What Is a Cottage Style House?

Evelyn Long

Mar 12, 2020

what is a cottage style house

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When you picture a cottage, you may envision a quaint little building in the countryside. Maybe it’s a vacation house near the beach or even a permanent home with a flowery brick walkway leading to the front door. It could have a porch, a thatched roof or an arched entryway.

So, what is a cottage style house, exactly? Surprisingly, all of the ones mentioned could be considered cottages, even though they’re quite different from each other. So again, what is a cottage style house? Well, you can find these homes in a variety of sizes and locations, but they all fit the criteria.

The History of the Cottage Home

Cottage style homes originated in England during the Middle Ages. Peasant farmers called cotters lived in these tiny rural homes and cultivated small plots of land. The inside of the cottage included a ground floor for dining, sitting and cooking, while the second level mostly contained bedrooms under the eaves.

Now, the term cottage indicates a small, traditional home, many of which are still being built all over the world. Currently, many different forms of cottages exist. In America, people use the term to refer to a holiday home, which they may also call a cabin, camp or chalet. In Russia, people use the word dacha to refer to a cottage or summer home that’s near a lake or ocean.

While most countries consider cottages to be modest in size, in Canada, the word has no limits. It could be as large as a clergy house or as small as a secluded hermitage. 

Why Is the Cottage Popular?

Cottages style houses have persisted over many centuries, even as architectural designs become more complex. You can find them around the globe. So, what makes cottages so appealing and popular?

First off, these dwellings generally have major curb appeal with their thatched roofs, brick pathways, gardens, or charming windows and shutters. Also, the inside of the home is just as inviting. Known for lively, low-key designs and casual, yet efficient layouts, cottages have a rustic, warm feel. White is often the base color of choice, and exposed beams aren’t uncommon. Many also incorporate wooden elements, earthy tones and bright, light colors. 

However, the interior style may vary depending on location and climate. This versatility of cottage design and interior decor may be why this style of home remains so popular, even today. 

Cottage Perks 

Now that the question, “what is a cottage style house,” has been answered, let’s look at some of the perks.

As previously mentioned, cottage design varies greatly, and this can be beneficial to the homeowner. Since the interior is generally plain and simple, owners can add their own touches of personality. While the walls may be soft white or pale blue, you may add patterned cushions, brighter-colored blankets or antique centerpieces to create your vibe. This allows you to design a space that is truly and uniquely yours and showcases your personality.  

Whereas a typical home may feel busy with too much decor or accessories, cottages practically beg you to accessorize. Display your favorite books, colorful plants, and most unique baskets or centerpieces by placing them in plain sight. Hiding these things away will only make your home feel empty and blank. Instead, fill the space with meaningful items, conversation pieces and fun accessories that make your home feel lived in. 

Cottage Downsides

While cottages may be perfect for couples, small families or artsy nature-lovers, this style of home may not be ideal for larger families or those who prefer city life. Because cottages tend to be located in more rural areas, people with a nine-to-five office job may not appreciate the long drive to and from work. Big families may find a cottage a bit too small for comfort.

Moreover, those who prefer more modern architecture and updated, high-end interiors may lean more toward city living. Cottages also aren’t as cheap as they once were. While historically the poorer class would live in them, now homeowners with a little extra cash to spend are looking to move into million-dollar homes.

As more people seek to buy cottages, prices will only increase. So, if you’re considering purchasing one, it may be smarter to do it sooner rather than later.

Cottage Style Houses Are Always in Style

Cottages will likely never go out of style, considering their long and storied history. They are a great place to call home for any small household or single resident looking for a rustic, charming architectural style.

Read our Complete Guide to Different House Styles in the U.S.

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