Ladies and gentlemen, fall has arrived. Time to wrap up those outdoor projects and bust out the extra blankets, your favorite sweater, and hot cider.
With the autumnal equinox behind us, many of us will be spending more time indoors. Personally, I love this time of year. Much like spring cleaning, I perform an annual fall button-up where I assess what needs to be done to make the interior of my home more pleasant for the cold months ahead.
Have you noticed how walking into some homes, you immediately feel welcomed, comfortable, and relaxed? Cozy, in other words. Believe it or not, that atmosphere doesn’t randomly occur. It is one that can be thoughtfully manufactured, with or without spending an extra dime. Often, it merely requires rearranging items you already have.
To create cozy vibes in your home, let’s first review the basics. Wait, it’s Halloween time—we can do better than that. We’ll call these the bones: • That inviting feeling you want to achieve begins with your lighting. Light bulbs range from cool blues to warm yellow tones. Guess which you should choose for the room you want to cozy up. That’s right, warm, yellow tones. Decorating pros also recommend using multiple sources of light, such as lamps and candles. Not convinced? Next time Hocus Pocus comes on, try clicking off that overhead light and firing up a lamp or two. I guarantee your space will have a completely different feel.
• Now it’s time to talk texture. Cozy
homes aren’t comprised of perfectly
matched items. Goodness, no. It’s about
balance. For example, living rooms with
a lot of wood, glass, leather, and plastic
need soft elements to smooth them
out. Think pillows, throw blankets, rugs,
curtains, canvas, etc. The same is true
in reverse. A room heavy with fabric,
carpet, and overstuffed furniture needs
structure and hard angles for contrast.
Take a walk around your house and see
if you can move shelving, picture frames,
or end tables in from another room.
And don’t be afraid to mix and match
patterns. This is what infuses personality
into your space.
• Next, let’s liven it up—literally. Pops
of green from plants (faux or real) are
perfect accents with any decor. The
peace lily is my favorite go-to because of
its vibrant green color; plus, it is easy to
care for and flowers when it’s happy.
• Here we have arrived at my favorite
part: personal touches. This is where
you get to be creative and really make
a room your own. Try stacking a few of
your favorite books on the coffee table.
Dig around for a bowl (porcelain, crystal,
wood) you can put out and fill with different size candles. Does the throw blanket
look better tossed over the side of that
sofa, or rolled up in a basket beside it?
Continue to move items around until you
feel a relaxed sense of “ah” when you
look at it.
Now that the bones are in place, it’s
time to turn up the fall magic. Here are a
few ideas to try:
• Swap it out. Decide what items around
your house could be established as
“summer” decor and store them. For example, I remove all my silk flowers, faux
succulents, certain baskets, and any
unused, brightly colored candles. This
clears the space for new seasonal decor
and gives you something to look forward
to when summer rolls around.
• Apples. Not only are apples delicious,
they are an autumnal hallmark. Place a
bowl of them on the table, or scatter a
few apples around your mantle, among
framed photos, or in a glass vase.
• Leaves. Whenever I am out walking
or doing yard work in fall, I pick up the
most vibrant, pretty leaves I see and use
them to dress up various flat spaces
around the house.
• Pumpkins and gourds. This almost
goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: the more, the merrier. Especially if
you grow them yourself, as the price of
these can add up quickly. However, a
single pumpkin used as a table centerpiece will more than capture the spirit
of the season. White pumpkins look
especially stunning as table toppers.
• Cornstalks. If you grow your own corn,
always save the stalks. They can be
bundled together near the front door or
on a mailbox post for a rustic, fall look.
If you have the budget to purchase
seasonal decor, always take your time
choosing well-made items that will stand
the test of time. Resist following trends.
You may only be able to afford one or
two quality accents a year this way, but
in time, you will accumulate a collection
you will be proud to put on display for
decades to come.
Carrie Manner lives in Mountain Iron. This is the second edition of her new home and garden column.