Have you ever wondered why British people constantly talk about the weather? Well, it’s considered polite, neutral conversation (which is always important) but also because there is so darn much to talk about. One minute it is bright sunshine, the next minute it is pouring with rain. But on the whole, you generally know what to expect from the seasons in the UK. Autumn (or fall for my transatlantic friends) and winter are bleak to say the least. You know those gorgeous quintessentially British winter scenes in your favourite movies such as The Holiday and Bridget Jones Diary? Sorry to break it to you but that winter wonderland rarely exists. Instead of swishing merrily through the bright snowy streets of London in our Mini Cooper, we are staring at dull, grey skies, watching the incessant rain patter against the window pane. Miserable, damp, grey, tedious weather.
The Danes however are a smart bunch. With a similar weather pattern to the UK, they have mastered the art of surviving a dull, dark winter. This mind blowing concept known as ‘hygge’ has taken the world by storm in the last few years and has totally transformed my attitude to the dismal dark nights. In fact, having copied this genius coping strategy, I’ve actually started to look forward to those damp days quicker than you can say watermelon daquiri!
A Danish friend explained the concept of ‘hygge’ as a feeling. The warm blanket, the coffee and cake in the perfect spot. Well, as the seasons change and I’m starting to spend a lot more time indoors, I’ve transferred this coping strategy to my home décor and mastered the art of cosying up in my favourite chair, surrounded by my favourite things, with my favourite book, with my favourite cuppa!
See below the strategy I’m using to incorporate all this cosy goodness into my home this winter.
1. Soften the mood with candles
Does anything say ‘cosy, winter evening’ better than candles? Nope. Candles win the award for setting the mood for the perfect winter night in. That soft, warm glow, the ambient flicker, creating an intimate cocoon of cosiness. Light a candle (or better still, five) and your living space will immediately feel warm, homely and inviting. This is made even better if you have beautiful scented candles – the ultimate luxury and a great way to delicately scent your room. My favourite scents this time of year are frankincense, pine, amber and eucalyptus. Currently I’m loving the ‘Considered by Helen James’ range for Dunnes which are all handmade in Ireland, the Bearded Candle Makers are a local producer with the most gorgeous range. In addition, KJ Oils and Clay offer stunning soy candles in a range of unique handmade stoneware pots inspired by Scottish landscapes. What’s not to love!
Struggling with candle care? Read this great guide to looking after your candles.
2. Create cosy, textured layers with cushions and soft throws
Can you have too many cushions and throws? That is an ongoing debate in my household and I’m definitely arguing the case for team abundance. I’m swapping out all my cotton and linen and making way for faux fur and soft knits. Does anything beat snuggling down for the evening wrapped in a cosy blanket listening to the rain outside? Even if it is cold out, furniture draped in pillows and throws bring a warmth and comfort to your room. Add in a variety of textures for a balanced, inviting look that you will snuggle up with all evening.
3. Swap out fresh flowers for dried foliage
Hooray for your bank balance not having to fork out your hard earned cash for fresh flowers every week! Not only are dried flowers a one time purchase, but they add warmth and colour to your space. As you may know well if you follow along on my Instagram and website, I am a floral addict. I love flowers, which is why I paint them so often. But it is hard to get more than a couple of weeks out of a fresh bunch, no matter how well you look after them. Dried flowers last much longer and so you have better value for money. They also add texture to a room and if you pick seasonal dried flowers, you get a burst of autumnal colour in your living space as well as your garden! So just like you change your other decorative accessories to give your room a fresh feel, your flowers can follow any trend too. And of course you have the added bonus of bringing the nature indoors for the ultimate intentional way to feel good (without the need for a raincoat!). Eucalyptus, pussy willow and hydrangeas are easy to dry for yourself at home, or visit a dried flower specialist such as Home & Dried based in Northern Ireland for a more ornamental piece.
