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5 Decorating Ideas from Sarah’s Cottage

by | Jul 15, 2011 | Decorating Inspiration

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5 Decorating Ideas from Sarah's Cottage

photos: Sarah Richardson Design via Country Living {photograph Stacey Branford}

I love studying rooms (Decorating Lessons from Anthropologie and 4 Coffee Table Tips from Pottery Barn) to see what makes their designs feel comfortable and inviting.

And you know I love Sarah’s Farmhouse and Sarah’s Summer House.

I have watched and re-watched every episode, and now I’m watching Sarah 101! Can’t get enough Sarah!

Here are some lovely images of Sarah Richardson’s rooms, and my own observations!

1. Create a blissfully serene corner for daydreaming. (see photo above)

Design spaces that draw you in and make you want to stay awhile.

5 Decorating Ideas from Sarah's Cottage

2. Create smaller conversation areas within a room.

Two chairs and a footstool invite conversation and connection.

5 Decorating Ideas from Sarah's Cottage

3. Using footstools and end tables all around a room make a space useful and comfortable!

These are two key elements to a comfortable space. If you can put your feet up and set a drink down, you’ll feel at home in a room.

5 Decorating Ideas from Sarah's Cottage4. Create drama.

Why be SAFE when you can do something that says “LOOK AT ME!”

5 Decorating Ideas from Sarah's Cottage

5. Add layers of color and pattern.

Be inspired by Sarah’s fearless use of color and pattern to create a lively yet cozy room! Notice, she has a large floral, a large geometric, and a small geometric on the bed. And the quilt on the wall picks up all the colors from the bed in a medium pattern.

Are you watching Sarah’s 101?


  1. Monica Lee

    HI LOVE everything about Sarah and this cottage series spoke to me more than anything! I taped it and watched it over and over AND did you see her feature in Country Living? LOVE! I took 2 ideas away right away….simple one she placed large wicker baskets under her coffee tables to hide toys and I like how she hung the quilts in the guest rooms. I have many lovely old quilts and I think this is a great idea and space saver.

  2. Danielle D

    What day does it air? I’ll have to DVR it!

    • Linda

      Please tell me where we in the states can find Sarah on t v. I ‘ve given up :(

  3. Gina

    Yep, I love me some Sarah! Her timeless, classic style is one that I ooh and ahh over time and time again. Even the designs she did on Room Service still look beautiful all these years later.

    Had to DVR Sarah 101 while we were at Evo – it was so nice to see you again :)

  4. Dianne

    I’ve never even heard of Sarah 101 !!! I am going to have to look that up..I Love Sarah! She creates a room with a story and it makes you want to join that story

  5. marie

    am i watching sarah 101?? umm…YES! i dvr every episode of every show she’s in on hgtv. (stalker much?) i even watch repeats. she is-hands down- my favorite designer EVER. :o)

  6. Paula

    Oh, no: what have I missed??? I knew that a new show was in the works… arghhhhhh!

    I loved Sarah’s Cottage (my absolute fave!) & the farmhouse on Sarah’s House, too. My fantasy shopping day would be to go with her & Tommy to one of those outdoor antique markets & a few of those antique shops **like the one where she found the bathroom vanity for $150** SIGH!!

    Do you remember the episodes on Design Inc about “Sharon’s Living Room” & “Sharon’s Bedrooms”?? I had to save those episodes on the dvr… you can check them out on the design inc website if you don’t remember them. The farmhouse table & chairs are stunning!!

  7. Camille

    I love Sarah Richardson”s style. Met her & Tommy in person at the CGTA Gift Show in Toronto. She also has her own line of paint colours. She is my favourite Canadian designer!

  8. Franki Parde

    YES! Sarah and Tommy just get “better and better!” I’ve even subscribed to “Canadian House and Home” to get “more of Sarah.” She is rockin! franki

  9. Trish

    I LOVE the Sarah shows! Thanks for summarizing – that red hall of closets leading to the blue in the bath is stunning.

  10. Diane

    Love it!!! Yesterday on FB Country Living asked what our favorite room was in Sarah’s Summer House. I responded that I loved the Living Room and that I could sit and day dream and look out those lovely windows all day.

    Great observations! Great post!

  11. Linda

    totally agree about loving Sarah. She has provided much needed inspiration for our home. Finding her on HGTV is not the easiest. Guess they just don’t get we are tired of real estate shows and want more good decorating shows like Sarah.

