These 12 Cottage-Style Homes Look Like Gorgeous Spaces From a Modern Storybook

published Dec 22, 2023
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Credit: Carina Romano

Life can be chaotic, and our homes are our respite from the craziness. When I think of the ultimate space to unwind and feel safe, cottages come to mind. Whether it’s long-felt nostalgia from my childhood storybooks or seeing the rise of cottage-core design on social media, these home styles create a unique feeling of coziness and safety. 

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Cottages became popular in America’s early history and are most commonly searched for on the country’s east coast and down south through the Appalachian mountains, according to Google. When I think of a cottage, several visions come to mind. First, a single-family home with a thatched roof and smoke billowing out of the chimney in the English countryside. Next, a quiet, small Cape Cod-style house that’s situated near a lake. It turns out that, according to Southern Living, there are several cottage types, and none of them are wrong. 

The home style is so popular that even if people don’t live in an actual cottage, they still seek the coziness emanating from the design. Apartments in big cities adopted the cottage-core look (think: the homes in Nancy Meyers movies) with floral patterns, muted tones, and vintage aesthetics. 

With all the different (and stunning) variations of cottage-style homes, it’s incredible to see how several real homeowners made the style their own. Keep reading to find 12 favorite cottage-style homes. 

1. A Furniture Designer’s California Cottage Is Colorful and Joyful

Cottages are cool because of their unique, usually long histories, and Laurel Harrington’s colorful cottage in Mill Valley, California, is no exception. “The home was the first built on my street up in the hills of Mill Valley as a summer cottage in about 1915, so it’s over 100 years old!” she said at the time of the home tour.

See the rest of Harrington’s vibrant space in the full home tour

Credit: Viv Yapp

2. A 1850s London Townhouse Is Like a Cozy Cottage Because of Clever Updates

Even though Ananya lives in a gorgeous West London flat, that didn’t stop her from incorporating cottage-core aesthetics into her home. Her space is full of floral patterns, cozy textures (like their delicious brown velvet sofa or woven kitchen pendants), and muted colors. It is the perfect place to relax with a good book and cup of tea.

Visit the full home tour to see the cottage-like details in Ananya’s space. 

3. This 1918 House Is a Masterclass in Mixing Florals

Interior designer Ellen Mallernee’s vintage-filled cottage is near Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee and has a long history. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in 1918. Even though the original structure was constructed long ago, the way Mallernee has designed the interior spaces is a great blend of old and new. 

Explore more of the full home tour to see how Mallernee has restored this gorgeous home. 

Credit: Erin Derby

4. Coastal Grandmother Meets Eclectic Farmhouse in This 200-Square-Foot Apartment

Looking inside Ashley Watson’s “coastal grandma” New York City apartment feels like being embraced by a warm hug — for home tour viewers and Watson alike. “It’s my safe haven, my reprieve from the beautiful chaos that is New York City,” she wrote at the time of the home tour. “It’s the place my introverted self goes to recharge after long days pretending to be extroverted.” 

Experience the calming effects of Watson’s apartment in the full home tour

Credit: Anna Harp

5. A Homeowner Used to Dream of Living in This Cottage — 11 Years Later, It’s Reality

When Anna Harp was growing up in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, she and her family would drive around picking out their beloved homes. Fast forward some years, and fate would have it that her childhood favorite is now her current home. “This one was always mine,” Anna wrote at the time of her home tour. “There’s something about the cottage and cozy feel that always drew me in, and I always knew I was supposed to live here one day!”

See how Harp has made her cottage incredibly cozy in the full home tour

6. A Color Consultant’s LA Home Is Full of Gorgeous Color and Design Inspiration

One of the best parts about cottage homes is the whimsical details usually original to the space. Allison Pierce, who owns a colorful cottage in Los Angeles, is familiar with those unique features. Her home was built in 1939 and has some original details, like the scalloped hood above the stove or the circular layout, which creates a seamless flow from room to room while having separate spaces. 

View the full home tour to see the colorful details in Pierce’s Los Angeles cottage. 

7. This Home That Needed an “Awful Lot of Work” Got Stunning DIY Updates

When I think of a traditional house in the English countryside, I picture Hayley Blythe’s Scandinavian-inspired home in Cambridgeshire, England. It has all the makings of a conventional cottage: muted tones, a cozy fireplace, and floral (fresh and artwork!) details. “I am inspired by the countryside views from our balcony and our garden,” Blythe wrote at the time of the home tour. 

Step inside Blythe’s cozy cottage in the full home tour

Credit: Carina Romano

8. This Small Maryland Cottage Is Incredibly Cute and Utterly Enchanting

After getting engaged in Chestertown, Maryland, Maddie Kulig received congratulations from a family friend who had purchased a cottage nearby. Curious about the area, Kulig started searching Zillow for homes to buy. “This little, old, beet red cottage popped up. It was unassuming — actually quite hideous,” she said at the time of the home tour. The couple decided to put in an offer, which was accepted and made it into a gorgeous home.

See how the couple reimagined their cottage in the full home tour

Credit: Carina Romano

9. This 350-Square-Foot Mid-Century Cottage Is Absolutely Dreamy, Inside and Out

After 20 years of city living, Erin F. sought a green reprieve. So, it was fate when a colleague approached her about renting the 350-square-foot carriage house on her property. It has a gorgeous screened-in porch (basically her living room during the summer months) and connects her with nature. “Spending so much time outside has made me become a birder and a gardener and is most appreciated by my cat, who loves spying on the wildlife in the yard,” Erin shared at the time of the home tour. 

Visit the full home tour to experience the indoor and outdoor flow of the cottage. 

10. This Creative’s Art-Filled Connecticut Cottage Is a Cozy Fall Escape

When a New York City-based creative found this cottage in Litchfield County, Connecticut, the exterior, which is clad in bright white paint, made her want to do something a little differently inside. “The walls were painted black, and the window trims painted white to really frame and exaggerate the colors of the trees outside throughout the year,” she shared at the time of the home tour. 

Experience the beautiful juxtaposition of the interior and exterior spaces in the full home tour

Credit: Erin Derby

11. This Cozy 200-Square-Foot NYC Apartment Is Inspired by English Country Decor

Just because Bailey Heldmar lives in the hustle and bustle of New York City’s Upper West Side neighborhood doesn’t mean she couldn’t experience the calming feeling of the English countryside in her 200-square-foot home. “I love the lived-in, almost cluttered look of English country decor. It’s all about making heirloom pieces function for a modern lifestyle and layering in the new treasures you collect along the way. It’s style that tells a story,” Heldmar said at the time of the tour. 

See how Heldmar brought the English countryside to New York City in the full home tour

12. A 575-Square-Foot Cottage Rental Home Has the Dreamiest Dining Room Windows

When Allegra Rose Berger dreamed up her future home, she pinned photos of white cottages by the coast to her mood board. Fate made those dreams a reality when she rented an organic modern cottage in Laguna Beach. “From the lofted ceilings of white wooden beams to the large glass windows that overlook gardens and greenery, to the little view of the ocean I have from the corner of my deck, I have never felt so at home than here in my magic mermaid cove,” she shared during the home tour. 

Visit the full home tour to see how Berger finds inspiration in her home.