Backyard Cottage Decorating Ideas

Cozy Backyard Cottage Decorating Ideas

A backyard cottage is a type of accessory dwelling unit on your property that provides you with extra flexible space. Backyard cottages are like full home additions that aren’t connected to your home, so how you use the space is completely up to you.

You can help family members or generate a passive income, or use them as guest spaces and add value to your home. They can be art studios, game rooms, or movie theaters for your family to enjoy.

Pre-approved Backyard Cottage

There are different methods for getting a backyard cottage. You can get a pre-approved backyard cottage if you’re in the Cupertino or San Jose area. A pre-approved backyard cottage refers to a local jurisdiction or housing authority that has granted preliminary approval or clearance for the construction or installation of a backyard cottage on a specific property.

A backyard cottage that has been pre-approved means that the local authority has reviewed the property and determined that it meets certain criteria or regulations for building a backyard cottage. These criteria could include zoning requirements, building codes, setbacks, parking provisions, and other relevant regulations. By obtaining pre-approval, property owners can have more certainty and confidence that they can proceed with their backyard cottage without major obstacles or delays.

If you want to streamline your cottage decorating process, having a pre-approved plan could get you there quicker. Make sure to consult with your local planning department to understand the specific requirements and procedures in your area.

Characteristics of Cottage Decorating Ideas

Simplicity, comfort, and rustic charm are essential aspects of decorating that create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in a space. Here’s a closer look at each element.


Simplicity in decorating refers to a minimalistic approach, where the focus is on creating a clean and uncluttered space. The idea is to avoid excessive ornamentation and instead showcase a few carefully selected pieces. This approach allows for a sense of tranquility and visual harmony. By incorporating simple lines, neutral colors, and unadorned surfaces, simplicity in decorating fosters a calming ambiance.


Comfort is a vital consideration when designing a space. Cottage decorating prioritizes creating a cozy and welcoming environment that encourages relaxation and ease. This is achieved through the use of soft and polished textiles, such as comfortable seating, cozy rugs, and inviting bedding. Additionally, incorporating elements like warm lighting, fluffy pillows, and throw blankets enhances the overall comfort of the space, making it a place where people can unwind and feel at home.

Rustic Charm

Rustic charm embodies the natural beauty of the outdoors and the warmth of traditional craftsmanship. It emphasizes the use of natural materials, such as wood, stone, and exposed brick, to bring a sense of authenticity and character to a space. Rough-hewn textures, distressed finishes, and vintage or antique furniture contribute to the rustic charm. By incorporating these elements, cottage decorating creates a nostalgic and timeless aesthetic, evoking a sense of history and heritage.

In combination, simplicity, comfort, and rustic charm work together to create a welcoming and cozy atmosphere in a space. The simplicity of the design ensures visual clarity and a sense of serenity, while the focus on comfort provides a nurturing environment for relaxation. The rustic charm adds a touch of nostalgia and personality, bringing warmth and character to the overall decor. These elements come together to create a space that is not only visually pleasing but also inviting and enjoyable to inhabit.

Key Elements of Cottage Decor

Color Palette

The color palette in cottage decor revolves around soft and muted tones, pastels, and nature-inspired hues. These colors create a soothing and calming atmosphere. Shades of whites, creams, light blues, pale yellows, soft greens, and gentle pinks are commonly used. These colors evoke a sense of tranquility and reflect the colors found in nature, further enhancing the connection to the outdoors.

Furniture and Fabrics

Cottage decor often involves mixing vintage and new pieces to create an eclectic and charming look. Furniture with distressed finishes, such as weathered wood or chipped paint, adds a sense of history and character to the space. Floral patterns, gingham checks, and striped fabrics are popular choices for upholstery, curtains, and bedding, adding a touch of whimsy and nostalgia. Cozy textiles like soft throws, plush cushions, and vintage quilts enhance comfort and warmth.


Lighting plays a crucial role in creating the desired ambiance in cottage decor. Warm and soft lighting options are preferred to promote a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Lanterns, table lamps with fabric shades, and candles provide gentle and intimate lighting. Vintage-inspired or farmhouse-style light fixtures, such as chandeliers or pendant lights with Edison bulbs, can add a touch of nostalgia and charm to the place. 

Accessories and Decor

Accessories and decor items in cottage decorating reflect a blend of vintage finds, floral arrangements, artwork, and cozy textiles. Displaying vintage treasures, such as antique mirrors, old books, or weathered signs, adds a sense of history and personal touch to the space. Fresh or dried floral arrangements in vases or pitchers bring a pop of color and natural beauty. Artwork with botanical prints or landscapes can enhance the cottage aesthetic. Cozy textiles like throws, cushions, and pillow covers in soft and inviting fabrics add comfort and visual interest.

By incorporating these key elements, cottage decor creates a space that is charming, inviting, and connected to nature. The soft color palette, a mix of vintage and new furniture, natural materials, warm lighting, and carefully selected accessories work together to create a sense of simplicity, comfort, and rustic beauty in the backyard cottage.

