Seasonal shift: Embrace autumn at home with the latest interiors trends
PUBLISHED: 10:03 29 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:03 29 September 2017
The snuggly season is upon us, and we're altering our interiors to match the changes in our clothes and our mood.
As the seasons change so do our moods along with our attitudes to everything from what we wear to how we live.
Much has been written about the way autumn is affecting us this year, particularly coming as it does after a summer with some of the hottest days for years.
Changing leaves, shorter, cooler days and a return to school runs all lead us to some extent or other into what psychologists call Seasonal Affected Disorder.
So it’s no wonder we want out homes to be warmer and cosier to protect us from all that.
Tracey Andrews is one of the many designers to notice the way interiors mirror our tastes in other seasonal trends such as fashion.
“We change our interiors to the season the same way we change our clothes,” she said. “It follows that as the nights draw in we replace our lighter clothing with those that are heavier and more insulating, and our interiors follow suit.
“Fashion will always filter through into our homes, but there is another reason. Our energies and moods are changed course with an arrival of reduced light levels, and our internal body clocks alter.”
So what’s behind it all?
Tracey, who operates her business from Fanshawe Street, Hertford, explained: “Essentially, there is a need to express the way we feel in our interiors because of all this. We naturally switch to richer colours, textures, and patterns. From a human and interior design point of view, it’s an opportunity to renew and refresh and prepare for the long winter months.
“As the weather changes and the light levels fizzle we channel our thoughts to comfort and safety, as nature would have intended.
“For me, the transition from summer to winter interiors is about adaption rather than complete overhaul. Changing your interior to the season can be expensive if you’re going to revamp every year. Ideally, if you have a neutral backdrop, switch the accents colors by moving from the blues and yellow summer hues to ochres and mossy greens.
“These can be introduced in a layering of cushions and throws, texture and light. Introduce table or floor lamps for cosy effect or overhead light sources to reduce the winter blues. Candles are a must for those chilly winter nights and mood enhancing get-togethers.”
Essentially, autumn is more about layering up and bringing a feeling of cosiness with richer colours and warmer, lush textures.
The current trend, according to many, appears to centre on grey – many shades of them – along with hints of woodland and a fair few metal tones. All week I’ve been getting alerts from the White Company suggesting ways of “getting cocooned” and “hunkering down”.
Some of the best advice I’ve seen lately came from Emily Brookes of Emily May Designs who mirrors Tracey’s philosophy of adapting your environment in simple, but effective, ways.
She suggests such ideas as swapping cushion covers to switch the accent colours in favour of warmth and, in particular, experimenting different textures to bring more depth with additions such as chunky knits.
And she even suggests changing your art, even using the same frame if possible and just changing the picture for a few months.
Several others I spoke to recently advised small design touches to add an autumnal feel and “enliven and revitalise” which can mean thick, colourful rugs, heavyweight curtains and downy pillows, all helped by a subtle use of the dimmer switch, if you haven’t worked out a way of integrating more subtle lighting to avoid the ones on the ceiling.
And talking of following fashion, it’s no surprise that the chunky-knit look is something of a trend at the moment, working its way into soft furnishings, such as scatter cushions and foot stools.
Rattan seems to be in revival mode, especially for those not too keen on dark woods. It’s softer but does the same job in terms of adding texture, especially when incorporating hand-woven touches such as panels.
And, unless it’s about the clan you were born into, tartan may add too of a much statement when used in excess. But the odd touch, such as an armchair here and there may add the perfect hint of cosiness.
And don’t forget, grey is the colour of choice for a really homely touch right now. It’s a great softener, especially when set against anything white-washed. The White Company are on to that, suggesting soft chalky grey walls or cosy flannel blankets, such as their Addison range. Also Home are going big on a cushion range that do the same thing.
And the French Bedroom Company have a fabulous selection that includes many products in various shades of velvet. Clarke and Clarke also have a wonderful selection of “change over season” fabrics in their Botanica range and Today Interiors are worth a visit for their Kantha collection.
Tracey sees this as something best approached with a little subtlety.
“I prefer to make the changes to the season’s interiors with in-between hues such as ‘teal’, ‘mole’ and ‘salmon’ or metallics with texture,” she said. “Move away from ochres, and red and predictable yellows, to inky blues, charcoal or olive green, or mustard, which is so rich and perfectly uplifting.
“For accessories and other accents choose copper, silver or old brass as they fuse well with any palette. Step away from the grey and be more individual and considered in your approach. Choose timeless, not trendless, and if you can, more daring.”