How To Decorate Your Home Like Miss Honey's Cottage In Matilda

Miss Honey is a character from the 1988 book and the 1996 movie adaption, "Matilda." She is Matilda's school teacher and one of the first people to appreciate and acknowledge how special Matilda is. According to author Roald Dahl, "Miss Jennifer Honey was a mild and quiet person who never raised her voice and was seldom seen to smile, but there is no doubt she possessed that rare gift for being adored by every small child under her care." 

Undoubtedly, many children who have read the "Matilda" books or have watched the film adaption adore Miss Honey, too. There's just something about her. As such a popular character, many fans wonder how they can decorate their home to resemble one of their favorite childhood characters. Looking further into her aesthetic, you can see that she decorated her home like an English cottage long before the cottagecore trend took hold. Here's a peek inside Miss Honey's cottage in "Matilda."

Create a magical cottage garden

The most stunning feature of Miss Honey's cottage, and the first part of her home that we see, is her lovely garden. Beautiful flowers, garden rocks, and lawn ornaments are all over the yard. If you want a home that resembles Miss Honey's, start by creating a magical garden. Buy some colorful flowers and plants, find garden rocks and lawn ornaments, and let your imagination run wild.

As gardener Greg Loades told Veranda, "Cottage gardening is a way to maximize your space without there being too much order in the planting, yet never letting the garden go completely 'wild.' There's also a strong element of nostalgia, perhaps for your grandparent's garden and a place that's timeless, not progressive." Some tips for creating a cottage-style garden include growing vining plants like morning glory and honeysuckle and aromatic plants such as lilac, jasmine, gardenia, and wisteria. You can also hang white string lights and solar pathway lights and decorate with magical fairies or gnomes. Plant blooming flowers to attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to your garden.

Construct a wooden fence

Find inspiration in Miss Honey's yard and add a charming wooden privacy fence around your property. Houzz recommends installing trellises at the top to add privacy while letting natural sunlight through. Landscape expert Peter Reader, "Most fences are 1.8m high, as this offers the best privacy. But remember, they also block light, so think carefully about how high you want your fence. A strip of trellis on top will add to the feeling of privacy while still letting light through."

Adding a trellis will add both functionality and visual interest. You can also plant flowering vines, hang string lights around your fence, use hanging planters to fill empty space, attach decorative objects, and even paint a mural. Consider a beautiful butterfly or dragonfly mural. You could also paint bunnies, fairies, the morning sun, or anything else that complements your garden's aesthetic. The possibilities are endless. Don't overlook your fence. There are many ways you can spruce up an otherwise plain wooden fence and make it unique and filled with personality.

Use stone accents and wood paneling

While viewers only get a peek inside Miss Honey's cottage, it's enough to provide an idea of her character, personality, and design style. Decorating with stone accents and wood paneling, like the style in Miss Honey's kitchen, is the perfect first step toward getting her look. Adding stone accents to wood-paneled walls will create instant cottage vibes.

According to Realstone Systems, natural stone fills a space with texture, intricate details, and a pop of color. Not only is it beautiful, but it's also durable and provides functionality in the home. You can choose from several different types of stone, including an accent wall or stone veneer tiles. Adding a stone accent wall behind a flat screen television, for example, is a great way to bring depth and a focal point to the room. You can also consider adding an accent wall to a wine cellar, bathroom, or dividing wall.

Install distressed wooden cabinets

According to Normandy Remodeling, the options for styling your kitchen cabinets are endless. If you like the look of vintage or cottagecore interior design, adding distressed wood to your home, especially your kitchen, is a great choice. Distressed wood is known for its old, worn, and weathered appearance. As designer Kathryn O'Donovan said, "A sign of good distressing is that the marks are random, with no consistencies in the wood." You can distress wood and create an antique appearance by gouging, scraping, and wearing it down. 

