How to: Decorate for Autumn without Buying Seasonal Decorations

Are you ready to embrace autumn?  It’s time to get cozy – maybe scootch the furniture a little closer and pull out the old quilts.

A lot of people enjoy buying seasonal decor.  We might, too… but we just don’t have room.  We don’t have a closet or attic to keep a bunch of decorations.  So we go without.  But it doesn’t mean we go without decorating the house for the season.  We just have to do it a little differently.

1.  Decorate with things you have and foods you and your guests will eat.

We love using food as decoration, especially this time of year when we don’t have to worry about fruit flies.  From a bowl of shelled nuts to a heaping plate of pears and apples, autumn foods are a perfect touch – the kind you don’t have to worry about nibbling too much like candy.  Bowls of fruit and nuts are the perfect way to welcome overnight guests who might be too shy to mention their hunger and wander into your kitchen.

Our all-time favorite?  Squashes.  They make a beautiful decoration; they last for weeks.  So we stock up early.  And now our table looks like this:

autumn squash decor

The squashes and pumpkins are all from a farmer we met when Martin spotted his little produce stand in front of his house.  We’ll use his crop in the coming month for soups and maybe a pumpkin pie.  Martin’s mom picked some apples at the park, and this little one on the right is too charming to be cut up for roasted applesauce just yet.  And of course, we have our bowl of nuts.

2.  Make seasonal foods that naturally fill your home with sweet scents.

A person can have the most beautiful looking autumn display.  But it’s the smell that really makes the display most memorable.  Gingerbread, sugar cookies, foods with apples, pears, and plums – there’s nothing more amazing than walking into a house with the fresh-baked smell of autumn foods.  Well maybe there is – taking the first bite!

I find myself adding a little nutmeg to yogurt and pancakes and any place where it might add a bit of fall flavor.  Even when you don’t have time to cook, a little dash of nutmeg on your food can really transform the taste this season.  My sister gave me this little nutmeg grinder as a farewell gift right before we left the US.  Nutmeg has never tasted more amazing, so if you have never tried grinding a bit of fresh nutmeg, here’s me whispering into your ear:  you’ll fall in love.

fresh nutmeg

3.  Pull out the heavy blankets and pillows and autumn-colored linens.

Even if the weather is still warm, the idea of cozying up just makes life seem more relaxed.

The holiday season will be approaching quickly.  Don’t resist the temptation to sip cider and watch the leaves out your window a little longer.  An inviting blanket is an essential!  We like yellow cloth placemats and orange cloth napkins for an added touch that pulls together all the details throughout our space.  The placemats and napkins aren’t only for autumn.  Without seasonal symbols like pumpkins and leaves on them, they can keep working throughout the year when swapped around with a few other pieces.

So are you ready to embrace autumn?  In the end when the Christmas season rolls around, Martin and I happily finish eating our squashes and pears.  Then we smile and pack up four little felt leaves – our only autumn decor that hasn’t been consumed.  I’ll be honest; sometimes knowing how little we’ll have to pack up is just as joyful as picking out the squashes in the first place.

Do you do something simple for autumn at your house?  What types of decorating tips can you offer?