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Cottage Style Home Decorating: Cottage Cozy in the City
by Kathryn Bechen

Description: Home decorating tips for giving your home or apartment in the city a warm cottage look and feel.

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Do you live in an urban apartment or condo but long for a cozy cottage in the country? You can easily create a nurturing and chic “urban cottage” feel for yourself even in the heart of the city with a few simple cottage style decorating strategies. Here’s how:

1. Clutter Cutter. Since urban spaces are often small, the first step in transforming your space into a comfortable and orderly one is to declutter. Take a tour of your apartment through a “buyer’s eyes” and get rid of anything you don’t absolutely love or use.

2. Clever Containers. Once you’ve decluttered, look around your home for clever and pretty cottage style containers to hold your remaining possessions. For example, I have a lovely pedestal planter in my kitchen that holds wooden spoons, a larger one that holds magazines in my living room, and a picnic basket in my bathroom that also holds magazines. Antique suitcases stacked on top each other work great for storage and can be used as a clever sofa table.

3. Color Cozy. A fresh coat of white or off-white paint on your walls, and even floors, makes a nice “envelope” to showcase your art and other collectibles and makes the space appear larger. If you want to make your home feel more like a warm cocoon, paint your walls a deep vibrant color which also will help show off your art.

4. Urban Upholstery. The next step is to evaluate your upholstery needs. If it’s time to buy new or reupholster your furniture, consider using all white or off-white fabric or another favorite solid color on every single upholstered piece. This creates a cohesive look, allows you to easily move furniture from room to room when you tire of an arrangement, and makes furniture arranging easier if you ever decide to move.

5. Lovely Linens. Nothing says “cottage” like beautiful linens and lovely floral and embroidered pillows and throws draped over your solid colored upholstery. It’s now also time for a new duvet cover or quilt for your bed and some pretty new pillow shams. Add a chenille or lace shower curtain to your bathroom, some fluffy new towels, and a floral Kleenex box for some punch.

6. Window Wonder. Sheer white fabric panels hung at your windows add an airy cottage “summer look,” or use floral drapes that match your pillows for another way to add more color and cottage style.

7. Picture Pleasure. Hit the summer art festivals and shows for some wonderful art that speaks to your particular cottage taste. Also check out consignment stores and museums, and even urban curbs where people leave items for garbage pickup. You can often find a free diamond in the rough there.

8. Gracious Greetings. Buy several gorgeous greeting cards with cottage country scenes of gardens, flowers, porches etc. and frame them in identical frames. Create a large wall grouping with the framed cards for a stunning effect.

9. Architectural Accessories. Hang an old window painted with pretty cottage wildflowers in front of your apartment window and use an old architectural column topped with a bouquet of flowers for chic charm. An old weathered bench placed at the foot of your bed can hold books or be draped with a colorful throw.

10. Plentiful Planters. Who says you can’t have a garden in the city? You can! Plant colorful flowers and greenery in cottage style containers like wicker baskets and old watering cans and place them throughout your space. Or how about mounting flower-filled window boxes on the inside of your windows? You can even grow your own herb garden that way.

11. Terrific Tables. Find an old wooden farm table for your dining area or a round wrought-iron patio table and chairs. Top your table with colorful cottage style floral placemats, napkins, and china. Place a beautiful bouquet of flowers planted in an urn, picnic basket, or other creative container in the center of your table.

12. Welcome Home. For a final touch, paint the outside of your apartment door your favorite color. If the landlord won’t allow that, hang a beautiful floral wreath and/or create a “cottage vignette” in the hall next to your door using a small table topped with an urn of colorful flowers and greenery.

By implementing a few of the cottage style decorating tips above, you’ll create your own very chic yet cozy “urban cottage” for yourself that says, “Welcome Home!”

c2006 Kathryn Bechen. All rights reserved worldwide.

Visit to sign up for Kathryn's full color photo e-newsletter of decorating tips and resources, and to view her color photo blog. Kathryn is an interior decorating consultant, former professional organizer, and published author who has been interviewed by and featured in San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles magazine, the Omaha World Herald, and others. Her originally authored articles have been published in newspapers and across the internet and she has recently released the e-book, Moving With Ease: The 8 Week Plan for an Organized & Stress-Free Move Whether You Hire a Mover or Do It Yourself! based on coordinating her own 11 household moves during 25 years of marriage. In addition, she has taught seminars and spoken to groups as large as 400.

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Cottage Style Home Decorating: 10 Secrets to Charming Chairs
Country Home Accessories
Make a Pretty Chair Planter

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