Cottage style decorating is often called shabby chic. However, there are a few distinctions between the two decorating styles. Cottage style decorating is distinguished by multiple patterns and textures with an emphasis on bold floral designs. Among the other distinctive patterns used in the cottage style decor are the prevalence of stripes and plaid as opposed to the less patterned designs used in shabby chic decorating styles.
Of prominence in the cottage style decorating scheme is the use of large bold floral patterns. The floral designs most often consist of large roses in various shades of pinks or reds although it is not totally uncommon to see other floral patterns consisting of relatively large floral blooms.
The pattern of floral designs usually is found in two basic colors with a third more neutral color used for background to tie the floral print to other patterns such as plaids and stripes. Often wallpaper with unusually large flower prints will be the basis of cottage style decorating with pillow shams, throw pillows, and cushions picking up the primary colors used in the wallpaper pattern emphasizing one of the colors and the more neutral color to create stripes or plaids.
For those who may feel overwhelmed by the floral wallpaper, cottage style decorating will allow for a more subdued wall with the accent on the upholstered furniture, cushions or pillows. In the less busy environment the floral design may be used for the upholstery on the sofa or the cushions on one or more chairs. Occasionally, the bold floral pattern will be miniaturized within the stripes of upholstery fabrics.
In some cases cottage style decorating will use large floral prints on throw pillows that are disbursed around the room to maintain balance and the integrity of the style when the designer prefers plaids and stripes as the central pattern.
In the midst of such bold floral prints that often appear to be larger than necessary, it must be noted that the colors are bold but not necessarily as bright as those used in the shabby chic decorating style. Cottage style decorating consists of a mixture of patterns more than the mixture of colors that often denotes shabby chic.