How To Decorate Your Home Like The English Cottage In The Holiday

"A fairy tale English cottage set in a tranquil English garden ... An enchanting oasis of tranquility in a quaint English hamlet," is how the character Iris describes her home on a home rental website in the heartwarming romantic comedy film "The Holiday," according to Sony Pictures. This idyllic home, Rosehill Cottage, is the quiet reprieve for Cameron Diaz's character Amanda in the movie when she switches homes with Iris, played by Kate Winslet.

Though Iris is in awe when she arrives at Amanda's glamorous L.A. mansion, there's plenty to say about Rosehill Cottage and its charming appeal. From the outside, the home has many typical yet beautiful architectural signatures that are unique for cottages, including arched details, divided light windows, and more than one chimney, according to West | South Studio. There are also different varieties of cottages, from suburban and modern to beach inspired. But set in the little hamlet of Surrey, England, this home is an English cottage with a picket fence and garden door. If your heart aches for a quiet house in the English countryside, there are ways to replicate this home's style, bringing the coziness of cottage-style living into your own space without having to house swap.

Choose rustic and shabby over contemporary

Though an English cottage style of living might seem challenging to achieve in a modern or non-British setting, there are a few interior design styles that envelop the essence of an English cottage. Shabby chic, for example, was born as the antithesis of the opulent, elegant stylings of the more-is-more 1980s, according to Decoist. Decor showcased the beauty of age — how everything from furniture to fabrics is beautiful when they show wear. Similar in its laid-back, comfortable aesthetic, the farmhouse style is akin to cottage and shabby chic, showcasing furniture and decor with patina in a more practical manner (via Star Furniture). This style leans more on the greener angle and focuses on natural materials.

Rachel Ashwell, a designer who specializes in shabby chic, told Inc. that to perfect this look, you need to choose pieces that are "cozy, comfortable, vintage, and pretty." Use this same focus when selecting pieces, since cottage style embraces imperfection. Some rustic touches in "The Holiday" include a barn-style front door and an iron-wrought headboard painted white. You can follow suit by choosing furniture or accent pieces with scratches or nicks, which add authenticity to the look.

Highlight English cottage-style furnishings

English cottage, as a style, is layered. It includes a little bit of English country, farmhouse, and shabby chic. With smaller spaces in mind, furniture in a room like this should be a bit more on the rustic side. These not only coincide with the movie's style choices, but the atmosphere you're trying to achieve.

As noted by Decor Outdoor, cottage style is known for its sense of coziness and comfort, but there is also a soft lightness that this style brings to a room — a feeling of warmth and welcome. A great way to do this is with color and materials. Pieces such as tables, chairs, and couches should be more rustic and show more age and patina, preferably in natural/neutral colors such as white and beige, in raw materials such as wood, stone, and glass. If you prefer more color, these pieces can be painted in softer, pastel hues. These pieces should also be small in stature, as cottage-style homes are usually on the smaller side. This will also make the room feel more casual, unlike large furniture meant to entertain.

A great way to fill wall space is with art to infuse that cozy cottage energy. Florals are good prints to help bring in color and add a vital nature element. You can use botanical prints, which not only add a floral element but a vintage flair, which is both English and cottage adjacent. There are plenty of ways to style these prints, from sparingly across your walls or in a gallery wall to draw attention (via One Kings Lane).

Create multipurpose rooms out of small spaces

As seen in snippets of the movie, Rosehill Cottage is small in scale, especially compared to Amanda's L.A. mansion. Smaller spaces also need to be creative with how you live, work, entertain, and relax with less room. A cottage-style home does this naturally and effortlessly by making rooms multipurpose.

According to Resource Furniture, making rooms multipurpose has many benefits, from increasing the functionality of the space to enhancing comfort levels, which is especially important for a cottage-style atmosphere. Methods of making rooms multifunctional include space-saving storage containers, from woven baskets and wooden organizers to larger built-in units that look like bookcases. You can even go so far as to make whole rooms multipurpose, such as the classic home-office-turned-guest-room, which is especially helpful in smaller homes. "Guests aren't there that often, so this is a great way to get more out of a room, especially if you have a smaller home," designer Barbara Elliott tells Elle Decor.

