3 styling secrets that will help you prep your home for autumn

As we turn our attention indoors, this season makes us rediscover the beauty of being at home

A slight drop in temperature,not immediate but still noticeable, and shorter days can mean only one thing – autumn is coming. Apart from signalling a switch up in the wardrobe department, these changes also prompt a start in prepping your home for the new season.

“Autumn magic involves all our senses,” says Federica Contardi, national visual merchandiser for Citta. “It’s when we prepare our homes to feel warm and welcoming for the cooler weather ahead, and as it begins to get darker, with the lamps turned on and the candles lit, the house has that special atmosphere… comfortable and warm.”

So, if the tap of autumn on your front door has you hankering for a new throw to, well, throw on your couch, or to finally slap a new coat of paint on your walls, we’ve pulled together a change-of-season styling workshop to help you do just that.


Traditional autumn colours dictate that orange be front and centre during the season and this year is no different; burnt and dusty oranges take pride of place among the earthy browns, olive and sage greens, and warm sandy neutrals also trending this season.

“These soft and cosy colours are all found in nature,” explains Dulux colour specialist Davina Harper. “They appeal to our need for comfort, restfulness and calm in our homes.” Neutral colours like these never really go out of style, so you can be reassured this colour palette will stand the test of time.”

Davina suggests Dulux Haast Half as a great base colour to layer soothing, earthy tones on top, such as Dulux Morocco Tan and Dulux Olive Blend.

“I love the sense of warmth and cosiness autumn colours can bring to a space,” says Davina. I’ve always been drawn to soft, earthy neutrals as they go with so many colours and create a calm and relaxing atmosphere.”

1. Harmie vase $34.90 (large), and $13.90 (small), from Ned Collections. 2. Florence cushion, $135, from Thread Design. 3 Jahmal floor rug, $549, from Freedom. 4. Resene Anglaise paint, $4.80 (testpot). 5. Resene Brown Sugar paint, $4.80 (testpot). 6. Resene Aspiring paint, $4.80 (testpot).  

If a warming colour scheme is the autumnal goal, then a tonal colour scheme will take you there. A monochromatic, or tonal, colour scheme is made up of one main hue with different shades in the same main colour group layered on top.

There are two important things to remember when putting together a tonal room. Firstly, ensure all your colours have the same undertone (i.e. warm or cool). And secondly, add contrast. Intoducing texture, pattern, or a contrast colour will prevent a tonal room from appearing too flat. So, for a room full of autumnal colours, a calming sea or dusty sky blue is the perfect hue, says Federica. When combined with earthy neutrals and burnt oranges, it re-creates a nostalgic colour combination with a modern refresh.

Style tip When choosing colours, consider the existing colours in a space. If you have a grey benchtop or a concrete floor, start with a cool white and layer colours with blue undertones on top. If you have golden flooring or a cream benchtop, you’ll want to be looking at a warm white and colours with yellow or red undertones.


“A space without texture is like a cake without the icing,” says Federica. It’s the finishing touch that transforms a room from a pretty space to one of interest. Autumn is the best time to amp it up in the texture department, as it also helps add warmth and cosiness in a space.

Federica says, “It’s important to introduce different textures, both tactile and visual, to break up the uniformity and rigidity of many modern interiors.”

1. Slab Ceramics monolith vessel 1 vase, $130, from Paper Plane. 2. Heavy linen jute round cushion in rose, $64.90, from Citta. 3. Mellor weave throw, $99.99, from Nood. 4. Berto table lamp, $169, from Freedom. 5. Lambie cushion in olive, $129, from Nood.

Tactile textures come in the form of rugs, throws, cushions, curtains or a vase with a particular engraved pattern on it. Look for knitted or wool rugs, wool throws, jute, corduroy, boucle and linen. Visual textures are layered on top of tactile textures, and these include art or lighting. For example, a desert dune photo where the sand is captured in a way that gives tri-dimensionality to the image, or a lamp that casts light in a particular way.

Fill vases with… dried flowers In autumn, fresh blooms are few and far between. Instead, fill your vases with sculptural dried flowers – a big textural win. Many local florists offer dried blooms, but if you want to try doing it yourself, buy a bunch of flowers and enjoy them fresh, then just before they start to turn, take them out of the water and hang them upside down (out of the sun). It will take a few weeks for them to dry completely. Watch how to do it here.


Now that you’ve got the down low on colour and texture, let’s talk about how these elements work together. “When choosing colours and textures, it is fundamental to consider and be aware of what affect the texture has on the appearance of how colour is perceived,” says Federica.

Colour and texture both play a role in bouncing or absorbing light in a room. For example, a dark wooden dining table positioned in front of a light source will not reflect the light into a space as well as a glass top dining table. Likewise, rough textured fabrics will absorb the light, while shiny fabrics will help reflect light back into the room.

Therefore, if your room champions dark mushroom browns and olive greens, look to lighter, softly textured linens and shiny surfaces in the texture department to help bounce the light around and create visual interest. Alternatively, in a lighter room full of warm neutrals, rough fabrics such as boucle, wool and jute will help add richness to the space.


If texture is the icing, layering is the construction of the cake. It pulls a room together to make it feel complete and give it personality.

“There are many ways to introduce this look,” says Federica. First, she suggests layering rugs. “Choose the same colour scheme and materials, and mix different shapes. Or, select different colours, materials and prints to create a more vivid look.” More than just adding a snuggly, lived-in touch to your space, layered rugs also act as extra insulation – a bonus for bare feet.

Of course, the most obvious and simplest way to add layering is through cushions and throws. “These are interior designers’ best friends,” says Frederica. “My tip is to divide each area for the layering and work in small steps, gradually adding objects to the room.”

(Clockwise) 1. Marsala Italian linen cushion, $149, from Thread Design. 2. Wilson & Dorset sheepskin in honey, $159 (small), from Thread Design. 3. Armadillo braid rug in oregano, $1180, from The Ivy House. 4. Ocean linen cushion, $115, from Thread Design.  

Start with a clean canvas (in this case, furniture), then think about the flooring and work up from there. When most of the product has been positioned, take a step back, check the overall look, then add the finishing decorative touches, such as plants and art pieces.

“Always keep in mind the most important rule,” says Frederica. “Do not clutter the space with too many objects, good balance is so crucial.” Layering your light sources will have an instant comforting effect on a room. When a space has one source of illumination from the ceiling it can feel sterile and flat. Look to wall sconces, table lamps and candles to add atmosphere and cosiness – especially good for those dusky autumn evenings.

Five quick autumn interior changes:

  1. Change the upholstery of your cushions or sofa to inject new textures into the room.
  2. Add a new soft throw to your bed or your sofa for visual interest – but also for those cooler nights.
  3. Light a beautifully scented candle to add visual texture and delightful smells to your space.
  4. Add an extra light source, like a table or floor lamp, to your lounge for when the evenings get darker earlier.
  5. If you don’t have carpet, place a rug under your bed for when you wake up in the morning and would rather step onto a soft surface than a cold, hard one.

Words by: Bea Taylor. Photography by: Are Media.

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