Décor for Your Tiny Cottage Vacation Home
Picture a spring day in a mountain meadow. Birdsong sifts through the nearby trees, and the meadow grass is stippled with bright wildflowers. You follow the stone footpath to the door of your small cottage, pause a moment, and then open it.
But what do you see inside? Choosing how to decorate a tiny cottage, especially one that you’ll mostly use as a vacation home, can be difficult. If you’re anything like me, you have what feels like thousands of decor ideas. And of course, they might not all flow well together.
In this post, I’ll take you through a few ideas for decorating your tiny mountain cottage, inside and out.
If you plan to rent out your vacation home, you probably want the outside to look appealing. From the exploration I’ve done on decorating small cabins, owners seem to fall into two camps: cute/modern (yet polished) and rustic.
A more modern exterior might look like a tiny version of a farmhouse–shutters in a contrasting color, a little garden out front, a white picket fence. Someone going for a more rustic look might go for a log cabin exterior, complete with an outdoor fireplace and rough-hewn rocking chairs. Both of these are great choices. However, it’s also wise to choose an interior decor that seems to go with the cabin’s exterior.
Choosing Interior Decor
Every mountain cabin I’ve visited has had one thing in common: each one was cozy without feeling cluttered. And when your brain seems to be swimming with ideas about decorating, it can be hard to avoid creating something cluttered.
In my opinion, the best-decorated cabins seem to have a clear theme. Especially in older or very rustic cabins, decorators often like to go for the hunting-lodge look. Others, like this cottage featured in Better Homes & Gardens, are surprisingly bright inside.
In the case of this particular home, the decorators wanted it to reflect the floods of sunlight coming in through the windows. However, in the interest of keeping everything in balance, they added several different-colored accents to make sure the living space still felt welcoming.
Finding Interior Decor That Fits Your Theme
I’m using the word “theme” loosely here, because an offbeat accent piece is almost always a good thing in a small cottage or cabin. But as you choose each interior piece, think about the type of vibe or energy it communicates. Here are a few examples:
- Curtains — If you’re going for an airy, spring-like theme, white or off-white sheer curtains are often a great choice. If you prefer something a little more rustic (or even just warmer for winter months), a set of heavier, jewel-toned curtains might work.
- Pillows and bedspreads — In springtime, light or pastel pillows and bedspreads add a pleasant touch to your decor. In cooler months, plaid flannel sheets and/or bedspreads will make the space feel cozier.
- Rugs — Rugs are an inexpensive, yet effective way to make a small cabin feel homey. In a light, spring-inspired cabin, jute rugs or woven sea grass rugs are a pleasant and lightweight choice. If you need something warmer as the weather cools, woven rugs add a little warmth to your space.
- Art — The art you choose will be largely determined by your personal tastes. If your cabin is in a historic area, it can add local interest to include framed antique maps or other regional artwork. Some cottage owners also like adding vintage thrift shop finds — you can find plenty of interesting, vintage prints at secondhand stores, and you may find one that complements your existing decor choices. If you want to decorate distinctively without spending a fortune, thrifting is a great way to do just that.
Choosing Your Furniture
Part of the appeal of a tiny cottage is its simplicity. As you’ve probably guessed, ornate furniture is probably going to look out of place. But simple, small pieces of furniture (like shaker-style dining room tables and chairs) will probably fit in wonderfully.
If your cottage is very small, you might consider a pull-out couch instead of a couch and bed. Since you can find these couches in almost any color and pattern, you likely won’t have any trouble finding one to suit your cottage.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a cottage with a front porch, this is a prime spot to include comfortable furniture. Even a set of inexpensive rocking chairs is a great addition–you and your guests can sip coffee while watching the sun rise, or enjoy a quiet evening overlooking the mountains. And if you have the space, including a small porch table expands your options–you can enjoy a small meal together, play board games, or enjoy an after-dinner drink.
When you decorate a cozy mountain cabin, you want the result to be a place that feels safe, relaxed, and homey. If at all possible, take your time decorating and furnishing your cabin or cottage. If you’ve had that feeling when you saw something in a shop or in a catalog and just knew it was perfect, you’ll understand why it’s so important to let inspiration come to you. After all, the best mountain getaways are times of adventure, reflection, and relaxation. The best mountain cottages echo just that.