Elliott says another way to break up larger spaces to be more functional is to set up zones, starting with the largest zone and to fit the smaller zones around it. "If there is an architectural element or focal point built in, like a fireplace or large windows, we'll build around that." And while much cottage-style furniture is not necessarily multipurpose, accent pieces like foldable tables or nesting tables can be both multipurpose and charming in a cottage-style way.

Show off vintage touches

The English cottage is not nearly as charming without its vintage detailing, elevating a rustic look to a sweet, elegant aesthetic. There are little vintage accents throughout Iris' cottage in "The Holiday," from more significant pieces like the antique stove and clawfoot tub to the little finishes such as the kitchenware, vases, and light fixtures. It's vital to include not only antique and vintage touches but also the right ones. Antiques showcase not only a unique style, but also a love for authenticity.

There are several ways to choose vintage pieces for your home, one of which is investing in items that are more uncommon than most. "Invest in pieces that are no longer manufactured. A lot of designer pieces are replicated or are licensed through other companies," New York-based designer Sasha Bikoff tells Architectural Digest. This works well for those looking for a unique take on their cottage. However, for those looking to have that classic cottage style, you can also focus on vintage textiles. Fabric especially has a dual purpose for its look and touch. "[Vintage fabrics] have a certain faded elegance which makes them easy to mix and match as the muted colors all work really well together," Chloe Jonason of Chloe Jonason Interiors tells Homes & Gardens.

No matter where you choose to put the vintage touch in your space, be sure it's something you love. The appeal of using vintage items is to give an authentic, unique touch, meaning that it was chosen for a reason. "Let your heart guide you in the process," designer Charlie Ferrer tells Architectural Digest. "When a piece speaks to you, you'll feel it."

Go for cool and earth tones

To coexist harmoniously in a space that highlights vintage, nature, and English elegance, pair them with neutral colors that are cooler and earthier. Neutral colors, though simple, are prevalent in Rosehill Cottage, showcased in cream or white fabrics and splashes of cool blue in the kitchen and living room. Benjamin Moore Paints notes that choosing these tones makes the room feel welcoming and calming. Neutrals can also give off an air of sophistication, giving a modern attitude to a cottage-style space.

According to Custom Home Group, earth tones are especially appealing and functional in a living space. They include shades of brown, tan, and muted purples, reds, and blues. The best ways to represent these colors are on walls and fabrics, as they take up the bulk of the eye's focus when looking at a space. To provide that calming effect, it's best to use earth tones in living and family rooms.

Outfit the home in natural materials, mainly stone and wood

Rosehill Cottage showcases beautiful stone walls, wooden beams, and craftsmanship in small, quaint rooms. When designing an English cottage-inspired space, you can use natural materials to flush out a rustic aesthetic, which ages beautifully. Similar to styles like Japandi or Wabi-Sabi, cottage decor showcases how age and minor imperfections can be timeless. "Use materials that can naturally patina in time, like wood, natural stones, and living finish metals. To create depth, use different stained colored woods," designer Shanty Wijaya tells CNN.

You can incorporate these materials in numerous ways. Furniture or accent pieces are a given and easier to source, but to make it truly cottage-like, these materials look great nestled between vintage or cozy home elements. Stone is an especially great material as stone finishes retain their natural color over time, even when exposed to extreme weather conditions, according to The Nation Roar. These finishes come in various colors and types, making it easy to add them to a room, from stone tiles in your bathroom or kitchen to entire walls in your living space.

Emphasize your fireplace(s) and mantels

Fireplaces are the perfect centerpiece of any living space — they can bring a rustic touch to a cottage-style room that might otherwise be too English or traditional. Rosehill Cottage in "The Holiday" has two wood-burning fireplaces. They are used to heat the home, but also act as design focal points. The benefits of having a fireplace are numerous, from warming up the house when the power goes out to creating the ultimate romantic setting ideal for date night. Plus, burning wood is safer for the environment than cranking the heat on your thermostat, which uses electricity created by burning fossil fuels.

