The rise of cottagecore: creating a rustic look with antique furniture

19 October 2020

If you’re looking for a new aesthetic to inform your home decorating, have you considered cottagecore?

Since its introduction, cottagecore has taken social media by storm, appearing across TikTok, Instagram and even the videogame Animal Crossing!

The term, first coined on Tumblr in 2018, describes a visual style encased in nostalgia for western farms and cottages: Beatrix Potter, bakery and, of course, antique furniture.

This means a focus on simple, rustic wooden designs favouring functionality over detail, often paired with a gingham or checked fabric.

If you’re interested in cottagecore designs, or would like to furnish your own cottage with a more rustic look, we’ve created this guide to point you in the right direction.

‘Cottagecore has allowed budding interior decorators to explore their rustic side and shine a light on a simpler style of decoration’

Consider scale

The first thing to consider when choosing antique furniture for any space is whether the furniture will be able to fit - you wouldn’t want to waste your money on a piece twice the size of the room it’s supposed to be in!

This consideration is especially true when it comes to cottages. Cottages often have lower ceilings and smaller rooms than more modern property, so large pieces can sometimes dominate the space.

It’s often helpful to take a measurement of your rooms before buying furniture for your cottage - this will give you the chance to plan out positioning and allow you to get a general idea of what pieces belong in your cottage space.

Think about antique lighting

Part of the appeal of cottagecore is the rustic aesthetic - the return to simpler times and visuals (while admittedly many of these visuals are being shared over TikTok and Instagram).

This appeal to simplicity and nostalgia can also be reflected in the lighting you use to decorate your cottage - using, for example, antique lighting.

Alternatively other wall-mounted Victorian mirrors will help to complete the period look wherever they are situated.

No modern Victorian living room is complete without the right lighting to complete the unique atmosphere.

Antique rugs - setting the tone for your Victorian living room

Rugs are a fantastic way to bring the rich colours and textures of a Victorian living room to life.

The use of antique lighting in a rustic or cottage setting can add character and go well with other period features. It’s less anachronistic for a vintage table to be lit with an antique lantern than a modern lamp!

If you’re looking to integrate antique lighting into your cottage we would recommend the following, among other pieces in our collection:

This appeal to simplicity and nostalgia can also be reflected in the lighting you use to decorate your cottage

For an example of these (or some other lighting ideas), please visit our antique lighting page.

As well as antique lighting, you could also consider introducing antique mirrors to your cottage as a way of adding light to your space.

These would be especially useful in dark corners or hallways - if your cottage is in the middle of the countryside it can be comforting to have as much light as possible when night time comes around!

Think about storage!

As mentioned in our previous section about scale, the pared-down design of cottages can mean that they often are lacking for space - meaning there aren’t a lot of places you can hide your everyday clutter!

With this in mind it’s useful to look at antiques that offer you storage, for example an antique cupboard or chest of drawers. This should give you the chance to clear away your belongings whilst maintaining your stylish, pared down aesthetic.

Of course, what we’ve said in the scale section still holds true. If you’re planning to buy a larger piece of antique furniture for storage make sure that it can fit inside your cottage - or else you’ll have twice the amount of clutter to deal with!

Large pieces can sometimes dominate the space of a cottage


While cottagecore may be a relatively new design movement, it has allowed budding interior decorators to explore their rustic side and shine a light on a simpler style of decoration - one which can be made even more stunning by the inclusion of antiques.

We hope that this guide to creating a rustic look for your home or cottage has been useful. If you’re interested in any of the pieces mentioned above or would like to search through our collection please take a look at our website.