You'll be amazed at how adding seasonal touches in a few key spots in your home will keep your decor fresh and fun all year long. After being baked all summer by the broiling sun, I can't wait for the crisp air of autumn and the chance to welcome in the season's raging colors, irresistible bounty and touchable textures.
About this time every year, I muster my courage and descend into the damp, dark dungeon I call my basement. There, among the cobwebs and dust, are storage boxes filled with treasure: the go-to decorating tools I use to transform my home for fall.
These building blocks are the bedrock of my fall look, and the minute I uncover my old friends, I can't wait to dust them off, spruce them up and show them off again. And because I live to shop, I also add irresistible new pieces to the lineup every year so my displays are never static.
If you're looking for awesome and affordable pieces for your new fall displays, check out a few of my all-time favorites:
n Fall foliage: Today's fakes are simply divine, and I can't get enough of them in my fall decorating. Manufacturers are now making a huge selection of grasses, vines and flowers that are incredibly realistic, like dried pine branches, sorghum and rosehips. Cecelia, a talented designer who works with me at Nell Hill's, works miracles with these tools, winding tendrils around chandeliers; arranging bouquets in bottles, baskets and urns; and weaving vines through tabletop displays.
n Gourds: I love to decorate with a fanfare of fat, lumpy and quirky gourds, whether they are petite white pumpkins or rotund gooseneck gourds. On your mantle, dress candlesticks with a pinch of moss and top them with a gourd. Load an urn with an avalanche of gourds, then rest it atop your armoire, china hutch or dining room table.
This year, I think I'll fill a 2-foot glass cylinder vase with a mixture of gourds, insert a craggy fallen branch, then affix a bird's nest in the branch's twiggy fingers.
n Hedge apples: I have adored these limey, warty, lumpy balls my entire life. When you're a kid, they're fun to throw at your siblings. When you're an adult, they are perfect to use in your fall decorating. After her summer flowers have faded, Cecelia cleans out her window boxes, lines them with moss and fills them with hedge apples to give her home's exterior a fun kick for fall.
n These little shocks of twigs come in all shapes and sizes and are an ideal accent to tuck in anywhere you want a touch of seasonal color. March three bundles down the center of your dining room table for a fast and easy centerpiece. Insert them in an elaborate fall floral display for some organic texture. Work one into a still life in your bookcase.
n Birch baskets: I'm sold on baskets of all sorts, but in the fall, the more rustic the basket, the better. Right now, I'm partial to loosely woven, lidded birch baskets that I can fill with anything from flowers to gourds to hedge apples for an easy but impressive display.
n Fruits and veggies: Whether they are fake or real, fall fruits and veggies make ideal decorative pieces. Make a killer display by grouping a trio of different-sized glass cylinder vases, each filled with a different fall favorite like artichokes, avocados, pomegranates, pears and apples.
Remember, when you decorate for fall, you can go as simple or as lavish as you like. This year, I'm going for a more edited look. Focus on decorating a key spot, like an entry table, buffet or mantle. And most of all, have fun. Decorating your home should be as much about the journey as it is about reaching the destination.