The quintessential Japanese home always contains at least one room filled with straw mats known as tatami. Indeed, rooms are measured with these mats and a 6 or 8 mat room is fairly standard. This room tends to be quite bare most of the time, a part of a Kyoto-style minimalism making beauty out of relative poverty, but a nearby storehouse contains furniture and decorations fit for each season, which can be brought into the room depending upon the time of year. This includes for the tokonoma – an alcove dedicated to seasonal art.
No matter the home or location, it is possible for you to make changes to your home each season to reflect them whether it’s just the season or a particular festival or holiday. However, we do not recommend you follow the example of one Japanese aesthete who tossed a bucket of water into the tokonoma to represent the rain falling outside.
Here’s a few ways you can bring autumn and winter into your home:
Warmth: A feeling of warmth comes from a combination of factors. Of course having a wood burner and an open fire helps, as does insulation, but also from visuality and feeling. This means in autumn/fall warm colors like those of turning leaves bring warmth. Winter is associated with stark whites, but these feel cold, so keep the warmth going with reds, rusty oranges, yellows, greens and even browns. Also pick fabrics which feel warmer and nicer to the touch.
Lighting: With the coming of winter, nights also approach sooner, and the morning sun rises later each day. It is vital to have well-planned lights so you can read in a chair, light the dining room for a family meal, or make the bedroom feel more cosy. In winter, electricity bills are usually higher because we use more lights, but it is possible to reduce this cost by using energy efficient LEDs for example. Like with fabrics, lights also give you the impression and feeling of warmth in the house.
Decorations: These range from seasonal fruits (see below) in a wooden bowl, to the types of plates you put on display. If you have different crockery sets, you might have ones which seem more wintry or autumnal – similar to the colors mentioned above, but also including imagery such as leaves, autumn fruits, winter scenes and so on. Think of brass, copper, wooden objects, lamps, candles, acorns and so on.
Food: In times past, fall and winter were when food became scarce and we lived on various grains, breads, and salted meat. However, in fall you do have fruits and vegetables from the harvest, including apples, pears, chestnuts, and pumpkins. These too can be displayed, but you can fill the home with the aroma of roasts, stews, and seasonal cakes!