Home & Garden

How to choose the best decor for your cottage or camp

How to choose the best decor for your cottage or camp

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

How to choose the best decor for your cottage or camp

Owning a cottage, cabin or country home is a dream for many people. And if you're lucky enough to own a cottage, there are many ways to turn it into a home that's just as cosy as your primary abode. In fact, it's a great opportunity to try out a different approach to decorating. We checked in with interior designer Lisa Canning for her best tips for making your cottage (or cabin) comfy and welcoming every time you visit.

CanadianLiving.com: How does decorating a cabin, cottage or country home differ from decorating your primary residence?
Lisa Canning: A cabin, cottage or country home allows you to try out a different decorating personality if you feel so inclined. While good design principles remain the same regardless of location, a country home can present an opportunity to use a very different, more relaxed approach to your decor scheme.

CL.com: What colours do you recommend for a cottage or cabin?
LC: You should still use colours you love -- but do keep in mind how light will impact the overall intensity. Many country homes have greater natural light exposure and this will change the colours in a scheme at various points throughout the day. A colour that seems fairly neutral in the city may read as very warm or overexposed when it is washed with natural light.

CL.com: What about fabrics?
LC: Use fabrics that suit the environment. A winter cabin in the woods craves chunky knits, warm wools and natural pile. In a summer cottage, jute, linen and breezy cottons may feel more appropriate. Overall, select fabrics that will make you feel relaxed, comfortable and at home.

What kinds of accessories are best suited to cabin/cottage decor?
LC: I like it when cabins and cottages feel relaxed, so I would avoid high-maintenance accessories or items that feel too precious. Natural clays, hand-blown glass and wooden pieces in gorgeous silhouettes are great options for a more relaxed look. 

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover the dos and don't of cottage decorating on page 2
CL.com: What might you need to consider when decorating your cottage that you don't necessarily need to consider for decorating your house?
LC: When selecting items for a cottage, keep in mind the length of time you will be spending in the space. If it's a space you might only occupy a few weeks during the year, it may allow you to try out pieces that you might be afraid to commit to in your primary residence. A country home also provides opportunities to support the local art community and to discover new artists. 

CL.com: How can you really make a cottage (or secondary residence) feel like home?
LC: Don't forget about art. Framed photos of your family, or a collection of stones, shells or other mementos from past visits to the cottage can tell the story of your family and will definitely make the place feel like home. While it might be economic to fill your cottage with college hand-me-downs and garage sale finds, don't sacrifice style. To make your cottage feel like home, your personality should inform decorating decisions. A successfully designed space to me is one where I feel instantly greeted by the homeowner when I walk into the space -- regardless of whether it's urban or rural. 

The dos and don'ts of cottage decorating

Canning offers the following dos and don'ts to help you achieve a beautiful but relaxed cottage style:

keep it simple
make your style personal
• remember to use smart storage
fill the space with great textiles
try something new

be too fussy
make your space a junkyard for hand-me-downs
forget about style

Natalie Bahadur is the senior editor of styleathome.com and a contributor to canadianliving.com.

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How to choose the best decor for your cottage or camp