by Maribeth Lynch, Owner/Broker Thrive Real Estate Specialists
Most people think of springtime as a season for renewal, but I find that every season brings its share of unique ways to refresh myself and my home. And although my kids are grown, the start to the school year each September feels like a shift … sometimes bringing immediate relief from relentless heat, other times melting into the beautiful days of Indian Summer. As the leaves change to the fiery, vibrant colors of autumn, we change as well, turning our minds toward the coziness of home in the fall and winter.
Last winter I wrote about one of my new favorite concepts: the Danish lifestyle mindset called hygge. While this notion of appreciating and savoring life’s simple pleasures can be practiced at any time of year, I find it particularly suited to a season of holidays and family, food and friends, and the warmth of hearth and home.
I’ve found myself thinking recently about ways to infuse my home with the magic of fall while also recharging and renewing myself after a busy summer, and I’ve identified several ways to pursue an infusion of warmth and energy in my surroundings and outlook:
Activity and Routine
Whether or not we have kids returning to school or college in the fall, we can consider the end of summer as a fresh start to the “work year” – a time for a mid-year review of work/life goals and an opportunity to refresh our focus. It’s a good time to establish new routines at work or in daily life – perhaps a regular break at a favorite coffee shop or a weekly lunch with a friend.
Calming the chaos is especially important for families with school-aged children. The return to school can feel hectic with back-to-school expectations and the inevitable paperwork pileup. Creating a master family calendar with everyone’s weekly schedules can help a family busy feel more in control of all the expectations. Color-coding activities by family member can help everyone stay on top of obligations.
Finally, I like to make sure to add in a little something for my physical and mental health. Physical exercise can be more difficult to do indoors as the weather gets colder, but long walks in the crisp fall air are invigorating. Meditation provides perspective and a much-needed break from the day’s worries. Journaling is also a way to clear the mind and focus priorities.
Simplicity and Balance
Minimalism is liberating. It can feel claustrophobic to be indoors with a lot of pileup. And as entertaining moves from outside to indoors, creating indoor space is imperative when hosting a big holiday bash or even an intimate dinner. Fall is as good a time as spring to de-clutter a home. Sifting through all of the summer accumulation and purging unneeded belongings lifts a burden both physically and emotionally. Rent a Dumpster and fill it with anything broken and cumbersome that can’t be repurposed. And with the holidays on the way, it’s also a great time for charitable giving of gently-used items that we no longer need.
I also think the change of seasons brings a renewed opportunity to look at my home with an eye toward balance. Evaluate each room in terms of lighting, color, and the placement of furniture and accessories. Try to achieve a look that is both practical and pleasing to the eye.
Warmth and Comfort
Fall offers opportunities to connect with roots and family as well as to create a holiday home. As we begin the slow journey to winter, the nights get longer and the days get darker, making home lighting a priority. With less natural light streaming through the windows, it becomes important to choose warm lighting options that brighten rooms while lending a sense of coziness. I also suggest bringing the best of the outdoors inside in the form of fall colors, which are traditionally warm and inviting. Use vibrant reds and oranges or softer earth tones to accentuate your existing palette. Using texture and ambiance like patterned throw pillows and scented candles will lend a home a more gracious feel than filling it with kitschy holiday decorations or seasonal knickknacks. My rule of thumb is to keep it understated.
As we find ourselves spending more time indoors, I urge you to think of how to make your home into a sanctuary. If you’re a cook, perhaps this means planting an indoor herb garden for fresh flavors throughout the winter. In the bedroom, consider using sounds and scents to complement soothing colors; sound machines and scent infusers help create a peaceful atmosphere. What is your passion? Create a reading nook with a cozy blanket or stock up on scented bath products. You know what you like best, so surround yourself with your favorite things, like photos, books, and candles.
Meanwhile, outdoor activities do not need to come to a total halt. While we may need to bundle up a bit when the temperature starts to drop, there are still plenty of opportunities to create curb appeal and indulge in fall landscaping. A passion for gardening need not end; many plants thrive when planted during the fall. And don’t forget to plant spring bulbs like daffodils and snowdrops so they’ll be ready to dispel the gloom of winter when the seasons change again. For those without a green thumb, a tasteful seasonal wreath or a few cheerful pots of mums can spruce up a yard.
All of my suggestions for a hygge-filled home this fall translate well if you happen to be staging your house for sale before the holidays. Prospective buyers will see your house as a home, which will help make that sale. And in the meantime, you can enjoy a lifestyle that lends itself to renewal.