By Red Barrinuevo, HGTV Canada Stylist
As summer winds down, there’s a stark realization that winter is just around the corner. Before the frigid season sets in, we have autumn – one of my all-time favourite seasons. Fall is ripe with colour, texture and flavour. It’s the perfect time to turn inward, hunker down and get cozy for winter. Here are some home decorating tips to help you make the most of this splendid season.
1) Live in layers
Just as you would do with your autumn and winter wardrobe, layer your décor when temperatures drop. Not only does this create physical warmth, but a cozy visual that’s inviting and exudes warmth, from the inside out. Start with the obvious – layer pillows on your sofa and chairs, while also overlapping different sized and patterned area rugs underfoot. When the weather warms up again, it’s easy to lighten up the look by removing some of these items and putting them in storage until next fall.
Think about layering objects in unconventional places, such as an arrangement of framed artwork on a shelf, or leaned up against the wall on a console table, fireplace mantel or kitchen countertop. Layering can also be done with mirrors, window treatments, small furniture and accessories. Just be mindful that your layers don’t translate to clutter.
2) Warm up with lighting
It’s possible for lighting to emit different “temperatures.” Warm light bulbs have a yellowish hue, while cool bulbs are bright and tend to have blue undertones. Daylight bulbs are somewhere in between, designed to mimic natural light. For ambient light fixtures, daylight bulbs are generally the most commonly used and most versatile, but for occasional lighting such as table lamps, floor lamps and sconces, consider swapping your bulbs for warm ones in the fall and winter months. Warm bulbs, coupled with dimmer switches, can create a candlelight effect adding instant warmth and ambiance to a room.
3) Add colour
Autumn brings a cornucopia of rich hues — burnt oranges, mustard yellows, mossy greens and every brown in the spectrum, from light sandy tones to cognac and cinnamon, to almost black-browns. Take a cue from nature and invite more of this colour palette into your home this fall through accessories. This is easily done when your home is already decorated with warm tones, but slightly challenging when your home has a cool colour scheme. Like light bulbs, colours also have a temperature; warm colours have yellow undertones and cool ones boast blue. When decorating a space, maybe you’ve been told that mixing colour temperatures will create a clashing effect, but in reality, you can do it.
In fact, doing this can make a room more visually interesting. Hitting the right balance is key to making the mix work. For example, if your space is all cool and you want to make it warmer for fall, swap out all your accessories for ones that are warm-coloured. Now, before you start to tighten your purse strings, this doesn’t have to be a huge investment. The cost of new pillows and a throw or two, plus some candles and an autumn-themed centrepiece, is totally achievable and scalable for any budget, and it can be just what your space needs to warm it up a bit.
4) Choose heavier fabrics
Let’s return to our wardrobe metaphor: choose lighter materials during the warmer months, and heavier ones in the cooler months. Did you know choosing a heavier fabric for curtains and drapes can help reduce interior heat loss through the windows? Rich textures such as velvet, corduroy and wool knits are not only cozy to the touch, but visually warming as well. This adds richness and texture to a room. By layering a variety of textured fabrics in warm hues, you’ve just achieved three autumn decorating tips all in one go.
5) Fire it up!
While this one might seem obvious, it’s still a good tip. If you have a fireplace, light it up. The warmth, the smell, the crackle, and the flickering flame all combine to make a crisp autumn evening feel warm and welcoming. Look for ways to highlight the fireplace in your home. The mantel is usually reserved for the holiday season, but why not dress it up with candles or lights? Arrange your furniture to create a sitting area focused on the fireplace by using a rug, lighting and a great piece of art to pull the look together.
Much like the autumn season itself, fall decor is only temporary. This is great news for the sun worshippers who are counting down the days until June. For those who see the beauty of fall and everything it brings, enjoy it while it lasts!