Interior designer Cathy Doucet offers a few suggestions for keeping in step with the season—indoors.
In New England—where the seasons change at a rate that’s hard to keep up with—creating a home decor that reflects the time of year can be a challenge. Come fall, interior themes that pay tribute to turkeys, pilgrims, and pumpkins are acceptable, but sometimes it’s the simpler additions that make the biggest statements. In fact, autumn decor is too often tied to the holidays—not surprising, given that Halloween items sneak into stores in late summer. This year, give some thought to darker colors, understated touches, and additional layers, which are more sophisticated ways to give a warm welcome to the colder months.
Powerful fall associations come with the many aromas wafting from the kitchen. Favorite scents (beyond those accompanying baked goods hot from the oven) can be used throughout the home to great effect. Candles are a standard, but try creating a soothing sensory experience using a different medium.
Interior designer Cathy Doucet, owner of Doucet Remodeling & Design, Inc. in Stoneham, suggests arranging various vases, glass bowls, and containers with potpourri to emulate the change in the season. “You can also fill glass containers with acorns and pinecones to create a textured accent in your home, bringing nature inside,” she says. “Collect them [outdoors], or buy them at a crafts store.” Scents that evoke moods associated with crisp air and fall leaves lift the spirit, as do classics like cinnamon, pumpkin, and apple spice. Let an oil diffuser add aesthetic interest while dispersing an enticing fragrance. Or, for something completely organic, add cinnamon sticks to a kettle of boiling water on the stovetop or wood-burning stove.
Once “autumn is in the air,” focus on the visual elements. As with a wardrobe, adding layers is a practical and stylish way to bring a home into the shifting season. In the dining room, replace the table runner with a full tablecloth. Toss throws and pillows onto a living room sofa to add warmth and texture. In the bedroom, replace summer valances with full drapes and swap lighter cottons for heavier quilts and comforters, which will enhance the warming effect—as does adding area rugs throughout the house.
Choose rich or dark tones when layering items—they complement New England’s renowned fall foliage. “Any of nature’s hues will accent your home beautifully,” says Doucet. Color trends this year include shades of burgundy, plum, emerald green, chocolate, and deep gray. Inspiration can be found in fashion, too. Look at what’s in style and incorporate those colors into interior design elements.
Additionally, floral arrangements provide personality and reflect regional environs. A bouquet is an easy way to bring frequent and fresh change to a room. “Put textured plants, cat-o-nine tails, and different ferns in tall vases [placed] on the floor, or fill a fireplace that is not being used with different arrangements,” says Doucet. New England homes become vibrant with a mix of deep orange or crimson; use Gerbera daisies, lilies in dark shades, and multiple green hues. Be sure to alternate flower heights and textures to maximize the dramatic effect.
Whether in anticipation of hosting guests during the holidays or for optimizing the cocoon-like comforts of home, introducing interior warmth as temperatures dip need not be a complex project. Carefully choose more muted details to complement signature pieces. There’s no need to swear off pumpkins and holiday-themed items altogether—just keep them to a minimum and invite a few of the season’s simpler charms into the fold. doucetremodeling.com