace and comfort in the usual external forces — friends, family, going for a nice dinner,” she says. “Everything has turned inwards and people have looked for solace and comfort in their homes, really appreciating how much their home environment is critical to their sense of well-being and sanity.”
Social media maven Jesca Her, a beloved cottagecore influencer with over 325,000 TikTok followers, lives nestled in a town outside of Denver, Colorado. On her social accounts, she says that she “sees the world through rose-colored glasses.” Her posts are draped in a warm, pink-hazy afterglow edit and her life offers a glimpse into immaculate cottagecore aesthetics.
“It’s an aesthetic that is very inspired by a sense of nostalgia for a rural countryside life,” says Her. “In a cottage — so that’s where we get the term cottagecore — in the middle of the woods, or in a forest. Anything involving the outdoors and finding comfort in nature.”
The cottagecore aesthetic can easily be emulated in a home. Here are seven of the style’s key features — according to Her and Ellison — to keep in mind when decorating.
1. Start a small garden
Tend to your garden, literally. Plant wildflowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary, and basil in a planter box, or in your backyard if you have one. “Cottagecore is a movement which idolizes a lifestyle more commonly associated with an agricultural way of life — embracing craft, sustainability, sourcing local,” Ellison says. “From an aesthetic perspective, it is about natural, sustainable, heritage taking inspiration from the outside world with a healthy dose of romanticism and chintz.”
2. Prioritize comfort over everything
What does cottagecore feel like? “Very at-home, cozy, safe spaces,” says Her. “Comforting and like a space where you can just be creative and try new things. The emphasis is very much at-home.” Cottagecore favorites include cozy beds and warm couches, with tons of layered blankets, and tea by a fireplace.
3. Source unique, craft materials
For cottagecore, says Ellison, “Craft is king.” Cottagecore celebrates the unique, one-of-a-kind items that can only be made or sourced by specific craft makers. By hand-painting your own furniture in a warm color, or finding a local furniture maker in your hometown, you can have a wholly distinct item to individualize your space. Accessories that Ellison recommends include “handcrafted ceramics, rough plaster sculptures, statement hand-painted pieces sourced from local artisans.”
4. Raid some thrift stores for decor and furniture
Thrift stores are filled to the brim with lovely, cottagecore aesthetic potential. You can seek out granny-chic style items like frames, crystal dishes, vases, art, and furniture. “Most of my stuff is thrifted, and over time, I’ve picked stuff here and there,” Her says. You can also rehabilitate an old piece to make it ultra-modern, for example, painting a wooden side table a warm pink.
5. Use what you have
The most character in any home is the oldest part of the home. Uncover the past and highlight what already exists to pull out the personality in the space. “Embrace existing features,” says Ellison. “Expose ancient beams, paneling or beautiful stone on the walls or in more urban homes, reinstate the existing floorboards in a raw, paired back finish or apply some of those beautifully worn, rustic finishes such as reclaimed timber, tongue-and-groove cladding, or exposed plaster on walls.”
6. Emphasize natural, sustainable materials
Consider bringing some living herb boxes into the home to emphasize nature. Plants of all kinds draped around the home, will surely evoke a cottagecore aesthetic.
“Whether we live in the city or countryside, it is about acknowledging the importance of interacting with the natural world and bringing those materials into our home environments,” says Ellison. “[Use] natural, sustainable materials such as wood and stone along with wools, linens, and sisals in upholstery and accessories.”
7. Layer textures throughout the space
Use textiles to your benefit by layering beautiful fabrics and textures throughout the space. “Layering is key with textures bringing a feeling of cozy ‘fireside’ warmth,” says Ellison. The best fabrics to add to your cottagecore space include: “soft furnishings in wools, linens, and velvets. Softness is added with fabric pleated lampshades, artisanal woven wall hangings, and rugs on walls.”
Cottagecore may feel like the coolest aesthetic on the internet, but it’s accessible for everyone. Incorporating a cozy, “granny chic” design element in your home is as easy as bringing the outdoors inside, adding shelving, knick-knacks, and comfort to your surroundings.
“Cottagecore is not seeking perfection,” says Ellison, “Instead, it’s using materials that age beautifully as they settle into a home. Their imperfections add to the characterful warmth.”