Bring the warm colors of fall into your home with these beautiful and simple decorating projects.
There are so many ways to decorate your home in a tasteful and festive way for fall. Pumpkins, gourds, fall foliage, and pinecones are a handful of popular themes that can serve as inspiration. You can mix all of these elements together across your mantle or you can stagger them artfully down your front steps. You can make a fall wreath out of miniature pumpkins. Use all cream for a more modern look or brightly colored orange for more Halloween-centric curb appeal. We love a garland made out of oversized pinecones that incorporates fresh magnolia or greenery secured with florist wire. Take the fresh elements off the pinecone garland before storing during the off season in a plastic tub. When decorating for fall, it is best to get the most bang for your buck and pick one look that will carry you through the tailgate, Halloween, and Thanksgiving seasons. There's no need to be too holiday specific.
Simple 10-Minute Rustic Mantel
Simple and rustic, this quick-to-make arrangement delivers what Southern Living floral genius Buffy Hargett Miller calls "an easy wow."
How To Do It:
Wrap twine several times around votive holders(similar votives here) and colorful fall leaves, and then secure with a knot. To construct different heights, top the votives with varying numbers of small white pumpkins. Add a touch more autumn dazzle to your display with this simple addition: Gather an assortment of colorful fall leaves, and use wire to fasten them to a length of rope to form a beautiful seasonal garland. Using temporary adhesive hooks, attach the garland to your mantel.
Fall Pumpkin Tableau
Bring fall into your foyer with a simple tablescape.
How To Do It:
Pick a few branches of colorful fall leaves, and arrange simply in a tall glass vase filled with water. From this bold focal point, build out the rest of your tabletop display. Gather an array of seasonal gourds in a mix of colors, sizes, and textures for variety. Stack flat gourds of graduated sizes, and top with a large glass cloche (available at crafts stores or online). Fill another smaller glass cloche with bleached pinecones, and invert; we used it to top one of our flatter pumpkins, but feel free to improvise. Add a potted plant (we used a small olive tree) to the arrangement for texture. Place small gourds around the larger items, and scatter more bright fall leaves along the table.
The 25-Minute Centerpiece
A smart mix of green tones, white, and flashes of fall color make this centerpiece feel like a fresh, modern cornucopia.
How To Do It:
Take a round or oval container, and fill it with potting soil. Plant a mix of succulents (such as echeverias) toward the center of the bowl, leaving plenty of room around the edges. Nestle small orange and white pumpkins into the soil. Add seasonal vegetables like kale, radishes, and eggplants. Use bundles of fresh herbs (such as rosemary and sage) to fill in any gaps. Surround with more pumpkins and votives.
Feel free to skip the container and scatter the votives anywhere that could use a little fall glow.
How To Do It:
Fill a rustic container two-thirds full of water. Use a craft knife to trace circles a little larger than the bottom of a tea light into the orange mini pumpkins. Cut and carve out the circles to allow a candle to fit inside comfortably. Insert tea lights. Float pumpkin votives as well as whole pumpkins in water. Using the photo as a guide, add bright fall leaves and sprigs of herbs for color and texture.
Incorporate White Pumpkins
White pumpkins add an unexpected and elegant twist.
The 25-Minute Wreath:
Start with a store-bought grapevine wreath. Pick an odd number of white mini pumpkins. Attach pumpkins to florist picks, and then work the picks into the wreath, making sure to space them evenly. Secure pumpkins to the wreath with wire. Using additional florist picks, attach seasonal greenery (we used smilax) and bittersweet (available at your local garden center), filling in the spaces between pumpkins. Add an assortment of fall leaves to wreath with picks and wire for a colorful finish.
Tabletop Pumpkin Topiary
Raid your kitchen cabinets to gather the elements for this fragrant display.