Transforming your Cottage Decor

So if you’re going to build a backyard cottage, how will you decorate it? Here are a few backyard cottage ideas that will create a space as cozy as home.

Choose Soft Colors

Cottages are known for being cozy and relaxing, so that means choosing soft colors for your color scheme. This doesn’t mean it has to be neutral, though. You can still have colors like yellow, pink, blue, and green. But choose softer or more pastel versions of these colors throughout your home.

It’s also a great idea to have white or light tan as accent colors throughout the design. For those who may not love darker colors, earth tones can be a great alternative to having a cottage interior with a darker color scheme.

Embrace Natural Materials

Cottage interiors embrace nature. The style is also based on the old English countryside when many modern materials weren’t as readily available. To get a true cottage interior, try to use as many natural materials as you can.

Wood, in particular wood furniture, is a material you’ll often feel yourself being drawn to when decorating in a cottage style. Using wicker, jute, hemp, and straw are also great materials to bring the natural element inside. These can all bring a classic interior look.

Incorporating natural materials is a key aspect of cottage decor. Exposing wood elements, such as rustic beams or hardwood floors, add warmth and natural beauty to the space. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re limited to using only these materials. Stone accents, such as a fireplace or exposed brick walls, bring a sense of texture and earthiness. Natural fibers like cotton, linen, jute, and sisal can be used for rugs, curtains, and upholstery, adding a tactile and organic element to the decor. You can have a blend of cottage and modern and use materials like metal in your interior. But embracing natural materials is a fun way to give your backyard cottage a stylized look.

Backyard Cottage Garden

Nature and cottages go hand in hand, so don’t focus only on the interior of your cottage home. Outside, plant a backyard cottage garden full of bright blooms. A trellis with a climbing rose bush is a quintessential cottage addition.

You can also plant an herb or vegetable garden outside your backyard cottage and use these as ingredients in recipes that you cook. There’s nothing more cottage-like than having a direct connection with nature right outside your home.

Soften the Space With Texture

If cozy is the word most often associated with cottages, then cozy should be the cornerstone of all the design decisions you make. You can make your backyard cottage feel cozy by softening the space with lots of different textures.

Place large rugs under furniture to warm up the space. Long flowing curtains should frame all the windows. And your sofa should have a collection of plush throw blankets and overstuffed pillows.

A cottage interior is warm and inviting, so make the space look lived-in rather than designed. All of these additions should look loved rather than bought to create the space.

Fill It With Lush Foliage and Florals

Cottages are known for embracing nature, so having lots of foliage and florals throughout your backyard cottage is key to nailing the style. Adding greenery and flowers also adds life to the space.

Vining and trailing plants like ivy, some philodendrons, and creeping figs are great at creating a cottage feel indoors. Rustic-feeling flowers like lavender, hollyhock, and daisies are all great options for a vase of flowers.

You can also incorporate foliage and florals throughout the rest of your cottage decor, like curtains, pillows, and rugs. 

Look for Vintage Details

If you want a true cottage-style home, you have to look for some vintage details to add to your home. Head to your local thrift store to search for artistic and decorative accents to add to your home.

Vintage furniture is also a great addition to a cottage home, though it can be pricey depending on the piece. But you won’t regret splurging on that vintage centerpiece when it ties the room together.

Add Wallpaper

Cottages are meant to look lived-in and have an antique flair, so house decor trends that feel older fit right into a cottage home. Even though wallpaper is coming back into style in many homes, it lends itself well to this quaint decor style.

While your wallpaper doesn’t have to be antique, it can have an antique feel to it. Choose nature or vintage-inspired prints to be the backdrop of the room. Unlike many modern styles that use wallpaper as an accent, with a cottage home, wallpaper can go all over the room.

You can use faux wallpaper or a peel-and-stick option for easy application and removal. Just be careful not to get any air bubbles trapped.

Finish With Quaint Art Pieces

Finish off your space with quaint, artistic details. Look for country-themed or pastoral wall art to add throughout your home. Nature prints, landscape paintings, and old photographs all make great cottage art.

You can also choose small decorative items like statues and figurines to add accents throughout the home. All of these pieces are even better if they’re vintage or antique.

This is one of the fun parts of designing a space because choosing art is highly personal. Especially because cottage interiors have a wide array of themes, not all of your art has to match.

Cozy Backyard Cottage for Your Home

If you’re going to add an accessory dwelling unit to your property, why not build a cozy backyard cottage for you and your family to enjoy? These spaces allow you to have extra room and the chance to take on a new home improvement project and decorate in a new style.

If you love the coziness that cottages provide, then a backyard cottage house is for you. Use these ideas to inspire your own cozy abode.

Acton ADU

Before you can start cottage home decorating, you’re going to need a cottage. If you’re not sure where to start, make sure to look into pre-approved ADUs (or backyard cottages). You’re going to need a project manager, and here at Acton ADU, we’d be more than happy to help you build your dream cottage so you can start the cottage decorating ideas listed above. You’ll love the cottage so much you’ll want to live in it! Contact us today to start the process.

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