After a year like 2020, many of us are shifting our lifestyles, as we’ve spent much more time at home and reassessed what is most important to us. In fact, we’ve begun to reimagine the very idea of home — as a calm sanctuary away from the outside world, a place to feel inspired, and a space to hold all our hobbies and passions.
During the pandemic, there was an emergence of wholesome hobbies — like sourdough bread baking, cross-stitching, gardening and more. We all longed for nostalgia and the analog, as the outside world around us seemed to be moving in all directions.
What Is Cottagecore?
Also known as “farmcore” or “countrycore,” cottagecore is a style of dress, design and décor reminiscent of what you would find in a cottage in the countryside. Think: gardening, greenery, vintage furniture, rustic details and floral patterns. It’s all focused on natural living — and a slower, more intentional pace of life.
The trend became especially popular with Gen Z on TikTok, as enthusiasts shared homesteading crafts, vintage fashion, and nostalgic home décor, plus ways to return to simpler times. There’s an entire subreddit dedicated to cottagecore, and it defines the trend as “your grandma, but like, hip.” And we can’t sum it up any better than that!
But it’s more than a design style you can physically see; cottagecore is a rebellion against “hustle culture.” It’s about slowing down and escaping from the stresses of the modern world.
And yet, there are several ways you can bring this nostalgic trend into your home, with just a few subtle changes here and there!
How to Incorporate Cottagecore in Your Home
Add Some Antique Furniture
With all this talk of nostalgia, the most obvious place to start is by adding a few new-to-you antique pieces to your home. Whether you’re looking for a few vintage vases and various knick-knacks to display on a shelf, or you’re hoping to score an antique coffee table or dresser, these one-of-a-kind additions are the epitome of cottagecore. Go on an antiquing adventure to see what you can find — there are so many vintage and antique shops in the Portland area, including Lounge Lizard, Antique Alley, Stars Antique Mall, Kenton Antiques and Monticello Antique Marketplace.
Adopt Some New Plants
Bring the outdoors in by creating your very own indoor garden. Houseplants have been all the rage over the last several years, and we don’t think they’re going anywhere any time soon. After all, they are a timeless “decor trend,” as plants have been around since the beginning of time. Cottagecore is all about connecting with nature and optimizing wellness — and plants are known to improve the air quality in your home and even the mental health of its occupants!
Our go-to resources for all things plants, both indoor and outdoor, are Portland Nursery in Portland, Stafford Ridge Nursery in West Linn, and Farmington Gardens in Hillsboro and Beaverton. Learn more about these local nurseries — and discover more in the area — using our guide to Portland area nurseries and garden centers.
Does your TV have a prominent place in your bedroom? Or do you have lots of cords and other gadgets cluttering your living room? You may want to reconsider these things in order to add a sense of detachment from technology. Create a “hygge” sanctuary, where you can read a book, sip on a cup of tea, and sit without distraction and noise of social media and the news. Consider moving your TV from your main living area or bedroom into a designated TV area and do your best to hide cords and devices that may be distracting throughout your home.
To create a sense of “grandma chic” in your space, try your hand at an embroidery project! If you’ve never tried the craft, start small with a simple loop embroidery kit. This kit on Etsy has five unique options — all of which are adorable botanical patterns. This combines the floral craze with the vintage nature of embroidery! Plus, because you have to make it yourself, it encourages you to pick up a new hobby and do something with your hands — an important principle in the cottagecore world.
Incorporate Neutral, Muted Colors
To create a serene oasis in your home, you should steer towards neutral, muted colors — reminiscent of what you might find out in nature. Portland-based Miller Paint has a wide selection of neutral paint colors to choose from, including Calm Serenity, which is their Color for 2021. Miller Paint’s Director of Color Marketing, Puji Sherer, shared her favorite serene neutrals from their collection. “Soft and expansive, these gentle hues will make your home feel open and light. Perfect for walls, ceilings, and trim, consider a monochromatic scheme for a more contemporary look.”
Grow an Herb Garden
Get a sense of “living off the land” by creating your very own herb garden. There are several ways to go about this, whether you live in an apartment with a balcony or you have plenty of room in the yard for garden boxes. Either way, Portland Nursery has everything you need to get started, including small herb plants and seeds, and all the tools and information you need to create your very own thriving herb garden.
“Put a flower on it” is the new “put a bird on it” here in Portland. All things floral have taken the world by storm, in the form of bold floral wallpaper, botanical prints, and prints of tiny flowers on our pillows and sheets. Don’t shy away from adding this whimsical, feminine touch to your home!
Install Sheer Curtains
As far as cottagecore is concerned, gone are the days of heavy drapery and thick, opaque curtains. Instead, we’re trying to add as much natural light to our interiors by adding sheer curtains — or skipping the curtains altogether. This creates an airy, light feeling in our living spaces, and encourages the marriage of the indoors with the outside world.
Add Cozy Textures
Much like the concept of hygge, cottagecore is all about comfort and relaxation. Make your home conducive for rest and slow living by making it as cozy as possible with soft textures throughout. Add plenty of cozy throw blankets, pillows, rugs and other plush textures to your living spaces and bedrooms — to keep you warm on a cold, rainy day, but also promote relaxation, rest and comfort.
Emphasize Your Outdoor Spaces
One of the terms we defined in our list of spring 2021 interior design ideas is “friluftsliv,” a Danish concept that translates to “free air life.” It places an emphasis on getting outdoors and spending as much time as possible in our home’s outdoor spaces. Cottagecore and friluftsliv go hand in hand, so it’s time to give a little extra attention to our outdoor living areas. Consider picking up some new outdoor furniture, installing string lights, building a fire pit, or conquering a major landscaping project to beautify your surroundings. Once you create the ideal environment, you’ll want to spend more time relaxing and entertaining in your backyard!
How Do You Cottagecore?
If you consider yourself an avid cottagecore enthusiast, we’d love to hear your tips for creating a peaceful, nature-inspired environment at home!