Autumn is a glorious season full of vivid colours and sparkling mists - with just a hint of winter chill in the air. At home, thoughts turn to comforting foods such as casseroles and stews, as well as warmer clothes and cosy decor. The kitchen is a great room to add a touch of seasonal comfort and to reflect the rich golds, browns and reds emerging in the trees outside. Here's how.
Autumn is all about the harvest. Plentiful fruit and vegetables, and crops being cut and stored, ready for the winter. Small touches like an overflowing fruit bowl will bring that feel to the kitchen
. Pictures of fruit, vegetables or even herbs and spices would look lovely on the walls, or as a motif on curtains or blinds. If you have space, keep vegetables on display too to channel the farm kitchen feel, and always have some home-baked bread on the go.
Whether you are refurbishing your kitchen from scratch, or simply updating it with smaller design projects, there are a huge number of autumnal colours to choose form that will make the room warm and cosy. Only word of warning is not to go overboard on the darker colours, as this can make the space seem smaller than it actually is. Consider adding a feature wall, or accents of the darker colours in the curtains or wall tiles, perhaps picked out in some of the tea-towels and utensils to add cohesion.
Take inspiration from nature to help decorate your kitchen. Pine cones and conkers can be gently dried in the oven and displayed on windowsills with other attractive seed pods (some plants that produce pretty seeds include nigella, honesty, poppy, sycamore and Chinese lantern). Pumpkins and gourds can add a touch of Hallowe'en mystery to the room and you could even scatter some autumn leaves for a woodland feel.
Hot pots and casseroles
A comforting stew or casserole is a wonderful way to welcome you and your family home, so invest in some good quality dishes in autumn colours. Keep your store cupboard stocked with herbs and other staples, such as onions, gravy granules, flour etc. so you can throw a stew together with minimal fuss. Keep some good accompanying wine to hand to round off the meal.
Cosiness and comfort
If you eat in the kitchen, or use it to entertain or relax, encourage people to feel comfortable by adding some cosy cushions to the chairs, or some light throws or blankets to put over knees while you dine. Candles add a soft glow, while lights that can be dimmed will also help soften the atmosphere.