After experiencing the prolonged isolation that COVID-19 lockdowns brought, it’s safe to say everyone is excited for fall — for a return to family gatherings, football tailgates and something more like home life as usual.
While it may still be full-on summertime in your local market, the signs of fall are already in the air. From back-to-school sales to stores switching over their stock, everything is telling us that it’s time to turn our gaze toward the upcoming joys of autumn.
And we should begin to spruce up our spaces accordingly. Make your home, office or fall open houses warmer, cozier and more glowing than ever before with these autumnal decorating tips.
1. Focus on your home’s entrance
As we return to welcoming friends, family and neighbors into our spaces again, it’s time to revisit the entrance to your home. If you have a foyer or entrance hall, make sure that it’s clean and uncluttered. Decorate it just as you would the rest of your living space for a great first impression.
If your front door opens directly into the living room, you can still create the effect of a well-defined entrance. Add a sideboard or chest with a mirror hanging above it beside the front door. Consider convenient touches like a hat tree, umbrella stand or other transitional object as well, and define the space with a warm and elegant throw rug.
2. Think ‘cozy’ instead of ‘crisp’
Summer is all about linen and cotton, while fall textiles should be warmer, more plush and more fuzzy. Knits, quilts, velvet and other heavier materials make interiors read cozy. Go for the visual equivalent of wrapping yourself in favorite sweater or blanket.
3. Add texture and layers
Throw pillows, blankets, quilts, slipcovers, extra throw rugs — all of these layers make your home feel warmer as well. Consider a variety of textures like cable knit, weathered leather, shearling, cashmere and fur to make your home’s interior feel more autumnal.
4. Trade bright white for eggshell, and sun-bleached for jewel tones
Whether you live at the shore or are completely landlocked, summer colors are typically faded and bleached out as if they had been line-dried in the sun. For fall, transition to a warmer off-white and rich jewel tones like crimson, emerald, gold and of course, a pumpkin-y orange.
5. Trade citrus for fall fruit and veggies
Summertime cocktails and fizzy waters require stacks of lemons and limes, while fall is about apples, pears, clementines and pomegranates. Remember, this is the season of harvest, so bring in baskets, bowls and trays of autumn fruits and vegetables for kitchen counters and dining room sideboards.
6. Add seasonal flowers and plants
Autumn flowers and plants include mums, pansies, black-eyed Susans and sunflowers. This is also the time for ornamental cabbages and dramatic native grasses. Consider creating a container cutting garden to keep your home filled with flowers well into the fall.
7. Add pumpkins and gourds
Fill mantels, baskets and trays with a variety of pumpkins and gourds in all different shapes and sizes. You’ll not only get the colors of fall but also the sense of abundance and harvest the season evokes.
8. Use candles and fireplaces for a warm glow
Trade bright summer sunshine for the glow of candles and a crackling fire in the fireplace. More is more here, so instead of one candle, use groups of candles in a variety of heights and sizes on tabletops, shelves and mantels.
9. Don’t forget the power of scents
Move away from summer scents like clean linen and ocean breeze, and get into fall scents that are associated with holiday cooking and baking. If you’re not a cook, consider putting apple cider and mulling spices in a crockpot for a fabulous scent that requires no culinary skill and yields mulled cider that will warm your guests down to their toes.
Perhaps no other time of year evokes feelings of “home” the way fall can. Whether you’re doing a full-scale staging for your new listing or giving your clients some ideas for sprucing up their space, the warmth and beauty of well-executed fall design can make any home more welcoming and more desirable.
Antoinette Fargo is the co-founder and creative director of DOORA Collective + DOORA Design in Ventura, California.