Aesthetic Exploration: Cottagecore

“Cottagecore” is an aesthetic and design style that romanticizes rural living, natural materials, handcrafted items, domestic work like gardening, and other staples of countryside living. The term cottagecore was officially coined on the blog site Tumblr in 2018 following the aesthetic’s development throughout the previous decade, based on an attraction for rural European life [7]. Cottagecore itself was a product of the internet, but it is only the most recent iteration of a nostalgia for a simpler agricultural lifestyle in the face of an accelerating modern life.

[1] “…cottagecore embraces the charm of the English countryside (hence its name), creating an idealized representation of farm life…” Amanda Garrity
[7] The cottagecore aesthetic romanticizes domestic work and crafts in a rustic setting.

One historical example of this nostalgia is the Arts & Crafts Movement. Most prominent in Europe and America from the 1880’s to the 1920’s, it was a shift in the decorative and fine arts towards an appreciation of handcraftsmanship [8]. Many designers believed that industrialization and mass production had lowered quality standards in the decorative arts. Thus began a movement focused on handcrafted goods, simplicity, and inspiration from nature that affected art forms ranging from architecture to painting to furniture making. Social change was also engrained in this movement, as proponents supported guilds and community workshops as well as the idea that a return to craftsmanship would be best for the consumer and worker in an age of industrialization [9].

[2] Season ticket for an exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society by Walter Crane, 1890, via The Collector via Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The Arts and Crafts Movement included exhibitions to display and popularize handicrafts.
[3] An example of works from the Arts and Crafts movement.
These ideas and values reappeared in the counterculture movement of the 1960’s, which included a rejection of capitalism and a trend towards environmentally-conscious living styles. Communes with “hippie artists” developed with focuses on hands-on craftsmanship and sustainable living [9].

[6] Many hippie communes were examples of rural living with values of sustainability, similar to the themes of cottagecore today.

Today’s cottagecore aesthetic often evokes these dreamy ideals of sustainable, rural living. One could think of decorative characteristics like a cottage decorated with dried wildflowers and hand-stitched quilts in homemade, functional baskets. There could be greenery from a vegetable garden, homemade pies baking in an oven, and vintage furniture [7]. All of these artifacts curate a cozy and simple interior, and and reinforce the values of self-sufficiency and skilled craftsmanship.

The aesthetic gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, when many people were yearning for simpler lifestyles, taking up crafty hobbies, and focusing more on the domestic environment. The release of Taylor Swift’s Folklore album in 2020, the popularity of the video game Animal Crossing, and cottagecore trends on Pinterest and Tiktok accelerated the ideals of domestic living, calming and natural environments, and handicrafts in the age of the internet [9].

[4] Pop culture events like the release of Taylor Swift’s Folklore accelerated the cottagecore aesthetic trend.

Critics of cottagecore believe it glamorizes rural living without recognizing the rigorous realities of rural living like poverty and challenging labor [9]. However, the cottagecore aesthetic persists in internet trends, home decorations, and lifestyle.

[5] Cottage core aesthetic
[1] Garrity, Amanda. “What Is Cottagecore? A Closer Look at the Dreamy Aesthetic Taking Over the Internet”. Good Housekeeping. April 8 2021.


[2] Graf, Stefanie. “An Introduction to the Arts and Crafts Movement” The Collector. Feb 14 2022.


[3] “Arts and Crafts Movement”. The Encyclopedia Britanica. Dec 14 2023.


[4] “Folklore (Taylor Swift album)”. Wikipedia.


[5] “Cottagecore Aesthetic Wall Collage Kit”. Urban Lily Co. April 12 2023.


[6] “Harmony’s Path Commune 1970s for Life Magazine”. Pinterest.


[7] Hohendale, Kristin. “What Is Cottagecore? A Simple Guide” Dec 21 2023.


[8] Obniski, Monica. “The Arts and Crafts Movement in America.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. June 2008.


[9] “Cottagecore”. Wikipedia.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I found the aesthetic interesting because it reminds me of the transcendentalism movement. This movement was more focused on art and literature. That being said I think that cottagecore aesthetic and transcendentalism share the same core ideals of returning to nature. It’s fun to think these ideas are constantly coming back throughout history.

  • Efrosini Krokos
    January 28, 2024 6:52 pm

    I enjoyed the thorough approach to the topic, covering every aspect that made it. Tying the modern and old together, I enjoyed the timeline from the different movements and aesthetics to what culminated into the current aesthetic.
    In what ways does the aesthetic glamorize agricultural life? I only know it as mushrooms and faery gardens, is there more to it?


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