Picture a wood burning range, the focal point of a cosy country kitchen. The rich cooking smells from a simmering pot permeate the room, the promise of a hearty meal tempting the taste buds. A basket filled with wood logs sits adjacent to the range and an Irish linen cloth drapes over the oven door handle. A simple wood table is encircled by plain farm style chairs and an old church pew. In the hallway hangs a Barbour jacket and Harris tweed cap; boots have been removed and set against the wall, with umbrellas placed in a beautiful pewter umbrella stand. Dust particles float in a ray of sunshine that streams through a deep-set window. Here a small desk, set in a modest nook, allows for contemplation and reflection, a scene reminiscent of days when penmanship and letter writing were the favoured forms of communication. All through the cottage are books, cushions and throws, the emphasis placed firmly on escape, rest and repose.
Cottages are arguably at their best when styled in a manner that is quaint, rustic and homely. The dwelling will ideally be steadfast in its rustic resolve, boasting exposed wood beams and low ceilings, roughly plastered walls and deep-set windows, creaking stairs and uneven floors.
One would expect to find an open fireplace to warm the home and on the slate hearth, a wood trug basket filled with peat. Rustic detailing is a must, with many pieces of charming crockery, handmade bedspreads, watercolours and cosy furnishings throughout. It is the combination of each of these elements that work to capture the feeling of a rustic country cottage, a place that is at once modest and welcoming.
In achieving a rustic cottage style it is important the dweller ensures the space is fit for its chosen purpose, making choices that are as much about comfort as they are about polish and grace. Furnishings will inevitably have a huge role to play in every room, along with treasured possessions, objects and decor. Metals, glass, stone, wood, ceramics and fabrics are all examples of materials that will help to achieve a genuine rusticity, an allure that is simple, unassuming and replete with homespun charm.
Indeed simplicity is key. The rustic cottage does not call for overembellishment or unnecessary add-ons. Simple furnishings and objects, preferably handmade and well-crafted, are the order of the day. There is less of an emphasis on decoration and ornamentation; rather items are chosen as much for their functionality as their aesthetic appeal. Farm sales, car boot sales, flea markets and vintage markets are all places in which to seek and find furnishings and pieces suitable for a country cottage style. Moreover, smaller independent retailers are increasingly stocking items that will add a beautiful rustic charm to the home.
Generally speaking, when striving to attain a rustic cottage style it is helpful to bear the following elements in mind: handmade features and objects; open shelving; materials that will acquire a warm patina with time; distressed furnishings; understated wall, ceiling and floor colours; unfussy displays. It is with fun, trial and error, that one can find a successful and beautiful rustic country style aesthetic.