Winter warmers

WINTER is bearing down on us, bringing chill winds and dark nights, but there’s one way to beat it – turn your home into a snug sanctuary.

Bring luxury into your life this winter and beat the chills with opulent furnishings and accessories. Gabrielle Fagan gets cosy.

WINTER is bearing down on us, bringing chill winds and dark nights, but there’s one way to beat it – turn your home into a snug sanctuary.

A new colour palette, soft, sensual fabrics, and some luxurious accessories will go a long way towards banishing the seasonal blues.

There’s no need to panic if your home is still stuck in a summer-style warp, and those rooms look as though they’ve been left out in the cold.

We’ve consulted the experts for advice on transforming a home into a fashionable comfort zone. Only the cold-hearted could resist their ideas!


Colour’s vital for this winter’s rooms, according to Edward Appleton, paint expert for the Paint Quality Institute. He says: “Forget cold, minimalist interiors – they’re not winter-friendly, and vibrant, decorative effects have made a comeback. Bold patterns, opulent-looking furnishings and striking accessories should be combined to create a new take on interiors where more is becoming preferable to less.”

There’s no need for a baffling trawl through the paint charts as he has identified the two most popular colour palettes.

“Most noticeable this season is the appearance of a soft, soothing yellow-lime. Muted in appearance, this colour looks best teamed with stone, oatmeal and darker hues of tobacco and even chocolate brown.”

Those who want seasonal sparkle will find the fashion for metallics appealing. Appleton says: “A combination of both gold and silver creates a simple yet luxurious style in a modern setting. Try painting broad bands of gold and silver interspersed with crisp white stripes on a feature wall.”


A comfortable sofa to cuddle up on is an essential ingredient for any cosy retreat. Rachel Hulbert, design director for Sofa Workshop, offers her advice on what’s hot in sofa style.

She says: “Round-arm traditional styles are back in favour, but they’ve been given a modern edge by being dressed in contemporary fabrics.

This season is all about having fun mixing textures and patterns. Silvers and golds feature in natural linen or
hemp, muted shades of mustard yellows and greens are starting to take centre stage, while velvets are perennially popular.”

Sit in style on Sofa Workshop’s large Beth sofa, in Dreamy Aubergine velvet, £568, or curl up on a high-backed Storyteller chair in Seduction Mulberry.

Graham & Green is a favourite destination for the design-savvy and its velvet button-back Dream furniture would make a statement, especially in a punchy pink or deep cerise. Chair, £1,085, and sofa £1,650.


Alternatively, revamp and cosset an existing sofa or chair with soft-to-the-touch knitted wool throws. The White Company’s selection includes a Boston cable knit throw, £60, and matching cushion cover, £18. Its Willow mohair throw, £50, is also seductive.

For a chic country look, delve into Toast’s collection available online and by mail order which has vintage style throws and blankets harking back in design to pre-duvet days. An Elfet lambswool throw, woven in a Welsh woollen mill, costs £89, or a Brechfa blanket, £95.


Your bedroom should be a sensual, inviting retreat where you can relax as well as snuggle on cold nights.

Sally Bendelow, head of home design at Marks & Spencer, says: “Sinking into a sumptuous bed is a wonderful way to de-stress. Choose high-quality bed linen, such as Egyptian cotton, or super-luxurious silk sheets and top with an oversized bedcover as sensual texture is all important and will make you feel cherished and nurtured.”

The store’s Autograph slinky Silk Border bedlinen starts from £15 for a pillowcase, and an Autograph velvet and linen bedcover in plum, £165.

Lounge back like a diva on a bed dressed in House of Fraser’s glamorous Donatella collection. It’s in regal purple embellished with gold.
A cushion, £25, double duvet cover, £55 and gold velvet bedspread, £100.


There’s no need to melt the plastic if you want to turn up the temperature at home. There are plenty of bargains and brilliant buys on the high street and in the supermarkets.

B&Q: Add that shot of warming, trendy colour with wallpaper from its collection. An art deco-inspired Cirque paper, in red, is £9.99 a roll.

Turn down the lights and conjure a soft, flattering glow with a Boden resin table lamp and red shade, £39.97.

SAINSBURY’S: Plunder its rich collection of throws and cushions, in sensual fabrics. Enjoy creature comforts with a faux fur throw, £29.99 or snuggle with a teal velvet and satin throw, £34.99 and cushion, £5.99.

DUNELM MILL: This store bursts with bargains whose quality and design belie their cheap price tags. Mushroom chenille throw, £9.99, and bronze Drama cushion, £12.99.


Warm up in an instant with a heated throw or heated cotton duvet, both by Dreamland.

The new Relaxwell throw in dark chocolate has nine heat settings, and is £59.99 from Argos, John Lewis, and House of Bath. Its Sleepwell heated duvet, single £79.99, is available from Argos, John Lewis, Selfridges, and Scotts of Stow.


TV presenter and interior design consultant Naomi Cleaver’s has, with Powergen, put together tips on keeping homes warm as toast without wasting energy.

She says: “You don’t have to sacrifice style to save energy. For instance, clever use of mirrors and light-coloured walls, which reflect daylight, can brighten a room and reduce the need for artificial lighting.”

And she advises:

Interlined curtains give a luxurious feel and add extra insulation especially if you choose a thick, thermal lining.

Reflective radiator panels are cheap to buy and easy to install, reflecting heat back into the room that would otherwise be lost. Make panels by wrapping tinfoil around cardboard.

Powerdress a hot water tank. A British standard lagging jacket costs £10 and should pay for itself within six months.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer