Using Nature For An Autumn Atmosphere
Unless you’re one of those people who puts up winter holiday decor the second Halloween is over, it’s time to take down the cobwebs and start putting up fall decorations. Fortunately, some elements from your spooky designs still fit in perfectly, like pumpkins (not the scary ones), but otherwise, it’s time to get creative. Nature in your home is positive for your mental health, and changing it out seasonally not only can just be a great way to keep your home happy, but it’s an easy way to keep your interior’s look constantly changing and interesting.
We’ve put together a list of nature items that you can make or buy to create an autumn atmosphere everyone will love.
We’re not just talking visuals either. We’ve also included some fantastic ways to make your home smell like fall!
Seasonal Squashes & Gourds
There’s such a wide variety of squashes and gourds available so you can create multi-leveled and visually stunning designs up your front steps, on your table, or wherever you need some more FALL. Set up a tablescape either on your dining room table or side tables with your smaller squash, alongside some yellow votive candles on a burlap runner for an easy, perfect natural look.
Get creative in where you place these. Along fence posts, on the steps of a wooden ladder, along your walkway, or anywhere! Since they come in such a wide variety, you can easily find appropriately-sized options for any space. You can even add small gourds to flowerbeds or window boxes for a seasonal surprise. If you have a decorative wicker, wood or natural basket, fill it with some interesting gourds and squashes!
Some fall favorites with loads of character and variety: Warted Gourds, Autumn Wing Gourds, Sweet Dumpling Squash, Pumpkins, Turban Squash and Swan Gourds. Look around at local farms, farmers markets or even grocery stores for a large variety in colors, textures, shapes and sizes to add interest to your decor.
Tip: You can dry your own gourds to keep them as permanent items in your stash.
Corn & Corn Stalks
Corn and its stalks are a staple in fall decor as much as colorful leaves. They come in a wide variety of colors and they add so much texture to designs naturally, how could you not love it? Individual ears of corn can vary from solid yellow and brown to totally speckled with a variety of colors. The husks too add plenty of visual interest to any design.
Not only can these be mixed in with your gourds, but you can buy or make so many different things with them. You can buy dried corn and corn stalks online or at many in-person stores. Fluff out the husk and use an interesting variety for a beautiful wreath, or hang up a variety with burlap flags or fall leaves for a beautiful garland.
The stalks themselves make a great addition to pretty much any area that could benefit from some variety in height. Tuck them in on both sides of your front door, or even add them to a tall vase with other seasonal colors.
(Image: Large Indian Corn Wreath – EdwardsFarm, Etsy $32.95)
Acorns, Pods & Nuts
If you need additional small elements for your designs, look no further than these items. As far as nuts go, we’re not really talking about peanuts or cashews. Look for hazelnuts, buckeye nuts, badam nut pods, chestnuts or even gumnuts. Pods come in amazing designs, and you really can’t go wrong and there is as much variety in these as gourds!. Dried lotus pods are stunning, and a few other favorites for fall decor are stemmed okra pods, monkey pods, chico choke pods, and putka pods that look so much like tiny pumpkins.
You can create garlands simply out of these, add one to a napkin ring (maybe with a single fall leaf), add them in flower arrangements, to potpourri, or pretty much anywhere for more a creative way to boost the visual interest of any design.
(Image: Rustic Autumn Wreath – roseflower48, Etsy $45)
Mums & Fall Flowers
There’s a reason mums are incredibly popular in fall decorations. For one, they thrive naturally this time of year, but also, they can be found in a huge variety of colors to compliment any fall theme. Last but not least, even for people who struggle with plants, they’re really easy to grow and keep alive. As a perennial, you also don’t have to buy them every single year. If you’re buying new ones for the fall season, look for some with unopened flower buds so they last you through the season.
Added to pretty much ANYTHING this season, mums are the perfect flower. Whether you put them in vases, window beds, large wooden barrels or anywhere else, their orange, red, yellow and dark purple colors will be perfect. We love adding in stocks of pods, acorns and small gourds together with mums. It just looks great! Even small branches are perfect additions.
Other flowers that compliment fall decor include scarlet sedum, which turns red in the fall, and orange dahlias add a more delicate touch. Delphinium and eucalyptus also go perfectly and drape over for a nice affect.
Wood, Wicker, Twine, & Burlap
You can’t just plop down a few corn stalks and pumpkins without elements figuratively or literally tying them together. These three items are some of our favorites to create logical focal points in a design, add texture and interest, and add a finishing touch to any design you’ve created. All add a beautiful, natural texture no matter how they’re used, which helps add that natural feel and visual interest.
We addressed some of our favorite aspects of wood in interior design in another blog, but really, it can’t be stated enough. With such a variety of shades, grains, and textures, wood really is a perfect design element for well, practically everything. Utilize wooden trays for different set ups (to hold your gourds, maybe?), or even as serving dishes to compliment your tablescape. Wooden flowerpots with copper accents are perfect for holding fall colors.
Wicker has come a long way since the dried and often sharp pieces of the past. Consider trays and baskets made of wicker for different elements, or if you have wicker tables or pick up some small accent tables, they’re not only functional to hold the rest of your display but also easily become a part of it.
Burlap is one of the most useful fabrics in natural design, though always note it’s not necessarily the most pleasant to touch. Table runners are a very common use for it, but little strips can be cut to wrap bundles of corn, add ribbon ties to gifts or simply lay a runner across an accent table. (Just not your wicker one. That’s too much rough texture together, but a smooth wooden table in darker or white wood can look beautiful with burlap accents.) You can even twist it to create garlands with hanging corn, fall leaves and more. A small strip around hurricane lamps with a candle or even small votives can look beautiful.
Twine is basically the most nature-oriented rope you can get. Tie it around cloth napkins, add small bows to the stems of pumpkins, create bouquets with your mums – the list goes on! With your smaller gourds, you can create garlands with ease, or tie small ribbons around the bottom of vases. If burlap is too big for certain aspects of your layouts, consider adding twine instead.
The Scent of Fall
Our sense of smell is just as important as visual appeal, and fortunately, fall smells are some of our favorite to create naturally. While there are plenty of existing air fresheners and scented candles that can help put you in the mood, we love coming up with our own options. Bonus – some of these can be given as gifts!
Stove Scents – add in cinnamon sticks, cloves, oranges, star anise and some apples for an absolutely autumn aroma. Just make sure to keep the temperature low and water in the pot, because like a burning smell is not a positive one. As a gift, simply package all these elements together (you can use dried peels of oranges and apples) and give instructions on stovetop simmering.
Potpourri – Very similar to the above technique, but you can either buy or low-and-slow bake dried fruits and other wet elements. Add in a decorative container and these let off a beautiful scent. You can also add touches of essential oils if the scent starts to wear off and keep the nice visual element.
Essential Oils – If you use aromatic oils in your home already, then this is an easy one. Cedarwood, rosemary, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ginger and orange all mix together in wonderful ways. You can even add some of these oils to equal amounts of water and vodka to a spray bottle for your own air fragrance.
(If you have pets, small children, or people with scent sensitivities, do some research and be careful before using essential oils in either form. They can be toxic to pets. Plus side, if none of these are an issue, orange oil is actually a natural insect repellent too!)