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Warm up your home for Hong Kong’s colder months with these cosy decor ideas

Embrace winter by adding furry and luxe textiles, a fireplace, candles and rich colours

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 February, 2016, 10:09am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2016, 5:34pm

Baby, it’s cold outside - seldom do we hear that phrase in Hong Kong, especially during this spell of unusual weather in which it seems summer never ended and winter hasn’t truly arrived.

Perhaps because it is so fleeting, Hongkongers don’t seem to mind the colder temperatures. We’ll even make do with cool days, if it means staying in and snuggling up.

“Of course we embrace the cold,” says Hugh Zimmern, director of Faux in Ap Lei Chau. “Any chance to turn on the bio-ethanol fireplace, bring out the shag-pile throws, the tartan rugs and eat hearty stews with lashings of good red wine.”

Cosy enhancements to the home needn’t be costly or bulky. If you’ve got room to hang up swathes of luxurious winter drapery – and have space to store it afterwards – then there’s nothing nicer than drawing the curtains to banish the nighttime chill. But there are always alternatives. Blackout roller blinds are a subtler option for a contemporary interior, and these also work to keep out the heat during our long, hot summers.

Similarly, a fireplace is gorgeous on a lazy winter’s afternoon. Bio-ethanol fireplaces are clean-burning, easy to install and made for indoor and outdoor use.

Or you can achieve a warm flame effect simply by lighting some candles. Judiciously clustered candles will bathe the room in a romantic glow. Choose scented candles to ignite all the senses, such as Fornasetti’s Schacchi Oro candle specially made for Lane Crawford, infused with comforting fragrances such as raspberry and pepper followed by heavenly notes of jasmine. Or opt for Sniff soy candles from TREE - each one is hand-poured using 100 per cent natural and biodegradable​ soy wax, in fragrances that capture the seasonal changes of nature.

The simplest way to give your home a seasonal makeover, according to decorating expert Alexandra Sheldon of The Home Stylist, is to add some up-to-date colour.

“Last year, gentle tones were in; this year, it’s all about jewel colours,” she says. “And plaid is in as well.”

The season calls for deeper hues and richer textures, Sheldon adds. Metallic accents – still on trend in 2016 – are the perfect foil.

“A ruby red cushion with a gold or bronze candlestick next to it is rich and wintry,” she says. “Or pair a sapphire cushion cover with a silver-crackle candlestick.”

A luxuriant rug is a must for a wintertime ambience. “But don’t make the mistake of choosing one that’s too small,” Sheldon says. “To give a feeling of warmth and cosiness, you need to have at least the first two legs of every piece of furniture on the rug.”

Textiles play a major role in adding cosy comfort, responding to humans’ craving for touch.

Catwalk parades suggest fur is back in fashion, and Zimmern of Faux – “where everything is real, not fake” – says the store’s huge collection of fur products, from Mongolian goat to zebra skins, is hot right now.

“These are all either from wild animals which need to be culled, like kukus, or pests like the New Zealand possum, which are endangering the native kiwi,” he says.

Possum bean bags and hot-water bottle cosies are very popular this season, as are goat throws “which are also incredibly cool to lie on in summer”, Zimmern says. And for something different in your home accessories, choose an alpaca- or rabbit-skin tea cosy. “We have a selection of standard products, but everything can be custom-made in a range of sizes, skin type and colours.”

TREE also does beautiful textiles, with a new range of soft sheets, throws and more, skilfully woven from naturally luxurious fabrics such as 100 per cent organic cotton, silk and lamb’s wool. And G.O.D offers fun winter warmers such as a sheep hot-water bottle, and hand-painted mugs that can hold a hearty cup of soup.