Rural Escapism: From Cottagecore to Slow Living

As consumers across the world socially isolate, urban residents of all ages are fantasizing about rural self-sufficiency, cottage living, and a simpler way of life.

The farmhouse aesthetic continues to inspire interior spaces, both at the residential level and in commercial settings. Offering timeless appeal, pastoral elements reflect the desire for rural escapism and a return to a slower-paced lifestyle. According to Google Trends data, “rustic” has been consistently popular over the past year, particularly in countries such as the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. In a recent Gallup survey, half of US adults said that they’d prefer to live in rural areas in 2020, while another study revealed that globally, 72% of adults said they’d rather live an easier-paced lifestyle. In response to consumers’ growing longing for idyllic rural environments, incorporate this bucolic aesthetic by investing in decor that showcases natural materials, homestead traditions, Cottagecore romanticism, and an emphasis on authentic vintage items.

Create designs that connect with the consumer on a deeper level, whether by eliciting positive emotion through color and light or by creating a comforting rural aesthetic that brings the outdoors inside. Incorporate an artful sensibility to create decorative objects with personality and think sustainably when considering material and production practices.

Connect to nature

Offer designs that provide a connection to rural life and the natural world. Create decor that incorporates real botanicals and organic elements such as stones and twigs. For a more commercial application, look to illustrated prints and vintage photography for surface pattern inspiration. Tap into consumer desire for a simpler life by offering nostalgic homestead designs.

Experiment with texture

Give decorative accessories an inherently tactile feel through materials and techniques. Wood designs offer a range of opportunities for tactility, from softly contoured forms to rough and reclaimed textures that are one-of-a-kind.

Offer a DIY approach

Tap into the consumer desire for DIY crafts with ready-to-make kits and tutorials made available on social media. Imbue designs with a DIY look, whether through expressive painterly ceramics or hand-stitched embroideries. Create pieces that feel entirely unique and personal to the consumer.

Make it sustainable

Whether through the use of sustainable materials or by upcycling existing production waste such as plastic, fabric, and glass, create a compelling reason for consumers to buy by conveying an authentic reuse/recycle narrative. Create feel-good designs with bright colors and intriguing surface dimensions.

Celebrate nature

Whether through romantic depictions of florals or evocative pieces reminiscent of woodland walks, celebrate the beauty of nature and its power to uplift the mood and calm the senses.