Winter’s arrived, bringing with it dull, dark days and cold winds - and sending us all into hibernation mode.
But to do that we need to ensure our homes are nurturing sanctuaries where we can snuggle up and shelter from the elements.
Adding warmth to your nest isn’t just a case of cranking up the central heating. A few clever tweaks and well-chosen accessories will transform your rooms into toasty winter havens.
First, banish any lingering summer touches such as pale, floaty fabrics and lightweight throws. Just as we dress ourselves appropriately to ward off the chills when the season changes, so we should dress up our living spaces.
Choose a decor theme, rather than randomly adding furniture and accessories which catch your eye. Three of the current most popular looks are ‘Urban Country’, ‘Modern Luxury’ and ‘Easy Elegance’.
Now’s the time to gather the homeware harvest. We’ve sourced a selection of ‘nesting’ essentials, from luxury items to those with more purse-friendly price tags, so you can look forward to snuggling up at home.
Pared-back comfort epitomises this look, which works well with exposed brick or panelled walls and chunky wood furniture. The emphasis is on craftsmanship, authenticity and simplicity, but it’s essential to bring warmth, texture and interest with natural tweeds, plaids and wool knits.
If you favour a rural feel, the essential ‘country’ touch is a decorative stag or deer head, either hung on a wall or - if that’s a step too far - featured in an accessory.
Snuggle in style: Check and plaid patterns have been embraced by stores such as John Lewis, which has a Penn armchair, £899, in a homely blue or raspberry wool check.
Heal’s Discovers Bisley sofa, by Plant & Moss, from £3,495, would be perfect for evenings spent indoors in front of a blazing fire.
Plum and purple shades are still popular and Laura Ashley’s Lynden sofa, from £1,150, can be upholstered in a choice of fabrics including a soft damson and Highland grape.
Cosy touches: New cushions instantly give a lift to a room and Dunelm Mill’s selection is superb, with price tags which belie their quality. A Woven Stag cushion, £14.99, a Westie dog cushion, £12.99 and a Tweed Woven cushion, £12.99.
Add comfort with a woollen throw. A Vicuna Caramel throw, £44.95, from Velvet Brown, or a Vintage Knitted throw, £30, in a selection of suitably autumn shades including cranberry, Bhs.
Soft candlelight is essential for a romantic rustic atmosphere and Laura Ashley has beautiful Rose detail Hurricane lamps, from £12.60 online, and a metal and glass oversized lantern, £55.
Monochrome schemes are a classic style statement and, complemented by carefully chosen quality pieces and luxury finishes, this look will be oh-so-cool rather than chilly.
Think calm, rather than clutter, and incorporate subtle tones of grey and cream to the key black and white palette, and blend contemporary and classic decor touches, so the effect is cocooning rather than intimidating.
Snuggle in style: For kick-off-your-shoes comfort it’s hard to beat a Luxury Sheepskin beanbag, £950, and a Luxury Sheepskin rug, £500, The White Company. If that’s too pricey, warm those toes on an ivory Sheepskin rug, £34.99, from Dunelm Mill.
Cosy touches: The White Company’s selection of throws includes a Princeton check throw, £100, in a subtle alabaster grey shade.
Fur throws are in a comfort league all of their own. A Faux-Fur leopard print throw, £149, Oka Direct, is beautiful. Alternatively, a Faux Fur Fox throw, currently £71.20 online at Marks & Spencer, is a snip.
Give yourself an after-bath treat with blissfully soft towels. John Lewis’s Supima towels start from £4, while Dunelm Mill’s So Soft towels start from £3.99 for a hand towel.
Soft, unobtrusive colours - shades of gold, biscuit, honey and cream - calm the senses and are perfect for a relaxing space with a touch of soul.
Curved, generously-sized sofas, mirrored furniture and sensual textures are vital ingredients for a look which is grown-up, glamorous and seductively comfortable.
Snuggle in style: Laura Ashley’s Astoria large curved sofa, from £3,500, combines comfort and style. Echo its decadence with pieces from its range of mirrored furniture such as a Capri coffee table, £450.
Warm gold or deep yellow walls are an effective antidote to dark skies outdoors, and the effect can be achieved with paint or wallpaper. A Chinese peony 212135 paper, £52 per metre, from Sanderson, would be striking for a feature wall.
Cosy touches: Lamps are the equivalent of jewellery for rooms and if they’re gilded they’ll add glamour and warmth. A Lilliana table lamp, £80, with a golden leaf base, or a stunning 24-carat-gold-plated Kartell Bourgie table lamp, £350, both John Lewis.
Three round side tables with metallic tops, Content by Conran Accents, £250 a set from John Lewis, are not only useful but decorative, as are the Maple Leaf candle lanterns , from £6 to £25 each.
Bhs: 0845 196 0000/www.bhs.co.uk; BIDA: 0207 348 0800/www.bida.org; Dunelm Mill: 08451 65 65 65/www.dunelm-mill.com; Heal’s: 020 7636 1666/www.heals.co.uk; John Lewis: 0845 6049 049/www.johnlewis.com; Laura Ashley: 0871 230 2301/www.lauraashley.com; Marks & Spencer: 0845 302 1234/www.marksandspencer.com; OKA: 0870 160 6002/www.okadirect.com; Sanderson: 0844 543 9500/www.sanderson-uk.com; Velvet Brown: 01844 208 261/www.velvetbrown.co.uk; The White Company: 0870 900 9555/www.thewhitecompany.co.uk