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How to Decorate with a Cottagecore Aesthetic

Looking for home decorating ideas that foster a cozy, casual, and welcoming vibe? Learn how to get the cottagecore aesthetic with these simple tips.

Cottagecore design is an easy way to create warm and inviting living spaces both inside and out. It’s a style that combines rustic elements with modern aesthetics to create a unique garden style look that is personal to you.

Want to learn how to create your own cottage core aesthetic? Follow these tips.

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What Is Cottagecore?

Cottagecore is both a life and home design style that focuses on simple living, self-reliance, and comfort while connecting with nature.

The cottagecore aesthetic decorating trend inspires cozy living spaces decorated with simple rustic touches and organic textures.

Thus, it embraces a relatable and sustainable existence that is often found in more rural settings where you’ll find organic natural textures, plants, soft flower prints, thrift store, and handmade decor.

Cottagecore design evokes the five senses and lends a cozy, welcoming vibe.

Potting bench with potted plants, mums, and pumpkins with potting shed signWhy You Need a Potting Bench

What is Garden Style Decorating?

Similar to cottagecore aesthetic home decor, garden-style decorating is more focused on creating cozy and comfortable living spaces by bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out with plants, flowers, and textured and garden-inspired accessories.

So regardless of your taste in decor, garden style can be infused with any of them.

And the best part is you do not have to be the best gardener to achieve the look.

Vintage shutters styled for fall above a painted piano - rustic farmhouse fall home tour 2021

How to Get a Cottagecore Aesthetic with Garden Style Decorating Ideas

As a huge plant and flower addict, cottagecore design is a completely unique and personal style of decorating.

No two homes will look alike as each style is personal to the owner.

Whether you prefer to grow live plants, decorate with faux or a blend of both, it’s easy to pull together a cottagecore aesthetic in the home with garden-style decorating ideas.

Black china cabinet and hutch decorated for spring with faux greenery and flowers -Spring China Cabinet and Hutch Decor

Achieving a Cottagecore Aesthetic with Cozy and Comfortable Living Spaces

To start, garden-style is an approachable, easy-going style that fosters the feeling of kicking back and relaxing.

If living spaces look good but are not comfortable, who wants to hang out there?

Not me!

And this applies to both indoor and outdoor living spaces.

To give an example, when we refreshed our former deck a few years ago, we created an outdoor dining space that felt like we were dining in country club.

Fresh flower arrangement for fall harvest table in outoor dining space with hydrangeas, zinnias and dahlias -This flower arrangement was made from my cut flower garden with hydrangeas, zinnias and dahlias. .how to set a cozy fall harvest table
Fall Harvest Centerpiece

We found a huge gazebo that covers a large part of our deck from Lowe’s to shade the space.

Before purchasing that gazebo, we could barely sit out there in July and August because it was too hot with the New Jersey sun pelting down on it all day long.

We wasted so many years not sitting out there because of that. So find ways to create cozy spaces for yourself.

I found a large wood table from the Facebook Marketplace for $50 that I refinished with deck stain so it could weather the elements. For the seating, we chose outdoor wicker and cozy neutral cushions.

To finish off this outdoor living space, I added lots of container gardens, houseplants and mood lighting.

The space was so relaxing, we spent so much time out there and call it the summer vortex!!!

picnic date with friends in the outdoor dining space with wicker chairs, farmhouse table, container gardens and gazebo

Create a Rustic Feel by Using Natural Materials

If you’re looking to create a cottagecore look in your own home, start by choosing a few key pieces of furniture. These items should reflect your personality and lifestyle.

You might choose a sofa, coffee table, sideboard, or end tables. Then, add some decorative accents to complete the look.

Whether you thrift the big ticket items or buy them from a retailer, look for natural materials like wood, marble, and stone.

Add a Modern Touch with White Walls

A white walled room will give off a clean and fresh feeling. It also makes a room feel larger than it actually is.

In addition, white walls make rooms appear brighter and more cheerful.

Adding Houseplants and Fresh Flowers for a Cottagecore Aesthetic

I love adding live houseplants to my decor because they warm up empty spaces and can do double duty both inside and outside when the temps are warm.

Set them on a table, add them to a shelf or dark lifeless corner of the room and you’ll breathe life into dull spaces.

