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The Lure of the Summer Cottage Style

Design Trends

Summer beckons us to enjoy and focus on the casual, yet highly personal, cottage design style known for its layered patterns and lots of color inside and out. Whether beachside or lakeside, cottage homes embody a relaxed atmosphere full of unique touches to create a charming, comfortable, low-key summer vibe.


In general, cottage style has an easy-going look highlighted by weathered and painted furnishings, myriad textured elements such as baskets, rugs and trim work details, as well as an infusion of relaxed patterns. To
design in cottage style, consider the following:

  • A color palette inspired by botanicals and seaside views. Pale pinks, blues, lavenders, peaches and lemons create a soft pastel base to complement pops of bright hues such as fuchsia, sunflower and other summer-loved hues.
  • Furnishings are well-loved and welcoming, mixing painted, decorated and weathered wood pieces; slipcovered seating in floral patterned or linen fabrics; and wicker and iron accent pieces.
  • Fabrics are filled with summer vibes in a display of floral abundance, which are combined with stripes, checks, solid and trim details, while layers of color complete the cottage look.


And there’s so much variety to cottage interior and exterior design. Here are several color palettes and design ideas for your next cottage design project:


  • Shabby chic style: Lace, florals and distressed-looking furnishings are just a few of the highpoints to this style. Thrift and vintage finds are also key to achieving this beloved, cheerful design.


  • Patterned floors: Paint floors in checkerboard or floral patterns for a vibrant visual display beneath your feet.
  • Classic blue and white color combination: As a timeless beach color palette, crisp white paired with nautical blues signify beach-time delights. With this simplified style, you can add a diverse set of patterns and textiles to the design aesthetic.


  • All white backdrop: An all-white base allows for seasonal décor changes and easy color play. There’s a quiet elegance to this minimal palette. Organic elements such as driftwood and decorative beach stones add a natural coastal charm.


  • Tropical: The infusion of a more colorful interior palette features hints of palms and flamingos to create a vibrant, playful display.
  • Lakeside style: Casual yet colorful, this palette of lemon, grass and blue brightens up the interior, which can be layered with vintage retro décor.


  • Crafted cabin: A white and wood palette creates a perfect backdrop for flea market goodies, family art, and vintage photography, including cultural and nature-inspired pieces from across the globe. Add wood and building fragments, found objects and natural elements with lots of texture.


  • Colorful trim details: instead of painting trim and moldings the standard white, try blue, lavender, green or another favorite hue to outline the interior of your home for a surprising twist to the traditional color scheme layout.


  • Rustic: Stone, metal and wood showcase what’s best about low-key cottage design. Wood tables and European countryside décor accents help create a cozy ambiance.


  • Under the sea: Go all out with soft blues and greens as the base palette. Add shells, starfish and other playful beach décor touches.



  • Colorful trim details: Make an entrance with bright, bold trim, door and shutter accents
  • Cape Cod style: Shingle siding and traditional white trim create an homage to traditional East Coast cottages.


  • Embracing au natural: Wood siding and trim as a foundation allows nature’s beauty to encompass this simplistic, bare-bones style.
  • Seaside fun: Colorful hues in watery blues, greens and sandy tones create a base for seaside accents.


  • Sweet retreat: Try pastel infusions with an abundance of florals for a sweeter take on cottage life.


  • European lakeside: Stone walls with neutral or colorful wood-painted accents create a charming homage to relaxed living.

With vacation home purchases and remodeling trending, summer is the perfect time to create a refreshing and perfect cottage of your own.