Cottage colour schemePublished on July 7, 2016

  • Benjamin Moore Pool Side Blue on the cottage bedroom ceiling
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

  • Pratt & Lambert Rubidoux on a vintage cottage dresser
    Photo by: Mark Holleron

One of the beautiful aspects of having a cottage – aside from the proximity to water, the laid-back lifestyle and time spent with family – is the ability to decorate a second home with a different style influence than your principal residence.

While there are a myriad of styles that work well with cottage-themed décor, the colour scheme should be toned down to let the reflection of nature play a strong role. Windows are oversized and rooms are positioned to bring in the outdoors, so don’t fight this natural beauty with the chaos of too much colour.

Start with a neutral colour scheme; go with a stark white or a warm cream and then work at bringing in colour as space allows. Painted furniture and colourful accessories do a lot to add personality into cottage-style décor.

Painted furniture is an ideal way to bring life into old furnishings and add vibrancy to the space. Be sure to have the furniture sprayed professionally to ensure long-lasting durability. Stick with one or two colours, ideally one colour in no more than three tones.

When the overall space is painted in a neutral shade there is an opportunity to inject colour in a variety of ways. A powder room, laundry room and bedroom are perfect places to pop vibrancy onto the walls. Beware of overdoing the bedroom in a wash of colour, in particular if these rooms are guest spaces as well. Everyone reacts to colour differently. Cottages are meant to be restful; decorate bedrooms with this in mind as bold colours don’t create soothing environments.

In my own lake house, I handled my passion for colour by painting the walls white and splashing colour onto the ceilings. This is a brilliant solution to creating colourful space without overtaking the room. I brought the crown moulding down into the walls, offering more space to bring in the colour and to help ease the effect into the room.

Cottage décor doesn’t have to follow the typical design rules and should always show off the personality of the owners and the structure. Establishing a colour scheme to honour both of these elements will ensure that your cottage is dressed to handle what you bring into it. Because, let’s face it, rainy days will always spur a trip to the flea market or the urge to go antique shopping!

Mary Taggart

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