Design trend is for those looking for joy in the simple things of life

Despite its descriptor, an “effortless” interior isn’t necessarily without effort, but once you’ve nailed this laid-back style, you’ll never look back.

There’s good reason that people seek out the retreat of remote, rural living – not only for its cozy, comfortable style, but for the tranquil vibe it inspires as well.

This trend has been building for some time now, through “cottagecore” décor, and becoming even more pronounced in the wake of the pandemic.

Fast-forward to today, and “cottage chic” continues to be a highly sought-after aesthetic, although it has evolved into a more refined version of its former self.

Here’s how this trend has transitioned over the years, and how it’s playing out in lake houses, urban apartments, and everything in between.

Organic Influences

Whether you’re incorporating organic materials into your décor, or nature is finding its way into your home in other ways, outdoor inspiration instantly softens a space, creating a sense of comfort and connection.

While earthy materials such as wood, stone and natural fibres will always have a place in the heart and home, interior designers are moving toward less-literal forms of nature, by means of subtle colour, pattern and texture.

This approach is more about the essence of nature, leaning into earthy paint and textiles, floral- and leafy patterns, and matte and rough finishes featured in all their imperfect glory.

TIP: Warm, dark colours and matte textures tend to absorb light and create a sense of warmth by pulling you in. You can ease this effect by “adding air” to the room through the use of white.

Mix and mingle

Let’s make one thing cleat – cottage-chic is not to be confused with “shabby-chic.” Quite the opposite, this is an eclectic though thoughtful collection of furniture and found objects, carefully curated and considered over time. At least, that’s the look you’re going for.

Whether you’re amassing your furniture all at once, or doing so piece by piece through the years, layering different styles and materials lends your space a “lived-in” look and feel.

Feel free to combine a few vintage pieces with your more modern collection, or offset a casual suite of furnishings with an elaborate antique. Layering can be achieved with colour, too.

For example, the above-mentioned earthy colour palette can be complemented with bold black or a vibrant accent colour. Not only does this bring depth to your design, but the contrasting elements also create a fabulous focal point.

Low maintenance

Let me let you in on a little secret: “low maintenance” doesn’t only refer to the upkeep of your environment. When you truly embrace the idea of less work, you’ll also find you have more time to do what you love with the ones you love, which can be a wonderfully freeing approach to life.

Incidentally, it’s why many people escape to the cottage, when can manage to get away from the daily grind. So, why not eliminate “the grind” at the source (or, at least one of them)?

Whether you’re renovating your home, redecorating a room, or just updating a piece of furniture, be mindful of your low-maintenance aspirations.

Look for materials that require less upkeep, are easy to clean, and withstand wear and tear like a champ. This means you’ll spend less time caring for and cleaning these items, and they won’t have to be replaced in the near future, freeing up your time and budget for other things.

“Cottage-chic” isn’t just an aesthetic trend; it has truly evolved into a lifestyle that prioritizes our connections to our environment, our roots, ourselves and the people we choose to surround ourselves with.

Let’s face it: life can get complicated. So, don’t forget to take a step back and a deep breath every once in a while, and look for joy in the simple things.

If you can bring that into your home, you’ll never have to travel too far to find your “great escape” when you need it the most.

Bren Petrunick is creative founder of award winning Simply White Interiors, a Niagara-based design firm known for providing stylish and uniquely personal interiors. Visit or @simplywhite.

2023-06-30T13:29:08Z dg43tfdfdgfd