Through October, I’m going to be running a series of blogs every Monday that discuss how to spice up your home for the festive season. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than that mad ol’ rush as more and more weekends start being blocked out of the calendar, so let’s get organised and start now.
October heralds the start of festive frolicking. Over the next three months we have Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving (British or American, it’s another great excuse for a party) and of course Christmas and New Year. With a list of celebrations that long, there’s no time to mourn the loss of summer, it will be back next year. Instead, let’s avoid the mad pre-festivity dash and use the start of October to add some magic to our spaces and give them a revamp.
It’s easy to feel a little down-in-the-dumps as the days draw-in and a chill creeps into the air. If you’re anything like me and you repel the cold, and darker evenings leave you feeling a little anti-social, it’s time to bring your friends to you. So let’s embrace the chill, switch the Pimms for Prosecco, and start planning some fabulous nights in. First-up, we need to shed summer and start weaving some autumnal touches into our spaces. I’m going to start with the lounge, the hub of entertaining.
For me, lighting is the single most important feature for setting the mood, and I’m completely obsessed with candles (I can count on one-hand how many times I’ve used my ceiling lights). Flicking off the overheads and chatting over the warm glow of melting wax instantly induces relaxation and puts guests (and yourself!) at ease. Pillar candles and lanterns look great in fireplaces or as coffee table centre pieces. Dot tea lights everywhere. Invest in some lamps to add a little extra light without damaging the soothing ambience.
Move your sofas and armchairs from summer to winter with a few simple twists. Invest in some bulging cushions, plump them up and pile them into sofa corners. Deep, rich shades such as mulberry red, burnt orange, moss green and indulgent metallic shades of gold and bronze are warming and inviting, radiating a festive glow. You can set them off with some classic neutral creams and ivories, and pair them with some soft, cosy throws. Marks and spencer cushions and throws are great value and they have a really wide range and bluebellgray are one of my faves for bold colours. Just remember that nothing quite drags a room down more than a messy sofa, so keep the cushions fluffed and the throws rolled or folded.
If you’re fed-up with your sofas, now is a great time to consider buying a new one or changing the covers. We have many months ahead that we will be spending indoors, so you’ll really get the most out of your new investment. Consider depth, as this is something I once forgot about and I wound up with a hard sofa that I couldn’t sink into – a total no-no. I always love a neutral, classic shade as this makes it versatile and adaptable to changing seasons. This means you’re less likely to get bored and you can have fun switching up the style with cushions and throws, as mentioned above.
Rugs can transform a room, adding warmth, depth and character, but they’re often forgotten about and bought as an afterthought ( I was guilty of this). They can also be a big investment, so before embarking on such a decision, it’s worth reading Bessy’s fantastic “Beginners Guide” to choosing a rug. For me, my biggest household regret is not having had the foresight to save for a good quality, timeless rug. Instead I bought many a cheap version, that I simply got bored of and ended up replacing. My advice is go for patterns if you’ve a simple room of neutrals and block-colours, and to go for block-colours if you’re room is busier.
One of the reasons I fell in love with my house was the shutters. Over every window there are these beautiful white, wooden shutters with a starfish etched out the middle (hence, my home has become known as Starfish House). Windows are an incredibly important feature of a room, and they need attention. Being a shutter-girl, I’ve always considered curtains as being somewhat dated. However, my Mum has successfully converted me after having some absolutely breath-taking curtains made from one of Juliet Traver’s (read more here) stunning fabrics. Quite simply, they have set the room-off, they’ve lifted it and given it presence, charm and warmth. Like rugs, it’s a big investment, but worth-it to showcase your spaces. Choose timeless, dateless fabrics that are versatile enough to allow you play around with other features in the room.
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