We consciously or subconsciously prepare our homes for autumn every year. This means making our homes warmer, bringing in the garden furniture and setting the central heating or chopping wood for the open fire. Some go further. In Japan they change the entire furniture and artwork for each season, including seasonal flowers or plants, poetry, and other elements. Other times of the year the room is left open with just an open space filled with straw tatami mats.
The one element which remains seasonal is an alcove, the tokonoma. Once a poet wished to represent the weather outside, it was bucketing down, so he filled a bucket with water and threw it in the tokonoma. Needless to say, we don’t recommend that, but for the DIY loving, home improving family, it is possible to make serious changes to your home to reflect the season – in this case, autumn.
Warmth: Making the home warm is both a matter of insulation and heating, and of psychology. Summers need open windows, cool linen, and space for air to circulate. In the autumn, this is replaced with a need to keep cold air out, keep warm air in, and to feel snug – much like the Danish idea of hygge. Neutral wall and cabinet colours, can allow you to dress the home in rich, warm colours like burnt oranges, reds, browns, and greens mixed with heavier fabrics which are nicer to the touch. Bring in extra rugs for the floors, cushions, and draft excluders.
Lighting: As the nights draw in, you need to light your home more efficiently. This means additional lamps and lights – fairy lights, spotlights, movable bedside and cabinet lamps etc… this all comes at a cost to your utility bills, unless you mitigate this by using more energy efficient lighting such as LEDs. If any other reason was needed, lights add to the feeling of warmth even if they do not generate any heat.
Overall Decor: Building on from fabrics and lighting, you can take a leaf out of the Japanese tokonoma by swapping around your seasonal decorations. This means for winter bringing in wood, brass, and copper objects. It also means switching over colder white porcelain for more rustic, plates with winter scenes and earthier colours. Also consider dotting the house with candles, used or not.
Food: Nothing says a season more, in the old sense, than food. June and July were the seasons of strawberries. Even though most food is all year now, you can still fill the house with evocations of the season from fruit bowls filled with apples, pears, oranges, pumpkins, and chestnuts to filling it with the aroma of a good roast, stew, or seasonal cake.