Dropping temperatures and dark nights mean summer days are gone, but rather than lamenting their passing, focus instead on creating wicked winter rooms.
This year, the two ‘hot’ trends for the season are seductive sanctuary or rustic retreat. You can be purist and opt for one or the other, or simply reflect elements of each in a room - both will conjure instant warmth, comfort and luxury.
Those are, of course, the vital ingredients of Hygge (pronounced ‘hu-gah’), the Danish word for cosy, peaceful wellbeing which is having a bit of a moment right now.
“Hygge can be described as a state of being and of finding joy in the simple pleasures of everyday life,” says Johnny Jackson, co-author of The Art Of Hygge: How To Bring Danish Cosiness Into Your Life (Summersdale, £9.99). “Help yourself enjoy it by making your home a sanctuary and a delight to the senses, with soft furnishings made of luxurious fabrics, and it will be a place where you can unwind and feel completely rested.
“When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing lovelier than curling up on a sofa, sitting in front of a flickering fire, or snuggling under a cosy blanket or quilt.”
A pared-back setting allows elegant pieces to star and conjures a sophisticated tranquil space, where distracting clutter’s banished.
“As the temperature drops, we spend more time indoors and hanker after intimate spaces for snuggling,” says Jenny Gibbs, founder and principal of KLC School of Design (www.klc.co.uk).
“Neutral schemes are the perfect backdrop for this look and can be layered up with subtle pattern and texture, such as wool, velvet, mohair, tweed or herringbone. Cushions and throws on chairs and sofas positively invite winter lounging, table lights conjure attractive pools of light zoning spaces, and a setting feels even more intimate if, beside a chair, there’s a low side table and candlelight.”
COSY MAX: Warm up wood or stone floors with wool or sheepskin rugs, an appropriate way to banish cold toes and celebrate UK Wool Week (October 10-16). Room diffusers and scented candles with overtones of herbs, fruity notes and spices, and baskets of berries or pine cones, are ideal seasonal finishing touches.
CREATE COSY: The White Company’s furniture range is made for chic, indulgent spaces, with a Petersham Sofa, upholstered in soft velvet, £2,100, a truly luxurious choice. It teams beautifully with a velvet Beaufort Ottoman, £650. A Sheepskin Beanbag, from £895, would be ideal for informal extra seating. Scent the air with its seasonal Winter Signature Candle, £20, redolent with the aromas of cinnamon, cloves and oranges.
If space is limited, simply kit out a corner with a Pudding Armchair in Thatch House fabric, £795, from Loaf, and ramp up the comfort with a Chunky Herringbone Throw in gorgeous Earth wool, £129, from Hoo-gah, specialists in Scandinavian homeware. B&Q’s Concrete Grey Faux Fur Throw is fabulous too, and only £50.
A trunk works well as a side table, and The White Lighthouse has a well-priced Storage Trunk in faux leather, £80. Cosy toes are essential; The Rug Seller’s selection features a Softness Shaggy Circular Rug, in cream or grey, from £34.99. Pay a nod to the fashionable country trend with Next’s wooden effect Stag Head wall plaque, £55, and use a Giant Wicker Log Basket With Handles, £94.90, The Farthing, beside a hearth or to hide clutter.
A log-cabin-meets-loft style is ideal for those who like a more rugged, macho decor, where informality rules.
“Fusing exposed materials, worn leather and industrial fixtures, this trend embodies urban style at its best,” says Claire Hornby, interiors stylist at Barker & Stonehouse.
“No longer confined to warehouses and expansive city lofts, this utilitarian look can be achieved in any space, on any scale. Opting for reclaimed furniture helps emphasise the raw and unique essence of this trend, while metallic accents will inject warmth and hints of luxury to a scheme.”
COSY MAX: Layer rich leather sofas with beautifully tactile cushions and textured throws to ensure this metropolitan scheme retains that all-important comfort level.
CREATE COSY: For real ‘backwoods’ style, hunt down designer Timothy Oulton’s range at Barker & Stonehouse, which includes his sheepskin and wood Yeti Easy Chair, currently reduced from £1,950 to £1,499. Other pieces from Barker & Stonehouse’s range are just as appropriate, especially their chunky leather Loreto 3 Seater Sofa, reduced from £1,999 to £1,399, and a solid wood Vega Coffee Table, reduced from £589 to £439.
Alternatively, Loaf’s beautiful Bagsie Sofa, upholstered in a rich brown Walnut Beaten Leather, reminiscent of the russet colour of Autumn foliage, is £2,595. Guests will flock to pay you style compliments if you accessorise with Black by Design’s Baa Stools, £199 each, upholstered in a variety of sheep fleeces, and that artisan craftsmanship trend is integral to this style.
Echo it with a Linea Artisan Throw with orange tassels, reduced from £60 to £42, House of Fraser, or check out one of the designers marking UK Wool Week, knit designer Melanie Porter. Her Dot knitted lampshades are £510 for a cluster or £45 each for a Dot Knit Kit, which comes with everything you need to knit your own. My favourite finishing touch choices are a Duffle Faux Leather Cushion Cover in Latte Beige, £16, from Pasx, and a Somerset Log Holder, £305, Chesney’s.