Interior Design Ideas for the Fall

Warmth is a year-round pursuit. In the spring and summer, we seek out swaths of grass, and beach, and water, anywhere that provides an uninterrupted connection to the sun. In the fall and winter, we retreat to our deepest, darkest corners. In both cases, we’re motivated by a desire to feel warmer, physically, though in the cold-weather months, it’s just as important for a cozy interior design to help us feel safe and secure, too. When the world turns ugly, our universal response is to put as many layers between us and it as we can.

Open to interpretation
The commonalities don’t end there, of course, but warmth, as with any sensation, is expressed (and felt) in a variety of ways. What I consider to be the warmest room in our home, the living room, doesn’t really fit the conventional mold. Scale and space in an interior design convey warmth and security to me. The living room is at the heart of our retrofitted barn home. It’s a space that reaches two stories high. Standing nearly as tall, and dominating much of the attention, is a massive—it feels appropriate to describe it as overpowering—monolithic concrete fireplace that I designed. Where a guest could easily derive a stoicism from its size and minimalist design, those same characteristics describe a strength that leaves me feeling well protected.

I played the rest of the room off of the fireplace. The sectional sofa and accent walls are variations of charcoal, the floor is espresso, and the casegoods are mahogany antiques. The furniture, highlighted by a rustic-style rope-and-chain French bell-shape chandelier, is all substantial enough to complement the fireplace’s size.

Shades of warmth
When a client explicitly asks for warmth, I ask, in reply, for his or her favorite colors. After all, warmth begins with comfort, regardless of the season or the setting. And you’re more inclined to feel comfortable when you’re surrounded by some of your favorite things, especially hues, because we have such an emotional connection to them. Even among our living room, there are bursts of color that I change seasonally. Much as I like the dramatic effect of such a large room cast in a moody palette, it could all feel a bit of Game of Thrones without at least a few well-placed reminders that the world isn’t such a cold place. The subtle incorporation of some cool hues and the not-so subtle incorporation of some loud ones elevate an interior design from a sweatpants-only zone to a sophisticated corner that’s ripe for both solitude and gathering.

The weekend makeover
The true beauty of warm-minded interior design ideas is that they’re pretty easy to accomplish. A fireplace always helps. But even without one, repainting the walls a deeper color or swapping out the sofa for another in a dark material carries the same weight. (And, to me, facing sofas is instant intimacy.) Supplement it with heavier window treatments, a few stacks of some thick, hardcover books, and a little texture diversity. (Enticing as it may feel to slip into a plush cave for the winter, the sameness gets old fast.) And don’t neglect the lighting. As with the textures, aim for at least a couple different kinds that create a layering effect. Nothing too bright.

The end goal here is to make your winter retreat a place you want to retreat to again and again, alone or with company, early in the morning and well into the after-dinner-drinks phase of the party. Because the winter can be interminable.