Give your rooms a warming touch

WITH the long, cold winter nights creeping in, the prospect of a night snuggled up on the sofa is ever more appealing. Naturally, the thick throws are dug out of the cellar and some bedroom cushions stray into the lounge, giving the place a cosy feel before the Christmas decorations go up. Nearly everyone does this, even people like Candy & Candy’s creative director Matthew Carlisle who does this with added professional flair. He actually redecorates his home each season. So we asked him and another seasonally sensitive designer Andrew Dunning of APD Interiors for their tips. Here’s their advice.

“When I think of winter, I think of decadence – and decadence to me is dark, warm colours,” says Carlisle. Using soft fabrics and dark colours are the best way to achieve this, he explains. This includes everything from sheepskin throws and dark velvet cushions to a dark-coloured winter dinnerware. Carlisle recommends Ralph Lauren darker coloured sets for this.

“Lighting is absolutely essential when trying to create a room’s mood,” says Carlisle. But Dunning says the key to finding a cosy reduced-light setting that you still work under is a tricky business. “Changing the lampshades in a room or putting in more side lamps with shades rather than using the overhead lighting is really effective. Or if you have large floor-mounted pot plants in a corner then think about putting a small light behind them that gives off a low glow, this will lighten the corner and add to the cosy feel.”

Geometric Native American-style patterns are big this season, says Carlisle. Pack your home with those funky orange, white, red and black patterns.

If you can afford to buy new thick curtains, curtain ties and cushions, this is a great way to give a room a new feel. Not to mention keeping you warmer and saving you money on your heating bill. Carlisle recommends fabrics with flecks of gold woven through. “These look fantastic in low light.”

Andrew Dunning says: “Most houses have fireplaces in London, even if they are blocked up. To unblock them is really easy. It can be carried out in just two or three days by a competent handyman.”