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FALL DECORATING TIPS: My Lists of Favorite Foliage, Colors and Accessories to Pull it All Together


Each fall, my nesting instincts return in earnest. Thoughts of homemade breads and pies begin to percolate. Apple pie. Pumpkin muffins. Debbie Koering’s Biscotti. Sharon Segerstrom’s persimmon cookies. And the big golden loaves of bread I’ve been baking since I was a young mom.
 Truly, I love any excuse for gathering family and friends. On my mother’s side of the family we have five generations of Jardine’s and on my late husband Jim’s side, about the same. With family members alone, there are ample opportunities for conviviality. And now that I’m remarried, I’ve added another dimension to family gatherings, on the Zian side. I’m fortunate to have a daughter-in-law with the same passion for cooking and entertaining. David’s mother is an enthusiastic hostess as well. Because they are based several hours away from us, Rebecca and Shirley have become the glue that pulls David’s family together. We are so appreciative of their efforts.




Entertaining and decorating in the fall takes on significant meaning because of Thanksgiving. I love keeping various decorative items in my home for the change of seasons but because space is limited I have to pick and choose carefully.

Here are some lists and tips to help make autumn decorating and entertaining a little easier.


My Own Fall Decorating

I especially love decorating with anything that has a purpose such as platters, bowls, vases books, tea sets, et cetera.


In the entry, I generally swap out my faux boxwood picks for a fall bouquet of Nandina Heavenly Bamboo from the yard. For years I didn’t care for Heavenly Bamboo. Now I appreciate it for its low maintenance and consistent fall color. I also love to bring out my cream colored ceramic turkey candlestick holders and place them on my entrance sideboard, on a tray, next to my silver service set. They add a subtle reference to Thanksgiving that I love. I have eight of them and they hold small, tapered candles.

In the dining room, I add faux or real autumn fruits to the serving pieces already there and place seasonal tea towels on the ends of the glass bar cart. With its curtains, slipcovered end chairs, pair of 20 inch potted olive topiary and dining table centerpiece/tray of wine glasses and bottles of liqueur, the room is fairly festive to begin with.
In my kitchen, I do a small autumn floral arrangement and put out fresh pumpkins and persimmons. I also have a bunch of little pumpkin shaped candles that I place on my counters and window sills providing it’s not too hot outside.
For fall decorating, swap out or add to your rooms a few of the following items:
For Every Day
Seasonal wreaths
Lap blankets in autumn tones
Coffee table books featuring fall themes
Salt and pepper shakers
Pinecones and best quality dried and faux fruits and vegetables
Ceramic and iron statuary (stags, turkeys, horns of plenty, wheat sheaths, pumpkins)
Tea towels with fall images
Autumn shaped and autumn scented candles
Best quality faux and dried floral and foliage
Fall themed napkin rings
Theme based hand towels for the bathroom
For Festive Occasions
Tablecloths in tones of burnt red, chestnut or deep olive green
Napkins, paper and fabric
Serving platters, rustic or refined
Special vases (as opposed to plain, clear glass)
Fine china, crystal and silver
Handmade ceramic dinnerware and serving pieces
Rustic wooden salad bowls
The fall colors below go with many decorating schemes and can be added for a beautiful, seasonal change:
Terra Cotta
Sage, emerald or Kelly green
Warm white
Pomegranate red (a brownish red)
Deep, dark brown (brown textiles tend to be flat so look for items that have a sheen to them such as chenille, velvet or mohair)

above via INDULGY



Any fall foliage is beautiful indoors. If you’re lucky enough to have them and know how to work with difficult materials, branches of maple, fig, pomegranate, and pear can be spectacular entrance arrangements. Remember to pulverize a few inches of the ends of the branches so they can absorb water. Use a tall, narrow, heavy vase for such arrangements and a sturdy, heavy “frog”. Some suggestions:

Nandina/Heavenly Bamboo
Liquid Amber
Myrtle (lasts forever, or almost!)

above COTONEASTER (ko-tone-ee-aster)
Decorating the table for fall is something we all love. For important occasions, my best advice is to do a mock up table a week or so in advance. For residential events I always start with the room’s overall design. What is the color scheme? How many people will be seated? How much room will you have for the centerpiece? Try finding a common thread between the occasion and the existing interior. If your dining room is in shades of blue, you can add pumpkin colorations because blues and oranges together are complementary on the color wheel. If your color scheme is in olive green and shades of red, you can play off the red with russet and brown because russet has a lot of red in it to begin with.

Start with the table cloth and dinner plates, of course. I like to add a contrasting salad plate for visual interest. Add the napkins. As you go, keep in mind the floral materials that will be readily available to you. Focus first on practicality. Nothing too high for sit down dinners at home. If you have say, eight to ten tablecloths or two or three dish sets to choose from, it will allow you more creativity. If not, start with the basics you do have and use stuff from your garden or nature for decorative touches.



Lastly, do the centerpiece and choose the napkin rings or place card holders if you have them. The napkin rings or place cardholders are where you can be really clever such as with a sly reference to the event or a thoughtful take away favor for your guests.
Happy October!