With cold weather on its way, it’s time to brace ourselves with a few seasonally appropriate purchases, whether they be rugs, towels and duvets, or mugs for hot chocolate writes Carol O’Callaghan.
Doesn't waking up to chilly mornings, with condensation on the bedroom window, take some adjustment, after months of effortless surrender to perpetually warm, sunny days?
We might consider taking a lesson or two from the Danes, who are so good at winter living. They call it hygge and, lately, have us all buying into it.
Should a relative of Storm Ophelia pitch up this winter to do her worst, or another dastardly Beast from the East come prowling, we might as well be prepared for hunkering down in comfort until the storm, and winter, pass on.
Here are a few things to help take your home from summer-friendly to winter-resistant.
1. Power: Flashlights and plenty of spare batteries to the ready, as we prepare for hibernation and power outages.
2. Layers: Surviving winter starts with hauling out the thicker duvet, or shoving a second one into the duvet cover. After that, it’s all about layering-up for extra warmth and comfort. Faux fur quality just gets better and better and adds a lovely visual on a stylish bed.
3. Lights: Think three layers, when it comes to illuminating the home: main, task, and accent lighting. The last of these is the most important in winter, when we want everything low-key. Think table lamps, floor lamps, and rose-tinted bulbs for a warming effect.
4. Rugs: Who doesn’t mourn the loss of carpet, when hard wood and tiled floors chill through socks and into your bones? Rugs to step on straight from the bed, and rugs lined up with the sofa, also help to absorb noise. When summer rolls round, they can be scooped-up and stored.
5. Mugs and hot chocolate: When those clever Mayans weren’t busy seeing off conquistadores, they brought us the delight of hot chocolate, mainstay of post winter-walking refreshment. Large, sturdy mugs are a must.
6. House plants: When nature has stripped the garden bare, houseplants can hold you over until next spring. If you have the killer instinct, though, opt for succulents, which are low-maintenance and less likely to fall foul of the non-green-fingered.
7. Fragrances: While stocking up on candles for post-apocalyptic power outages, the likes of which we enjoyed last winter, throw in a few scented versions, with woody and herby notes, for a winter-appropriate house fragrance.
8. Towels: Changing seasons are a chance to clear out the hot press, as you retrieve winter duvets. Check towel stocks and see if any time-worn ones need to be replaced with comforting, soft ones.
9. Foraging: Pick up twigs and branches on country walks and bring them home to decorate a corner. Come Christmas, bedeck them with a string of fairy lights, adding pine cones and chestnuts to bowls for an alternative table decoration.
10. Colour option no. 1: Would you believe that jet black is trending? Not a hellish decorating scheme, thankfully, but the in-colour for accessories. It’s part of a revival of the monochrome look, which was trending at Maison et Objet recently. To make it approachable, think black-velvet cushions and thick, furry throws, for a touch of sophistication.
11. Colour option no. 2: Old-fashioned, dusty pinks, free of pastel and millennial influences, are cosy-inducing options, if dark walls are not your thing. Think warm corals all the way through to burgundy tones.
12. Colour option no. 3: Try a look called modern neutrals, which amounts to the everlasting trend for grey with pale wooden furniture. As it emphasises all things natural, it doesn’t need to change with the seasons.
13. Shapes: Here’s a happy trend for autumn and winter. All sorts of shape are in: stripes, geometrics, spots and blocks mixed together. Think clashing, rather than matching, and to make it really work, keep everything modern.
14. Night-time Nordic: Reverse the white walls and blue accents for a cosier winter version of this classic, timeless look. Think deep-blue walls with pared-back, blond-wood furniture, and folksy textiles.
15. 1980s: It’s the decade no one thought would return, but here come ruffles on cushions and skirts on chairs, glass table tops, rattan-seated dining chairs on tubular steel legs, and colour schemes with the soft-focus-lens look. It’s where cosy meets OTT, less the shoulder pads and big hair hairdos, we hope.