Inspiration 18 December 2015

Misty Autumn days...

Autumn has to be my favourite season.

Autumn has to be my favourite season for walking the dog, with the early morning mists, long afternoon shadows and piles of yellow, brown and ochre leaves that pepper the roads and pathways.

It's time to start thinking about cosying up indoors too, and there are lots of simple and effective ways to do this. Use Autumn colours as your inspiration and you'll immediately introduce warmth and texture.

Before

After

Cushions are a must-have accessory for any autumn/winter interior, and there are lots to choose from. Think huggable, snuggable fabrics made from natural fibres like wool, linen and velvet and remember they don't just have to stay on sofas and chairs - fling them on the floor and they make great extra seating for holiday visitors.

To create a calm and coordinated look, choose cushions from the same colour palette. Add one in burnt orange, jade green or fuchsia pink to give a wonderful pop of colour.

An open fire or wood burning stove is a lovely focal point, but if you don't have either, candles can make a room feel just as snug. You know me, any excuse to whip up a still life, so here's one I made earlier, using dried flowers (and some fresh chrysanthemums too - an autumn favourite), a few simple candles and my latest charity-shop find, a 1950's bookcase with glass doors and splayed mid-century legs. (Note the dried plaster walls which still need painting - more on this later). Use unusual containers for candles, like terracotta flower pots, empty (washed!) tin cans or pretty china bowls.

Pillar candles, hurricane lamps, lanterns, tea lights and candelabras all create a soft, gentle glow. Scented candles are especially nice, with lots of warm smells to choose from including Vanilla, Amber and Wild Fig. I particularly love the recent fashion for herby smells like bay, sage and mint and also the oddly named (but rather gorgeous) oud, which comes from the wood of the tropical Agar tree.

Any of these should create a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and put you in the mood for hot chocolate and popcorn.