Natural Elements for Fabulous Fall Decor

Fill your home with fall color to last all season with these quick and easy nature-inspired decorating ideas.

By Andrea Cooley

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Fall wheelbarrow display
Waves of Grain

    Find decorating inspiration from the fall harvest and bring the season to your front door. Even if you don't live near a prairie, sheaves of grain offer an instant connection with nature.

    How to: Find wheat stalks at crafts-stores and turn them into festive wall decor. Add colorful dried berries, pumpkins, flowers, and fall leaves to the display. Arrange them in a wheelbarrow for a traveling display.

5-Minute Bouquet

    Create a simple bouquet inspired by nature with feathers, wheat, and nuts. Place it on a mantel, coffee table, or dining table for a creative focal point.

    How to: Fill a vase with nuts or seeds, leaving enough room to arrange the feathers and wheat. Accent the arrangement with greenery.

Squash Medley

    Turn pumpkin-patch finds into a unique centerpiece. Look for miniature squash with interesting shapes and colors to create a one-of-a-kind tabletop display. Group squash of similar colors and sizes together or line them up across the middle of the table. You can also use the squash as place settings, writing guests' names on them with permanent marker. At the end of the night, let guests take their squash home as a memento.

Great Wall of Butterflies

    Turn a fanciful collection into a stunning gallery. Here, various butterfly prints become a nature-inspired wall.

    How to: Choose frames in a variety of shapes and sizes for an eclectic montage. Before hanging, arrange your frames on a large piece of crafts paper and trace the shapes. Then you can easily transfer the arrangement to the wall.

Love Birds

    A love of feathered creatures inspired this bird-themed arrangement. The look started with the wallpaper and evolved from there. The clean lines of the carved birds perched in hollowed-out tree rings complement the more traditional bird prints. A turquoise frame and green wire birdcage add splashes of color to the otherwise neutral display.

Out on a Limb

    One of the quickest -- and cheapest -- ways to bring the outdoors in is to shop your yard. Pussy willows arranged in a glass vase are a striking centerpiece in this living room.

    How to: Cut branches with sharp pruners at a 45-degree angle. To help autumn leaves last longer, add 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin (found at a health food store) to the water.

Natural Garland

    Adorn your mantel with an ode to the changing seasons. Gather colorful leaves and acorns or walnuts from your yard or find them at a crafts store. Drape them on your mantel, along a staircase, or over a curtain rod.

    How to: Thread leaves and nuts on string or twine to form a garland. Space them out or bunch them together, depending on how you want the finished product to look.

Fresh Foliage

    Preserve the last hint of green in your hostas or other greenery by bringing them indoors when the seasons start to turn. Cut the verdant leaves and display them in glass vases.

    How to: Choose leaves in different sizes and hues including solid and variegated varieties. Fill the vases with an inch of water and carefully fit the leaves into the vase, letting the bottoms sit in the water.

Pressed in Time

    Show off autumn leaves year-round by pressing them between waxed paper. Look for leaves with interesting shapes and unique colors, and label what type of tree they came from.

    How to: To preserve your favorite fall foliage, make sure leaves are completely dry and press them on newspaper between heavy books. After 24 hours, iron the flat leaves between pieces of waxed paper. Display on colorful paper.

By Candlelight

    Collect acorns or buckeyes to create a simple seasonal centerpiece. Scatter extras on the tabletop.

    How to: Fill glass candleholders with nuts and nestle a votive candle in the middle for a warm glow. Choose candles with scents like pumpkin pie, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg to set the mood.

Natural Instincts

    Two pages from a vintage nature calendar were the starting point for this nature-inspired mantel.

    How to: Hang prints from twine and gather natural elements to complete the scene. A gnarly branch creates a focal point in the center and is surrounded by green moss balls and birch-bark candleholders. Bring natural flair into the room by adding a lush plant in front of the fireplace and placing floral print pillows on the furniture.

Creative Fall Vases

    Turn gourds into interesting vases and display them on a mantel. Pair them with exotic flowers for an unexpected twist.

    How to: Hollow out hard-shell gourds to create vases you can use again and again. Cut off the tops and clean out the insides, then fill with flowers. Dress them up by painting a border around the base.

Dining with Nature

    Bring nature indoors to extend your enjoyment of the season. Gather an armful of branches featuring fall foliage to create a colorful centerpiece.

    How to: Look for leaves that aren't too dry and brittle, so your arrangement will last longer. Arrange branches in a vase or a hollowed out pumpkin. Complete the look by adding pumpkins and gourds to the buffet or dining table.

Nature's Table

    Let nature's bounty take center stage when you set your table this fall.

    How to: Fill a shallow bowl with an assortment of colorful leaves, nuts, and pears or apples to recreate this seasonal look. Add tiny bunches of greenery and candles to accent the table.

Pumpkin Delight

    Get crafty with your extra pumpkins and embellish them with leaves for a colorful addition to your fall decorating. Or skip pumpkin carving all together, and decorate your pumpkins with paper designs.

    How to: Cut out leaves using colored paper that complements the hue of your pumpkin. Use decoupage to attach the paper to the pumpkins.

Prized Pumpkins

    Dress up pumpkins with wire for a rustic fall look.

    How to: Get creative and wrap wire around the outside of the pumpkin like a ribbon, fit it around the entire surface like a spiderweb, or twist it in curlicues sprouting out of the stem. Look for pumpkins in colors other than orange for designs that last beyond Halloween.

Colors of Nature

    Highlight the colors of fall by bringing the most vibrant leaves inside.

    How to: Put individual leaves in small bud vases, to draw attention to their unique details. Put several vases together for a collected look or place one leaf at each place setting. Scatter loose leaves on the table for a colorful backdrop.

Creative Reuse

    Repurpose a set of candleholders to display pumpkins and gourds.

    How to: Find a mismatched set at garage sales or antiques stores and spray-paint them all black for a unified look. Use candleholders of varying heights for visual interest.

Miniature Design

    Enjoy the fleeting days of fall long after the final leaves have fallen and the ground freezes with autumn-inspired terrariums.

    How to: Fill glass apothecary jars with tiny gourds and plant life to create a mini-ecosystem. Place the terrarium in a spot that gets natural sunlight. For the best results, remove gourds and plants from jars at the end of your gathering and add water.

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