Not to mention, there are many benefits to having real houseplants that include:

  • providing cleaner air
  • lowering the risk for illnesses
  • boosting our mood
  • enhancing concentration and memory
  • warming up living spaces
Monstera plant in family room with round coffee table, area rug and sofa with neutral throw pillows

But the great thing about growing live houseplants is that they love to summer outdoors as we do. Bringing them outside during the more seasonal months warms things up and lends a tropical feel to outdoor living spaces.

And, summering plants outdoors also saves money on outdoor seasonal planters.

Speaking of bringing houseplants outdoors, I have a philodendrum that has grown like crazy outside!

When I first purchased it a few years ago, it was small with five leaves. I could carry it in the palm of my hand.

But now, it is huge!

I’ve even divided it a few times since acquiring it.

The moment I bring it outside, we feel like we are in the tropics. It is fantastic!

In addition to houseplants, I also enjoy cutting flowers from my garden or picking them up from the market to enjoy indoors.

Fresh flowers liven up any style of decor and boost the mood. Cut the stems to fit a vase or make your own arrangements for less than you’d buy from a florist.

And since they boost the mood, it’s important to add a few blooms during the doldrums of winter. I rarely make it through the market without picking up at least one bunch of fresh-cut flowers.

To keep the blooms looking their best, you’ll want to follow these tips to make fresh flowers last longer.

centerpiece idea for mother's day brunch with afternoon tea party

Add Faux Plants and Flowers

While I am an avid gardener who loves plants and flowers, I also understand my limits, my time, and how I live my life.

As I’ve stated before, I gravitate to plants and flowers that are easy to grow, easy to care for and low maintenance.

But sometimes faux is the way to go because I do not want to be bothered with the care and maintenance of any plant at all.

When I tell my horticultural friends that I incorporated faux plants or flowers into an area, they tend to gasp with questions as to why I would do that when I can easily use the real deal.

And to some extent, they are right. Cause I can.

Birdhouse Centerpiece Idea for the Dining Table

But, as much as I love real plants, sometimes live plants and flowers do not work in certain spaces for me.

If you want the look of greens and flowers but lack the experience, time, or energy to care for the real stuff…by all means, incorporate faux.

But the key to incorporating faux flowers and plants is to choose ones that look very real.

The colors, textures, and feel should resemble and mimic real plants and flowers that you’d find in nature. If the colors are off and don’t look authentic, it won’t work.

painted piano with vintage mirror, houseplants, vintage area rug and gallery wall with vintage seed prints - front entry hall makeover project
My Thrift Shop Finds and How I Styled Them

Believe me – there are a lot of good faux’s out there – you just have to find them.

I have found great ones at some local nurseries, but also found great ones in store and online here:

  • Pottery Barn
  • Afloral
  • TJMaxx, Marshalls and Homegoods
  • Target
  • Wayfair

Before purchasing anything, seek inspiration on Google, Pinterest, TikTok or Instagram and try to mimic what you like.

I mix both real and faux with my decor and most people cannot tell the difference.

Another benefit of mixing in some faux plants among my real houseplants is when I do bring those houseplants outside, my inside still has the cottagecore aesthetic.

before and after room makeover
Family Room Makeover

And Yes You Can Add Faux Flowers and Plants to Outside Spaces

While I recommend going with live plants outside, there are some occasions that warrant going with faux flowers and greens outside.

Most people think faux can only be used indoors, but I use them equally outside where needed.

For example, we have a cabin in Vermont that we visit on weekends. We aren’t there enough to care for container plants outdoors. But I love the character and warmth that flowers and greens add to our home.

So I use faux flowers and greens in the window box and no one has ever noticed the difference. In fact, people have stopped by to ask me what’s planted in them! LOL.

It is important to note that you’ll probably need to freshen and update these outdoor faux flowers more often than what you use indoors because the sun and elements fade them much quicker.

Outdoor Living Space at the Cabin Vermont
Deck at the cabin

When my kids were younger and we had our old ranch, I had a hard time keeping window boxes going because they needed to be watered like 3x a day midsummer with the NJ heat and humidity.

They looked awesome in the spring, and awesome in the fall but would fry out during summer.