While you can certainly attempt to distress wood yourself, plenty of pre-distressed options are available today, especially for kitchen cabinets. Even better, you can add distressed cabinets with a glass display. Glass displays can help you showcase your fine china and knickknacks, both of which provide sweet cottage vibes and make you feel as though you're living in the country, much like Miss Honey.

Add a small wooden table to your dining room

Miss Honey's home features a small, square wooden table in the kitchen area for eating and drinking tea. If you want your home to resemble Miss Honey's, find a small wooden table to display in your kitchen. Top it off with a country-style tablecloth, cute dishes, and a vase of colorful flowers.

However, if you're lacking space in your kitchen or dining area, you can opt for a round table. According to The Kitchn, round tables are ideal for compact spaces and awkward floor plans. Their footprints are generally much smaller than rectangular or square tables. Luckily, there are many different tables you can choose from to fill your home, and you're sure to easily be able to find one that matches Miss Honey's cottage aesthetic. If you want to take it a step further, select a table made from distressed wood.

Throw in some clutter

Clutter isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it can make your home feel cozy and lived-in while adding character and personality. So don't be afraid to add in some clutter. Books, flower vases, old hats, and vintage dishes are the perfect accessories to scatter throughout your home.

As noted by Southern Living, there is even a maximalist design trend referred to as cluttercore in which more is more. Cluttercore is when clutter appears throughout the home for a cluttering aesthetic. Instead of looking messy, it's about showcasing the items you already own and appreciate. Don't go out to buy a bunch of clutter you don't need. Instead, use items you already have and display them in areas throughout your home in a way that makes sense. Antique books and old knickknacks will complement the cottagecore aesthetic. Also, if you have any artificial flowers, those are clutter-friendly accessories.

Embrace earth tones

Nothing will give you Miss Honey's style like decorating with natural earth tones throughout your home. These tranquil colors bring the outdoors inside, making your home warm and inviting. These hues will create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for guests. As interior designer Nancy Hooff told Elle Decor, "We find that by keeping a room wrapped in quiet earth tones, the rich natural colors of Mother Nature, right outside the window, are allowed to be more visible and more pronounced than if they are fighting stronger colors used on interiors."

Filling a room with earth tones will help connect your interiors with the nature outside, whether you live in the city or the country. Aim to incorporate earthy colors into your living room, bedroom, and bathroom. Introduce tones like chocolate browns, moss greens, taupe, creams, and even mustards and oranges. Any of these colors will instill a peaceful cottage feeling in your home.

Decorate with cozy tablecloths, blankets, and pillows

We know Miss Honey decorates her small dining table with a tablecloth to create a cute and charming style in her kitchen. Bring this idea to the bedroom by incorporating plenty of cozy bedding like big quilts and comforters. However, don't just stop there.

According to Snug & Cozy Life, you can transform your bed into an inviting oasis with comfortable bedding. Buying a supportive mattress, adding a feather bed, including soft sheets and a duvet, and topping with finishing touches like decorative pillows and throws will make your bed the best place to hang out. When purchasing your sheets, opt for natural materials like cotton for a good night's sleep. Layer a bed with patterned quilts or a cover on top for visual interest. You can also add your favorite stuffed animals or leave your bed as is — it'll be a comfortable refuge no matter what.

Design reading nooks

Considering that Miss Honey was a teacher and her kitchen has plenty of books, it wouldn't be surprising if she had some cute reading nook or mini-library in her home. Either way, a reading nook is an ideal addition to your Miss Honey-inspired home. Consider installing a reading nook such as a simple bay window seat with two bookcases on either side. Reading nooks can be incorporated into your home in several fashions. As designer director Louise Wicksteed told Homes & Gardens, "It could be in a sitting room, study, bedroom or even a well thought-out space under the stairs. Use this opportunity to get creative with furnishings by choosing cozy pillows and throws to create your relaxing haven. We also recommend recessing shelves into the walls of the nook to store books."

Your reading nook should be cozy, so you don't need to use much space. However, the book nook should also be somewhere you can spend rainy days getting lost in the pages of a good book. Be sure to decorate with your favorite colors and textures.

