5 Totally Tacky Cottage Decorating Trends - QC Design School

Cottage season is arguably the best season. Many people pack their cars and drive to the lakeside a couple hours from their home for a weekend getaway. The point is to relax and have a great time away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 workweek they’ll have to get back to on Monday morning.

If the point is to relax and have a good time by the water, why do some cottages have borderline offensively ugly décor that’s sure to upset your comfort levels? Many of your clients will only hire you for your decorating services at their main residence and neglect their lake-side retreat. If you’re lucky enough to tackle their cottages, though, keep them away from these 5 totally tacky decorating trends.

Real (and fake) taxidermy


Prime examples of this includes the stuffed caribou bust or pair of antlers hanging above the mantle in the sitting room—they need to go. Yes, cottages and cabins are very similar, but that doesn’t mean tha décor from 1970s man cave cabins should be showing up in the modern cottage.

While some people love earthly terrain, others long for the sea. No matter how strongly their hearts pull them to the sea, under no circumstances would a mounted musical fish have a place on the wall! Especially atrocious are the ones that feature a flopping, mechanical fish with bulging eyes that stare straight through you.

Clashing wood types

There’s nothing like good quality natural wood in the home. It can bring warmth to the home and also bring an element of the outside world to the inside. Wood can be versatile, appearing in both furniture and also on walls as wood paneling. But overloading on 6 different types of wood in every piece of furniture in the room can be bad, especially if they aren’t dressed up with any other decor. Something like a wood-paneled wall should be focal point, and so using too much would be distracting and just plain bad.

Brown color scheme

brown color scheme

Any way we look at it, there’s no excuse to load up on the brown décor just to try to emulate nature’s earthy characteristics. If your clients don’t want their cottage to resemble a last-ditch hideout on the set of The Walking Dead, you should advise them toss in some colors! There’s no reason why the cottage can’t be chic and cozy.

Like with decorating a regular home, stick with neutral colors for the big furniture fixtures, and use pillows (lots of them!) and blankets to add pops of color. As for the more permanent aspects of the space, try adding summery fresh citrus colors onto the backsplash of their kitchen, or a sea-blue paint job in the sunroom.

Mismatched / distressed furnishings

Gone are the days where everything had to match exactly to a tee. While it’s great that decorating trends are moving towards experimentation with furniture that’s not uniform and boring, sometimes things can go a little far.

For those going for a more rustic look, distressed and mismatched furnishings can work really well. The key is to make sure they all have at least one overlapping characteristic. An example would be a dinner table that is surrounded by chairs that are all relatively the same size.

Animal prints

animal print

This category includes the classic animal prints, animal silhouette or cartoons, and pictures or screen prints of animals on the décor. Some animal prints are incredibly cute and can work well in decor, but when they are in excess… well that’s a different story. Less is always more when it comes to prints, and especially when they’re of the animal variety.

The outdated pictures of deer or other wildlife that look like it was taken as screen grabs from the Discovery channel’s TV shows should be thrown out! There are cushions, quilts, dishes, and even rugs that sport these wildlife pictures, but they should be replaced by repetitive prints or colorful solids in their stead.

While these offbeat trends aren’t doing the space any favors, other decorating trends are ambiguous. Check out this post on unconventional decorating ideas and decide for yourself!

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