Summertime cottage season is finally coming to an end, and we’re always a little bit sad about that as we pack away our kayaks and clean up the dock for when the weather gets cold and the water freezes. For some cottage owners, however, the coming of fall is just another opportunity to enjoy their favourite getaway space in different ways! If your cottage is the kind that makes a cozy spot in the fall and winter, then why not use those months as a chance to work on and enjoy the inside rather than the outside?
One of our favourite ways to spend cold weather days at the cottage is crafting decor pieces and sprucing the place up for the next time family comes to visit in the summer. Check out these 15 DIY decor projects that are perfect for keeping you busy on cool evenings and that will totally build the cozy, rustic cottage feel you’ve worked hard to create in your second home!
1. Decorated vintage ladder
A Beach Cottage suggests repurposing whenever you can, and we completely agree! We love the way they’ve used an old wooden ladder, like the kind you’d find at a farm sale, to provide another surface for decor without breaking the rustic feel of the place with shiny new shelves. Place some flower vases or some family pictures on each step and let the ladder stand in all its worn wooden glory.
2. Potted plant lot number
Have you been looking for a new street marker idea and you’d like it to be nice and bright so it stands out against the snow when winter visitors come to your cottage? Check out this multi-planter idea from Marc and Mandy! Even if neutral colours are more your style, the awesomely layered height and visual draw of fresh plants (choose ones that bloom in colder weather) will make sure no one drives by your front lane.
3. Lettered palette sign
Recycling palettes into furniture and decor is one of our favourite ways to customize a good, open space. Building entire furniture pieces, however, is something many people prefer to do in warm weather so they have the space to work outside. Instead, try using your spare palettes to create inspirational wall art, just like The Lettered Cottage did here! All you need is a stencil (or a steady hand) and some white paint.
4. Upcycled ladder and lantern chandelier
Did you love the idea of repurposing a ladder as decor but the one you have is vertical rather than free standing? You can still use that to give your cottage a bit of rustic style! Instead of trying to place things on the unsteady rungs, hang things from them instead. We love this ladder and lantern chandelier idea from Pinterest.
5. Antique wall knob hooks
Do you have an old dresser that you simply must get rid of but the knobs are so pretty that you can’t bear to part with them? Upcycle them instead! This hanging coat rack idea from Marc and Mandy is simple to make but lovely looking in your entry way.
6. vintage shutter room divider
One of the best ways to keep a rustically cottage feel in your decor is to bring perfectly weathered outdoor pieces indoor to incorporate them in subtle, stylish ways. Rather than buying a brand new room divider to beak up a very large central space, try reclaiming a set of worn wooden shutters that are still sturdy enough to stand, just like A Beach Cottage did here.
7. DIY wooden grid headboard
Sometimes the best part of making a DIY furniture piece isn’t how rustic it looks, but rather how nice it looks even though you made it yourself. This simple grid-style headboard tutorial from DIY Network shows you exactly what we mean. Paint yours whatever colour goes best with your current decor scheme!
8. Repurposed shutters headboard
Do you love the idea of repurposing shutters as functional decor but you don’t need a room divider at the moment? Try transforming them into a simply rustic headboard instead! The DIY Showoff shows you how to measure proper height compared to your bed and mount the shutters on the wall behind.
9. Stylishly weathered desk
Marc and Mandy suggest embracing natural wear and tear or, if you can’t find the piece you need with quite enough rustic personality, then intentionally distressing one! We love the way this purposely weathered dresser contributes to a thoroughly cottage aesthetic.
10. Concrete stone patio bench
Are you looking for an outdoor fall project that’s a little more hands on and that you’ll still be able to use in the winter? Check out this concrete bench design by Vizimac! You’ll love having this behind the cottage when you get the family together for pond skating or snowman building and you’ll also be glad that you built it in cooler weather once you’ve started lifting those heavy blocks into place.
11. DIY window photo frame
While we’re talking about upcycling, let us highlight how awesome it always looks when we repurpose things that had a more practical function once upon a time into something that’s much more decorative. This weathered glass shutter that Marc and Mandy turned into a gorgeous triple picture frame is the perfect example!
12. DIY wooden swing nook
Are you the kind of person who loves nothing more than curling up with a good book in a cozy corner? Well, just because it’s fall outside doesn’t mean you can’t build an awesome rustic and totally outdoorsy swing nook just like this one by New Garden Tools! Pile on the blankets and pillows and you’ll be toasty until dark.
13. Wheeled palette patio sofa
Remember when we were talking earlier about upcycling palettes into furniture, but we mentioned that many people prefer to do more hands on projects in the summer? Well, Pretty Prudent has found a good way to make a primary palette piece in a low maintenance way: wheels! We love that this sofa could be moved indoors from the deck easily when the snow comes.
14. Repurposed window photo frame
Did you like the idea of the window frame picture display we included earlier, but you’d like one with a few more spaces? Here’s a slightly different take on a similar idea! Play around with the orientation of your “new frame” and consider increasing how weathered it looks, depending on how rustic your cottage decor is. Check out how I Am Momma Hear Me Roar made this one!
15. Oar and lantern wall hanging
Is your absolute favourite part of owning a cottage the time you get to spend boating on the lake? Then don’t get rid of those old rowing board oars, even if they’ve been replaced with stronger new ones! Instead, pay homage to your nautical passion by turning them into a lantern hanging for a little light above your bed, just like this design from Blogger Luv.
Do you know someone who’s been meaning to update their cottage decor this fall? Share this post with them for a little bit of rustic inspiration!