Since I did not have time to water them 3x a day and I did not want to spend a ton of money on self-watering planters, I planted them with faux.

Outdoor Living Space Home Tour

Another reason you might use a faux arrangement outdoors is convenience. We created an outdoor oasis under a huge canopy with a farmhouse wood table, comfortable wicker chairs, and lots of real plants.

The table needed a centerpiece.

And while I water all of my container gardens daily, I did not want the hassle of watering a centerpiece on a wood table that I am protecting under a large canopy. So instead, I opted for very realistic-looking succulents.

The arrangement always looked good, NEVER needed to be watered and I got compliments on them all the time. And I think most, if not all were very surprised my centerpiece was faux.

So if you want the garden-style look outdoors but do not want to tend to tons of live plants and flowers, it is OK to mix some realistic looking faux plants to help you achieve the look.

close up of the conversation set on the back porch in my outdoor living spaces home tour with houseplants, flowers, sun hat, cozy blankets and mustard colored house

Adding Organic Textures, Natural Elements, and Garden-Inspired Accessories

Decorating with a neutral color palette where you can add textured layers with home decor create more texture and dimension.

Add beautiful plant urns, metal buckets and terra cotta pots together with other natural, textured accessories like baskets, totes, throw pillows, and knit blankets.

I also like to find plant stands that can double as end tables.

In addition to garden accessories, add garden art such as floral and green pictures, canvases, and prints.

farmhouse kitchen with chalk paint kitchen cabinets in old white by annie sloan -Spring Forward with My Rustic Farmhouse Spring Home Tour

Set the Mood with Cozy Scented Candles and String Lights

To make your home feel more welcoming and cozy, tuck in some seasonal scented candles or make a stovetop potpourri with the smells of the season.

Whether you are inside or out, consider adding string lights to create a cozy atmosphere in living spaces.

And if you are outdoors and don’t have access to electricity, there are great solar options out there. This is how we strung our solar string lights a few summers ago.

summer night by the fire pit in the backyard garden

Include Elements That Are Uniquely You

A cottagecore design incorporates a variety of different textures and materials. These elements can range from wood to stone to metal and wicker.

However, one thing these elements share is that they are uniquely yours and personal to your own sense of style.

Mix and Match Pieces From Different Styles

And finally, you don’t need to stick to one particular style when decorating your home with a cottagecore aesthetic.

Mix and match pieces from different styles to create a unique look. For example, you might use a rustic table in a contemporary kitchen. Or, you could combine a traditional fireplace with a sleek modern sofa.

rustic farmhouse living room decorated for fall with faux pumpkins and greenery with fireplace and tv over the mantel with dark leather sofas and cozy throw blankets with neutral fall decorating ideas

Final Thoughts on Decorating With a Cottagecore Aesthetic

We don’t have to be the best gardeners or interior decorators to warm up our spaces with a cottagecore aesthetic.

Whether you incorporate real, faux, or both, garden style is easily achievable and complements any style of decor.

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Enjoy a beautiful day. xo

Stacy Ling

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One of the things I love about my living room decor, is the plant stand between the two chairs that doubles as an end table. The large plant in the back corner is my philodendrum that I absolutely love.

faux planter of succulents in outdoor dining space

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8 Comments

    1. Thank you. They are really beautiful Taffy! That wall has been blank since we did the addition 12 years ago…when I saw them online, I knew I had to have them! xo

  1. My trick for getting faux plants to look real… before I leave to shop for them… I go out in the garden with a baggie and take 4 to 6 different leaves off my current plants to reference colors and textures. Getting the green right is everything. As for floral color.. I am picky as some are to white… to pink… not natural. When I do find a good one, I take it home,cut off all the green , and add just the flowers to my existing real plants in urns,pots and window boxes. Everyone always comments how do I keep my plants looking so good! Shuuussshhh.. only we know

  2. I used to be one of those plant snobs who wouldn’t think of using faux plants,but now they are so beautiful and real looking I love to mix them in with my real houseplants and flower arrangements. Even my husband can’t tell which are real and which faux.
    The good quality ones can,be very expensive so I always keep an eye out in thrift stores and yard sales and have found some great buys.

    1. Yes that’s a great plan! I love having them too because when my houseplants go outside the inside still has some life too!