  12. Melanie

    Great tips. I second guess my decorating all of the time, so these posts help a lot.
    I remember watching an episode or two of Sarah’s Farmhouse. Is her series still on tv? When?

  13. Fairfield House

    I too was totally unaware of Sarah 101. I don’t view much TV but did enjoy her other two shows. Will make a point to watch this one as well. Love all the images and tips on design. Would love to curl up in the first picture with a good book! Heaven.

    Your Friend,

  14. teresa

    Do you KNOW how much I adore SARAH!
    LOVE her style…and yours!
    Can’t BELIEVE her cottage is on a PRIVATE island!
    Do what!!!!
    How RICH are they!!!! ;o)
    She’s got some GREAT style…and a fabulous assistant!
    Gotta love that guy!
    Hugs from Bainbridge Melissa!
    I just know your home must be so LOVELY!

  15. Amy

    I love studying rooms too. I have never bought anything from most of the home catalogs I have, but studying them is one of my favorite ways to get inspired for diy projects!

  16. Meg

    I love Sarah but I didnt know about this one either. Anyone know when it airs so we can set our DVR’s?

  17. teresa

    I love Sarah too…do you think she would like some guests this summer at the summer house?….how fun would that be =)
    Thanks for sharing
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  18. Monica


    I love Sarah Richardson and watch her style shows over and over again. I love her comfortable style, her personality and her team.

    Thanks for sharing your love of decorating. I too, love to look at rooms and see how they are decorated.


  19. Jessica Singletary

    I love Sarah & Tommy! I’ve watched all of her shows & have Sarah 101 on the dvr list. I love the arictle in Country Living on Sarah and her summer house. Her use of color is absolutely stunning! Thanks for the tips!

  20. Tammy

    Sarah is so inspiring in her choices of fabrics and the layering way she pulls a rooom (home!) together visually. I watch everything of hers that I can!!

  21. Erin

    I am in total agreement: love Sarah Richardson. I have Sarah 101 waiting on DVR for me, but would be totally satisfied to live in the farmhouse or the cottage.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Have a great weekend.

  22. Heidi

    Love Sarah! She’s my decor hero and a great personality to boot. Love the takeaways, Melissa ~ have a super inspired weekend. :)

  23. Leslie

    Love this! I’m such a color fiend when it comes to home decor! :)


  24. Pat

    We don’t have cable- but when we did, I watched her some. I loved her style– but am not a big TV watcher… so now you know why we don’t have cable anymore.
    I did recently pick up Country Living Magazine with her quilted bed on the cover– didn’t even know it was hers until I looked inside. But was happy to read the whole article.

    Love all these tips and the big doses of Color!


    • Sheila

      Hello. Do you know what issue that was that it was on the cover?

  25. Shelley

    I cannot get enough of Sarah. She is brilliant! Love your tips.

  26. Laura

    You had me at “Sarahs Cottage!” I cannot get enough of her work! Ever notice that many items in the room, by themselves, are usually just something we see every day, but the way she pulls them together, her use of color and textiles, is understated and eye popping all at once. Thanks for sharing this series with us!

  27. Bridgette

    Anything this woman touches is pure magic. I have to wear a bib when watching, got tired of the drool ;)

  28. Mary

    Love Sarah’s style and the way she can choose multiple strong fabrics for a small space and still have it look cohesive and cozy. Love watching Sarah and Tommy work on a project together. On Design, Inc. when she was paired with other associates it wasn’t nearly as entertaining as when she and Tommy work together.

  29. Sheila

    Sarah is my favorite designer. I watch her shows. Your posting was right on target. Thanks.

  30. Stephanie

    Great tips – I absolutely love Sarah & her sense of style!

  31. Karen

    Hi Melissa,
    I didn’t realize Sarah had a new series out. I loved her Sarah’s Summer Cottage and watched re-runs each week. I love Tommy Smythe! I’ll have to set up to record that program.

  32. SYD

    I’ve never heard of Sarah 101 but I like what I see. I’m in the process or remodeling my small apartment and it’s just so hard. It’s difficult to do much with a small space. Loved this post though-and got some inspiration for my living room with the small end tables.

  33. Christy

    I love, love, love Sarah’s summer home. I want one!!! :)

  34. Susan

    I’ve never heard of the show, either, but I’m loving what she’s done!

  35. Maria

    Love Sarah& her design team!!!!! The cottage photos are in a file, when my husband & I retire in 4 yrs were building a home in Maine, the interior will be based on the cottage!! Can’t wait!!


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