Calm. Comfortable. Relaxed. Casual. Cozy. Those are the words we frequently use to describe cottage style decorating, with the emphasis on comfortable. Our inspiration? Think beach house on a late summer afternoon, windows open and a soft breeze.

Cottage style incorporates calming pastel colors and white, along with pretty florals and vintage hues. A light and breezy feeling is accomplished through a mix of casual fabrics, wicker and rattan furniture and light-colored or sheer window treatments to allow for maximum light. Overstuffed upholstered furniture is popular, usually covered in chintz, toile or light solids.

Cottage-style walls are painted in light tones, as well. Wall art tends to focus on seashore or beach themes, or vintage accessories such as old-style signs and black-and-white photographs.

The real key to cottage style is in the choice of accessories. Flea market and garage sale finds, old pieces with distressed paint or a touch of rust, are the perfect finishing touch.