How To Do It:
Start with three bowls of graduated sizes. Place wet florist foam in each bowl, and trim, as necessary, so the top of the foam is even with the top of each bowl. Stack the bowls with the largest on the bottom. Using florist picks, secure white pumpkins and artichokes in an asymmetrical arrangement to the foam of each level. Take a mix of fresh herb and pepper plants out of their pots, and wrap in plastic bags so they can be replanted later. Attach berries (we used brunia) to florist picks. Working one side at a time, use herbs, peppers, and berries to fill in the spaces between the pumpkins and the artichokes. If desired, create smaller accent pieces with single bowls, sprigs of herbs, and individual pumpkins.
Carve Out a Mumkin
What do you get when you combine the fun of a pumpkin with the beauty of a mum? A "mumkin," of course! Fill smaller gourds with containers of pansies to create a trio of trusty sidekicks.
Get the Step-by-Step: Mumkin Container
The 10-Minute Fall Apple Centerpiece
We'll show you how to whip up a striking seasonal tableau with bright green apples at its core. Trust us, this one's easier than it looks.
Watch the full tutorial: The 10-Minute Fall Apple Centerpiece
Fall Foliage Arrangement
The key to arranging leaves is to group them by size and color as you would flowers. Fiery red maple makes a beautiful focal point when countered with the feathery foliage of dawn redwood laden with globes of gray-green fruit on the fringes.
Line Your Steps
There's a reason you see mums each fall—they work. Once buds begin to open, you're guaranteed blooms whether your display is in sun or shade. To prolong the show, water when dry and remove spent flowers. Pair with Mexican sage and boxwoods for this stunning display.
Pile Them On
For a quick and easy approach, group your favorite tiny pumpkins on a side table, and let the collection speak for itself. There is no right or wrong way to create this display. This arrangement looks unintentional, adding a carefree, casual seasonal touch.
To make this arrangement, choose your favorite pumpkin (we like the flat-bottomed Fairytale) and pick up some violas, pansies, red and green leaf lettuce, thyme, and rosemary to decorate. Clean the pumpkin with a Clorox wipe, cut a hole in the top, and scoop out seeds. Line with aluminum foil or a plastic bag, and fill three-quarters full with potting soil and plants. We used Sorbet violas and Crystal Bowl pansies.
Simple white plates paired with timeless flatware and thin stemware keep this more rustic setting looking elegant. Bold orange napkins give the setting a pop of seasonal color.
Display oranges studded with dried whole cloves for a festive and fragrant addition to your fall decor.
Fun Serving Pieces
Topped with silver serving pieces, pale gray and green pumpkins add interesting height to your buffet.
Vertical displays make a big statement at the front door. Tucking in cool-weather edibles such as ornamental flowering cabbages, kale, and bay leaves adds a distinctive twist. To create topiaries, sandwich bay wreaths between pumpkins stacked in concrete urns, and top with a small pumpkin.
String Together a List of Blessings
Print out individual words on tabs, and fold them around twine. Weave the twine along the center of the table.
To arrange the perfect Southern table, keep these tips in mind:
- In the napkin arena, nothing's nicer than a generous 22-inch hemstitched piece of white linen, monogrammed and crisply ironed.
- Create a look that is "uniquely you" by combining simple stemware with more decorative china, or vice versa.
- Try to incorporate as much vintage silver as you can find - they add sparkle to a table.
- Don't forget to set place cards with your own handwriting for a personal touch.
Make Custom Candleholders
Transform mini pumpkins into luminarias by cutting a 1-inch-wide circle into each pumpkin, scooping out the centers with a tablespoon, and inserting votive candles.
Shed New Light on Canning Jars
Peel off the labels of pickle and okra jars, and use a cord kit (paperlanternstore.com) to illuminate each one. Equipped with a dimmer and hung at varying heights, they provide the ideal mix of rustic and industrial.
Pair pumpkins with potted kale to create a warm welcome. Grace an entry with a garland made of clippings from the garden.
Fancy Pumpkin Display
It’s simple to decorate pumpkins with just a few supplies from the hardware or crafts store. Create stylish seasonal decor with some gold and black paint and place them all around the house.
Naturally shed antlers lend a new twist to table decor. Pile them up with different-colored pumpkins, pine cones, and loose nuts and bring the outdoors in.
Make an Impression
Double the impact of an arrangement by placing it in front of a mirror, like this one made from a barn window.
Add Height to Your Pumpkin Display
Arrange branches, dried grasses, moss, squash, and small pumpkins in a vase as you would a traditional flower display. Then, choose a single pumpkin with an interesting shape or a twisted stem to showcase. Place it on a smaller table or stool to help set it apart from the rest.
Pumpkin Carving Idea: Message Pumpkin
A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but a few words can have major impact. Use this pumpkin carving idea to carve a message on your pumpkin. Southern Living Associate Garden Editor Rebecca Bull Reed created this work of art and added the wise words “Spooky is what you think you see.” What do you see?
Gold metallic paint gives ordinary pumpkins a wow factor. Stick round labels on a pumpkin and trace the shape with a pencil. Remove the labels and paint inside the traced circles with gold paint. For another effect, apply labels to pumpkin, and then cover entire pumpkin in gold paint. Remove the labels when paint is dry.
Construct an easy-to-assemble Indian corn garland beginning with a piece of sisal rope. If you like, dye it dark brown or a golden maize shade. Wrap it with broomcorn, corn tassels (stalks are available at farmers markets), or other dried grasses. Place corn along the rope single file or gathered in bundles of three. Wire corn securely in place, and then tie raffia on top for a finishing touch. Hang your garland across a door or from your mantel.
Don't limit yourself to just traditional orange in your display. Orange and yellow pumpkins really pop when mixed with bright greens. Try using small green plants as well as gourds and squash with green tones.
Set Up A Glamorous Banquet
For an elegant fall dinner, emphasize the beauty of the meal by serving it on gold and glass dinnerware.
To make these festive party decorations, pick up a carving or soft-skinned pumpkin, an awl (pointed tool), and some cut mums. Using the awl, poke a hole in the pumpkin and fill it in with a mum stem. Repeat this process until the entire pumpkin is covered. To help extend its life, keep this decoration in the refrigerator until party time.
Display a Terrarium
Terrariums are an easy way to grow plants indoors. Start by choosing a clear glass container with a wide opening. Gently add fine gravel to your container. Top with a thin layer of aquarium charcoal. (Both of these items can be purchased at a pet store.) Then add moist potting soil. These miniature landscapes can hold a collection of colorful plants for display or just show off one plant. Good choices include ferns, peperomias, succulents, begonias, Irish moss, miniature orchids, kalanchoes, and African violets.
Go for a mod look with a gold rectangle pattern. Then group painted pumpkins by the fireplace for added shimmer.
Celebrate the bounty of fall with multiple show-stopping arrangements. Orchids, lotus pods, rose hips, and cattails brighten this dining room.
Etch Your Pumpkins
Announce your address in style by cleverly etching your house number (or your initials or name) into a pumpkin. You can pile a combination of traditional and heirloom pumpkins on your front steps, and top with your etched design.
Elegantly Etched Pumpkin
Etching will leave an artful design on your pumpkin. The technique allows your pumpkin to last longer and is less messy than traditional carving.
Create a Fresh Centerpiece
Fill wicker-wrapped wine jugs with clipped fig leaves and spread them out along a table.
Choose a smooth, flat-skinned pumpkin, and begin by coating with a base of black acrylic paint. Then, using the lines of the pumpkin as your guide, dress it up with gold painted stripes.
Use Color for Impact
A neutral backdrop of white linens and dishes puts the focus on punches of orange and green.
Don't Neglect Your Outdoor Space
A cascading display down the stairs allows you to use bigger ones that have more presence and are visible from the road. Position them on their sides or stack them on planters for an original look.
Spray Paint Your Centerpiece
A coat of metallic gold spray paint upgrades a grouping of glass candlesticks (thrift store finds!) and heaps of large North Carolina apples.
Upholstery tacks lend a graphic look to plain white pumpkins. Mix up the sizes and shapes of the tacks to create different patterns.
Top a Table
Easy-care succulents, such as sedums, echeverias, crassulas, and more, are all the rage. To display your faves, punch three holes in the bottom of a boot tray with a hammer and large nail. Fill the tray about three-fourths full with a premoistened mix of 3 parts potting soil and 1 part sand. Position two or three bricks in the center. Plant an assortment of succulents shoulder to shoulder around them. Fill crevices with Scotch or Irish moss, which thrives in well-drained soil in sun or part shade, as do succulents. Top the bricks with pumpkins. Water when the soil is dry to the touch. This display will withstand light freezing temperatures, so it's okay to keep it outdoors.
Transform Your Mantel for Halloween
A stark color contrast gives your fireplace mantel an animated, playful feel, and the branches and moss add height and dimension. Use small containers in a black or dark wood finish along with items such as horns, crooked sticks, and Spanish moss. The darker colors will help the bright orange pumpkins stand out.
Broom Door Badge
Your fall decor is incomplete until you've hung something colorful on the door! Make this seasonal broom badge by grouping millet, dried hydrangeas, salvia, rose hips, and sorghum.
How To Make It: Broom Door Badge
Pumpkin Flower Vase
Feel free to take a more natural approach with your pumpkin decorating and skip the spiderwebs and jack-o-lanterns. Simply carve a hole in a pumpkin and fill up with your favorite fall blooms.
Complete your tablescape by adding candles in fun lanterns that complement your color palatte. Mix in simple canning jars for a more casual affair.
Black and white 'Lumina,' 'Moonshine,' and 'Jarrahdale' pumpkins set a mysterious air in your garden. Cluster them on your steps or pile them up on a table. If you can't find white or gray pumpkins locally, try spray paint. We like using Design Master Colortool sprays (dmcolor.com).
Use Playful Place Cards
Write the name of each guest on a leaf place card attached to a little felted acorn that doubles as a fun party favor. Scatter loose felted acorns—or real ones—up and down the table to play up the natural theme.
Traditional Pumpkin Mantel
Choose an assortment of small pumpkins and squash in muted colors that complement the surrounding style of your fireplace mantel. Bring in other items from around your home that you wouldn’t normally think to pair with pumpkins, such as julep cups and old books covered in elegant paper. The key is to keep the look simple by sticking to the same basic color tones.
Take the Party Outside
Take the Thanksgiving feast outdoors. But don’t host your friends and family on folding chairs and paper plates―bring the good stuff outside. Surprise guests with a perfectly set table in the garden.
Create a pumpkin stack using a footed pot, dry sphagnum moss, and three pumpkins in your favorite colors and in graduated sizes. Use moss to level the pumpkins as you stack them, trimming stems, if necessary.
Offer Treats, Not Tricks
This buffet of sweets features store-bought goodies that guests of all ages will enjoy. For a unified look, place desserts on a collection of white cake stands and platters.
Create a Sophisticated Setting
Look to an heirloom china pattern for inspiration, like this palette of champagne and gold with subtle touches of pink. Don't be afraid to combine old with new, traditional with modern, and heirloom with inexpensive.
Plant Fall Color
The plumes of eye-catching purple fountain grass become more numerous as fall nears. Flank it with another explosive favorite, 'Fireworks' gomphrena, which is great in the ground or a pot. Add three 'Bandana Red' lantanas for bright blooms and two 'Margarita' sweet potato vines to trail.
Party Perfect Sideboard
Create a functional but beautiful sideboard by grouping simple fall arrangements, like these bouquets of orange dahlias, red and yellow roses, and calla lilies, with festive plates and serverware.
For an arrangement that will last through Thanksgiving, place a potted oncidium orchid in a large, lined cachepot, and surround it with water-soaked florist foam. Insert cut fall foliage into the foam along with dried crepe myrtle pods and rose hips. Then add stems of orange dendrobiums in water-filled florist tubes.
