We’ve talked about some pretty meaty topics here in the past couple months; topics such as emergency preparedness, stocking a deep larder for the hard times and food preservation in all forms. Today, let’s lighten things up a bit and talk about decorating for autumn. Decorating our homes is an important activity and I’ll tell you why: we don’t decorate our homes just to make them look a certain way, we decorate our homes to make them FEEL a certain way. The way our homes “feel” affects our emotions, our stress levels and even the way we connect with people in our family.
Think I’m over-stating the matter? How does a cluttered room, particularly loud colors or overly-strong fragrances make you feel? Anxious? Agitated? Stressed? Smothered? Now, how about a tidy room painted a soothing shade with a warm inviting fragrance and seasonal elements? See what I mean? The object of seasonal decorating is to prepare our minds, bodies and souls for the season in front of us and to provide a respite from the season behind us. The way open windows in early spring lift our spirits, so does a cozy fire, warm mulled cider and a football game in autumn.
Let’s decorate for autumn using our 5 senses as a guide!
Sight: Warm fall colors, flickering candles, natural elements and rich fabrics are an inviting, calming presence in a home after the hazy days of summer. Add throw pillows in shades of ochre, eggplant and pumpkin to the sofa. Decorate the mantle and dinner table with dried autumn leaves, mini pumpkins, pine cones, sunflowers and acorns. Set beeswax candles and electric carriage lanterns in quiet corners to invite people to sit and linger in their glowing pools of light. Here’s the one I’ve been using for years and never seem to tire of:
Candle Warmers Etc. Carriage Candle Warmer Lantern, Black And don’t neglect the outdoors! Adorn the porch with shocks of corn, hay bales, mums, gourds, burlap ribbon and Jack-o-lanterns. Though it’s a little more difficult, the outdoors should look just as warm and welcoming as the indoors.
Touch – It’s time to begin swapping out the lightweight cotton items for cozier fall ones. Bring out the down comforters, fluffy pillows, thick area rugs, heavy drapes, festive tablecloths and runners. Unless you have allergies, go for natural fibers such as angora and wool in traditional patterns like thick cable knits and plaids. With the advent of central heating, we don’t necessarily need those items for physical warmth, but nothing speaks of emotional and familial warmth and comfort like those textiles. Top it all off with a toasty fire for total bliss.
Sound – I don’t know about your house, but in my house autumn means football season and a constant barrage of THE Ohio State University fight song lol. But seriously, if you have cable or satellite TV, check out the XM radio and find some seasonal music. Or classics. Or movie scores. It doesn’t matter, just put away the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet for a season, alright?
Smell – Fall is all about fragrances for me. Throw some cinnamon and fragrant spices, vanilla beans and apple peels in a steamer pot on the woodstove. Add an oak log to the fireplace. Use a wax warmer to melt spicy scented wax. Bake a loaf of bread, cookies or a cake to get that amazing scent all through the home. Use fragrance to recreate those smells from your childhood and favorite holidays.
Taste – Put away the sweet tea pitcher and tall glasses (gasp!) and set up a drink station in the corner of the kitchen or dining room with a Keurig, heavy mugs, a canister of homemade cocoa mix, quality teas and coffees and maybe a tin of biscotti. It’s welcoming and convenient for guests and family alike to find everything they need for a soothing cup of something warm, all in one spot. It will also prove to be the spot where people linger, I guarantee it! Add some fall flavor with some pumpkin spice creamer and throw in a few mini pumpkins for color.
For me, autumn feels like a coming home. After the frantic months of spring and summer, with it’s vacations, gardening, canning, late nights and no routines, Fall is a welcome respite and I want my home to reflect that fact. Tell me how you decorate in fall to welcome the change of season….til next time.