4. Create the perfect reading nook
Ah, the nook. Conjuring up delicious, cosy afternoons with nowhere to be and nothing to do except rest, recuperate and take some time out. I’ve created the perfect curl up space in my living room, perfectly situated on an acacia wooden bench complete with cushions, sheepskin throw, blankets and a cosy bamboo lamp. I’m almost willing the afternoons to be damp, dark and miserable so I have the perfect excuse to cuddle up with a good book and a mug of something hot and delicious. Instead of complaining that I’m cooped up inside watching the miserable weather, I relish the fact that I get to take the afternoon off and maybe even read that book I’ve been meaning to start for ages! Interested in my reading list? Sign up to my newsletter below to find out which books I’m reading each month.
5. Bring the outside indoors with the colours of nature
At this time of year I love to incorporate rich golds, ochres and terracotta to my living spaces. There is something so beautiful about the changing seasons at this time of year that I can’t help but bring that splendour home with me. My living spaces are quite neutral, with white walls and beige carpets. To get that autumnal look, I’m furnishing my couch and chairs with rust coloured blankets and sienna hued cushions. I have clay pots and unfinished wood accents on display, with brass frames and candle holders adding even more golden textures. Bringing natural elements into my home gives me a sense of wellbeing and helps me feel closer to nature, especially on those days when the weather forecast makes me feel inclined to stay indoors.
6. Freshen up your walls with seasonal artwork
As we start to spend more time indoors staring at the same four walls, our spaces can feel a little stale. A great way to make a seasonal change to your décor without the huge price tag is to change up decorative items. A quick and affordable way to do this is by swapping out your wall art with a stylish new art print. A unique art print can really draw the eye and add some personality to a bare wall or shelf. Don’t be afraid to combine paintings to create a unique, edgy element to really show off your style. I’m currently incorporating prints with a bold natural element such as the ones above. They add a subtle nod to autumn colour palette, but are striking and vibrant enough to cheer up my walls on those dreary dark days. For a selection of vibrant and striking art to add personality to your interior space, check out my affordable range of abstract art prints here.
7. Make a difference with soft lighting
I’d love to say my home is all about the beautiful light beaming into my room from dawn till dusk. Alas, my home isn’t blessed with much natural light and on the gloomiest of days, it can feel incredibly dark and depressing. Here in Northern Ireland, this is amplified in the depth of winter, when the sun starts to set in the middle of the afternoon. It gets really dark, really early and it’s tempting to want to crawl into bed only to be woken in the spring thaw! This is where my cosy lamps make all the difference. That golden glow could make even the dullest of places warm and comforting. I have swapped out my light bulbs for a beautiful orange tint e.g. these ones, to create an incredibly inviting, soothing atmosphere. My favourite lamps are both from Ikea. I’m in love with my TÄRNABY lamp and my KNIXHULT which give my sitting room such a soft glow, especially on those cold winter evenings. I’m also obsessed with bottle lights such as these, which I put in old gin bottles to add an extra touch of vintage to my room and glam up my mantlepiece.
8. Spend time enjoying the little things
So although summer has multitudes to offer and we (understandably) long for brighter, sunnier days when the gloomy rain is beating down in the middle of January, there is so much to celebrate in the winter months. I like to take advantage of the wonderful things I CAN do in the wintertime that I can’t do in the summer months (or at least I don’t take the time to do). Winter is the time I savour that hot cup of cocoa (or mulled wine!) and snuggle up under a blanket with a book or my favourite movie. Winter is when I run myself a steaming hot bath with fancy bath salts and listen to a podcast. Winter is when I get to pull out my favourite scarves and jumpers from the bottom of my wardrobe. Winter is the time I don’t care what my hair looks like because its under my favourite woolly beanie! And winter is the time for sticky toffee puddings and apple crumbles… Do I need to go on??
If like me, you are embracing the seasons, I’d love to know what you incorporate into your home this year. Let me know below.
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I hope you are all keeping well – until next time!