Design & DIY

Make the most of your cottage’s natural surroundings

Most of us have cottages because we love being surrounded by nature. Whether you’re on a lake, a river, overlooking a hill or nestled in a valley, chances are there’s something close by that you love to look at. 

Make the most of nature’s beauty by following our tips for pairing your indoor design with your natural setting.

Windows, windows, windows

If you have a gorgeous view, then windows are the way to go. Whether it’s a big bay window with a cozy reading seat, a wall of windows that fills your living room or a nook in a stairwell, windows are, of course, the most obvious way to highlight the glory of outdoors. Don’t think a window has to be huge, though—a small one over the kitchen sink can provide a nice view and some energy-saving natural light while you’re washing dishes. And if you have a window that looks out on something slightly less attractive, adding a bird or hummingbird feeder can provide visual interest, even if the view is less than stellar. Make sure your windows open—fresh air only enhances a lovely vista.

Orient seating to your views

If you have a lovely view, position chairs and couches so folks can sit and gaze outside. Consider putting the TV in a different room altogether—leave a room with a view as a place for tranquility. If you have the choice, try and position activity areas like the kitchen so they have a view as well—there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as gazing out the window while you’re preparing dinner.

Use natural materials in construction

Some houses are able to incorporate geographic features, like a rock wall or stream, into the design of the house—bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase, “a river runs through it.” Even if you don’t have that option, highlighting your indoor space with natural materials like wood and stone will help bring that the outdoors inside. A stone countertop or wood panelling can elegantly echo a surrounding forest or Canadian Shield rock outcroppings. Even a small fountain can help remind you of the vast lake just outside your door.

Keep your landscaping natural

Nature does a great job of landscaping—so keep your surroundings as close to nature intended as you can. A meadow of different wildflowers is far more attractive—and a lot less work—than a manicured green lawn (and really—did you come to the cottage to mow the lawn?). If you really want to feel the grandeur of the outdoors while you’re inside, make sure you’re actually surrounded by nature and not too busy weeding and mowing to enjoy it!

Give nature a helping hand 

If one of your windows looks out on something slightly less attractive than a grand view—like your propane tank, for example—feel free to give nature a little help. Hanging baskets and pots of flowers can help brighten up outdoor sheds and work areas. Blocking unattractive features with a rustic wooden fence or tall plants can also help.

Do you have any suggestions for making the most of a gorgeous view? Share them in the comments.


Want to put these tips to use in your home or cottage? Find everything you need to love your space here: