Home Improvement

How to Cozy Up Your Curb Appeal: Cottage Style

  • Sean Papich Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz

     (Sean Papich Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz)

  • Wettling Architects, original photo on Houzz

     (Wettling Architects, original photo on Houzz)

  • Peterssen/Keller Architecture, original photo

     (Peterssen/Keller Architecture, original photo)

From their lush flower gardens to their picture-perfect proportions, cottages have charm in spades. Whether your cottage is a Cape Cod, a newly built home with cottage style or even a tiny home, learn tips to help it look its best.

How to Create a Cottage-Style Garden

Architectural interest. What makes a cottage charming can be broken down into a few main factors: architectural interest, a lush garden and just-so details. If your cottage has lost some of its natural architectural appeal over the years due to unfortunate remodeling efforts by past owners, you might want to consider building in a little in the form of dormered windows or a covered porch. If you’re not ready to take on a major project, even something as simple as adding a few window boxes can create lots of charm for a very small investment.

Cottage color. For the color palette, nearly anything goes when it comes to cottages. But generally speaking, the smaller the cottage, the more color it can handle. Think of cheerful, happy hues that reference nature: sunny yellow, soft blue, sage green. And of course you can’t go wrong with crisp white, natural shingles or a pleasing warm, sandy neutral.

Doors and details. Cottages look especially sweet with a front door that is made from a nice solid wood and has some decorative detail. Craftsman-style doors can work well, as can doors with glass panes. And if you choose a neutral hue for the siding, consider painting the front door a bright color to draw the eye in.

The cottage garden. The cottage garden is lush, wild and (ideally) full of flowers as much of the year as possible. Wildflowers work well. Gaining traction are edible gardens in front yards, so consider adding some beautiful edible plants as well — herbs, glossy eggplants and dark, leafy greens would all work well mixed into the flower beds.

A neighborly porch. An essential cottage feature if ever there was one, a porch is not to be overlooked. When it sports handsome columns or a railing, and is deep enough to fit a few white rocking chairs, a porch beckons from the street and can go a long way toward making your cottage look warm and welcoming. Light up the porch with gooseneck barn lights, vintage-style jar sconces or nautically inspired lanterns (if your cottage is by the sea).

The white picket fence. Cottages were made for white picket fences. Of course, your cottage may not need a fence at all, but if you do choose to have one, you can’t go wrong with a white picket. It’s classic and will frame your cottage, creating a sense of depth when viewed from the street.

A trellis with plants. Trellises supporting climbing plants can be used all around the cottage to increase the feeling that the garden is an integral part of the home. Consider a trellis against the house with climbing roses, or use a trellised arbor to frame the front walk. Or use a trellis in place of a fence across the front of your property — with plantings on both sides, it softens the space between the house and street.

Mod cottage. Some newly built cottages have a distinctly modern look. To play up the mod look, consider fresh white siding, dark shingles or a standing-seam metal roof, and add just a few bold accents in vibrant blue, yellow or red.

Tiny cottages. Tiny homes are taking off, and tiny-cottage communities are sure to become a trend in years to come. If you live in a tiny cottage, make the most of your compact pad by seeking out properly proportioned accents. You may need to hire a pro to construct a petite porch or arbor, but the effort will be repaid with curb appeal that folks in full-size homes will envy.