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.
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.
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.
BRING IN A THROW
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.
CHANGE YOUR CUSHIONS
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.
SWAP YOUR CANDLES
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.
EMBRACE YOUR INNER MAXIMALIST
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.
TREAT YOURSELF TO ONE NEW ITEM
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.
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.
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.