What is Cottagecore?

2 September 2020

Driving city dwellers to the countryside with the biggest design trend in 2020

Cottagecore is a design trend that has been around for years, but in 2020 it has bloomed, especially since the UK Covid 19 lockdown.

Country living design trends rotate annually, there is something beautiful about florals and harvest time that remain trendy year on year. Cottagecore is a new take on rustic reverie which reunites young and old, social media influencers and low key individuals looking for offline and off-grid peace.

Compared to traditional cottage interior design patterns, Cottagecore isn’t so much about pretty flower prints, garden scenes or baked goods. The Covid 19 pandemic and lockdown changed our outlook on many things and forced us to re-evaluate our current fast-paced lives. Cottagecore has been growing during lockdown among the young, old, city dweller and country dweller.

rural cottage with traditional red brickwork

What is Cottagecore?

Cottagecore isn’t just a design trend, it’s a cultural movement, a movement that is inspired by a simple and self-sufficient lifestyle. It captures the yearning for a simpler life in a country setting that many of us have been feeling during lockdown. It touches on the desire to be in tune with the natural environment and to escape built-up landscapes.

Interior design has evolved to include trends that are environmentally conscious to reflect current desires for beauty and sustainability. Cottagecore encompasses that while creating a warm comfort blanket that fills living spaces with nostalgic and quirky textures, illustrations, and patterns.

purple knitting wool and wooden needles

This flourishing interior design trend is filled with the aesthetics of handcrafted, muted tones, delicate illustrations that are synonymous with the Arts & Crafts movement. The essence of beautifully handcrafted, artisan products create a nostalgic look and feel that subtly nod at the damaging effects of mass production and industrialisation as well as social conditions.

In mid-19th century Britain the Arts & Crafts movement emerged which attempted to redefine design and decoration. Its main leaders included the famous British textile designer William Morris, British decorative artist Lewis Foreman Day, and Scottish designer Christopher Dresser. The Arts & Crafts movement was an international trend which developed in Britain and celebrated the decorative and fine arts. It was initially created to rebel against the impoverishment of the decorative arts, and for 40 years (1880 - 1920) the movement flourished across Europe and North America. The traditional craftmanship often used medieval, romantic, and folk style design inspiration.

rustic vintage cloth selection

Did social media create the Cottagecore trend?

Social media played a huge role in building the momentum for the Cottagecore design trend. Cottagecore gained attention from American teenagers – early twenties on image-led social media platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Reddit. Since January 2020, this new design trend has been blossoming, and with most of us stuck indoors social media played a huge influence on serving us this new interior design inspiration.

Since March, when lockdown in the UK started, Cottagecore was ignited.  Tumblr reported that it was a 153% increase in Cottagecore posts since the start of March, and the trend has already been included in over 252 million videos on Tiktok. On Tiktok the trend has seen users posting videos wearing floral outfits and walking through corn fields, baking, and crafting.

paintbrush and oil paints

Quarantine played a huge part in growing the popularity of this trend as staying at home and only being allowed to exercise outdoor gave people more time to focus on traditional arts and crafts. A trend then grew online because people were posting about their latest pass the time creations and showing their new hobbies in flower arranging, baking, pottery etc.

Lifestyle bloggers jumped on this trend and began to post pictures with arts and crafts inspired themes on Instagram, there are now over half a million #cottagecore tagged posts.

fresh homemade bread

Cottagecore has inspired rural living

UK Cottagecore has a recurring theme of farmhouses, forests, foraging, fields, and picnics. This quintessentially British look and feel can be seen in recent patchwork, traditional crafts, cottages in the Cotswolds, knitting and crochet, and pottery. Many fans have started recycling fabric and creating their own recycled clothing, bringing this trend further into the current issues surrounding sustainability, eco living and mindfulness.

As well as making us think more consciously about sustainability, Cottagecore has also inspired more than half of Londoners thinking of relocating to the countryside since restrictions eased. According to Rightmove, Cottagecore has brought the value of rural properties to life, as many people that have been locked in small city apartments have been given a taste of the freedom associated with homes in the countryside.

gardening with a trowel

What does Cottagecore look like?

Online we have seen celebrities try to embrace the rural lifestyle, such as Kanye West’s ranch-life in Wyoming and David Beckham building a wooden beehive. This has had an influence on current trends, encouraging people to try some of the simpler things in life.

This trend is about breaking away from modern society, the busy workloads, and highly contemporary minimalistic interiors. It’s about the country style, shabby chic and rough luxe. In the UK Cottagecore embraces old English country houses, pots of tea, picnics, floral dresses and floppy straw hats. It is an ensemble of bright and soft colours, layered with vintage and antique furniture, pottery and fabrics.

rustic kitchen with warm neutral tones

How to achieve a Cottagecore interior design

To achieve a Cottagecore interior design you need to explore vintage markets, antique auctions, and try creating it yourself. Have a go at learning pottery, knitting, flower pressing, illustration, weaving and quilting.

For colours, look at nature for inspiration. The colours should be ones that naturally occur in the rural landscape such as terracotta, floral colours (think red poppies, yellow sunflowers, off white daisies), bark, meadows, tawny brown hay bales.

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