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True to my northeastern girl form, I unreasonably love fall. So when I decorate, I like to focus on my favorite parts of fall, and leave those pesky pumpkins on someone else’s mantel. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite fall decor themes, with six decorating ideas without pumpkins!
First, let me tell you where I get my fall inspiration. I am obsessed with the colors changing, and constantly check the fall foliage updates. I go crazy for a warm day walking under the trees followed by a crisp evening of hot cider. I have a spreadsheet for apple picking. I probably own a sweater in every jewel tone, and I love watching the squirrels and other creatures gathering and prepping for the long winter ahead.
You’ll see each of these wonderful parts of fall represented around my home, and this year I’ve picked up a few new pieces that you can add to your own decor collection.
Apples & Pears
One of the reasons that pumpkins are so prevalent is that fall is when they grow, and you can go pick them. A natural alternative is to think of what else is fresh and ripe this time of year, like apples and pears.
We have access to some incredible apple farms, so there’s no shortage of supply. But if you’re not in upstate New York, you can buy realistic looking apples from most craft stores. The plus to those is they never go bad, just don’t accidentally bite into one.
I don’t keep them out full time. So if we’re not expecting company, the apples live in the fridge, ready to eat. if I know we’re having guests, I like to throw a few different varieties of these fall fruits into a traditional apple basket lined with a heavy fabric like denim, or into a large, shallow bowl on the counter. For fake versions, add them to any other displays all over your home.
Try some of my favorite apple recipes too, while the season’s here: no-peel applesauce, apple cranberry pandowdy, or weeknight apple crisp.
Animals aren’t really seasonal, but there is a selection of creatures I tend to associate with this time of year: foxes, squirrels, chipmunks, and owls. Pretty much, your woodland basics. I like adding little touches of these animals to my fall displays.
This year, I added an adorable addition to my fall decor with this super cute blanket and pillow, both fox themed. The blanket is cute and cozy, perfect for our chihuahua. And I am obsessed with the fox face pillow, which is such a great shade of autumn orange.
You can find so many printed fabrics or sculptures to add a touch of wildlife to your own decor, or set up cute scenes with your creatures. Last year, I featured two famous chipmunks, Chip and Dale, on my fall mantel!
A Warm Glow
The nights are starting to get cooler and darker, so it’s such a good time to bring warm colors and a subtle glow into your decorating. One of my favorite ways to do this is with candles. If you’re into real ones, you can find some fall scents like cinnamon and apple to fill your space.
If you’re like me, then you’re more into the feel of candles without having to deal with any real wax or flames. Battery operated candles are a great way to add that warmth to any decor displays. I recently picked up a set of votive sized candles and a taller array of candles. Both have remote controls to easily switch on, and they flicker!
Add candles to bookshelves, your mantel, and use as a centerpiece on your dining room table. Another fun way to add to the warm atmosphere is to light your fireplace. Or add some candles into a fireplace for a modern update.
Piles of Leaves
It’s not fall without piles of leaves building up everywhere, and I don’t just mean outside. This time of year, I like to bring the out in and fill my home with plenty of colorful nature. There are a couple ways you can add leaves to your decor.
If you have plenty of changing trees, feel free to pick some leaves fresh off them. These are great for hosting and centerpieces. However, they will dry out and turn brown and crumbly, so real leaves only work short term.
For a longer term solution you can use year after year, you’ll want silk leaves and garlands. There are so many choices, but look for something full and lush with lots of color. I picked up a set of two leaf garlands, and they are bringing so much color to my mantel and coffee table.
If the earlier evenings and cool breezes make you want to curl up by the fire with a book and a cup of hot cider, you are definitely not alone! Lean into that cozy fall feeling by decorating with items you probably already own.
Raid your closet for some favorite fall sweaters and scarves and use these as backdrops for shelf displays, or to fill baskets. I love draping my sweaters around to add color, and when I want to wear one I can quickly swap it out for another.
You can also use more traditional blankets and pillows. Drape fleece blankets over the backs of couches and chairs, or fold them into a basket. Add a pile of pillows into a corner, or place small decorative ones on shelves.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking of fall as the start of winter, but its actually the harvest season. That means there is plenty of life blooming out there, and some of the colors are just as incredible as the leaves.
Check out your local florist or grocery store floral department to see what they have in the way of fall colored arrangements. I pick up a new one each week for my kitchen table.
Just like leaves and fruit, you can also work with fake flowers. Look for arrangements that include sunflowers, or pops of red, orange, and dark greens to really get that fall feel.
I hope these six tips help turn your home into a cozy fall cottage! And don’t worry, if you are a fan of pumpkins, they work perfectly in coordination with all these other pieces. Even I’ll admit we have a couple on the porch, and a few fake gourds out on display each year.