Jo Alcorn creates an inspiring cottage interior

Designer Jo Alcorn shares tips to make the inside of your cottage as desirable as the outside.

Loving the Living Room

When the rain is pouring, or the bugs are buzzing, you want to escape to an indoor retreat. When it comes to creating a cosy cottage living room, remember, seating is a priority. Make sure there is enough room for everyone to sit comfortably. Look for durable, easy-to-clean options. You also need storage. In this space, I included a shelf behind the sofa. It’s ideal for cottage living: it offers easy storage for throws, board games or great cottage reads. It also doubles as extra counter space when entertaining.

Breakfast Nook

Even in this five-by-eight-ft. space, I created a huge impact. The secret was to use every square inch, including the vertical space. I used amazing artwork from an online store called Posterjack (, I enhanced the feature wall with cottage-inspired decor like stag heads from HomeSense ( The most important piece of all is the table – it’s where you gather and make lasting memories. I chose a gorgeous five-ft.-long, wood-topped raw table, a perfect fit for cottage decor, plus it’s long lasting.


This cottage has access to a walk-out basement; a wonderful under-used space that was naturally cool because the cottage is built into the Canadian Shield. Instead of covering up the natural rock, I kept it exposed and it became part of the decor. I added a great, durable sofa from Urban Barn (, which fit the space perfectly, and side chairs that could be moved around. Again, we selected a raw-edge table to really enhance the cottage feel. Accessories were added from Bouclair ( to really top off the woodsy feel.

Outside Entertaining

This is where the magic happens at a cottage. This cottage had a small concrete slab that was considered a patio. I used EON Deck and Patio Tiles from The Home Depot ( that the homeowners simply clicked into place. To have a great dinner party, you need a great table; this table is from The Home Depot, seats six, has a sleek and stunning design, is comfortable for long conversations and fits the space perfectly. The chairs even stack for easy winter storage and have removable bottom cushions. No outdoor party would be complete without a barbecue. The homeowners love to cook so I chose this stunning gas grill from Weber ( which is ideal for entertaining; it has a multitude of features and a fuel gauge so you never run out mid-dinner party.

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