As we say goodbye to what’s been a rather washed out, staycation-punctuated summer it’s time to turn our attention to the months ahead as autumn creeps in. Astronomically, the first day of autumn is marked by the equinox when daylight and dark hours are equal, signifying the shift from light, long, summer evenings to dark, cosy ones by the fire.
I for one am a big fan of the dark winter months and am always chomping at the bit for the shift in seasons to turn leaves red and gold and to start thinking about pumpkin picking, warm cider, and the most spangly festive event of them all, dare I say it so early…. Christmas!
Listening out for fireworks becomes one of my favourite activities and decking my hall and rooms with additions that make the world feel like a wonderfully festive film becomes my main focus in life. Bringing the seasonal changes indoors really connects you to the shifts going on around you outside in nature and if we’ve learnt one thing over the pandemic it’s that the connection with the outside can really help our mental health. It grounds you, bringing you back to centre, ready for colder weather and to turn what for some are viewed as a miserable few months into heartwarming ones.
Here’s how I’ll be welcoming the autumn indoors this year-
Blackberries, bakes & slow cooking
Blackberries are in season from the end of the summer months through to October and are ready and waiting to be picked for pies and crumbles with steaming custard, surely the ultimate winter comfort food. In preparation for this, and the other heartwarming meals I’ll be cooking over the darker months I’d suggest a little restock of baking dishes. I’ve got my eye on a couple of options, a deep red traditional patterned oven dish from Spode and a splatter pattern option at Habitat (Argos). This makes me look forward to spending time in the kitchen and there’s nothing better than cooking slow oven dishes with foraged items on windy autumn afternoon.
Warm the place up with blankets & cushions
Whether they’re over our toes, draped stylishly over the end of the sofa or bundled, peeking out of a wicker basket, blankets always spell comfort and cosiness. A new winter blanket or two, along with some extra autumnal cushions are a great way to bring some cosy earthy tones into your home. Mix it up with russets, creams and chestnuts for a really autumnal feel. As a timely stroke of luck, warm oranges and rusts are having a moment in interiors right now, so you’ll find a lot about. You may even decide to keep these colours going strong in your home into next summer!
Think of your feathered friends
Stock up on bird seed to help our bird friends over the winter months. There’s been very little sun this summer and that’s affected crops and plants, having a knock-on effect on the food available for wildlife this winter. Every little helps, and what could be more beautifully wintery than watching a robin have a breakfast feast outside your window? You can make your own hanging suet ball bird feeders, a great indoor activity for both adults and kids or find options in garden centres and online.
Bring out the books (and snacks)!
Darker evenings are the perfect time to catch up on all those books you didn’t finish or get around to reading on the somewhat sparse holidays this year. Not only do books provide a very restful pastime during colder months, they also make the place look snug as a home accessory, piled up ready for a cosy read on a side table or coffee table. There are several prerequisites for a room to feel complete in interior design and one of these is ‘signs of life.’ An open or tempting little pile of books is just this. Maybe add a little bowl of nuts for cracking or some chestnuts ready to be shelled.
Amber glass vases are everywhere right now and look great collected into mixed sizes with autumnal branches and foliage, real or faux. Oak leaves, maple branches and Japanese lanterns are all great choices this time of the year and can be found at your local florist or in their faux varieties. Bloom.uk.com have some great artificial oak leaves and wyldhome.com have beautiful faux autumnal leaves and blackberry branches.
Why not bring a little bit of the Autumn warmth right up to your front door with some pots of orange Chrysanthemums, available pre-potted from Crocus (www.crocus.co.uk) or an autumnal wreath? If you have a garden you’re tidying up you can use off cuts of climbers to weave into a circular base and then forage for add-ons like berries, winter leaves and lichen covered sticks. If you want something pre-made Lights4fun have a couple of lovely light-up options.
Get rustic with wood
Bringing natural elements into the home always warms a room visually. Add a rustic stool to your hallway with a woven basket atop that’s full of foraged wood. Or place a basket full of lichen covered branches (available on ebay or in your nearest wood) by the fire. If you have less room, think about a wide vase with a collection or sticks much like an upturned witch’s broom and also available to find in bunches on eBay, or make it an excuse for a windy forest walk! Just be ready with the hot chocolate on your return.
Interior designer Lu Fitoussi-Findlay creates distinctive interiors with a focus on high end, natural finishes and elevated everyday experiences. Learn more at www.happymatters.co.