How to prepare your house for autumn

Autumn is fast approaching, and the time has come to get the house ready for the changing seasons. Here are our top tips…

There’s a real ‘back to school’ feeling in the air. September has arrived, summer holidays are drawing to a close and, as much as we may resent it, temperatures are set to drop. There are some benefits to the coming of autumn; it’s time to put the noisy fans away, get cosy, dust off the old blankets and settle in to the change of season. Much like the essential post-winter spring clean, there are some jobs around the house which will help you to get ready for autumn.

Get your fireplace ready

If you’re lucky enough to have a period property with a lovely fireplace, it’s time to get it ready for plenty of use throughout the colder months. Maybe it’s in need of a bit of a makeover – our handy guide to giving your fireplace a striking new look is the perfect way to inject a bit of life into the sitting room.

If you’ve long lusted after the cosy, warm atmosphere brought by a fireplace, this is your cue to stop mulling it over and take the plunge: Look no further than Nicola Harding’s indispensable guide to building, installing and arranging your furniture around the fireplace.

The sitting room of a London house designed by Lonika Chande.

Milo Brown

Think about insulation

The last couple of years have seen energy prices soar. In order to keep our bills at bay, it’s important to think about insulation. This can be on a small scale, using layers of textiles and draught excluders on your windows, doors and fireplaces. Doubling up on curtains and blinds will help to keep the cold air out, too. We’ve done the work and rounded up the simplest ways to insulate your house.

On a larger scale, adding insulation to your roof, windows, doors and even walls can make a huge difference, but there are plenty of options to consider. We’ve asked the Royal Institute of British Architect for all of their tips, so there’s no need to feel overwhelmed by choice.

If you’re looking to take more drastic measures to keep the cold out, and in turn make your house more sustainable, then there are plenty of solutions. Heat pumps are considered to be far superior – and greener – than the traditional gas, oil or electric hot water systems. The best time to have them installed is the summer, so why not strike while the iron (and the weather) is hot?

Dust off your textiles

Curtains and blinds are indispensable when it comes to adding another barrier between you and the cold outdoors. You can take the curtains down, give them a good dust off and then think about a deeper clean. Many fabrics can go in the washing machine, but check the label and take them to a dry cleaner if needed.

If you’re opting for a fresh new window dressing for winter, think about where your radiators are. If the radiator is below the window and you don’t want it to be covered when the curtains are closed in winter, go for roman blinds instead.

Rugs are a great insulator, but can quickly get pretty mucky. Give your rugs a quick at-home refresh using our helpful guide to cleaning a rug at home.

How to buy rugs on Etsy: the styles, shops and sellers to look for
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Create a cosy atmosphere

The advantage of the winter months is that we can settle in, get comfortable and cosy, draw the curtains and curl up on the sofa under a blanket. ‘No room can be called perfect unless it has real comfort,’ declares Dorothy Draper, one of the most influential interior designers of the 20th century, at the beginning of her iconic tome, Decorating is Fun!. With this in mind, there are plenty of simple ways to add a little comfort to your home.

Add a few extra cushions to your sofas and armchairs in preparation for long winter nights spent at home.

Lighting is key. In fact, according to interior designer Nicola Harding, ‘it’s the unsung hero of a room’. Atmospheric lighting can be so useful that many interior designers reject spotlights in favour of table, floor and wall lights. Add a mixture of all of the above to create the most inviting of atmospheres.

If you’re looking to go the extra mile, why not give your sitting room – or wherever you plan on seeing out the colder months – a new lick of paint? Some colours like deeper, cocooning neutrals lend themselves very well to an autumnal colour scheme.

Simon Bajada

Think about warming, comforting recipes

Gone are the days of light summer salads and recipes using asparagus, rhubarb and other hot weather favourites. With autumn comes a plethora of new and exciting seasonal ingredients to cook with; butternut squash, cabbage and root vegetables are all in their prime. Look no further than our round up of autumn recipes for more inspiration on warming and delicious dishes.

When all else fails, turn to retail therapy

Ease the pain of summer ending with a shiny new purchase, something to make you feel excited about spending more time at home. We’ve got our eye on cushions, throws, and lovely new lamps.

Great Check Cushion Square, moss
Pair of Cavaliere Candlesticks
Leopard Oblong Cushion
Karuna Bed Throw With Fringe
Tangier Red Stripe Box Pleat Lampshade
Djibasso Cushion
Sister by Studio Ashby Patch Jacquard Cushion
Phileas Rechargeable Table Lamp