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Fall: How To Cozy Up Your Home

I was reading this article over at Woman’s Day magazine online giving some suggestions on how to cozy up the home for Fall. It made me think about how, despite the suggestions that exist out there in myriads of blogs and magazines, we all have a deeply personal way of decorating for the seasons and I’d love to hear from you this morning so we can all have a voice in this – how do you cozy up your home for Fall?

cozy up your home

Here are some of my tips, including things that I do personally to take my home from summer to fall:

1. Swap the throw on my sofa. In the warmer months I have a throw, but usually as decoration more than anything else – though I do use it on chilly summer nights from time to time. In the autumn though, I swap it out for a warm, thick throw. Chenille, wool, felt, a heavy cotton, cable knit cotton — all work nicely.  I have a gray cable knit throw that I love!

2. Pillows! I love to change my pillows with the seasons, that’s why when I buy pillows these days I usually buy only the zippered covers and leave the inserts in the store. I have so many inserts I do not need more! Silks and canvas pillows are exchanged for velvets and knits. I also like to use hues a few shades deeper than what I use in the summer. For instance, lilac and pale blue gets replaced with jewel tones like plum and turquoise or plum and deep sea blue.

3. Warm up your vignettes. For instance, I like to mix in cream and sand with my white pottery. I exchange pebbles and sea glass with leaves and acorns. No detail is left unnoticed!

4. Candles that are white, lilac and ice blue in the summer are exchanged for ones that are medium gray, plum, turquoise and cream. I also add in a bit of chocolate to warm up the palette. Also scented candles change according to the season. I currently have candles that are unscented from Villa Collection in gray and my scented candles are from Floris. The Floris candles can be a bit expensive, but are so, so worth it, they commonly sell for around 43 Euro for a 6 oz candle. I exchanged my Jasmine & Rose Floris candle with a Cinnamon & Tangerine. Also, I love Candied Fruit from L’Occitane, that is my signature scent for autumn I think. In the warmer months though, you can find me burning their Lavender candle, a favorite of mine for quite some time.

5. Speaking of scents, my scented sprays change by the season too. I keep a bottle of room spray in my bedroom and another in my hallway. The one in my bedroom is what I use religiously each night before bed, it puts me to sleep. It’s called Relax by German organic cosmetics company Amala. The spray I use in my hallway is from Annick Goutal in Paris, it’s called Noel and is perfect for this time of year. It smells like pine and berries. Soooo lovely. Perfect for freshening the air before guests arrive! That is, if I don’t have something cooking on the stove or in the oven – then of course no room sprays are needed. :)

6. My linens — table linens go from a summer palette to a warmer, more rustic one. I also like to layer tablecloths, a solid with a pattern, for instance. I use chargers beneath my china to warm things up as layers of things always give a cozy feel. They also help my white china to look more cozy. Same goes for bed linens, I add blankets and extra warm sheets but also the palette goes a bit darker in hue – from light gray to dark, for instance.

7. Bring the outside in: I tend to collect finds from my daily walks, I’m like a squirrel, especially in the autumn. I collect branches (ask my husband about the spiders I ask him to rescue from them) to arrange in large vases, leaves, pine cones, acorns and chestnuts to place around candles, on the table runner in the dining area, in the hallway in a small basket, even to add little ribbons to the stems and place them on the table. I love all of these fallen finds and also find some use for them, though they don’t always last that long and you have to make sure you find ones that are clean! Squash, pumpkins and other harvest goodies look nice on the table or in the kitchen on a counter.

8. Swap out art prints. This is another easy way to bring the Fall look to your home. I collect art prints and so I love being able to remove current ones and swap them out. This is the beauty of owning prints. Store the current ones in acid-free archive safe folders so you can put them back up next year.

9. Swap curtains, if you can. I don’t do this as often as I once did because now I have roman blinds in most of my home and those work great year round for me, but if you have drapes you can consider using linen and cottons in the warm months and in the colder months, opt for velvets and heavy cottons, or even lined drapes, as this can help you save considerably on your heating bill and warm up the room – velvet always makes a room feel very cozy.