Fall Table Setting
Host a stylish autumn get-together without breaking the bank by recycling things around the house. You can fill an oversize jug with branches of leaves cut from the yard for a free centerpiece.
Fall Door Knocker Accent
To accent the door knocker, zip-tie two crookneck gourds together, and then zip-tie them to a foam-core oval about 5 inches long. Cover ties with ribbon. Working at an angle, hot-glue sprigs of coontie palm, croton, holly fern, asparagus fern, and abelia to cover the foam core. Loop wire through one of the back ties, and hang above the door knocker. The hardy foliage will last about two weeks in cool weather and can be replaced.
Pumpkin and Gourd Wreath
To make the pumpkin-and-gourd wreath, first cover a 20-inch foam form with sheet moss, using a glue gun to hold the moss in place. Loop a 3-inch-wide burlap ribbon over the wreath to create a hanger long enough so it can reach the top of the door and allow the wreath to hang at eye level. Insert wooden florist picks into the bottoms of pumpkins and gourds, and hot-glue the connection to secure. Once the glue has cooled, stick pumpkins and gourds into the wreath. Fill in with more moss, using a glue gun. To hang the wreath, secure the burlap ribbon with an upholstery tack hammered into the top edge of the door.
Rustic Apple Picking Bag Decor
To make it, secure a handful of dried grass plumes, such as millet or miscanthus, with a rubber band. Add a rock to a vintage apple-picking bag so it hangs correctly, and then tuck in the grass.
Vibrant Fall Colors
Combine the season's hottest hues in a vibrant mix of 'Snapshot Orange' snapdragons, 'Purple Pixie' loropetalum, and bright 'Penny Clear Yellow' violas. Tuck in the showy foliage of 'Sparkling Burgundy' heuchera to complete the look.
Impressive Fall Planter
Get crafty this fall with our DIY fall planter. In three simple steps you'll have a finished (and impressive) arrangment that should last about a week.
Porch Pumpkin Patch
Decorate the porch with pumpkins, gourds, and hay bales for a look straight out of the pumpkin patch.
Dried Flower and Herb
Create a dazzling kaleidoscope of colors on your tabletop by mixing bunches of blooms and foliage in a rainbow of hues. The savory scents of the dried herbs will subtly enhance the aroma of a special meal. To illuminate your table, just add a glass hurricane and candle to the middle of the wreath. After displaying it flat as a centerpiece, you can hang it from a pretty ribbon to enjoy it from a different perspective.
How To Make It: Dried Flowers and Herbs Fall Wreath
Use Humble Materials
Give humble materials a high-end treatment. Here, a kraft paper place mat anchors each setting, while extra-large grain-sack napkins and a simple burlap runner complete the elegant yet rustic look.
For rustic centerpieces, like the ones here at Blackberry Farm, line the center of tables with an array of colorful gourds.
Illuminating Pumpkin Display
Combine carved pumpkins and embellished luminaries for a warm outdoor welcome.
"Pumpkins" and Acorns
It's cute as can be, but don't call it pumpkin! It's actually pumpkin-on-a-stick eggplant (also called scarlet Chinese eggplant), which turns a brilliant red-orange color when it matures and begins to dry. Look for it at farmers' markets or in the floral sections of large supermarkets, or grow it yourself from seeds.
How To Make It: "Pumpkins" and Acorns Fall Wreath
Bring the Indoors Outside
Give your outdoor space the feel of a dining room by surrounding a rustic picnic table with upholstered chairs like the orange wingback options used here.
Embelish Store-Bought Fall Decorations
Embellish a store-bought garland by adding bittersweet, fall foliage, or dried hydrangeas. Finish the look with pumpkins and cabbages on the steps and a pine-cone wreath (accented with leaves and flowers on the door.
Tip: Prolong the life of greenery with spritzes of water; coat pumpkins with Mod Podge.
Bag Some Leaves
Cast an inviting glow on your steps using paper bags stenciled with the shapes of fall foliage taken right from your own trees.
