If you love the seaside cottage look of homes on the Maine coast or Cape Cod, you may want to try replicating that style in your own house. Here are five projects you can do at home to repair, restore, and repurpose vintage items for that cozy cottage look you crave.
At the Curb
The first place to make a charming, nautical impression is at the curb. Paint or stain an old oar or use a set of lobster buoys to display your house numbers or the name of our cottage. (If your home doesn't have a name, there's nothing that says you can't give it one.)
Cute gardens are the hallmark of cottage yards. To create an interesting plant holder, take an old wooden chair and cut a hole in the center of the seat to hold a pot of flowers. Make sure to leave the hole smaller than the widest diameter of the flower pot.
For more garden charm, nail a section of old picket fence to the back of a flower box, making a perfect trellis for climbing geraniums, clematis, or ivy. Paint the fence pickets a crisp white, and use a color on the flower box to coordinate with your front door or window trim.
In the Baby or Guest Room
Cottage bedrooms are typically small, because older homes used to frequently have tinier rooms, and because at beach cottages everyone tends to spend most of their time outdoors. Seaside cottage owners therefore try to make use of space and eschew large pieces of furniture.
To make extra storage space in a baby or guest room, convert an old dry sink to a changing table. Use the drawers or cabinet underneath to store clothing or linens, and add a pad to the top for changing diapers.
In the Kitchen
If you have an old kitchen cabinet, you can spruce it up and hang it back on the wall or convert it to a bookcase. First, remove the doors repurpose them for something else (paint with blackboard paint and turn them into memo boards or add pegs for coat racks).
Paint the inside a different color than the exterior, and if the back interior wall is unattractive, cover it with beadboard first. Rehang it on the kitchen wall as open shelving, or use it in a bedroom or kids room as a bookshelf.
For authentic antique-looking paint on any of the above projects, use chalk finish paint, which is a flat latex paint mixed with plaster for a vintage, old New England look. Try shades of robin's egg blue, faded barn red, or buttery yellow for a real cottage look. If you use very light strokes, you can let some of the underlying color show through. You can also sand with sandpaper, steel wool, or a kitchen sponge after you paint for the same effect.
The next time you're in a second hand or antique store, take a look around. You may find even more furniture or other items you can give new life to. Use your imagination, and you'll likely come up with some fun new projects of your own.Share