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Elements of Cottage Style Architecture


on April 20, 2023


In recent years, the resurgence of the cottagecore style has made its way across many industries. Broken into its component words – cottage, core, and style – can be understood as a niche aesthetic (core) that romanticizes simplicity and rural living. From clothing to kitchenware to home design, cottage style in design is all the rage. However, for homeowners, there’s more to it than just the “vibe.” Whether you’re interested in fully embodying the cottagecore trend or want to learn more about what really makes cottage style architecture unique, this article will help you understand more about the elements of cottage style architecture and how the right windows can help incorporate the cottagecore style into your home. 

The Rich History of The Term “Cottage” 

When you think “cottage,” there is probably a similar image that comes to mind for all of us. A smaller home, with countryside charm, surrounded by nature. While there is no exact definition of cottage architecture, the term “cottage” itself goes back centuries. In the Middle Ages, the term “cotter” referred to people who worked the land owned by others and lived on that land as well. The dwellings cotters lived in were often smaller and rustic, called “cottages.” 

Since the origination of the term, cottage has come to mean many things, encompassing more of a feeling than any singular type of architecture. Still, the “feeling” that defines the cottage style lends itself to a series of characteristics that can be combined across different architectural themes to create the quintessential cottage look. 

What Makes a Home Cottage Style 

Without a true architectural definition, it falls to the materials, floor plan, and design elements to define the cottage style. Here are some hallmark elements of the cottage home style: 

  • Natural materials. Building materials in cottage homes typically highlight nature. Wood shingles, thatch roofing, stucco siding, stone, and wood grain paneling are all suited to the cottage look.
  • Garden space. In the spirit of the original cottages, which were built with surrounding land that the cotters also tended for a self-sufficient lifestyle, today’s cottages often feature gardens and greenspaces that can be used for homesteading activities. 
  • Warm colors and textures. With the cottagecore trend, warmth and comfort are kings. Thishearkens back to the first cottages, where the charm and comforts of a home well-lived-in were embraced. 
  • Rustic design. Simplicity is one of the most important hallmarks of cottage style homes, which favor rustic design elements like chunky knit blankets and natural fiber accents like woven baskets.
  • Rooms with purpose. Aligned with simplicity, the original cottages were dwelling places for workers, and their homes reflected that. Each room had a purpose, and that utility has carried through to the modern interpretation of the cottage style. 
  • Natural light. Because cottages are often (but not always) found in rural areas, their proximity to nature encourages maximizing natural light

Windows that Work Well in Cottage Architecture

Finding the right windows to complement a cottage style home is all about leaning into the small-but-cozy essence of cottagecore living. You want windows that maximize natural light without overtaking your home’s facade and details that add charm. Here are a few suggestions: 

Smaller Frame Windows 

Windows with smaller footprints are good choices for cottage homes as they are often smaller-sized dwellings. Single-hung and double-hung windows offer natural light and operability from either one or two sashes, allowing you better control over air flow in your home. Casement windows are another great choice for windows that work well in smaller spaces. Casement windows hinge outward from the side, making them a good fit for living rooms, kitchens, and more. 

Windows Doubling as Reading Nooks

Self-sufficiency and enjoying the simple life are two things that still exemplify cottage style homes for many people, so it makes sense that you may want an area of your cottage home where you can enjoy the simple life in your own way. That’s where bay and bow windows come in. Because these windows extend beyond the exterior wall of your home, they can be designed to incorporate a space large enough for a breakfast nook or seating cushions for the perfect sun-drenched reading space. 

Add Grilles for Country Cottage Charm

When it comes to perfecting the cottage “look,” it’s all about the details. Add grille detailing to your windows for a more traditional look that incorporates a lot of charm. Grille detailing can be added to a variety of different window types in a variety of different grid types, allowing you to unify the look of different windows throughout your cottage style home. 

Embody the Cottage Aesthetic with Pella Windows

However you want to embody the cottage aesthetic with your home’s windows and window designs, the professionals at Pella have your back. Schedule a consultation today to get started on the project that will bring your wildest cottagecore style dreams to life.

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