What Is Cottagecore? A Quick Guide

Cottagecore, a hashtag and online lifestyle trend, draws inspiration from a charming portrayal of rural life. It romanticizes a return to nature, emphasizing natural elements, wholesome activities, and handmade goods. Unlike historical movements reacting against industrialization, Cottagecore offers escapism through the internet, allowing urban and suburban individuals to indulge in fantasies of rustic living without leaving their homes.

What is Cottagecore? 

What is Cottagecore

It’s a design style advocating for a simpler, rural lifestyle. Its features include vintage and handcrafted items like clothing, furniture, and candles. Cottagecore also promotes learning homesteading skills such as gardening, baking, and raising chickens for self-sufficiency.

A Brief Background 

A Brief Background of Cottagecore 

Around 2018, Cottagecore emerged as a popular hashtag, swiftly becoming an online sensation. Influencers in the Cottagecore community romanticize rural living, painting idyllic scenes that offer an escape from the stresses of modern life.

Think flowing prairie dresses, sourdough starters, carefully arranged wildflowers, and intricately stitched quilts adorning antique beds, with homemade pies cooling in sunlit windowsills.

In an age where many yearn for a rustic retreat, Cottagecore conjures up the picturesque imagery of fairytale cottages nestled in enchanted woods or English meadows, no matter where you are.

However, despite being dubbed a “budding aesthetic movement” by The New York Times, Cottagecore isn’t entirely novel. It’s simply the latest manifestation of a timeless longing for a simpler life, often sought when societal changes accelerate.

The Arts and Crafts movement of the 19th and 20th centuries reacted against industrialization and excess in Victorian society. Similarly, the countercultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s embraced a DIY ethos and a return to nature as a rejection of capitalist norms.

What sets Cottagecore apart is its digital birth and predominantly online existence, far removed from the realities of rural living. Critics argue that Cottagecore romanticizes a patriarchal past, but amidst its whimsical imagery, discussions on social justice often find their place.

In truth, Cottagecore’s nostalgic allure transcends lifestyle, gender, or orientation. It intertwines with related subcultures like naturecore, meadowcore, frogcore, grandmacore, faeriecore, farmcore, and goblincore, offering a tapestry of escapism for all.

Cottagecore Lifestyle and Design

Lifestyle and Design

Cottagecore design embodies simplicity and nostalgia, with a touch of whimsy. It also champions a sustainable, thrifty lifestyle that values purposeful consumption.

In line with these principles, cottagecore interiors feature practical elements like woven baskets and wooden crates, abundant greenery ranging from live plants to botanical prints, cozy layered rugs, charming floral wallpapers, and rustic accents evoking countryside living.

Furniture often includes cottage-style hutches, vintage desks, and antique bureaus. Cottagecore exteriors typically feature quaint cottage gardens and space allocated for vegetable patches.

Key Characteristics 

Key Characteristics of Cottagecore 
  • A dreamy, sentimental interpretation of rustic simplicity
  • A reverence for a slow-paced, elemental lifestyle, tinged with nostalgia
  • Emphasis on tactile pleasures and the comforts of home 
  • Commitment to sustainability 
  • Preference for handcrafted and vintage items imbued with history Integration of nature indoors, with flowers, plants, and natural motifs 
  • Celebration of traditional crafts such as knitting, sewing, embroidery, crochet, baking, gardening, and candle-making
  • Promotion of self-sufficiency, from foraging in the woods for mushrooms to raising chickens and tending to vegetable gardens

Decorating Tips

Decorating Tips
  • Embrace rustic furniture and accents.
  • Opt for natural materials such as wood, stone, linen, and wool.
  • Rediscover “granny chic” with vintage teacups, lace doilies, and embroidered pieces.
  • Utilize earthy, warm, and neutral tones in textiles and wall colors.
  • Source pre-loved furniture and decor from yard sales to minimize waste.
  • Showcase family heirlooms to add personal charm.
  • Bring the outdoors in with fresh or dried flowers, plants, and nature-inspired decor.
  • Curate a collection of coffee table books on cabins and classic literature like Beatrix Potter or Laura Ingalls Wilder, or vintage editions of “The Secret Garden.”
  • Consider installing a backyard chicken coop for a touch of rural charm.
  • Make your fireplace a focal point or create a faux fireplace with a floating shelf adorned with seasonal decorations like candles and pine cones in winter, or dried flowers in summer.
  • Add cozy touches like vintage quilts, crocheted plant hangers, or handmade beeswax candles, especially if you’ve crafted them yourself.
  • Conceal technology to maintain a timeless ambiance.

Also, check out 50 Cottagecore Decor Ideas


Is Cottagecore Still Trending? 

Many aspects of cottagecore remain enduringly popular, particularly vintage decor and the inclusion of cozy elements.

What Sets Cottagecore Apart from Cottage Design? 

Cottagecore emphasizes an imperfect vintage aesthetic and doesn’t incorporate modern design elements, unlike cottage design.

Exploring Dark Cottagecore Aesthetics 

Dark cottagecore, or goth cottagecore, upholds the same principles as traditional cottagecore but leans into darker, richer colors and more macabre decor for a moodier aesthetic.

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