How to transition from summer to fall
With summer’s end in sight, and as much as we hate to consider this, it’s about to get cooler, at least at night. Being a native southern Californian, I find the very idea of winter daunting. On the other hand, there is no place I’d rather be from November to February than nestled comfortably in my country house, near Creemore, with a cup of cocoa in my hands and a good book in my lap. In anticipation of shorter nights, cooler temperatures and winter cocooning, here are some simple ways to warm up your interiors.
Shortly after Labour Day we dig out our scarves, gloves and topcoats in anticipation of colder weather and new fall fashions. This “bundling up” process is equally warranted when it comes to our interiors. After all, we may love that light, fresh and breezy feeling in July but we recognize we need something more substantial for the winter months ahead.
Strategic layers provide added warmth and soothing comfort. Toss a cashmere throw on the arm of a favourite chair, place an extra set of pillows on the living room sofa, or add a coverlet to the foot of the bed.
DESIGN TIP If storage space is at a premium, it may not be realistic to keep several sets of pillows in the house. Instead, create a single pillow using two different fabrics; one for each side. Choose cotton or linen for the “summer” side and a heavier velvet or chenille for the “winter” side. Rotate as required.
EMBRACE COLOUR AND PATTERN
If beige is leaving you cold, introduce rich colour. Add a splash of cinnamon, chocolate or lavender to rooms. A series of red vases down the length of a dark wooden table strikes a dramatic pose. Navy-blue toss cushions enliven a dependable tan sofa. Top a plain-white duvet cover with a luxury throw. To increase colour’s impact, introduce pattern as well. Do we dare? Oh yes. Large-scale pattern is turning up on upholstered pieces such as: armchairs, sofas and headboards. Look to exuberant floral, exotic paisley and dashing animal prints to revive listless rooms and add warmth.
DESIGN TIP Pattern has more visual weight than a solid colour, so it’s a welcome addition to rooms that require warmth and depth. To successfully mix patterns, vary the scale; pair a small geometric with a medium stripe and a large floral print.
MAKE A SWITCH
If patterned carpets are stowed away for summertime, put them back underfoot. Luxurious wool provides physical and psychological warmth. Exchange white or off-white lamp shades for dramatic black or red. A dark, opaque shade stylishly highlights a favourite table-top collection. If your home has a fireplace, it’s a natural attention getter. Try angling furniture away from windows towards this central attraction from October to April. At the same time, pull the furniture into a tighter grouping and guests will feel cosier.
DESIGN TIP Sheer fabric not only provides a modest amount of privacy, but warm, pale colours can energize the grey light that accompanies drizzly days. Look for today’s most stylish sheers to have accent stitching for added depth.
TURN UP THE LIGHT
Clean the windows and tidy the landscape. As simple as it sounds, dirty panes and overgrown shrubbery restrict the amount of sunlight that penetrates windows. If you’re remodeling or building from scratch, choose a window that allows wash from-within rotations to make this task easier.
Yes, mirrors are a designer’s not-so-secret weapon in the fight to expand space, but they’re equally effective in bringing sunshine indoors. Placing a mirror adjacent to a window amplifies the effect. You might also include reflective materials such as: glistening chrome or nickel, highly polished brass or silver, and crystal or glass. Tiles with a shiny surface are great for a kitchen backsplash or bathroom shower surround where increased warmth is desired.
DESIGN TIP Paint windowsills and frames in a light-reflecting colour such as ivory, cream or white to bounce sunlight into rooms.