House rules | Monocle

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As the days get shorter in the northern hemisphere, it’s only natural to look for ways to make our homes feel more comfortable and secure. Making some design-minded tweaks to lighting, replacing tired materials and adding new objects can ensure that our homes not only look great but also lift our spirits and improve our wellbeing too. 

Knowing where to start, however, can be intimidating: budget and scale need to be considered and attention should be paid, in equal measure, to both details and the big picture. With this in mind, here are seven suggestions, ranging from small adjustments to wholesale changes, that will help to transform your space into a cosy sanctuary this winter. 


Reupholstered revival
Dedar, Italy


Keen to breathe new life into your living room? Rather than replacing furniture with something new, why not try reupholstering it with fabrics from Milan’s Dedar? The brand has an extensive range of cloths, including soft mohair, textured chenille and sleek satin. Dedar’s proximity to Como, which is known as the Silk City and is celebrated worldwide for its artisanal production of luxurious yarns, will ensure that your favourite furnishings are given the treatment they deserve.


Sound decision
Hidden Sound, Switzerland


Whether you’re listening to an album or playing ambient tracks in the background, music is an essential ingredient in any cosy home. Yet sound systems can often be boxy and dominate a space. For a sleek solution, choose Hidden Sound. Its Bauhaus-inspired speakers are crafted by hand and are only 8mm thick. The system offers room-filling “360-degree sound dispersion”, so top-quality audio can be enjoyed throughout the home.

Hit the floor
Dinesen, Denmark


Laying a new floor can seem like a Herculean undertaking but it is worth the investment: the wood beneath your feet is, after all, the foundation of any interior. Opt for a time-tested, hard-wearing classic, such as Denmark’s Dinesen. The 125-year-old family company offers planks in ash, oak, pine and Douglas fir, all felled from responsibly managed forests. Across the board, Dinesen’s collections highlight the irregular and natural patterns of the timber.


Light it right


From its humble beginnings in a basement on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, award-winning lighting design and manufacturing studio rbw has gone from strength to strength by championing its own led technology, in a bid to replicate the look and feel of traditional lighting methods. The company is passionate about bringing warm, flattering and energy-efficient lighting to offices, restaurants, hotel rooms and homes. The results lift our spirits, helping us to feel both energised and relaxed.


Give it a lick
Coat, UK


Reaching for a pot and brush is the oldest trick in the quick-fixes handbook: painting a white wall can transform the mood of both a room and its residents. The colour possibilities are infinite, and thanks to a new crop of forward-thinking firms, there are options with serious environmental credentials too. We’re reaching for the British brand Coat, which offers a colour chart that is water-based, solvent-free and low in potentially harmful chemicals.

Flick the switch
Katy Paty, Czechia


As technology creeps into every part of our lives, many people are trying to make their homes “smart” (think lighting systems controlled by iPads). monocle thinks that the smartest decision is to go back to basics. This handmade ceramic switch by Katy Paty, that’s ergonomic and easy to find in the dark, is one such illuminating solution. Designed and manufactured in the Bohemia region of Czechia, Roo switch has a retro feel, thanks to its rounded shape and glossy finish.

Corkage fee
Amorim, Portugal


Good insulation serves to reduce the travel of sound between rooms and lower energy bills – both essential elements for any happy household. For an environmentally friendly option that doesn’t compromise on efficacy, monocle suggests tapping Portuguese company Amorim. It offers wall coverings made from cork, which has natural antibacterial properties, is easy to wipe down and is warm and soft to the touch. It will make yours a home for both clean living and green living too.

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