Usually, I love Autumn. The colours. The anticipation of change. The smell of leaves in the air. But this year, if I’m honest, I’m just not feeling it.
Perhaps it’s the thought of navigating dark nights during a pandemic. Perhaps the reality of a lockdown, second time round, through winter feels harder and a little more intense. Summer lockdown didn’t feel as constrained; we spent time in the garden, we had the doors and windows open. But facing a winter lockdown feels tough, both physically and mentally. So, whilst I usually love watching the first leaves of Autumn fall, this year they left me feeling a little apprehensive.
But, the colours will change, the leaves will fall and this pandemic won’t be over before winter arrives. So, how do we embrace the seasonal change and try and conjure up some of the Autumnal sparkle of previous years? How do we make our homes feel like our sanctuary, a cosy safe haven for us to retreat to?
Here are my top tips for transitioning the seasons and making your home the only place you want to be this autumn and winter.
1/ DECLUTTER & ORGANISE
I’m not talking Marie Kondo, spend-the-next-6-months sorting your cupboards and drawers. I’m just talking about a little clear-out. Sort out that kitchen drawer that has you cursing every time you need to go in it. Sort out the shoes by the front door. Sort out the spice cupboard – you know there’ll be spices still in there from 2000! Just as you’d have a little spring clean, have a little autumnal spruce-up! Try and get round to those little household jobs – the light bulb that needs changing, the door handle that’s come loose. Not the most exciting way to spend your time, I know, but a weekend at the beginning of Autumn getting your house-in-order for the new season, will leave you feeling much more organised. Without the clutter you’ll be able to clearly see the spaces you’ve got to work with and enjoy over the next few months.
2/ KEEP IT PERSONAL
Now’s the time for your interior to tell your story. So, even though you’re having a declutter and getting your “stuff” organised, now is also the time to make sure you’re surrounded by things you love. All those things, texture and colours which trigger happy memories. So, keep out those family photos, and make sure you find a spot on the shelf for the drawing your niece sent you, or the shells you collected from the beach. It’s those things that remind us of the happy times, and keep us connected with what’s important. So whatever it is, if it makes you smile then make sure it’s where you can see it.
3/ LICK OF PAINT
Although my business clearly depends on people wanting to rush out and fully redecorate their homes, for many people now isn’t the time to be making drastic interior changes. But that doesn’t mean you can’t repaint the walls of a bedroom for a change of colour. Or that you can’t freshen-up a chipped door with a lick of paint. Or what about painting a fireplace to add a pop of colour to a room? Or changing the colour of your front door? Finding a small-ish interior job to set your mind to might help you feel proactive in creating a happy space for the winter. Or perhaps it would just feel like another job on your list to-do; in which case, put the paint brush down and don’t think about it again!
3/ COSY UP
Layer-up the textiles. Now’s the time to make your home feel cosy, warm and inviting. Get out the blankets, invest in some new ones. Make sure your sofas look and feel like you’ll want to stay snuggled there until Spring. Blankets are a great way to add colour and pattern to a room too. Just changing the cushions and throws on a sofa can give it a whole new look; simple changes but maximum impact.
And, I know, it sounds rather cliched, but lighting candles completely changes the feeling of a space. It makes it feel warm, and inviting. It softens the light, making the room feel cosy and relaxing. Indulge in your favourite scented candles and light them for an hour or so during the day. Basically, you want to try and make your home feel so cosy and cocoon like that even if someone told you you could go to a party with all of your friends and family, you’d still choose to stay on the sofa in front of the fire!!
5/ OUTSIDE-IN INSIDE-OUT
Our relationship with the outside is so important, especially during periods of lockdown. Bringing a little bit of the outside in can really help with wellbeing; they are known to help purify air, boost mood and increase productivity. You don’t need to go crazy (unless you want to!) but just a couple of plants around the house can make you feel connected with the outside world. Open doors and windows whenever you can, even just for a few minutes. It improves air circulation and ventilation and just gives you a little boost of fresh air. Perhaps treat yourself and try one of the botanical subscription boxes.
And don’t forget your outside space. Whilst this is usually the time we’re clearing away our gardens until the Spring, this year our outdoor space is potentially one of the only places we can hopefully (in time) start to entertain others (however informal and socially distanced!). So clear-up the garden and make your seating into an Autumn-friendly space. Have a basket with blankets ready for outside. Add fairy lights. Perhaps you could create a cosy corner which you could use as a morning coffee spot on dry, crisp days?
We’re definitely in strange times but we are at least in control of our immediate surroundings at home and in the garden, so making just a few changes to make them more enjoyable for the months ahead can only be a good thing. I’d love to know how you feel about the transition into Autumn this year…