Turning leaves, acorns, conkers, mossy covered stones and the rich palette of colours that come with the autumnal months: these are some of the things that make me feel excited about this time of year. I like drawing closed the curtains in the evening, lighting candles and reaching for a snuggly blanket and a tall glass of something warming.
My training for a degree in textile design taught me the merit of always keeping a camera and notebook close to hand so that ideas can be easily documented. As a stylist I remain constantly on the lookout for inspiration: shop windows, visits to galleries and museums, holidays to new places, and even films are just some of the places that have provided me with creative ideas over the years. Nature provides a ready-made palette which can be brought indoors and worked into schemes for our living spaces. The autumnal palette has a warmth which is easy to work with and will look great throughout the year, especially when illuminated with candlelight or the warm glow of lamps. It’s a chance to pull together wonderfully textured pieces such as velvets, pre-washed linen, wool, distressed metal, and chunky ceramics.
A recent walk in the woods, followed by a visit to a local farm shop, and the photos I took along the way inspired me to create this set of rich, autumnal mood boards, which bring together many of the themes I have written about above.
Burnt & burnished
Vibrant oranges and ochre are given further intensity when paired with blue; we can see in this mood board that the coolness of the bedroom’s blue wall looks wonderful against the warmth of the yellow velvet bed. Lovers of grey should note that it sits very happily with both yellow and orange. Play with texture by layering velvet cushions with woven woollen fabrics, and add further interest around the room with accessories such as tealight holders.
1 Ramshead CF785/0346, wool/nylon, £55 per metre, Bute Fabrics, available from The Atelier Bute 2 Morri tealight, large, £9.95 each, Nkuku 3 Lara orange linen napkins, £5.49 each, Linen Me 4 The Audrey upholstered bed, from £740, sofa.com 5 Giullare velvet stripe cushion cover, large, £44, OKA
I spotted this beautiful toadstool deep in the woods (a Magpie Ink Cap my research suggests) and it inspired me to bring together a collection of pieces that have equally beautiful monochromatic markings. By its very nature, this restricted palette can be easy to work with: combine printed fabrics or wallpaper with some solid plain pieces to break things up a bit. The printed chair would look good paired with a plain charcoal grey sofa which has been layered with cushions; the wallpaper shown here looks great in this home office and the addition of the wooden furniture and solid black lighting is perfect.
1 Narina 109/10048 wallpaper, £75 per roll, Cole & Son 2 Nordic reindeer hide paper placemats, £15 for 50, Nordic House 3 Laverton chair, Ikat pattern fabric, £550, Cox & Cox 4 (Darker textured) Enza FDG2338/08 in Cocoa, cotton/viscose, 142cm wide, £53 per metre, Designers Guild / (Paler textured) Fallais F2056 in Zinc, viscose/polyester, 140cm wide, £110 per metre, Designers Guild / (Chevron patterned) Small Zebra NC-P463 in brown/String, linen mix, £112 per metre, Neisha Crosland at Turnell & Gigon 5 White handprinted ceramic vase, £19.50, Rose & Grey
In the middle of the woods we came across a charming little cottage and I was drawn to the distressed paint covering the metal door of one of its outbuildings. I liked the way that the paintwork had peeled away in places to reveal layers of other colours, which reminded me a little of the surface of a French decorative antique table where the paintwork has been rubbed back. This provided me with a nice starting point to curate some of my favourite pieces, which reflect both the colour palette and the faded, textural look, which combine so well. These elements could work effectively in a range of settings, but would be especially brilliant for those of you wanting to create a pared-back scheme. Keep to this palette of pale blues and greys mixed with warm whites and sand for a tranquil look, which would perfectly suit a bedroom or a sitting room.
1 Shimla distressed grey pendant, from £99.95, Nkuku 2 Mundu bamboo and leather baskets, £69.95, Nkuku 3 Estate Emulsion paint, from £43.50 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball 4 Wet Afternoon painting, £225, Eric Ravilious at Pentreath & Hall 5 Feathr Oh La La wallpaper in Sand, £119 for three panels (each panel measures W50cm x H320cm), Kiki Slaughter at Rockett St George