Charles Church

Tis' the season to be cosy

The nights are drawing in so it’s time to embrace the seasonal changes and get ready to hug our homes.

The summertime focus on an inside/outside lifestyle can be a lovely distant memory whilst we turn the shorter days to our advantage. There’s no need to be gloomy about darker evenings, just make some small changes to embrace that warm seasonal feeling.

Off to a head start

If you live in a new-build home, congratulations, you’re already on the right road to having a warmer, cosier place to snuggle up. Double glazed windows, layers of wall and roof insulation and energy-efficient boilers and appliances mean on average your new home will be 40% more energy efficient than older properties. They're cheaper to heat too which means you have more in your pocket for adding some cosy extras!

Easy and cost-effective ideas to welcome the winter months are all about setting the scene, creating some great props and making your home feel warm and inviting. Think of it just like your winter wardrobe: a few more layers, some different colours and textures, and a bit of mix and match. There’s no need to spend a fortune. A little step at a time will take you in the right direction and the end result will be a warm, comfortable, cosy feeling in every room of your home, whatever your budget.

Top tip: There’s no need to ditch dark colours, they can help you to create an atmospheric nest to come home to.

Add a bit of sparkle

Light, colour, and texture are the key elements to think about. Fairy lights aren’t just for Christmas. Instead of hanging them up, try a casual sparkling bundle in a large glass vase or a wide bowl. Whether they need to plug-in or are battery-operated, they’ll warm a sideboard in your living room, a corner of the worktop in your kitchen,  the chest of drawers in your bedroom, or the bathroom window sill. All the better if they have a built-in timer – you can set up a treat to come home to or to wake up to. Choose soft glow bulbs rather than bright whites for a comforting effect.

Take the same approach with side lamps. Set up one or two on time switches so that when you open your front door after a long day at work, or when you bring the kids home from their after-school clubs, your home will be ready and waiting for you with a warm glow. Think about where you go first and that’s where you can start – the hall, the kitchen, the living room.

Top tip: Gentle light is a kind and warm way to start and end a winter day. If you like waking up to the morning light in the summer, try this in your bedroom and set a lamp instead of the alarm clock.

Let colour set the scene

The colours are changing outside, so why not take the hint and do the same inside. Cool, calm, and collected neutral colours need to up their game for the winter if you want your home to feel really cosy. There’s no need to redecorate, your soft furnishings will paint a warm picture for you. If you’ve already got a signature colour wall you’ve simply got a head start, but don’t worry if you’re starting with a blank canvas, just pick the colours you love and try them out together.

Choose soft blankets to drape over sofa arms, rich traditional rugs to dip your toes into – they make a fabulous contrast with minimalist interiors and pale wooden or laminate floors - and stack a comfort of cushions on the sofa as an open invitation to curl up with a Sunday afternoon film. Contrasting colours and patterns add those ‘wardrobe’ layers. Winter warmer colours can be as dark as charcoal grey without being sombre if they are balanced with Italian-inspired orange ochre, the down to earth reds and greens that you can borrow from Scottish tartans and tweeds, and the moody deep blues of a stormy sky.

Top tip: You don’t have to limit yourself to the living room – bathroom towels, duvet covers, bed throws can all play their part.

Touchable textures

From the luxurious velvet of a cushion to the feel-good factor of a sheepskin rug (faux is fine) on the back of the sofa instead of the floor, from a soft knitted throw on the bed that you can tuck around your shoulders to snuggle down with a book to the treat of a new set of brightly patterned bath sheets, toasty warm from the towel rail, to hug around yourself.

Contemporary kitchens are as super sleek and shiny as bathrooms, so some colour and natural texture there makes all the difference too. Easy-to-achieve ideas can be as simple as a set of richly coloured mugs by the coffee machine that you can cup your hands around, a collection of rustic wicker baskets for the coffee pods/the salt and pepper pots/a handful of autumn apples. Cookery books are a great prop too - with their colours on display as well as that tempting promise of a winter stew.

Creating a winter warm home is all about setting the scene for comfort and relaxation, and that wonderful sense of tucking yourself up on a cold grey day to just enjoy the warmth of your new home.


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