10. Replace your rugs. You can roll us the sisal and replace it with a thicker, warmer throw. If you have few rugs you can add a few more when it gets cold, I don’t have wall-to-wall carpet so I need rugs when the temps drop or else my feet freeze and I have to turn the heat way up. And heat is not cheap! If you have a rug that is painted onto your floor, you can simply put a “real” rug over it to keep your toes warm until the temps go up again and you can reveal your hand painted or stenciled rug again.

11. Wood! Another thing that I don’t do simply because I do not have one, wood for the fireplace! It looks so nice stacked neatly inside or nearby, or if you have a fireplace that you cannot use, place candles inside instead and light them in the evenings for a warm glow.

12. Flowers and plants: See what is in season in your part of the world and work with the freshest, most beautiful greenery and blooms you can find. Try to treat yourself to a small bouquet each week, or pick some field flowers and bring them in. Using flowers that are in season can certainly give your home that fresh fall feeling!

Your turn – how do you cozy up your home this time of year? What are some of your favorite home scents?

Oh and to all those living in New England, anyone have a good Apple Cider recipe? We don’t have apple cider here and I’d love to make some for my relatives!

(Photos: Woman’s Day magazine online)

Posted in Decorating Tips on October 12, 2009

I Heart eBay

I love eBay and here’s a round about reason of explaining why because I’m feeling rather chatty (or you can say long winded) today. Okay, so I hit the farmers’ market in our square today and grabbed all these flowers for 5- Euros (about $7 USD) and a most beautiful loaf of bio bread for the apple preserves that my cousin handmade for us yesterday, fresh from the tree in her garden. And so, I went home to arrange the flowers and to present this bread to my husband to enjoy the apple preserves with — and what arrived as I was busy preparing lunch?

Flowers for 5-Euros

Apples & Bread :)

A box from the Netherlands, from Danielle who recently put a lot of her vintage German vases on eBay. Well this is the vase I won and I absolutely love it. To. Die. For. Right? Thankfully no one had to die for it though so all is well there… Want to see? Sure you do…

Enjoying the day...

I plan to put wooden spoons and kitchen utensils inside of it and place it next to my stove. Won’t it be a nice addition to the kitchen? I think so… Although the intended purpose is most likely for flowers or to display with nothing at all inside, but I see this vase and think of rustic wooden spoons… perhaps Turkish ones?

Le Souk Pouffe

And this is the next delivery I’m expecting from Danielle, as she just stocked these crocheted pouffes in her shop, Le Souk, and it will go just perfectly in my bedroom. I’ve been having a nice time setting up house, as you can tell.

But back to the vase… I cannot stop looking at it, I love it so! I’m delighted that Miss Danielle put her things on eBay, I’m such a fan of her style and that site but even more when I win things that I really, really want. Have you scored any good finds lately? Tell me about them, I love knowing what you find that makes you giddy and long winded, too. :)

Now I think I’ll go have some of the apple preserves again – this post made me hungry. I’ll warm them up this time and put some on a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then add some cinnamon, walnuts and nutmeg on top. Oh yes, that will make my evening really sweet I think. It’s after 9pm here, so I’m logging off for the night, I have some projects to work on around the house, so I’ll meet you back here tomorrow!

P.S. I picked up a CD today that I’ve been playing over and over again all afternoon, it’s by Berry and it’s called Mademoiselle. You can sample some of it here online. It’s French and just wonderful.

(images: holly becker for decor8, with the exception of the last image taken by danielle de lange.)

Posted in Decorating Tips, Handmade on October 07, 2009

Gudrun Sjödén

My new Gudrun Sjödén catalog arrived today, and being a customer for a year now, it’s always a treat to receive their beautiful catalogs as they’re thick and the recycled paper feel and smell is just heavenly. I ordered my roman blinds from them that are in my living room and kitchen, and with the order they sent me a great makeup pouch in one of their folksy patterns. I can’t say I’d ever be able to wear the clothes on their site as they’re a little to bold for my taste and not fitted enough, but I really like some of their accessories and home things, like their curtains, rugs and some of their table linens.

flipping through...

