Cottagey and Hands Off

By Mary Ellen Ellis | October 31, 2022
Image by ElenaMorgan
by Mary Ellen Ellis
October 31, 2022

The only similarity between my indoor and outdoor decorating style is that neither is too fussy. I don’t spend a lot on decorating, and I prefer simplicity to anything else. Beyond that, the styles couldn’t be more different. 

Indoor Style – Traditional

The best word to describe my indoor décor is traditional, although it’s not a perfect descriptor. The furniture is largely traditional. The colors are light to neutral, and I don’t have a lot of extraneous detail: knick-knacks, extra pillows, etc.

This style has evolved over the years of living with my husband, whose style clashes with mine. I am more traditional and would have more décor elements if left to my own devices. He likes sleek, modern, and minimal. I appreciate that style, but it’s too cold for where I live. I need something cozier. Our compromise is a minimalist type of traditional. 

Outdoor Style – Cutesy

My garden is fairly unfussy and minimal in terms of décor as well, but it is where I allow my cutesy, cottagey, even rustic side to play. Comfort, though, is the most important element of the design. I have two large, cushiony chairs with soft footrests in addition to a table and chair set for meals. 

The chairs are the most important elements because I want to be in my garden, enjoying it. For me, outdoor space is much more than something to look at. As long as weather permits, it is an extension of the indoor rooms and I need to be comfortable in it. 

Of course, flowers and plants decorate the seating area. I like overflowing containers of impatiens, pansies, and petunias, which lend a cottage garden feel

As for non-flower decoration, I let myself get very cutesy in the garden, something I would never do inside. I embrace the cute animal figurines and decorative wrought iron plant holders and hand-painted terracotta pots. 

Although I don’t have one now, in the past I have used shipping pallets for vertical gardening, an element of rustic design that would never work inside my house. I also had a sundial, which I feel really suits the cottage aesthetic. Unfortunately, an animal tipped and broke it one night. I suspect a racoon. 

My decorating style has evolved over the years, but I suspect it will always be different from outside to in. I will always prefer something more traditional indoors and a looser, cottagey feel outside.

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