Find Your Cottage Style: 24 Rustic Canadiana Decorating Ideas
Time spent at the cottage is all about embracing the surrounding natural beauty, so why shouldn’t that sentiment extend to how we decorate? These rustic cottages take a cue from the Canadian landscape and put a spotlight on organic textures, earthy colors and weathered-yet-warm rooms. Explore a few of our favorite getaways that make a rock-solid case for a more rugged style.
Nestled on the rocky shores of the Georgian Bay, Tracy Thomson and Jody Colero’s wood-clad cottage blends seamlessly with its surroundings. “The design is as unobtrusive as possible, with clean lines,” Tracy says. “We wanted it to melt into the landscape and become one with it. With the cedar exterior, we feel we achieved that.”
Natural wood panelling throughout the cottage creates a seamless transition between indoors and out. Colors for the upholstery and rug were pulled from the views outside.
Cabinets and appliances covered in weathered-beaten barnboard give the kitchen a relaxed presence. Quartz countertops add an element of polish.
In the dining area, a contemporary branch chandelier pops against Douglas fir walls and an antique pine table.
For cottage owner Jane, the charm of this rustic cottage in the Laurentians was its small size and simplicity. “It’s very bare bones,” she says. “And there’s a beauty in that!” A vintage canoe is the star display piece in the living room, while open beams and whitewashed wood framing keep the mood light and summery.
Open upper shelves, a Persian rug and vintage pine table give the kitchen character. For Jane, group meal prep is a cherished part of spending time at the cottage: “With the way the kitchen is laid out, you can get a lot of people cooking in here.”
Exposed beams and a towering stone fireplace lend drama to the cottage’s 400-square-foot screened-in porch.
Jane opted for an all-white palette in each of the cottage’s bedrooms for a fresh summer feel. A lamp with an anchor-shaped base is a subtle nod to the nearby lake.
Perched on a hill overlooking Lake Muskoka, this cottage takes its decorative cues from northern-Ontario nostalgia. “City people definitely have a romanticized image of Muskoka,” says designer Michael Angus. A collection of antique gauges surround the doors in the boathouse living room.
The cottage’s main living room was designed to resemble a rustic log cabin. White slipcovers offer a bright counterpoint to wood panelling, while pairs — of windows, coffee tables and stools — bring symmetry to the space.
While the homeowners’ no color request might be daunting for some designers, Michael saw it as a chance to let the vistas stand out. “The property has large windows and is surrounded by beautiful scenery. So really, the decorating is just a backdrop.”
A dramatic antler chandelier anchors the dining room. A mix of individual and benched seating makes entertaining large groups easy.
A log-inspired mirror and Canadian pine dry sink carry the cottage’s rustic theme into the powder room. Rich brown grasscloth provides a moody envelope.
The home’s covered front porch provides ample shade.
When homeowners Jan and Bernard Lette bought their cottage in 2002, they knew it needed a refresh to better suit their taste. The couple called on designer Alex Arnott, who reimagined it a bright yet rustic space perfect for year-round gatherings. In the living room, crisp white walls balance a dark pine ceiling and stone fireplace.
To make hosting large parties easier, the Lettes decided to move their dining table into the former family room. Now, the space can easily seat up to 20 people.
The kitchen is a departure from the rest of the home, with bright white walls, slate blue cabinets and gold-toned accents.
A pair of striped blankets — one from Hudson’s Bay, one found at a vintage shop — bring color and pattern to the guest bedroom in this Georgian Bay cottage.
Weathered flooring and antique doors give Nicholas and Lisa Lewin’s cottage a storied feel.
With lots of pine, a river-rock fireplace and plenty of history, homeowners Ana Lopes and Don Tapscott knew they had found the getaway home they’d been dreaming of when they first stepped into this romantic lodge, built in 1952. To update the exterior and integrate it into its surroundings, the couple painted it a muted brown.
A generously-sized island is well-equipped to handle a crowd. “This is where everybody converges in the summer,” Don explains. “On a weekend, it’s rare that we have fewer than 20 people here — our children, their partners, city friends, lake friends, family.”
In the living room, natural textures including driftwood, river rocks and linens bring the outdoors in. A neutral palette doesn’t compete with the wood panelling.
Striped Hudson’s Bay swimming towels add a pop of color and iconic Canadiana to the boathouse.
Wraparound windows in the principal bedroom maximize views of the lake and trees. A Moroccan lantern and patterned linens and pillows keep the vibe cool and contemporary, not kitschy.