We may not all have cottages to escape to come summer, but that doesn’t mean we don’t dream about drinks on the dock, casual family meals over rustic farm tables, or freshly picked wildflowers perched on our windowsill. With a few simple tweaks to your city home, you can enjoy your own summer oasis without ever having to leave your backyard. While cottagers are bracing the dreaded traffic up to the country, you’ll already be
sipping a summer cocktail while relaxing in a charming wicker chair.
Create a mini oasis. Just because you don’t have a dock to watch the sunset on, it doesn’t mean you can’t find summer refuge on your patio or balcony. Here, a lattice fence offers privacy in a city backyard, while a black and white color scheme is a sophisticated take on summer living.
Don’t shy away from well-worn pieces. Opt for furniture that looks like it’s been weathered over time, like this moveable island on casters with a painted base and wood top.
Add subtle wooden touches. If you’re not ready to go full-on country with your kitchen island, try bringing in a hit of wood on one side. Alternatively, look for antique wooden stools or pantry doors to make a memorable statement.
Think on the bright side. For a less permanent cottage fix in the kitchen, try wood stools painted in a bright hue. These sunny yellow stools look like something you’d find at a cottage, yet they aren’t too rustic for a city home.
Seek stripes. A red and white striped duvet like this one offers an instant hit of nautical style, even if you’re far from the waterfront.
editor-approved nautical accessories.
Incorporate a quilt. If you prefer a more traditional take on cottage style, a quilt may be the answer. Swap those heavy winter linens in favor of chenille and matelassé fabrics with a lighter weight.
Look for a farm table. Family-style meals served around a communal table feel quintessential cottage. If you’ve got the space, look for a farm table like this one from 1925 Workbench that will look great year-round.
Have fun with fabrics. If you don’t have room for a farm table, try creating banquette seating instead. And if that’s not in the cards, fabrics with cheery yellow, blue and white patterns look great in any seating area, big or small.
Update your table linens. Bring the yellow, white and blue theme to your dining table. Fun patterned fabrics in this color scheme have a carefree aura about them that’s reminiscent of relaxed cottage meals.
Look for live edges. You may already have a wooden cheese board, but look for one with a living edge for a true rustic feel. Boards like these are easy enough to find at most home decors stores in the city, yet they look like something you’d find in cottage country.
Install a sliding barn door. Forgo a traditional door in favor of a sliding barn door for instant cottage appeal. Even though this requires a bit more commitment than some of our other suggestions, the result is worth it.
Or go bold with a brightly colored barn door. Chartreuse offers a fresh and modern take on the traditional country door.
Go au naturel in the bathroom. Keep the modern country look going in the bathroom by bringing in a few accessories with subtle cottage style. Sally Armstrong chose to add a weathered wood stool and woven African platter (hung on the wall) in her principal bathroom.
Go for a garden-style sink. If you’re willing to make a more permanent commitment to cottage style, look for a sink like this one. Even though it has undeniable cottage appeal, we think it looks quite at home in this uptown Toronto bathroom.
Give traditional cottage touches a mod city spin. Sisal rugs look great indoors and out and have durable style. In this kitchen, a striped sisal rug and antler-inspired pendant bring the cottage look to the big city.
Say hello to the farmhouse sink. Another sink that achieves the quintessential cottage look is none other than the farmhouse sink. While we admit, this requires some more planning and commitment, farmhouse sinks will continue to give you a chic cottage feel for years to come.
Make way for wicker. If there’s one material that screams cottage charmer over the rest, it’s wicker. While wicker chairs are traditionally used for porches or sun rooms, this city living room proves they work indoors too.
Look for waterside mementos. Pair your wicker chairs with blue-hued artwork and things that remind you of being by the water. Here, a shell acts as a bookend and a trio of vintage lanterns add a nautical note.
Love linen. If wicker chairs aren’t your thing, another natural material that conjures up summer living is linen. Dress up a linen sofa with bright throw pillows, swap out heavy drapes for lighter alternatives and place trinkets like coral or stones on the coffee table.
Bring linen to the bedroom too. The carefree look of linen lends itself to the bedroom as well. Just like at the cottage, you don’t have to worry about ironing your linen bedding. In fact, wrinkles are what makes this easy-breezy summer look complete.
Embrace nature in your artwork. You probably wouldn’t spend a ton of money on artwork at the cottage, and you can also get away with cheap and cheerful prints at home. Here, a friendly bird print from a junk store looks elevated in a light wood frame.
Play with blue and white prints. Forgo plain linen in kids bedrooms to keep them youthful and fun. Instead, try blue and white polka dots in different sizes offset with classic white for a cottage and kid-friendly look.
Bring on the weathered wood. Another key component of the cottage-in-the-city look is wood, and not just any wood. Look for pieces with some history and character and if they’re a bit battered up, all the better!
Incorporate barn board. If weathered wood speaks to you, but you don’t have a farmhouse to call your own, bring in some barn board to achieve the look in your city home. This well-worn wood siding from a barn in Muskoka makes a statement next to a staircase in a Toronto home.
Add some antiques. Old treasured furniture always seems to find a happy home at the cottage, but pieces with history are suited to city homes too. The original patina of an antique painted dresser like this one offers up a charming focal point.
Sprinkle in summer mementos. Snapshots from summers past, perhaps spent at a cottage, can make you feel like you’re right back on the dock in an instant. Keep the memories alive even while you’re in the city by hanging seasonal photographs right where you can see them.
Go for gingham. If family photographs aren’t your forté, frame some ferns with a checkered mat and you’ll nail the country look in any room of the house.
Display fresh flowers. Show off some fresh wildflowers that look like they were growing next to a country road.
Stay true to blue. Another way to display fresh flowers with a waterside feel is in blue glass bottles. It doesn’t matter if they’re different shapes, sizes or shades of blue either!
Make your own stone-filled doorstop. Before you close the door on cottage-in-the-city style, we have one more thing we suggest you try: an easy DIY doorstop. This one involves a humble mason jar and white stones that could very easily be collected while up at a cottage — or even in an urban park.