The Fashion-Forward Home

Seasonal fabrics and styles aren’t for the runways only. A change of seasons can also signal a change in home decor.

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At Winterthur, Henry Francis du Pont switched rugs, curtains and slipcovers with the seasons. Yellow slipcovers are for spring and summer. Photograph courtesy of Winterthur Museum & Country EstateIf you visit Betsy Chapin’s North Wilmington townhouse in spring and fall, you are bound to notice a difference. “I can’t stand to look at the same thing for a long period of time,” says the college professor.

Five times a year, she changes a few decorative elements to create a fresh, seasonal look. She doesn’t change the sofa, wall-to-wall carpeting or wall paint. She does, however, play with easy-to-switch area rugs and accessories, including table centerpieces, throw pillows, candles and dried or silk flowers.

“It’s an inexpensive way to change your environment,” she says. “You want to create a mood to make your home feel warm, welcoming and comforting—something you want to come to or wake up to.” Because her mood varies at various times of year, the same old-same old won’t do.

Chapin is in good company. As often as four times a year, Henry Francis du Pont switched the curtains, rugs and slipcovers in certain rooms of his Winterthur mansion to suit the seasons. Sometimes he even changed the ceramics.

In the famous Chinese Parlor, a grand room dressed with an ornate wallpaper depicting Chinese life and social strata, he selected green satin drapes with white floral sprigs for January, February and March. In spring—April, May and June—the windows wore dark green damask with a blue trim. Summer months meant billowy tamboured mulls with yellow taffeta valences. And in fall, du Pont selected both yellow taffeta valances and curtains.

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