Cottage Design Ideas for the Refresh or Full Renovation

If, like many people, you recently purchased a cottage property, or you’ve owned one for a little while, you likely want to make some changes to your cottage to put your own stamp on it and to keep it updated.

Whether you just want to give your cottage a little makeover or you’re ready for a full overhaul, here are some ideas to get you started so that you can invest in the changes that will get you the most bang for your buck and create the biggest impact.

In the Main Living Space


Give your main living area a refresh with some paint and accessories! You want to keep the wall colour light and add some lighting in the form of table or floor lamps to keep things bright as this will create the feeling of more room and space.

Then add in any fun accessories such as coffee table books, area rugs, throw pillows and blankets. Shopping at thrift or vintage stores for these items will often yield beautiful, timeless pieces, perfect for decorating a cottage.


If taking down walls is an option, I always recommend that to really open up your space.

Add some beams to the ceiling for visual interest and also use reclaimed wood pieces wherever else you can (mantle, shelves, etc.) for a cool, rustic feel.

Flooring can be informal and imperfect, and you’ll want to go with a wood material to keep with the cottagey feel, which can be covered in strategic places with throw rugs for style and comfort.

For furniture, I love a traditional looking couch and upcycled, mix and match pieces. Coordination, not exact matches is what you’re going for.


In the Kitchen


Start by painting your kitchen cabinets a light colour. It doesn’t have to be white; light shades of blue, grey and green look great in cottage kitchens. A fresh coat of paint on the walls also goes a long way.

After that, you can simply update/add any décor or keep it simple with fresh flowers. A gorgeous accessory any time.


Replace your kitchen cabinets with shaker-style. The clean lines of this minimal cabinet design are perfect for cottages because of the simplicity and homey feel. Not too showy!

Reconfiguring the layout so that your sink is under a window is always ideal and, on that note, be sure to go for a deep, farmhouse sink for the ultimate cottage vibes.

For flooring, you can’t go wrong with wood, a luxury vinyl that looks like hardwood or even tile.

And if you can, add in some ceiling beams here too! I will always advocate for more ceiling beams!


In the Bathrooms


Paint, a new mirror and some updated lighting and you’re likely good to go when it comes to bathroom updates! If you can swing a new vanity too it will uplevel the look even further! Again, keeping with the theme, anything that looks reclaimed or has vintage vibes will work.


This is where you can have some fun! Adding in a bathtub if you don’t have one or replacing your tub is usually needed with these older cottage properties. A claw-foot tub if you have the space will always be a stunning cottage bathroom feature!

Updating the shower tiles and fixtures can go a long way to creating a luxurious cottage bathroom as well.


In the Bedrooms


I’m going to repeat myself here, but a fresh coat of paint is a quick and easy way to completely freshen up the look and feel of a room! But don’t feel restricted! This is a place where people retreat to at the end of a long, fun summer day so feel free to add pops of colour if that’s your preference and upgrade the bed linens. Those two things alone will make a big difference in the look and feel of a bedroom.


Have some fun with colour, prints and textures! Maybe an accent wall with floral wallpaper or a deep blue wall colour with bright white ceilings? And try adding some visual interest to the walls with architectural dimension. You can achieve this look with wood strips that are painted the same colour as the wall.

Wide plank hardwood with some well-placed rugs to keep feet warm when they first touch the ground are the best flooring options for cottage bedrooms.


After this you can decorate! Upgrade furniture like the bed and side tables and dressers and remember, the pieces don’t all have to match. Finding pieces that coordinate but are different from each other adds even more visual interest and unique style.




Putting furniture in any outdoor space you have so you can maximize your outdoor time is key! That’s what cottage life is all about right?! Add some lighting so you can extend the time you can spend outside and buff up and paint your deck or exterior of the home for even bigger impact.


Depending on the look and feel of your cottage you could transform the exterior with brick or wood panelling and some updated paint. Next, it’s upgrading any decking to composite material for zero maintenance for years and years to come.

If you don’t have a dock and you’re on water, adding one can be a game changer. Getting to sit peacefully by the water is a summer dream come true.


So whether you’re looking to take on a massive, or more minor project this year, these recommendations should be enough to get your wheels turning about the possibilities for your cottage property.