After spring, autumn is my favourite season of the year. While the former is all about fresh starts and the promise of the new, the latter is when home starts to come into its own. As it gets cold outside, nothing is more comforting than the warm embrace of cooking smells (buy that slow cooker now!), carpet underfoot and hot water and heating. Snuggled on the sofa, surrounded by cushions, preferably (in one’s perfect vision) with a real fire toasting your toes, life feels supremely safe and secure… the very essence of what home should, and can, be.
However, in the less rose-tinted hue of the everyday, autumn also heralds a time when we start to test how well our homes actually work for us. It’s when families can start to get on top of each other, as there’s less incentive to spill out into gardens or other outdoor spaces. And as we sprint towards, whisper it, the Christmas season and the possibility of increasing numbers of house guests, home can feel less safe and secure, than more cramped cauldron about to implode. It’s why so many people resolve to move house when it’s all over in the new year, or decide they must have a new kitchen.
So in its own way, autumn is also an opportunity for new beginnings and fresh thinking. Look upon it as the preparation season before we really hunker down for winter, and ask yourself a few pragmatic questions. Does the boiler need a check-up? Do you have enough comfortable chairs? Could you do with a few more cushions? Would a new duvet, or lovely bed linen, be a smart investment? After all, never forget, aiming to perfect your home may not make you thinner, richer, smarter or attract the perfect mate, but I guarantee, getting it right will make you happier, whatever the season.
First published in the November 2012 edition of ELLE Decoration UK