A cold January is ideal for two things: hibernating and winter-proofing your home. By that, I don’t mean braving face-numbing winds to ‘batten down the hatches’ but rather taking the time to tackle those interiors amendments that you’ve been meaning to focus on. To help, we’ve put together a selection of the cosiest winter warming furniture and accessories to make your home fit for hibernation
Starting small is a good idea for those who are dipping a toe in the interior design pool. When it comes to colourful cushions, there are no faux pas and all that matters is that you choose something you love. These plain velvet ones (below) are wonderfully easy to chop and change with 25 colours to choose from. On top of that, there are more shapes and sizes than you’d think, so do be bold and embrace the idea of mixing and matching.
Rich, jewel coloured shades like purples, dark reds, oranges and pinks are excellent warming colours but also work as lifting and brightening options in the summer. Cotton velvet is a wonderful texture and so these are as comfortable as they are colourful…definitely not the sort that you feel you need to move before you sit down. Create your own set with two large cushions behind two smaller ones in different colour and prop them on a bed or sofa for an instant finishing touch. If you fancy something new, simply change the covers and enjoy a whole new scheme.
Of course, cushions and pillows need homes and a different texture looks simple and smart. Our second choice is a pair of early 19th-century beechwood fauteuils (above), upholstered in a soft pale-blue fabric. These chairs have delicate guilloche detail on the seat frame, so are elegant enough to have in a drawing room but are also subtle enough as bathroom or bedroom additions. Natural wood is wonderful in all its forms and beechwood in particular is soft and works with a multitude of fabrics. Dress these up for colder evenings with dark-coloured cushions or a faux-fur throw and an antique becomes a snug armchair.
Winter wouldn’t be winter without a roaring fire and updating your fireplace can transform the look of a room. If you’ll forgive the slight plug, Jane Churchill has designed two classic and beautiful fireplaces. The Ebury is elegant and understated; simple in its design but with delicate acorn and oak-leaf carving, whereas The Coral (above) is slightly louder. Bianco Avorio limestone is a little rougher in texture and so lends this second fireplace an antique look. The coral pattern comes from fabric weavers in Northern India but doesn’t make The Coral too overly ornate. Both are pale marble, so will fit nicely in either a period or contemporary home and will work with antique furniture as well as more modern pieces.
Even when not in use, fireplaces can add a little grandeur and homeliness to a room; drawing rooms are an obvious choice but fireplaces can really work well in kitchens and bedrooms. A blocked chimney can still entertain a decorative hearth, with log baskets or DIY wine storage in a kitchen and a period fire grate or fire basket filled with decorative objects in a bedroom. Keep walls neutral and wallpaper plain and use bright lamps or frames on the mantelpiece for accents of colour.
Speaking of bright adornments, lamps are now bigger and brighter than ever before and a colourful lamp base can give a brilliant lift where it’s needed. Shades of turquoise, green or fuchsia are great if you’re of the opinion that bigger is better while yellows/golds and blues make excellent table lamps. Large urn lamps with big colourful silk shades are better in pairs on a hall table, for example, whereas smaller, slimmer ceramic lamps look good hidden among photo frames on round tables or on console tables and desks. The only thing to get right is the shade carrier, so it’s worth experimenting to get the height absolutely right.
A combination of the above will ensure that your home is warm and inviting, even in the coldest of winters. So light the fire, sit back on your velvet cushion and read by the light of a colourful lamp.
Main image: Chalet Cragganmore, Chamonix