Fall Inspiration

Awhile back, I asked for some ideas of subjects that you, my friends, would like to read about here. Bacchus suggested home decor ideas that make use of some of the techniques, tips, & tricks that we use in retail display. (I say 'we' as Bacchus is also afflicted with Retail Display Syndrome, a little-known disease causing sufferers to perform such bizarre acts as straightening displays in stores that have not hired you to do so. It's quite an embarassing thing to be stricken with, so I tend to be kind to those who have it and cross my path. I feel your pain. Literally.)

So, here at the close of our summer season (boo hoo cry wail pout blubber and whine, there, I'm done now), I thought I'd pull out photos of last year's autumn decor here at my Cottage. Let's see what visual merchandising tips I can pull out of my proverbial hat, shall we?
Point one: start with a theme. Mine is pumpkins, because I have a lot of them. I've got glass, ceramic, wood, fabric, plastic, styrofoam, paper, dough, clay, terra cotta, real gourds, and more. They spend far too many months packed in foam and cardboard, just waiting for their day in the spotlight, so I give it to them for three months a year.

With a theme, I can coordinate all of the display areas in all of my rooms easily: every area has to have some pumpkins. And I'm big on natural elements: bleached leaves, faded roses, foliage & florals in pumpkin colors. Add a few 'hard surface' elements: glass, silver, and wood containers. Point two: Plan a few areas that you can place these in. Mine are the front porch, front entry, library table, mantel, buffet, dining table, and kitchen window. From small to large, each of these will hold the same theme, colors, and elements to spread the season's 'story' all thru my house. It needn't be every single table, shelf, area - sometimes, less is more. (I can't beleive I said that).
The mantel holds an asymetrical arrangement. It's narrow, so I have to be creative. I didn't want to do a central arrangement or both sides, as these colors are so vibrant it would have been overwhelming. So, I practiced restraint - something extremely hard for someone who suffers from Retail Display Syndrome to do. You see, in retail visual merchandising we normally do everything very BIG and very theatrical. In a home, you have to dial it back a bit or it will make you dizzy.
On my big long pine dining table, I grouped more of the same elements casually. I wanted the whole scheme to look sort of 'unstudied', just left there as I discovered it on a walk or some such story. I always include candles in my big tall clear glass vases....they add light, movement, life to my displays. And I do add stuff all thru the season. So, point three would be to keep your displays organic. Move things, add things, rearrange things. Keep it interesting.
Here, I've added a hanging straw purse filled with rust-colored silk roses to the old door that serves as a peg rack by my front door. It's just an old peely-painted farmhouse door that I love, with brass hooks across the top, leaning against the wall. I change stuff on it all the time. It's a neat 3-D artwork piece - I could have hung a painting here, but this is more tactile and fun. Point four is this: sometimes the best art on a wall isn't art at all. It's something that you can alter, add to , and change with small touches. In the foreground, you can see more glass vases and fall leaves on the 'Library' table in the living room. I dont' overload this table because we often eat here and definitely do a lot of reading, computer-ing and working here. Point five is that you sometimes have to scale back designs in order to preserve the true function of a space. I could place some big fancy leafy branches here, but I still have to be able to sit and have light to sketch or read.

The photo up at the top of this post is of the area just ouside the front door - I place decorative elements here to create a welcoming vignette. Again, I use all of the natural elements and pumpkins to set the stage. From the first step up onto my covered front porch all the way thru the house, it's the same story. Now, I do that for two reasons: one, it's how I work. I'm obsessive that way. And two, my house is small. I mean, really small. It's a 1924 Cottage, not even 1000 square feet. So I can't have too much going on, and I definitely can't have too many different things going on....I'd lose my marbles staring at it all. So I follow point six and keep it coordinated, simple, and use color to pull your eye thru the space.

I'll be working on this year's fall decor in my house this week. I hope you will have fun creating something seasonal in your own home, whether it's a vase holding a branch of gorgeous leaves, or stems of amber grasses, or a bowl of acorns. (All of which are free, by the way - and that's my final tip today!)


  1. Great pictures! Gave me all kinds of ideas!! I live in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) and it is a seriously hot and humid day today but I'm thinking of Autumn anyway! Can't wait to see the pictures of what you do with your decor this week - post soon!

  2. It is so true. I do suffer from it as well. The first time my partner saw me do it he almost fell over laughing. We were shopping and I was straightening as I went.

    These are beautiful ideas. I can't wait to move into our new place and decorate. Even with construction we'll look festive.

  3. Anonymous1:05 PM

    Pretty, pretty! Your photos are getting me in the mood, giving me ideas...I seriously do not have enough autumn goodies to work with! I guess I'll have to go shopping! What a shame! lol!

  4. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures! I love fall, it doesn't come fast enough for me.:)


  5. I'm not really ready for fall but it has been forced upon me. The mountains are covered with snow in the distance and the wind is chilly even if it is sunny out. Your lovely pictures have put me in a better mood about getting ready for fall. Although I still don't want to put away summer until Oct 1 at least :)

    I also have that quirky little habit of arranging/tidying/ or just messing with others displays.. LOL! I was in retail for 10 years (likely excuse!)

  6. Just found your blog.....very nice. Lovely pictures :<)

  7. Beth Young7:13 AM