Article by Barbara Chandler
If you’re planning on staying in to save money this winter, make the very most of your time spent hunkering down at home with cosy, luxurious fabrics, perfumed candles for a flickering glow that stirs the senses, and energy-saving lights kept way down low.
As the nights draw in, it’s the best time of year to curl up with a throw on your sofa and a nest of tables nearby for any bits you might want to keep handy. Maybe splurge on an extra-comfy chair and stool, with its own nearby lamp, and max out on the softest cushions.
Paint Me Autumn
Your new apartment or house from Weston Homes is a low-key backdrop, perfect for your personal colour choice. Check out the Dulux Colour of the Year 2023 Wild Wonder, a soft “greige”, and its supporting clutch of warm, easy-does-it neutrals inspired by nature, from Spun Mohair to Cocoa Pod. For extra expertise, download the magical Dulux App to re-colour your own rooms, virtually.
Paint a wall a shade of pale, and then have stronger autumnal hues in your rugs, throws, cushions and pictures. Think falling leaves – mustard, ochre, terracotta and tan – or ripened berry shades of raspberry and crimson. Flashes of emerald, jade and turquoise will bring a room to life.
Wool’s an eco-warrior
Make wool your winter eco-friend. This quintessentially natural fibre has an inherent crimp, trapping air for resilience and insulation. It’s supremely durable and will biodegrade at the end of its life. Look for finer-quality wools such as lambswool or Merino. Herringbone weaves and plaids are restful and come in a huge range of colour choices. But follow care instructions to the letter. Wool hates a hot rub-down, and will quickly felt.
Rugs, meanwhile, are an essential winter treat for your feet and add to a room’s overall sense of wellbeing. A sheepskin by your bed is the perfect “sole-mate”. Check out wool rugs on Ruguru, The Rug Seller, Rugs Direct and the Rugs Warehouse as well as John Lewis.
When it comes to throws, it’s tricky to judge how big they are online but the measurements of a king-size bed, 150cm by 200cm, provide a useful benchmark. A throw in a small size, typically around 70cm to 180cm, will only be good for the end of your bed. Go to Amara for a complete size guide.
Sharing your sofa? Have two contrasting throws. Small British mills selling lovely blankets and throws include The British Blanket Company, Atlantic Blankets, John Atkinson and Solway Blankets.
Heated throws cost around 5p an hour to run and they’re the newly desirable winter warmers. Fleecy, washable and priced upwards of £60, they are selling out fast on sites such as Lakeland, where brand leader is German-based Beurer (also on Amazon). Infinitely cheaper are a couple of hot water bottles upgraded with smart covers at Etsy, from cable knit, Fair Isle and crochet to quilted Liberty prints.
Weston Homes factory-fitted off-site windows are double glazed and draught-proof. But drawing a curtain in a feel-good fabric and soft colour palette, to wrap you in against the dark, is irresistible. Good curtains, professionally made with proper linings, are an investment. Have two layers and take away the heavier one come spring, leaving a sheer or voile. Find inexpensive double poles at Argos and Ikea or explore classier versions at Wayfair. Less obtrusive are ceiling-mounted double tracks.
Layer up your sofa and bed cushions using different textures – wool, velvet, silk, cotton, cable knits or tweeds. Newly popular and very cheap are chunky “teddy” fabrics, for cushions, throws and even for duvet covers. In the bedroom change your duvet cover and sheets for warm winter colours – save the crisp white for summer.
Duvets: The Knowledge
Do your duvet maths. Their warmth is measured in togs, from 10.5 to 15 for winter. For summer, it’s 1-4. A two-duvet “four-seasons” pack of around 3.5 and 10.5 togs can be joined together when it’s very cold – but check for ease of fastening. Easy-wash hollowfibre and finer microfibre are polyesters that won’t last as long as natural but heavier feathers, while pure, airy down is exorbitantly expensive. So a feathers-and-down filling is a good compromise. A king-size goose feather and down duvet is a “special buy” for £70 at Soak & Sleep.
Add small touches to complete your home’s welcoming, wintertime look, such as natural woven rush baskets full of books to read, warm teak wooden platters or trays, and cork mats. Fill a smoky glass vase with stems of red berries and silvery eucalyptus leaves. Fill shallow ceramic bowls with fruit, rest your dinner plates on matching woven mats and use soft cotton napkins. Dim the lights, set candles glowing in Christmas scents of cinnamon, cloves and fir… and let your home give you a great big hug.