A classic nautical blue and white scheme for the cottage? We get it! But add a dollop of pink or hit of chartreuse, and everything gets shaken up like a summer tiki cocktail — and the results are about as hard to resist. Let’s tour some cottages that aren’t shy about mixing in unexpected shades that will rival the sunset.
Pistachio green and turquoise hail from the cool side of the color wheel, but have a juicy, tropical energy associated with the islands, making them perfect for a cottage. Pretty floral pillows in shades of rose temper the blues.
Looking for inspiration for your cottage color palette? There’s nothing better than Mother Nature. This wallpaper features a flock of colorful birds, which is echoed in the playful dotted carpet.
We love how these cherry red turned beds energize crisp white and grey. Red also really unifies the patterns, which range from florals to bold stripes and stars.
Homeowners in the city have been easing into more
colorful kitchens, and at the cottage inspiration is just down the dock. Custom brass hardware (and a chic graphic paddle) drives home the kitchen’s nautical nature.
We’re used to seeing plenty of wood on cabin walls, but box panelling in a robin’s egg blue is next-level dreamy. Think of it as sleeping in a cloud.
Color doesn’t need to be limited to the indoors to make a cottage feel more exuberant. Cherry red doors set the scene for a warm welcome that’s echoed by a gingham bench.
Designer Karen Cole is known for her love of reds and boho pattern play. In her own cottage she wields bold hues masterfully, as seen in the main room where she mixes pistachio shelves with a battered sliding door in light blue and a coral light fixture. She calls this room her “test studio” for imitating the colors of nature.
Tour this cottage on H&H TV.
Global finds are just the thing to introduce saturated tones to a space. An African basket and blue Chinese lanterns are natural partners for some homegrown blooms.
Duck-egg blue paint on beadboard is a fresh option in a cottage bathroom, and makes a dramatic piece like this iron mirror really pop.
You may be in cottage country, but a rich medley of color and pattern can transport you easily to Marrakech. In Karen Cole’s principle bedroom, a hand-carved Indonesian panel was transformed into a headboard, and the layering of saffron and mustard linens also evokes similarly faraway lands. Striped drapes and a runner are a subtle way to layer in more colorful pattern.
A white room can become a chameleon that shifts according to accent colors. When you opt for candy colors, like these ones in Laurence Martocq’s cottage, the effect is luscious, lighthearted and mood boosting.
How do you lighten up classic cottage touchstones like a drystack stone fireplace and moose antlers? A playful shot of pink and orange does the job nicely. This Ikea Algort print (sadly no longer available) on the chairs and poufs could pass for coral waving under the sea and is an unexpected combo in a cottage.
Mixing lavender and sage doesn’t only work in herb gardens. These complementary shades are equally simpatico on a Norwegian daybed and accent pillows.
Aren’t sure if you are ready to go all in and paint your walls? Try a favorite color on a piece of furniture first, like the sky-blue buffet seen right.
Lamps, artwork, flowers and accessories are all easy ways to amp up a palette and are easy to swap if you fall for a different shade.
Sepia mellows the yellow, pinks and greens in these vintage school house maps, but a juicy orange ombré throw brings things firmly into the present.
Grass green graphic wallpaper? Yes, please! In a cottage it elevates plain white walls but still feels fresh and energizing. Bonus points for the artwork hanging in the hallway to create a pretty sight line.
Picture white bedding in this scheme and things just fall flat. The addition of richly patterned pinks and blue balances the bold stripes and makes this bed an even more enticing spot to crawl into.
If you can’t bear the thought of painting wood paneling, you can always opt for colorful bedding. The iconic Hudson’s Bay Point blanket in this cottage manages to cherry-pick some of the punchiest colors in the spectrum, and it’s warm as toast on those chilly fall nights.
Another great way to dip your toe into colorful waters is by piping solids with a punchy fabric, as seen on this Solair chair with a coordinating pillow.
Emerald green lends itself to any season: it looks fresh in spring and summer, autumnal or festive in winter. Topping this multicolored floor lamp, a green shade balances out not only the striped base but a plush, vibrant area rug nearby.
A collection of flea market artwork gives a white cottage a vibrant shot in the arm (as does the sign and big blue folk art fish).
Not every cottage color has to be bright. This unexpected charcoal paint turns down the visual thermostat in this bedroom and looks cozy and enveloping. The dark walls also create a dramatic backdrop for a collection of kitschy landscapes in white frames.
It doesn’t take a lot to add zest when the color is intense and sunny. Judicious hits of citrus yellow breathes life into a black and white scheme in this cottage’s principle bedroom.