Autumn is well and truly underway, so it's time to start thinking like a woodland animal and spend the darkening days stocking up, snuggling down and getting cosy!
Read on to discover how to prepare your home for winter in four simple steps...
Change up your lighting
Look to the Scandinavian countries for tips on how to use lighting to create cosy spaces.
They can have as little as four hours of daylight in winter, so their interior lighting has to be just right.
Scandinavian lighting style thinks beyond lamps and considers the more unusual spaces that can be lit. Adding LED strips to shelves or hanging fairy lights around picture frames will gently illuminate the room without taking up floor or table space.
Use local lighting to brighten seating areas. The pool of light created by a floor lamp will make a comfy chair seem all the more inviting.
Use warm white light whenever possible. Smoked or amber-coloured glass bulbs will give out a golden glow.
Personalise your lighting even further by using colour-changing smart bulbs, these can be operated with an app or remote control to create multi-coloured lighting looks to suit your mood and the changing light of the day.
Fragrances are a powerful tool when you want to quickly create a sense of atmosphere.
Our sense of smell is more closely linked to our memories than any of our other senses, so you can easily conjure up a woodland scene just by choosing the right scent.
Candles provide an instant hit of fragrance, with the bonus of a cosily glowing flame. They’re perfect for adding an extra dimension to evenings on the sofa. If you want to come home to the feeling of a forest glade though, fragrance diffusers provide a slow release of scent 24 hours a day.
If you struggle with the sputnik appearance of reed diffusers, floral diffusers give the appearance of a vase of dried flowers, but still emit a gentle scent. Find a diffuser and fragrance oil separately to customise the look to suit your home.
There are opportunities to add evocative smells into every room in the house. Why not swap your usual bathroom hand wash for a deeply spicy scent and switch your laundry detergent so that your bedding smells as cosy as it feels?
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Bring the outdoors in
The simplest thing to do to make your home feel warmer is to introduce autumnal colours to your rooms.
Think of the rusty tones of leaves, the vibrant pinks of October sunrises and the juicy purple of ripening plums. These red-based colours will instantly feel much cosier than cooler blues and greens, and will reflect light with a rosy glow.
The sculptural qualities of this season’s grasses and seed heads make interesting, subtle patterns. Use these to add gentle interest to large areas of textiles, such as curtains and bedding, where a bolder design might be overpowering. Choose patterns with fluid lines and loose geometry.
These patterns have an organic feeling that’s perfect for reflecting the random beauty of nature. Stick to motifs that include typical British plants and flowers for consistency.
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Turn up the heat
Nothing spoils a cosy night in more than a pesky draught on the back of your neck. A couple of buys to insulate your home will not only make you feel warmer, you’ll be comfortable knowing that your energy bills will be lower.
Prevent heat loss from windows with thick, thermally-lined curtains. These will stop the cold air outside from penetrating and keep the warm air in your rooms.
If you love your current curtains and don’t want to change them, a dual curtain rail will allow you to hang a second pair of cosy curtains behind your favourite pair. These can be switched out for voiles or removed completely in the summer.
Draught excluders will stop cold breezes from finding their way under doors, and you can even make your own by stuffing a long sock with unwanted textiles.
Snuggle up with heated blankets and cushions. Luxurious faux fur traps warm air between its silky fibres, so you’ll be cosier for longer. Heated cushions and pads need a few seconds in the microwave and then slowly give out heat for the rest of the evening.
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You can find plenty of these cushions filled with natural and sustainable materials such as wheat, rice and cherry stones. Wood-burning stoves are a bit of an investment, but when you’ve found the right one for your home, they’re usually worth it. A stack of logs gives the room a rustic, old-fashioned appeal and the glow of a real fire on a dark night turns any room into a cosy sanctuary.
Thea Jeffreys is the Digital Writer on YourHomeStyle.uk, and is passionate about all things home décor. When she’s not scouring the internet for budget-friendly homeware finds, you’ll find her writing about the latest interior trends and handy upcycling tricks.