Autumn is without a doubt the best time of year, and I always look forward to its arrival. The colours, the atmosphere, the flavours… There is nothing better than enjoying a crisp morning walk in the beautiful Hampshire countryside or snuggling up by the fire after a long day at work, accompanied by a large mug of tea (or glass of homemade sloe gin).
From a design perspective, the colours and textures provide a great source of inspiration, and the warm burnt tones and sludgy earthy hues suit my preferred palette down to the ground. For some (my youngest daughter included) the nights drawing in and the wild weather are something to dread, but I think they provide the perfect excuse to batten down the hatches and cosy up inside the gorgeous comfort of home.
The transition from summer to autumn can sometimes be difficult, especially when it comes to deciding what to wear, but dressing the home is somewhat easier, and there are some effective things that can be done to help warm up your home for the cold months ahead. These vary in terms of their effort and impact, but on the whole they are extremely simple and will make a noticeable difference.
I am a great lover of candles. They have the ability to create atmosphere with minimal effort. This is true for all year round but especially once the nights start drawing in. The impact of lighting a candle shouldn’t be underrated, and I find it can instantly make a room feel more homely and welcoming. Add candles wherever it is safe and possible to do so, and make use of different types. Try and stick to one scent per room, and if possible layer your fragrances with matching room sprays or scented reeds. Speaking of fragrance, an easy autumn adjustment to make is swapping your summer scent for something much warmer. It is no secret that my favourite luxury candle brand is Cire Trudon, and my go to fragrance for spring and summer is Abd El Kader, with green scents of fresh mind, lemon, and jasmine. But when it comes to autumn I opt for Ernesto, a warm fragrance of bergamot, patchouli, leather, and tobacco.
In recent years we have seen an increasing trend for stag and traditional country themed decor, from fabrics and wallpapers through to decorative accessories. Depending on your decor and style, these may already be on display, but adding themed accessories such as this stunning silver stag bon-bon (pictured below) adds an appropriate and stylish seasonal touch. Accessories like these are also great for filling with treats on the run up to Christmas.
With the weather turning wilder, staying in and snuggling up becomes an all the more desirable activity. Adding throws and cushions is not only practical, but gives an overall more cosy appearance. Using different textures is also important – experiment with looks of fur, wool, velvet, and cashmere if you can stretch to it, and I recommend layering to create a beautiful and lived in look. I am also a big fan of plaid, especially at this time of year. There is usually a plaid that coordinates with most existing schemes and we have them in just about every conceivable colour combination in the Squirrels studio!
This is the most drastic of tips, which is why I have left it until the very end. I am by no means suggesting it is necessary to redecorate your house, but if you are already in the process, or thinking about giving a room a fresh lick of paint on the run up to Christmas, then this may be an option for you.
In past experience, such as at my last house, there was a sitting room at the rear of the property that we only ever really used during autumn and winter, mainly due to the large open fire but also because of the light. Realising that the room was infrequently used except in the darker months, I decided to drastically change the decor and make it more cosy. I painted the whole room (windows and ceilings and all) in Masai by Paint and Paper Library. Masai is a rich, warm, and earthy “brownish red”, sort of towards a very dark terracotta. The transformation of the room was instantaneous, it became the snug it should have always been, and one of the most loved rooms in the house.
I hope that some of these tips prove to be useful in preparing your home for autumn. If you fancy trying a Cire Trudon candle for yourself or need some extra help, don’t forget you can find us on Stockbridge High Street.