Why Cottagecore Is the Nesting Trend We Can Get Behind This Season

There’s a new cozy concept in town.

If there ever was a trend to revamp your home for, this one is it. You can create a sanctuary that provides respite and solace from the world—a spot where you can spend time with your family and make happy memories together.

Cottagecore falls perfectly in line with that quest for a cozy place. While not a new concept, cottagecore is one that's been steadily gaining steam recently. Instagram now has more than 900,000 posts tagged with #cottagecore.

Fair warning: It's easy to get sucked into this scrolling vortex with so many charming ideas for bringing this aesthetic into your home to ogle. Read on for details on what cottagecore is all about and how you can jump on the bandwagon.

What is cottagecore?

Cottagecore is a design and lifestyle trend that places high value on tranquility, domestic living, and creativity. "To put it into perspective, think of Narnia combined with Little House on the Prairie," says Sara McDaniel of the Simply Southern Cottage blog. "A charmed, fantastical, dreamy way of life absent of modern stresses and combined with sustainable living are central to the cottagecore movement."

Indeed, it does sound dreamy—a relaxing space filled with less technology and more intention. Cottagecore is about simplifying, too, recalling nostalgia and taking the opportunity to dress your home in a way that reminds you to slow down and savor moments.

How to create a cottagecore aesthetic in your home

Cottagecore - Photo examples from Simply Southern Cottage (bedroom)
Sara McDaniel/Simply Southern Cottage

So how can you bring this lovely concept into your home? It doesn't take a major overhaul, but rather a thoughtful positioning of items you already have.

Start by thinking about the five senses. What makes a home feel cozier than a delicious smell? McDaniel loves making a pot of wassail on the stove, baking cookies, adding fresh sprigs of rosemary in vases around the home, or burning a favorite candle. "These scents create a calm and peace that immediately diffuses the stresses of the day," says McDaniel.

When it comes to the eyes, consider how you can bring nature indoors. Fresh flowers are ideal (think roses, daylilies, petunias, dianthus, and geraniums, for example), but even good quality faux flowers will do the trick. An insider tip: When temperatures dip, bring your summer plants to a natural light-filled room indoors to create a lovely indoor garden to enjoy during winter.

If you have a fireplace, that's another easy step toward creating a cozier home: Simply light a fire to illuminate the room and add warmth in more ways than one. McDaniel doesn't have a television at home, so evenings are spent curled up by the fire with a good book and a warm cup of cocoa. You don't have to toss out your TV to create this vibe, though; simply powering down all screens and losing yourself in pages of a book or magazine—or in conversation with a loved one—can get you in a cottagecore mindset.

Another way to approach cottagecore is to consider how your grandparents lived. "I think of days gone by," McDaniel says.

Life can feel incredibly complicated, and adding cottagecore vibes to your home can help soothe stress, inspire your creativity, and recall a simpler time and space that will allow you to feel calmer and at peace. "Home is where the heart is," McDaniel says.

Cottagecore must-haves

Cottagecore - Photo examples from Simply Southern Cottage (greenhouse)
Sara McDaniel/Simply Southern Cottage

We want our cottagecore environments to reflect a nurturing calm, says Susan Davis Taylor, a Los Angeles–based interior designer. "We achieve this through floral-inspired wallpaper, natural textiles, light unfinished woods, plants, wood beams, crochet, natural pottery, ambient lighting, fairy lights, comfy chairs, and fluffy rugs," she says. "Everything has to be soft and enveloping."

Speaking of soft, a cuddle-worthy blanket is also a must—Alabama-based Red Land Cotton makes one that is made from 100-percent American cotton. Try decorating with blankets by adding vintage quilts to the ends of beds, draping them over chairs, or folding and stacking them on an open shelf or atop a dresser. "This brings in Old World charm and creates an objet d'art out of handmade treasures," Taylor says.

When it comes to plants, crochet hangers work great (find lots of options on Etsy). Hang groups of indoor plants in a corner of the room at varying heights, or use mismatched vintage baskets to create a grouping on the floor. You can also scatter old vases and pottery, hobnail, or cut glass around tabletops with dried flowers to create a soft, vintage feeling, Taylor says. In the kitchen, create a French-inspired herb drying rack on a vintage rack, or flash back to the 1970s and make your own from wooden embroidery hoops and a macrame cord.

Need more inspiration? Head outside. "Take a walk, look up, look down, and see what Mother Nature is showing you," Stokes says. Witnessing the amazing orchestration of trees, rocks, moss, plants, sticks, stones, shells, animals—whatever is nearby—can provide all the ideas you need for carrying out the aesthetic of cottagecore inside your home.

How to put a holiday spin on cottagecore

Cottagecore - Photo examples from Simply Southern Cottage
Sara McDaniel/Simply Southern Cottage

The holiday season is a perfect time to try incorporating cottagecore in non-permanent ways. For Thanksgiving, try to cut branches (ideally, with autumn leaves still attached) from your yard and spread them out down the center of your table, mixing in tea lights and fruits (think persimmons, pomegranates, or small oranges), suggests Taylor. You can also layer these items over a simple hemp or burlap cloth in place of a fancy tablecloth.

Christmas decor is perfectly aligned with the cottagecore movement, and is an easy DIY. Drape garlands around your doorways (think cedar, pine, and silver dollar eucalyptus) along with other living items like juniper, eucalyptus pods, thistles, and plants that have brightly colored berries, Taylor says. Then, layer in strings of fairy lights. You can also use the same plants to make wreaths to drape around sconces, place around candles on a table, or weave into chandeliers.

If you live in a historic home, McDaniel suggests trying to envision how it would have been decorated originally—and then recreate that aesthetic. For example, for her 1926 Louisiana home, she constructs mantel garland from fresh magnolia leaves outside. Gas lanterns on her front porch create a "Dickens-like atmosphere," adding to the holiday charm.

The bottom line: Don't overthink it. The more natural, the better. No excess shopping or spending is required. "Once you allow cottagecore to infiltrate your home," McDaniel says, "[you can] watch your environment evolve into a cozy, loving, warm atmosphere where family and friends are welcomed, valued, and will never want to leave."

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