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‘It’s all About Layers’: How To Style your Home This Winter

By Rachel Wallace

It’s going to be a cold, wet winter this year, so it’s the perfect time to cosy up your home to create a cocooning, welcoming environment, as we shift to indoor living.

It needn’t be hard, says Vault Interiors director Justine Wilson.

“It’s all about layers,” she says. “You don’t have to swap out all your summer items when the season changes but, to prepare … consider layering lovely thick textured throws, blankets, pillows and rugs for that extra warmth.

“Materials such as faux fur, wool and velvet are great for this time of year. Don’t overlook also swapping textiles such as curtains or bedding to thicker fabrics and textures.”

While some people love changing their home’s look entirely as winter hits, most prefer changing a few key features for a different mood. This might be for their or their family’s enjoyment, or if they’re styling a house or apartment to look its best for a winter sale.

The Dulux colour team recommend Warming the Restore palette. Photo: Lisa Cohen, stylist: Bree Leech

There are some who swap styles every year, too. Interiors and project management expert Sharon Smith of Sharon Smith Solutions, for instance, says her mother is indefatigable.

“She has loose covers on her sofas, and one set for summer and another set for winter,” she says. “So, in the warm months, she has the crisp white linen covers on, and then in the colder months, she’ll change them to a natural heavier textured linen, in a warmer taupe. At the same time, she changes her curtains too, from white linen again, to that same colour and texture as her sofa covers.”

A cold, wet winter is forecast for Sydney, with June to August rainfall above the median for much of the country. At the same time, below-median maximum temperatures are likely for most of NSW away from the south-east and mid-north coast.

But the prospect of a chilly, rainy time outdoors is the perfect cue to make the indoors look as warm and welcoming as possible.

“Bedrooms and living rooms are good areas for making a seasonal change, using soft furnishings to change the palette from summer into a more heavily textured, chunkier feel with layers of textures and patterns,” says Brendan Wong of Brendan Wong Design.

“The mixing of patterns and even intentional clashing of patterns, from wall treatments to carpet to textiles creates a layered winter look that has a level of curated sophistication.

“Bedrooms are also the perfect place to bring a warm winter feel to your home. Mix heavier linen sheets with faux-fur throws and patterned or textured accent cushions.”

Stylist Brendan Wong suggests mixing patterns. Photo: Maree Homer

Changing colours is also a good way to create a new mood. Wong recommends going darker: “Deep navy and warm ochre or coppery tones are a great palette for a bedroom heading into winter. Deep greens are also a great way to convey warmth still with a fresh edge.”

A whole industry springs up, however, as the seasons change to guide home owners about colour.

Dulux colour expert Andrea Lucena-Orr says the company’s Restore palette – made up of colours with names like New Penny, Hog Bristle Half, Black Caviar, Natural Flora and Finnegan – can evoke a feeling of comfort and warmth.

She and Dulux colour forecaster and stylist Bree Leech painted a toddler’s room in the new colours to demonstrate, and then an entry hall with accents in Finnegan to show how drama could be created.

“Warmer colours will always be more inviting in winter,” Lucena-Orr says. “A more natural palette is always easy to look at. Colours have a strong emotive impact and can really create mood. When you’re deciding on them, it’s important to look at your existing furnishings and fittings to see what will work, as well as how they will appear under changing lighting conditions.”

Leech urges us to try new colours; they can always be changed if we change our minds.

Dulux colour expert Andrea Lucena-Orr and stylist Bree Leech’s toddler designed room. Photo: Lisa Cohen, stylist: Bree Leech

“It’s all about warm, earthy colours in winter which make us feel more cocooned,” she says. “You can even paint a ceiling in a darker colour to embrace the mood.

“If a room doesn’t have much natural light, a lot of people think it has to be painted in lighter colours to reflect the light. But a dark room will always be dark. So, those winter colours can lift the space more than white would, and give it life.

“Beautiful bold colours can be used to create focal points and add depth and drama.”

Ann Lyndon of Ann Lyndon Interiors loves colour and enjoys bringing bright pinks, oranges and reds into the home in winter. She imports specially made quilts and embroidery from India, which she hangs on walls, uses as bed covers or has in the lounge room as throws.

“People shouldn’t be afraid of colour,” she says. “It’s a wonderful way to bring a room to life. It can be brought in, too, with colourful artwork – my favourites are contemporary [handcrafted] Indigenous artworks from the Kate Owen Gallery.

“I also suggest avoiding harsh overhead lighting, putting in warm bulbs, and using lots of lamps with bright lampshades or candles to create warm pools of light.”

Wilson says dried florals are also a great way to beautify your space.

You can make your outdoor spaces winter-friendly by adding a fire pit. Photo: Justine Vault Interiors

“They last a long time and can add that pop reminiscent of summer, while faux floral twigs, branches, and greenery can give that evergreen look. With windows and doors closed, your environment can tend to get stuffy, so consider beautiful scents [from candles or diffusers] to enrich your space. For winter I love the muskier notes,” she says.

“And don’t neglect your outdoor spaces! Think about adding a fire pit or an inexpensive pergola … or even a cantilever umbrella so you can enjoy sitting outdoors even if the weather shifts, with fairy lights or lanterns.”

Give yourself licence to move around your furniture, too, Smith says. Put a chair in the corner in the winter sun for reading the newspaper or doing the crossword.

“It’s also a great time to put board games or packs of cards within easy reach on ottomans or tables,” she says. “When they’re out, it means you’re much more likely to play with the family on a Saturday afternoon or winter’s evening, rather than all being behind computers.

“You can also involve children in helping create your new look. Go out and collect driftwood from the beach or pine cones or anything with a wintry feel for table decorations.

“Then soften the lighting with dimmers and lamps, light candles with a warm winter musky, cedar or cinnamony scent and settle down to enjoy the cosiness that the season brings.”


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