While some people thrive in summer, others look forward to sweater season, pumpkin and apple spice, everything, and the joys of adding fall décor and textures to every corner of your space.
Fortunately, since fall has such a huge fan base, there are plenty of clever and stylish ways to incorporate pumpkins, candles, chunky fabrics, dried flowers, and wreaths into your interior and living areas. The key is to keep it simple by choosing pieces that convey the vibe you’re after without cluttering your living room, front door, and dining room table.
Inside out, here’s our ultimate guide to fall decorating, straight from the design experts who’ve mastered the perfect balance.
Do you think that outdoor flowers are only for summer? Think again, says Rainey Richardson, director of Rainey Richardson Interiors. She recommends planting chrysanthemums, a bountiful, flowering plant that blooms in the fall. “Choose yellow, orange, red, or even purple and plant in a large pot,” she says. “With a little care, these plants should last well into the fall season and make your porch attractive.”
If you want to spruce up your home with a nod to fall but are short on time, a fall-inspired wreath will add character to your front door. Depending on your style, Richardson says, you can keep it simple with a fall leaf twist or swag or go luxurious, with various textures, dried flowers, and even a bow made of burlap.
The spookiest season of the year calls for some ambient lighting, even if you focus more on an ambient vibe than a scary one, says Cynthia Montoya, principal designer and founder of Urban Gypsy: with style. Instead of the super-bright bulbs you normally turn on, consider a dimmable option or one that changes colors with Wi-Fi or Alexa. You can also add a little sparkle with an outdoor lantern or two that provide the same functionality.
Whether you’re going on the pumpkin team or choosing a witty fall-inspired saying, a seasonal doormat goes a long way in updating your front door. In addition to keeping up with your overall theme, Montoya says, it also keeps your front porch fresh and festive.
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Richardson says that chargers are a quick and easy way to create a drop feel on your table. “Choose natural wicker or even plastic chargers in a wonderful fall color and place them under your regular plates to add warmth and weight to the table,” he recommends.
Etsy can be a great place to find cool home decor like fun candles and candle holders, especially if you’re tired of what you see in the bigger stores. As Richardson says, this season is the perfect time to gather all the chandeliers and place them in the center of the table. “Different types, heights, and types of stands will add more interest,” she continues. “Fill it with varying heights of colorful fall flowers to add color and ambience to your table.”
One of the biggest design trends of 2021 has been bringing natural elements and textures into your home, and fall provides a great opportunity to experiment, says Montoya.
“Stick to nature, comfort, and earth tones, we’re using fresh and dried plants and flowers to add natural pops of seasonal color throughout the home and especially as centerpieces in artisan pottery,” she says.
To achieve this, she recommends adding hand-woven cotton sheets to your tabletop mix as the first layer. Then pair it with round leather placemats and complete with a rich marble or wood tray to set your vase on.
“To create a focal point, prop a large mirror on your mantel and place a framed photo of friends or family in front of the mirror to the right or left to throw it off center,” Richardson recommends. This draws attention to the heart (also known as the home) of your space.
Dried flowers are commonly found in fall-inspired bouquets and wreaths, but they can stand just as strong on their own. Richardson recommends finding an old jar or favorite vase and placing it on one end of the shelf. Then fill it with dried fall flowers and use ribbons in fall colors to add a decorative bow around the container to finish off the space.
Montoya says this season is all about oversized vegetation. You can do this with a large garland that wraps around your coat. Or, you can collect vases that mix ceramics, terracotta, and woven wicker to fill with fresh or dried flowers. “Seasonal colors can make a big impact with lots of colors, or you can keep fall neutral with dried okra, wheat, and pampas branches,” she adds.
As with all seasons, Richardson says, one of the best ways to evoke the feeling of fall in your home is through smell. “Choose pumpkin, clove, or cinnamon spice candles and light them in your family room. Lighting more than one will fill the entire house with the unmistakable fragrance of fall,” she says.
And if you want to go the extra mile, try this festive candle holder, which includes an LED candle and creates an orange and tan ambiance.
Your sofa may already have a cushion or two, but now is the time to make it seasonally appropriate. Swap out everyday ones for orange, red, brown, yellow, dark green, and other fall colors. Have fun with the textures and sizes, too, as they’ll all make your fall nap more comfortable, adds Richardson.
Choose a chunky knit blanket in olive, clay or putty colors to continue incorporating those fall hues into your current décor, Montoya recommends.
“For an upgraded look, finish with rich cotton or velvet curtains in shades of copper and dusty pink to really lean into those fall and winter months and give your home the warm, inviting vibe you want,” she adds.
Nothing says fall like a bunch of pumpkins. And the options are endless, from real to faux, colorful or classic orange, textured or smooth. Have fun with this part of the decoration and experiment with different groupings. “Stack pumpkins next to a tree, along a sidewalk, or use hay bales to provide a variable level of display,” says Richardson.
Richardson recommends putting up a bench in your front or backyard and adding a few outdoor pillows in fall colors or with cute sayings like “Hello Fall” or “Happy fall everyone.”
“If the bench is covered, you can drape a cozy blanket over the back to make it even more inviting,” she adds.
Depending on which zip code you call home, you may need to add a little fire to your backyard if you want to spend time outside comfortably. Montoya says you can easily do this with decorative freestanding heaters and/or freestanding fireplaces that sit on the patio or around the garden.
“Either way, make sure your outdoor furniture is positioned comfortably around you so you can enjoy the garden while staying warm,” she adds.