Bring your garden inside

Planting an indoor garden area is a great way to create cozy and cute interiors like Miss Honey. As you can tell from the yard, Miss Honey loves flowers and plants, so we can assume that some of her love for greenery shows up inside her home.

If you're short on outdoor space but still want the benefit of plants, an indoor garden is a great idea. The best vegetables for your indoor garden include carrots, peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes. For herbs, consider basil, chives, mint, parsley, and thyme. Keep in mind that indoor plants require TLC like outdoor plants. You'll need to pay attention to lighting conditions, temperature, and humidity. Also, use the correct soil and fertilizer for your plants and water them depending on their specific needs. For example, as gardener Sera Rogue told The Strategist, "The roots of herbs are somewhat simplistic. They require daily watering." Be sure to water those herbs!

Go wild with antiques and rustic furniture

Placing antiques and rustic furniture in your home will make the interiors feel like a quaint and charming cottage. You can decorate with antique clocks, bookcases, tables, armchairs, or anything else you can find from your local thrift shops, antique stores, or yard sales. As mentioned by Far Pavilions, antique furniture helps create a wonderful picture of history and preserves heritage for the future. Antique pieces are a great addition to cottage homes.

If you can't access authentic antique furniture, you can buy contemporary pieces with a distressed look. These weathered pieces will often resemble antique furniture even though they aren't from a different period. Opt for rustic or retro-styled items if you don't like the distressed style. Wicker pieces also add a nice touch to your home, especially on a porch where you can relax outside in the evening, enjoying the sunset and fresh air.

Make creative DIY decor

Another great way to decorate like Miss Honey's cottage is to craft your own DIY decor and display it throughout the home. Since Miss Honey was a school teacher and loved cottagecore decor, she probably had some DIY projects around her living space, including hand-painted welcome signs, repurposed vases, or needlework designs.

DIY projects can be fun and quirky. According to Makey, these craft pieces allow your unique personality to shine and create a homey atmosphere — without going over the budget. There are many different ways to incorporate DIY projects throughout your home. You can make your own backsplashes with stencils, reclaim nightstands, tables, and bookcases, or create a personalized handwritten canvas. Additionally, you can display art in handmade frames throughout your home. If you have a lot of books lying around, mount them onto your walls as floating shelves using a metal L-shaped insert. With so many DIY projects available, finding one that fits Miss Honey's cottage aesthetic should be simple.

Display floral fabrics

Floral fabrics are a sweet touch to any cottage-style home. Whether using them on furniture or curtains, floral patterns add a whimsical element and instantly spice up drab interiors. Florals are timeless and natural, so it makes sense to include these designs in a home with Miss Honey's rustic style.

F&P Interiors notes that floral fabrics are a staple interior trend with many shapes, sizes, bloom types, and colors. With such a variety, we're sure you'll be able to find a floral pattern that suits your specific tastes. There are plenty of ways in which you can incorporate these prints, too. You can decorate with floral couches, transform floral fabric into curtains, find floral bedding, or even add a floral living room rug. You can also decorate with floral prints by covering a bathroom with wallpaper or using it to create an accent wall in your kitchen.

Find a wind chime or play whimsical background music

Natural sights and sounds surround Miss Honey's cottage. Hanging up a wind chime or playing light background music can change the atmosphere of your home. It can make your home feel inviting, happy, or even sad, depending on the type of music you decide to play. Try adding whimsical or fanciful sounds to the background if you're going for a cottage-like home like Miss Honey. You can play music on an old antique record player.

A study from the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience on MIT Press Direct found that auditory white noise benefited the learning process. Background noise can improve productivity, creativity, concentration, and mood. Picture walking into a home with a cottage aesthetic and hearing twinkling music with nature sounds, relaxing harp, or ambient tones. Imagine how relaxing and magical that would feel — just as magical as walking into Miss Honey's cottage.