I realised with my last couple of blogs that they are both floral based. Years ago when we first moved into this shell of a cottage, I read Ros Byam Shaw’s brilliant book “English Cottage” and although our house has most of the elements of the styles listed in this beautiful book, Romance is the one that sang out for me and my ‘rustic charm’! More specifically: Florals, Ros (I’m calling her that because it is easier, she isn’t my friend but boy I would love to be her friend…!) categorises cottage styles and within ‘Romance’, she includes florals, vintage and nostalgia. We definitely have elements of vintage in this house and a few enamel and embroidered nods to nostalgia but it is flowers that rule this home.
Home grown Hydrangeas, Dahlias and Lavender and dried roses on the dresser nestling up to floral china, flowery cushions and napkins and bloom inspiring books.
I think that florals work so well in a cottage because the outside tends to be crammed with flowers and produce dating back to when farm workers filled their gardens with vegetables, herbs and fruit trees for their own use. The blooms begin to spill into the house and create a beautiful cohesion of styles.
Floral designs allow you to bring colour and movement into a home without over saturating. There is definitely a line that can be crossed, botanical gin in hand, and a home can become too chintzy. No one wants to channel doilies and antimacassars (although recently I have had a hankering for both but that could just be my dirt magnet childrens fault) but as gardens and outside space become so much more important to us, it is equally important to create a calming, back to nature environment to escape to inside the home.
Floral paintings, fabrics and china are all simple ways to introduce beautiful blooms into your home to create a cottage style but if flowers seem too blowsey then botanicals and herbieres are a great way to use calming mother nature to create a cottage look
Finally, a note of caution in over blooming, rather like flowers themselves, floral design needs grounding with other solid textures: wood and metal are a gorgeous contrast to florals and the perfect best friend to floral fabrics has to be stripes, something to balance them and direct the eye up and down rather than round – a little like a best mate trying to sober you up at the end of a too brilliant evening.
My go to’s for floral designs are Kate Forman for glorious french inspired linens (https://kateforman.co.uk/), Susie Watson designs for country inspired cushions, china and homewares (https://www.susiewatsondesigns.co.uk/) and Cabbages and Roses for dreamy romantic floral designs (https://www.cabbagesandroses.com/lifestyle.html) as well as https://www.peonyandsage.com/ and http://www.sarahhardaker.co.uk/
Be brave, bring nature into your home through jugs, paintings, fabrics, even candles, just something that brings a sense of the natural world and brings a feeling of peace to your home.