It’s been a while since my last seasonally-oriented post, and the cycles of the year have once again done their thing; the sweltering heat of the hottest summer on record has faded into a relatively mild autumn… although that wintry nip is already making its presence felt in the air!
As we begin to hunker down for a British winter, there’s so much we can do to maximise the potential of our living space. Just as the seasons change and the vivid greens of July transmute into the vivid oranges, yellows and ochres of autumn, our homes deserve to become cosier, comforting spaces in which to see ourselves through the colder end of the year.
Let’s dive right in, take a look at some of my top tips for this transitional season, and look at how we can stay warm, embraced and inspired by our interiors during what looks to be a rather turbulent season.
My home table setting has had a slight autumnal tune.
The Comforting Cuddle of Autumnal Palettes
If you’re anything like me, then you surely love the colours of this time of year. The ombres, ochres and warm, crisp tones of autumn unfailingly bring warmth to the home, unleashing the confidence and joyous feelings of more time spent indoors with loved ones.
There’s something delightfully retro about this particular palette - it puts us in mind of the hues associated with the Summer of Love, 60’s optimism and childhood memories of leaping into piles of leaves. Whether you embrace this mode by changing up your curtains and soft furnishings, introducing autumnal-coloured bedclothes or a few suitably-toned table lamps etc is entirely up to you, but there are countless ways of bringing the colours of the season into the home.
Of course, autumn soon makes way for winter and its various festivities, and that’s the time to bring out those rich colours of pine green, warming reds, flashes of gold and all kinds of wintry delights. It doesn’t take much to introduce a flourish of seasonal colour into the home, and it’s an easy and rewarding way to see your living spaces and bedrooms with new eyes as the world outside your window changes with the year.
As outside gets chillier week by week, it’s also time to start bringing nature indoors - after all, if we’re going out less, there’s no reason not to continue surrounding ourselves with greenery and the wellness benefits this brings. Seek out statement houseplants, bring those which will struggle outside into the home, and start reclaiming the spaces given over to home working as spaces in which to revel in the delight that home can bring.
Office supplies - A selection of faux sprigs for my home staging clients - Mimosa by Dunelm
Let’s Get Cosy
We’ve all watched with horror at the consistently grim news regarding energy prices, and with even greater horror at the global events partially responsible - or at least blamed - for the spiking rates we’re expected to shoulder. As such, this transitional season is a time in which to prepare for ways to keep bills low and stay warm this winter, and seek out methods for increasing energy efficiency and heat retention alike.
Trapping heat in the home doesn’t necessarily require shelling out thousands for additional insulation methods, although there are several grants and beneficial loans still available for those looking to invest in future energy efficient approaches.
Thankfully, there are plenty of relatively cost-effective methods for maintaining heat within the home, many of which also have the potential to add stylistic touches to your home interiors. These include:
● Adding additional voiles and curtains - the heavier and more dramatic the better! Not only do these look great during this time of year, embracing your living rooms and bedrooms in a warm snuggle, they really do make a difference to how much heat escapes via your windows.
● Increasing thermal linings and additional insulation layers around window frames, doors, and anywhere else a draught might start to be felt. Quick, simple and often very cheap, it’s one of those DIY jobs that’s better completed sooner than later.
● All the draught excluders! There’s something strangely-yet-delightfully British about draught excluders, especially the more comical iterations or those handmade by some elderly relative or neighbours. They might sometimes look a little silly, but if you can’t embrace practical eccentricity during the festive season, then when can you? In all seriousness, a draught excluder beneath your doors can make a world of difference when it comes to heat retention, as can simple tactics like putting curtains up on doors.
● Layering blankets is another lovely idea, introducing a hygge aesthetic that’s not only very much en vogue, but also lends your living spaces a nest-like quality that’s perfect for returning home to after being blasted by the elements. I like to turn all the extra blankets into a design feature when they’re not in use, displaying them in baskets (woven from natural fibres for extra hygge points) or on ladders.
● There’s no denying it - I’m a diehard hot water bottle fan. I’ve recently discovered the Yuyu Bottle, an opulent longer-length hot water bottle that’s perfect for cuddling on the sofa or in bed, and ideal for getting the bed to the perfect temperature before climbing in.
● As all keen interior design fans will know, lighting has an amazing ability to transform the look and feel of a room. Softer lights will add a comforting and enveloping ambience to any space, making your room into a sanctuary of warmth and relaxation. Now that the clocks have gone back and night sets in earlier, it’s the perfect time to level up your mood lighting game!
● Our radiators might not be able to be on quite as much as they usually are this winter, as we’ll all be a little more cautious about our energy bills. As such, it’s a good idea to do all we can to maximise their ability to warm our rooms. A simple yet effective trick is to pull the sofa and other large items of furniture a couple of inches away from any radiators they’re back up against; this will allow for additional warm air flow. You might be surprised at just how much of a difference this makes!
Let’s Have a Season of Sustainability
Sustainability isn’t just for Christmas… It's a year-round commitment for the benefit of all. This festive season, let’s be a little more mindful of our consumption and approaches to living, and do our bit when it comes to cutting waste or using energy unwisely.
The energy bills crisis is fresh in all of our minds, and hopefully none of us will struggle beyond our ability to cope as the temperature plummets at the end of the year. With some of the techniques listed above, we can certainly slash the amount of time we need to have our boilers burning and our radiators blasting… but there’s no getting away from the fact it’s going to be a tougher season than usual.
Christmas and the winter holidays are typically a time of indulgence, but there are also plenty of ways we can approach this time of year with a sustainable mindset, too. Let’s keep plastic and non-recyclable waste to a minimum, and seek out more ethical gifting choices, food and drink options and ways of living, while still having a fantastic time with our nearest and dearest.
Until the next time, stay safe, stay warm, and love the space you’re in.