365 Objects Of Design

Five Seasonal Tweaks For Your Sitting Room

6th September 2017

First of all let me apologise for the late posting of this and admit to feelings of bafflement and rage. I spent all yesterday writing posts for the rest of the week and woke up this morning to find they had all disappeared. Vanished. Gone. Along with all the images I uploaded to go with them. It’s like the gremlins came in overnight and wiped the computer clean of the last 24 hours.

So I’m starting again.

farrow and ball helleborus wallpaper

farrow and ball helleborus wallpaper

I wanted to talk to you about changing your decor for the seasons. I don’t mean a huge and expensive revamp but just, say, five seasonal tweaks that will refresh the room and make it feel ready for autumn. After all, you change your clothes to make them suitable for the weather. Why not your cushions?

The Scandinavians do it as a matter of course. When I worked for the Financial Times House & Home section I wrote a series of features on international interior design and worked my way round the Nordic countries (sadly I never got to Norway) but everyone I spoke to – Danes, Finns and Swedes – all said they made seasonal changes to their homes.

sheepskin throws are perfect for winter cosiness from cowboy kate

sheepskin throws are perfect for winter cosiness from cowboy kate

It’s not something we tend to do in the UK and yet once the fire is lit on chilly evenings, I find I am reaching for a throw to put over my toes and invariably not finding one and having to go and look. So, while the days are starting their long cycle of shortening and you are wrestling with the thought of putting the heating on let’s look at those tweaks.


We have a throw on the sofa as a matter of course since her Imperial Highness Princess Enid Cat is on a mission to rid the furniture of all its velvet upholstery but I’m talking about a throw for your toes not the cat’s claws. This is not just practical but gives you a chance to change the colours in the room – without repainting – and bring in some more layers. One of the key ways to make a room look cosy is to layer up different textures. You can strip it back for summer but in winter bring it all on.

blush pink throw from perch and parrow

blush pink throw from perch and parrow


Yes this one’s easy but how many of us don’t actually bother. Actually I did for the first time this year. I didn’t buy new covers, but I did remove the dark ones and put pale on the sofa. It’s so easy to do and, with the explosion of affordable homeswares on the high street these days it doesn’t have to be expensive either. If you’re not a patternphile then choose plain colours with lots of texture – velvet, knitted and chunky for winter and lots of cool linen and cotton for summer.

cushion covers from H&M

cushion covers from H&M


As I have said before I’m far too much of a catastrophist for candles, but that doesn’t meant I don’t have any. I just don’t tend to light them. In summer choose white ones in glass holders but come the autumn buy some dark ones and stick them in carved wooden or metallic holders. These will reflect the light and bring a sense of luxe to a space, which is what we need when it’s cold and dark and miserable outside.

black candle from rockett st george

black candle from rockett st george


Now I’m not going to say that the mania for light, bright Scandi interiors is over but I am going to suggest that it is going to slightly step to one side to make room for a new, more maximalist, look. Now before you panic there are ways of doing this and it doesn’t have to mean clutter. It’s about being bold in your choices. And winter is the perfect time to experiment with this look. You can always have maximal winters and minimal (Scandi) summers. This is about layering up the textures and making the space cosy and inviting. Books give you something to read on long dark evenings. Lots of cushions to snuggle into. Warm rugs for cosy toes. Velvet and metallics and, even, wallpaper are all part of this look. I would class myself as a monochrome maximalist. I rarely have more than three colours in a room – actually my whole house – but I do have piles of books and plants and lots of different materials.

maximalist living room by Fiona Duke Interiors image by Jez Dickson

maximalist living room by Fiona Duke Interiors image by Jez Dickson


As I said above; I can’t imagine there won’t be one new pair of winter shoes. Or a coat. Or a pair of corduroy trousers (yes watch out – that other staple of the 1970s is back this season) so think about one new item for the room that might make a big difference. Is it time to roll up that rug and buy a new one for the winter?  You can always swap it back in a few months. Or perhaps a new light? Or an armchair. After all you’re going to be spending more time in this room over the next few months so now is the time to style it how you want it.

staggered glass floor lamp from westem

staggered glass floor lamp from westelm

So there you have five seasonal tweaks to get yourself ready for the season ahead. If you are someone who suffers from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or just hates the thought of winter then preparing your home to be welcoming and filling it with colours and items that will cheer you up is a good way to prepare yourself. Imagine the joy in a few months when you can change it all back to lighter brighter colours again.

vardo walls by Fiona Duke Interiors image by Jez Dickson

vardo walls by Fiona Duke Interiors image by Jez Dickson

Once again I apologise for this late post. Fingers crossed that it will be sorted for tomorrow. Bear with me if not. I’m working to resolve it.


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  • Carolyn Fox 7th September 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Worth waiting for for the phrase “monochrome maximalist”! Can you copyright it?

  • Jayne Morris 7th September 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Great post 🙂 I too change accessories with the seasons and have an autumn/winter rug – a lovely rich persian one and a spring summer rug thats light and llifts the room, along with cushion covers.
    Thanks for starting it over

  • Valerie 6th September 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks for doing it all again Kate. Can imagine the gnashing of teeth. Lovely ideas as ever.

  • Siobhan Hayles 6th September 2017 at 11:14 am

    Im not as organise as the lady above who has two sets of curtains but I did pat myself on the back when I bought 2 sets of new duvet covers – I now go blush pink in the summer and grey in the winter, but it is all happening a bit fast for me! I thought we might get a little indian summer but no such luck… thanks for the reminder that we can just do smaller bite size home updates!

  • Anne Brown 6th September 2017 at 10:47 am

    Yes, I too change things seasonally, plus a Christmas ‘quickie’. Using shades of mid to dark grey throughout the house it is relatively easy to add pops of colour and make changes throughout the year. Painting the odd wall – am currently favouring midnight blue, and adding textured cushions and lots of grey sheepskin throws works well in daylight, and even better in the evenings when candles are added to the mix. Light up the wood-burning stove, pour out a glass of your favourite tipple and enjoy. Blogs like madaboutthehouse, pinterest and gloomy interior decor magazines provide much inspiration, for which a big thank you.

  • Emma Renton 6th September 2017 at 9:52 am

    Very inspirational, and because Autumn seems to have come early this year, I am busy right now planning. I bought a fabulous massive snuggly mad throw in the Summer, not used, but going today on my cream sofa – and sourcing small rugs today!!! thanks

  • madelaine cooper 6th September 2017 at 9:31 am

    Your posts are always worth waiting for Kate! Thanks for another bit of genius.

  • Levonne 6th September 2017 at 9:23 am

    I have 2 sets of curtains for the lounge / dining room which makes a huge transformation in Spring and Autumn. The curtains stay in beautiful condition as they are checked more regularly for cats hair and dust. I also have a slip cover for an ottoman to make the seasonal change. Its done in 20 minutes each 6 months and is like welcoming an old friend..

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