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Whether or not your summer home is near a body of water, lake house décor gives your cottage a distinct sense of place. Lake house décor is characterized by rustic, casual style and draws on nature as the inspiration for the color scheme, typically involving a neutral palette with lots of crisp whites and luscious water hues. It’s relaxing and inviting, creating a soothing space where you can put up your feet and bask in the homey vibe all vacay long. Sound good? Here are some ways to incorporate lake house décor into your vacation home.

Lake House Décor Inspiration

Accentuate the View

The whole point of a vacation home is to get away from the daily grind at home. You want to be constantly reminded that you’re on holiday, so capitalizing on the view outside your cottage windows is paramount. If possible, keep your windows bare so that you can always see out. If bare windows aren’t practical, choose some white, semi-transparent window coverings that will offer privacy at night while letting the light in during the day.

Incorporate the Colors of Nature

The neutral colors of nature give your summer cottage rustic charm and promote feelings of calm and serenity, which are exactly what vacation is all about. Choose blue or white for the walls. White walls give your home a clean, crisp feel, while blue walls bring a sense of water in to the home. Think robin’s egg blue or a rustic darker blue. Accessorize blue walls with plenty of white and light-colored accents. If you choose white walls, bring in lots of wood and incorporate splashes of blue and gray to honor the water and the sky.

 A Touch of Rustic

Jasper Engineered Hardwood – Baltic Oak Collection / SKU: 15001759

Lake house décor is rustic décor, which is marked by dark, woodsy hues; rugged, natural beauty; nature-inspired textures; and simple, earthy colors. Sliding barn doors are a classic example of rustic décor that you can easily incorporate into your summer home. Wide plank wood flooring is another classic touch that can transform your home into a rustic retreat. Faux animal hides, matte metal pieces, and rough-hewn wood beams or furniture are other rustic elements that create a sense of hominess.

Mix and Match Styles

While rustic is the name of the game, you needn’t go overboard. A few rustic pieces paired with other pieces you love will give your vacation home a comfortable, eclectic vibe. Think a sisal rug and a comfy shabby chic couch paired with a heavy, wooden coffee table, or a reclaimed wooden dining table beneath mid-century modern pendant lighting.

Choose the Right Flooring

Mazama Hardwood – Handscraped Acacia Collection / SKU: 10082300

Your vacation home should have durable, water-resistant flooring that requires minimal care. It’s best to avoid carpet, which holds onto moisture, dirt, and allergens, but if your heart is set on carpet, keep it to the hallways and bedrooms. Hardwood flooring, especially wide-plank floors, gives your cottage that coveted rustic vibe, while stone flooring keeps things cool and doesn’t mind soaking wet kids moving through. Travertine tile is ideal for a vacation cottage, offering a rustic, neutral look and optimal durability. Natural stones can also cool down your space, if you’re looking to combat the sunny weather.

Light up your Outdoor Space

Linger outside late into the night under a canopy of string lights, and enjoy the relaxing bistro vibe while communing with nature. Solar string lights will charge up during the day and come on automatically at night, but they’re not as bright as electric string lights. Look for classic round bulbs or Edison bulbs, which harken back to days of yore. Choose warm white lights, which burn yellowish, rather than cooler white lights that give off a slight blue hue.

Add an Outdoor Dining Table

Dining al fresco, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, is one of the greatest pleasures of vacation. A large, rustic outdoor dining table is just the thing. Set it up beneath the string lights, and add a couple of wildflower bouquets in metal beach pails for a cozy, festive touch.

Set up Some Hammocks

Laze the day away gently swaying to and fro in a comfy hammock with a view. If you have the space, put up a few hammocks for group napping. Hang the hammocks from a porch or pergola, or string them up between trees if your home is in the woods. If you have nowhere to hang a hammock, you can purchase metal stands. If hammocks take up too much space but you like the idea of hanging seating, hammock chairs use up less room and are just as comfy as the lie-down versions.

Create a Book Nook

Whether you have built-in shelves, a book case, or floating shelves, create a book nook in your cottage where you can sit back in a comfy chair and read the day away. Stock the shelves with a variety of books for different tastes, including books about the natural history of the area, local legends, or other place-specific tomes. Keep a few board games and a deck of cards on the shelves for long, lazy nights by the fire.

Fill the Walls with Art

Bringing art into your cottage completes your décor and makes the space look finished. It also adds interest to your home and makes it feel well-lived in. Consider works by local artists, which you can find if your nearby community has a monthly art walk or an art gallery. Frame old photographic prints of the area, or take your own and frame them. You can also hang artifacts on the wall, such as an old, wooden canoe paddle, a fishing hat collection, or a vintage life ring.

Your vacation house should feel like home away from home, and adding elements of lake house décor makes your place a cozy getaway. Look for unique pieces you love in antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales. Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles, and when in doubt, go bold. You’ll end up with an epic vacation destination that looks and feels like a five-star bed and breakfast.

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Brooke Cumming

Hi I'm Brooke! A business management graduate with a passion for marketing, content and home design. Happiest while reading on a beach, practicing yoga, dancing, traveling, or drinking wine.