Crunching through the fallen leaves in Hagley Park on a brisk morning walk is one of the markers that autumn has arrived. Try as we might, there’s nothing we can do to stop the summer season from slipping gently away, taking the balmy barbecue weather with it.
Autumn is, according to Christchurch’s leading home staging specialist Jayne Morgan, a calming time.
“Sometimes autumn gets overlooked,” she offers. “Once the first frost nips our nose it can seem like winter is here to stay. But there’s a magic to autumn that feels like a loving hug – the sunlight begins to soften, the leaves change colour and our natural rhythms start to slow in preparation for the colder months.”
One way you can ready yourself for more time inside as the temperatures drop (or if another pandemic stay-at-home looms) is to ask yourself this key question:
“How do you want your home to feel?”
“When I ask this question I’m usually met with silence and a puzzled look,” laughs Jayne. “It’s something most homeowners never consider. Most people have never thought whether their home feels how they want it to.”
Would you like your space to feel cosy? Or perhaps calming? How about vibrant, energetic, or fun?
No matter which feeling you decide on — and the choice is yours alone — it then acts as a touchstone for each piece of furniture, each colour, and texture, each artwork, accessory and appliance.
For instance, if you’re aiming to create a feeling of calm in your master bedroom, putting up a canvas with bold reds and vibrant yellows will not help you to relax and unwind. Conversely, in a lounge area that’s the spot for family movie nights and watching the big game with friends, subdued earthy tones may not encourage the party to get started.
Catching your eye
In many of the homes Jayne visits there’s no cohesion, no focus, or the interior styles don’t match. Each room should have an emphasis, something that draws your friend’s eye as they walk into the space.” As a qualified interior designer, Jayne knows full well the power of having each element in a room working harmoniously.
“Sure, there are design ‘rules’ but playing with different colours, textures and fabrics can really put your own stamp on your space.”
“What gets in the way of achieving an interior style that feels cohesive? Clutter.”
“Beware the jumble,” Jayne warns. “In many cases, people have been given furniture or a painting or a rug or knick-knacks by friends or family. They may not love the piece, but they feel they can’t get rid of it. So, it stays, sticking out like a sore thumb, a visual eyesore.” The feeling of a room can change with the removal of just one chair.
“Try it! Especially if there are different styles or ages of furniture. You might be surprised what happens to the room when you start moving pieces around.”
Jayne enjoys seeing a room transform by removing everything and then slowly adding furniture back in. It’s why she loves the autumn season.
“To me, this process feels like I’m getting ready for hibernation. I want the spaces I spend the winter months in to be on point, just how I want them to be. The autumn months encourage me to consciously prepare my nest.”
An instant update
What’s one easy and cost-effective way Jayne adds an instant update to an interior? Cushions. Whether you are going for a chic and sophisticated look, or something more casual and welcoming, the right cushions can be the versatile style element to change the way your room looks and feels. “Have fun with it,” Jayne recommends.
“You’ll likely find autumn welcomes an extension of the on-trend earthier tones – try combinations of plum, rose, clay, marsala and sand. And an abundance of scatter cushions with chunkier textures will feel warm compared to the outside chill, especially if you pair them with a complimenting artfully draped woven throw.”
Jayne also suggests opting for a feather cushion inner when you can. The cheaper polyester fill could appear squished in a short while, whereas a plumped-up feather inner will continue to look great for years to come.
“We create favourable first impressions, making homes feel welcoming, fresh and spacious.”
– Jayne Morgan, owner and designer.