How To Make It: Paper Bag Luminaries
Carve a Pattern
Keep it Simple
If you love the look of hurricanes lining a front path, put an autumn spin on them by using oversize heirloom pumpkins in various shades of orange and green as bases—perfect for welcoming guests to a fall-themed party.
How To Make It: Simple Pumpkin Hurricanes
Corn Husk and Ribbon
Tamale wrappers create a hot look that's sure to spice up your entry. Simple corn husks are folded into loops for a ruffled effect that softens the straight lines of the paneled door. A bold chartreuse bow echoes the greenery in the pedestal urns.
How To Make It: Corn Husk and Ribbon Fall Wreath
Use pumpkins as risers to elevate appetizer plates. Serve the crackers on the lower level and a variety of cheeses up top. Create a simple look by piling pumpkins in a Champagne bucket and weaving branches of berries around the rim. To avoid pumpkin overload, add a cut-flower bouquet arranged in a pitcher.
Tip: After your party ends, fit these pumpkins into other displays around the house.
Transitional Window Box
Plan ahead for plantings that will transition through the holidays with a few additions. Start with ornamental cabbage, bittersweet, pumpkins, dried hydrangeas, artichokes, and ivy, then add in gilded branches and berries to suit the season.
Tip: To withstand October's lower temps, plant window boxes with cold-hardy cabbages and ivy. Add the largest items first; then nestle in smaller things, such as branches of bittersweet. If it's a dry fall, water weekly.
Let Nature Inspire Your Table
Look to the land for seasonal table décor. Remove the top of heirloom pumpkins to create a trio of festive vases. Fill them with bouquets of roses, persimmons, wheat, dried lotus pods, hydrangeas, fern fronds and oak leaves.
Tip: Keep all eyes on the showy centerpieces by pairing the bold blooms with simple dishes and linens.
Cozy Outdoor Fireplace
Create a festive retreat for guests with lots of plush seating and a mantel swathed in a foliage garland made from a combination of oak and magnolia leaves. Swag only one side of the fireplace for a modern feel. Complete the look with simple and weighty pottery crocks filled with autumn leaves, hydrangeas, and berries.
Tip: Dry your summertime hydrangeas to use in fall arrangements.
Colorful Fall Foliage
Rake in the compliments with a wreath featuring brilliant autumn leaves. This works with maple, oak, sweet gum, hickory, dogwood—whatever is putting on a show in your yard. You can also make it with preserved leaves purchased at a crafts store or online (try save-on-crafts.com or drieddecor.com).
How To Make It: Colorful Foliage Fall Wreath
Indian Corn Badge
Ribbons of burlap create a rustic background for iconic fall plants that are bundled into sheaves to form decorative accents.
How To Make It: Indian Corn Badge
Versatile Fall Container
This vintage wicker planter, snagged at a flea market, overflows with mums and foliage. For another amazing look, try these plants in a window box.
How To Make it: Versatile Fall Container
Spice Up the Patio with a Harvest of Decorations
Bring the season to the table with a decorating recipe that calls for pumpkins and mums in warm shades of paprika, cinnamon, and curry. Add a helping of Indian corn on the side, and don't forget to sprinkle in assorted pecans, hickory nuts, and a few acorns gathered from your yard.
How To Make It: Harvest-Inspired Patio Decorations
No longer relegated to the field, humble cotton burs top a straw base to yield a surprisingly elegant accent for your door. Crown it with a purple burlap bow for a regal yet rustic touch, or swap in a festive gold or red bow to carry the look through the holidays.
How To Make It: Cotton Bur Fall Wreath
Looking for big impact with little effort? This easy apple topiary is one of the simplest centerpieces you'll make this fall.
Watch the full tutorial: Apple Topiary
How To Make Caramel Apple Place Cards
We’ve found the sweetest way to welcome your dinner party guests this fall.
Watch the full tutorial: Caramel Apple Place Cards
How To Make Apple Votives
Bring a romantic glow to your next fall celebration with these darling DIY votives.
Watch the full tutorial: Apple Votives