Gudrun Sjödén

Gudrun Sjödén

Gudrun Sjödén

Gudrun Sjödén

Gudrun Sjödén

Their recent collection is inspired by a trip to Bhutan, a place I’ve long wanted to see, and so I enjoyed the video on their website showing views from their photo shoot there. Very transporting from my wee little desk in Germany, for sure!

UPDATE: Here is the English website where you can order a free copy of their catalog too!

(images: top: holly becker. all others: gudren sjödén)

Posted in Decorating Tips on October 01, 2009

Homes & Gardens Inspiration

Looking for a little roomspiration today? I have some beautiful rooms that I’d love to share with you that have appeared in previous issues of Homes & Gardens (UK) magazine. Are you a regular reader? I usually find my copy at the train station here and really love many of the rooms that they feature. Let’s have a look together below at just a few of them. If you’d like, you can tell me which ones you favor and why. I’ll number them to make it easy for you to reference them in your comment. Ready?

Homes & Gardens UK

(1) This space feels very warm and glamorous to me. I really like the trimmed pillows and that mix of lilac and yellow here. The painting marries everything below it. So, so welcoming.

Homes & Gardens UK

(2) I think the person who owns this home clearly has the same obsession with chairs as I do. I laughed a little when I counted 7 in this living room, in 3 separate groupings (which is how, I imagine, the owner justified owning so many chairs). I like the scale of this space too, it’s very grand and palace-like. The crown molding, mirror and curtains are so insanely beautiful! Come into my parlor for tea, ladies…

Homes & Gardens UK

(3) What’s not to love here? First, that green wall. Wow. And those petite chairs, like the ladies perched atop them must be size zero as they look almost like they’d break otherwise. Like dollhouse furniture…  The lighting is extraordinary as well. And then, with so much perfection you have a very imperfect floor and a cover tossed over the table to appear almost like a casual break for tea and cookies… And aren’t the seat covers unexpected?

Homes & Gardens UK

(4) This is so serene and I like how the fabric is acting as a headboard here. A very low-budget DIY way to make a bedroom beautiful with a striking focal point. And it’s smart, because if you tire of the fabric you can swap it out for something different. I also like that the lamps aren’t taking away the powerful print of that fabric – clear glass just seems so perfect for the lamp selection. And then you have all that mint and beige, and the bed that is slightly messy… I want to do a running jump onto it right now in fact.

Homes & Gardens UK

(5) Here we go again, pastel hues that feel so feminine and welcoming… And what a sweet sofa, the bottom cushion looks like silk doesn’t it? Maybe raw silk (my favorite)? Whatever it is, I love this choice for the sofa as it could look too serious otherwise. The stripe adds personality.

Homes & Gardens UK

(6) I think this room comes closest to my style, because it’s very calm and casual, almost beachy-in-the-city and since I was raised on the beach and spent my adult years in the city, I know why my style is a little of both. I love the chair and the curtains, and of course the blues and violets with shades of creamy white..

Homes & Gardens UK

(7) This room is a bit more modern, less relaxed but more curated… I imagine the owner to be a very posh socialite or something. (not me). Doesn’t that rug look like heaven for the feet? Yellow and gray works so nicely in this space…

Homes & Gardens UK

(8) Another well edited space. A little too perfect for me to actually live in, but if I add a few of my own touches here I can see myself enjoying this living room. The shelving is a nice choice for a small room like this, and I like the small white table near to the chair, the scale of it is perfect for placing a cocktail or some magazines.

Homes & Gardens UK

(9) I’m going to cheat with this one because what I like most is the lighting and the view! Look at the balcony railing, it’s so ornate and reminds me of London for some reason…

Homes & Gardens UK

(10) I love this sofa and the pillows on it. I imagine this room much differently if I were to occupy it, but I could see myself working in that sofa somehow. It would be fab in a bedroom that was large enough to have a sitting area, wouldn’t it?

Okay, your turn! :)

(images: homes & gardens uk)

Posted in Books + Magazines, Decorating Tips on September 22, 2009

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