There are many fireplace options to choose from, so deciding on the right one depends on what your needs look like. While wood-burning fireplaces epitomize comfort, hauling wood and burning might not be possible — hence, the electric fireplace. Options include wall-mount electric fireplaces, electric fireplace mantels, and electric fireplace inserts, with various finishes for each to choose from (via Modern Flames). If you'd like to entertain and decorate around your fireplace, electric fireplace mantels can sometimes double as media consoles and allow space to fit your TV on or above it. However, if you like the authentic look and feel without the hassle of getting the fireplace, an insert can be placed inside a fireplace and replicate the heat and look of a lit fire.

Utilize soft mood lighting

Rosehill Cottage was a lovely space to set the mood for a quiet night in, both alone or with someone you love. A great way to help develop that mood? Lighting. Soft, warm lighting is ideal in a cottage setting as it can help make the space inviting. Warm lighting especially works best to get cozy, as it reflects the glow of a fireplace, according to Realtor. To recreate that glow, smaller light sources such as lamps and sconces with shades help filter the brightness. Principal designer Sara Barney also suggests sources like floor lamps and pendants to "bring more light to those darker spaces in your home," according to Better Homes and Gardens.

Get creative with your light sources as well. The outside shrubs of Rosehill Cottage are decorated with string lights — you can use those same lights to decorate your walls, mantlepiece, or anywhere that could use a little twinkle. Candles are another great source of soft, warm lighting. Principal designer Jade Joyner says that lighting candles help to create "a soothing ambience while adding a little luxe to my day."

Shelving is key

While bookcases might seem simplistic to insist upon, they are a key feature in the living room of Iris' cottage, taking up the entire wall and built around the room's archway. Since Iris is a writer in the film, this use of shelving shows her personality and love for books. If you share this love or just love to display what's important to you, installing shelving or bookcases in your space can help add an interesting element to your English cottage-style home.

Sourcing a vintage-style set of bookcases is a great way to use shelves in your space, but a potentially better method is to create built-in shelving. Built-in shelves allow for a more precise, functional design that fits your space and architectural style, according to Wentworth Studio. These structures also help with clutter and are perfect for English cottages because they enhance small spaces (via Best Pick Reports).

Ways to incorporate built-shelves can be big or small. Upgrade your closet with some built-in shelving to get even more space while displaying your clothes in attractive and convenient ways (via Best Pick Reports). Use these shelves to display your favorite things to show more of your personality. Add some lit shelving units in your kitchen if you love to show off your unique bake or kitchenware or create a library in your living room. That personal touch will not only make you happy, but settle comfortably in the space meant to feel the most like home.

Fill empty space with cozy things

It's essential to make sure a home styled to look like an English cottage feels cozy from top to bottom. Even in such a small home, Rosehill Cottage is filled with inherently comfortable items. From a tufted ottoman and numerous seating options with plush pillows in the living room, to an almost too-small kitchen covered in familiar, charming details, anywhere you look, there is an element that is meant to make one feel comfortable.

The bedroom is probably the coziest room in the home, with the bed playing the biggest part in that equation. The bed, first and foremost, should draw you in immediately when you walk into the bedroom. To get that appeal, make sure the linens are high quality, and there is plenty of texture to keep things interesting, according to Style Curator. There's also the debate on how many pillows are enough, depending on your color palette and comfort. If your bedding is a bit more on the busy, colorful side, balance that out with fewer pillows in more simple or subdued tones.

Curtains also play an important role in the bedroom. The most important thing is to make sure they are the correct height. Short curtains work best when they almost touch the window sill, while longer ones should stop half an inch above the floor (via Furnishing Tips). Shorter curtains can make the space more casual yet charming, while long curtains feel classy and achieve a high ceiling effect.