With the cold weather upon us and the party season approaching, fall's the best time for hibernating and hosting soirees—and since you'll be spending so much time indoors, it's also the perfect time for home updates.
What projects should be on your to-do list? We asked six designers for their advice – here’s what they had to say:
1. Give your fireplace a makeover.
Photography: Janis Nicolay | Story: A 110-year-old Vancouver home is turned into a simple haven
“A great home project to do in the fall is a fireplace makeover because trades often have more availability in the fall and depending on the scope of the work, it can be completed within a few days and be ready to decorate for the holidays,” says Andrea Haraldsen, lead designer at Harlow & Thistle. “A fireplace makeover can range from the very small to the very large,” she says. “You could paint the brick and spray paint the fire screen over a weekend, or if you’re a little more ambitious, you could strip back the fireplace, reframe, rebrick and perhaps even flank it with some custom built-ins.” But Andrea offers these words of wisdom before you get started on your fall project. “Do your research, make sure your materials are fire retardant, clean the existing fireplace (if you’re painting) and protect your floors during demo .”
“In the fall months, updating your fireplace surround or mantel is a great home project,” says interior decorator Vanessa Francis. “Just changing the stone around your fireplace to a small herringbone marble mosaic for example, will instantly make it look and feel more updated,” she says. “Changing the objects on the fireplace mantel with the season is an easy and impactful change.”
2. Update your bed linens.
Photography: Stephani Buchman | Story: A comfy master suite with luxe allure
According to Jordy Fagan and Alana Firestone of Collective Studio, the fall is a great time to update your bed linens, adding nice and cozy blankets and lots of texture to cozy up with in the winter months. “We both switch out our duvets for warmer down and swap out our light linen throws with wool! It’s amazing how this easy swap instantly ups the cozy feel for fall and winter.
3. Paint — inside and out.
“Fall is a perfect time to focus on painting,” says Katie Hodges, principal designer at Katie Hodges Design. “Whether it’s the interior or exterior, getting your home refreshed for the holidays is the perfect way to close out the year.” Holly Baker, designer and host of Vacation Rental Potential on A&E agrees. “Fall is the perfect time to do any exterior paint projects. It’s not ideal to paint in too much heat (and it’s uncomfortable for the person tackling it!), so fall is the perfect time to give your front door or shutters that colour refresh you’ve been dying to do.”
4. Update lighting.
Photography: Michael Graydon | Story: A Muskoka cottage with a contemporary take on traditional lakeside living
Use this time to update any lighting fixtures that aren't doing a good job at illuminating, adding a design element to or enhancing the ambiance in a space. “As the days get shorter, having adequate lighting becomes more of a priority” says Baker.
5. Add area rugs.
Photography: Janis Nicolay | Story: A timeless yet on-trend living room in a 1930s home
“Area rugs are often underestimated in the value they bring to a room, especially as the days begin to cool,” says Nyla Free, principal designer at Nyla Free Designs. “Whether it be for warmth, colour, texture or overall interest, area rugs are an easy update throughout the home. Unexpected areas such as hallways, powder rooms, bedrooms or kitchens are ideal areas to add interest and a softer touch for fall as the temperature drops.”
So what’s your easiest approach? Nyla suggests opting for a large scale rug to connect all the pieces in a room and to layer multiple rugs for interest, texture and colour. And she recommends getting a custom rug if your space requires an unusual shape or size.
6. Update textiles.
Colleen McGill, president and founder of McGill Design Group Inc, says she likes to restyle and redecorate some rooms in the fall. “New velvet pillows or a new rug will make a room inviting during the winter months," says McGill," and I would buy that longed-for piece of furniture, hang a new painting and buy heavier drapes.”
7. Perform maintenance tasks.
Photography: Monic Richard | Story: A Montreal home that's a little bit country and a little bit contemporary
“Fall is a wonderful time to get small maintenance projects done, make a room feel cozy and prepare for winter,” says McGill. “I love to have my furniture and carpets steam cleaned in the fall. I have all maintenance services calls scheduled so the windows are cleaned, the room is maintained and the furnace and humidifier are checked.”