Now that summer is in our rearview mirror, it’s time to bask in all things autumnal. That’s right — it’s time to order up a pumpkin spice latte, throw on a cashmere cardigan, take in the foliage and turn on some football. But according to interior design experts, it’s also prime time for zhuzhing up your house.
“The front porch is where we like to start when decorating seasonally — especially for fall,” advises Shea McGee, chief creative officer of interior design firm Studio McGee. In addition to the upcoming debut of McGee’s Netflix series, “Dream Home Makeover,” she and her husband also just launched a home decor line with Target and have a book titled “Make Life Beautiful” coming out in October 2020. She says “a fresh doormat, an autumn-hued ribbon attached to a wreath, planters with mums and layers of imperfectly shaped pumpkins” are key elements to amp up your curb appeal.
When it comes to the interior, however, Connecticut-based blogger Mackenzie Horan Buettenmuller of Design Darling says she’s all about making things inviting and comfy. “My favorite thing about fall is embracing the change in temperature and getting cozy at home, which in our house usually means watching movies or playing games in front of the fireplace in our family room,” she says. “For me, it’s about simple swaps — trading linen throw pillows for velvet and adding a basket of throw blankets next to our sofa.”
Overall, New Jersey-based interior designer Cory Connor of Cory Connor Designs suggests focusing on the rooms in your house that receive the most foot traffic, like the kitchen, the family room and the powder room. “You want those areas to feel seasonal and inviting when guests come over — a flower arrangement in the kitchen, a candle in the powder room and throwing some logs on the fire will do the trick,” she says.
As to what exactly we should be shopping for this year when it comes to seasonal decor, McGee recommends spending money on larger pieces. “I will invest in a really nice large vase or bowl that I can set out all year long but swap the greenery or filler depending on the season — fresh florals and foraged branches will always bring new life into your home for the fall season,” she says. “I actually carry a pair of clippers in my glove box, so I’m always prepared!”
With all of this design advice in mind, we rounded up everything you need to get your home — both inside and out — ready for the oncoming fall season.
What’s one design tenet we can get behind? The fact that you can never have too many throw blankets. And this beauty from Boll and Branch is a Connor must-have.
“Not only are their products amazingly soft and comfortable, but they are 100% organic and fair trade,” she says. “I swap out my light blue summer cable-knit throw with the chunky knit blanket in Heathered Oatmeal — it’s an easy way to make your house feel more seasonable. The texture, weight and softness of the blanket all scream ‘let’s get cozy by the fire.’”
Another designer who’s a devotee of the beloved cozy throw blanket is McGee. “I love to incorporate a throw blanket or a couple new pillows on my sofa that have a more fall-inspired palette,” she says. “We have a ton of great pieces in this color range in our collection at Target right now.” This one, available in cream and a deep rust hue, looks and feels way more expensive than it is.
“This vase is awesome and a perfectly subtle way to bring the feeling of fall into your home,” stylist and interior designer Emily Henderson and founder of Style by Emily Henderson says. “The organic character of the wood grain just feels like fall, and by adding in some big leafy sculptural branches from your yard (like I did here), it’s a super-affordable, beautiful piece.”
Boston-based interior designer Liz Caan of Liz Caan & Co. wants to make sure we don’t forget the dining room when sourcing in some seasonal vibes. “I might pull these placemats out for fall entertaining,” she says. “I love the neutral colors and the organic nature. Plus, they’re fun!”
Also a must in the dining room? Some autumnal decor. “I would sprinkle some acorns on the dining table and place a large dahlia and oak leaf arrangement in the center,” says Caan.
Design pros love a fancy tray. Connor is no different, agreeing that the versatile piece can be fun seasonally too. “We can’t help but think of Halloween when we think of the fall,” she says. “Adding this orange tray to your coffee table or kitchen counter is a fun way to bring in the playfulness of the season. Accessorize it with some black coffee table books and a few colorful gourds and you have a great centerpiece that adds some color and flair.”
“I recently ordered these rich brown velvet pillows for our home office and they add such warmth to our worn chesterfield sofa,” Beuttenmuller says. “Switching summery fabrics like linen for warmer textures like suede and velvet is an easy way to transition your home to the new season.”
Nearly all the designers we spoke with recommended updating your home’s doormat — and this one from The Company Store checks all the boxes, according to Caan. “A fresh doormat for the heavy traffic season is a nice refresh in the fall,” she says. “A natural coir mat, nothing with sayings or pictures.”
“I’m not a ‘change all of your bedding every season’ kind of person,” Henderson says. “However, I do love to switch up a couple of pieces. First is of course a thicker quilt for needed warmth, but I also like to shake up the shams. These are perfect for just that (fall edition, of course). They have such a great texture and pattern, and come in a bunch of colors, but for fall I love the clay.”
While we do agree that changing your bedding every season would be a bit over the top, once you’ve tried Boll and Branch’s flannel sheets in real life, well, you’ll never go back to regular ol’ cotton sheets in the colder months of the year. Available in 10 colors and prints (we’re partial to the buffalo check and the herringbone patterns), the soft-as-butter sheets are cozy and warm — but not overly so. Ultra breathable, the ethically manufactured sheets are velvety soft and are known to keep people hitting the snooze button way more often than they should.
It’s time to put those summery beachscapes in storage and shine a light (or your attention) on some fall-feeling artwork. Bursting with autumnal colors, this piece by artist Khara Ledonne features Mount Baker in the Pacific Northwest’s Cascades and would look stunning perched on your mantle or gracing your entryway. And the swap doesn’t have to break the bank, either — whether you opt for a print or canvas, this piece starts at just 26 bucks.
With the temperatures dipping at night, there’s no better time to upgrade your bed situation. Chief among our top picks: Brooklinen’s newly relaunched comforters. We tried out this down alternative all-season comforter and found it to be not too hot, not too light, but — you guessed it — just right at keeping us cozy and warm all night long.
“If there is an argument in my house, 90% of the time it’s over this blanket,” Henderson says. “It’s SO soft, has a ton of visual texture but is neutral enough to last you through winter. So just throw it on your sofa or an accent chair and you are set.”
Caan also agrees with McGee’s design philosophy of investing in a timeless piece that you can keep out year-round, telling us, “This bowl would look great in the kitchen filled with pears, apples or eggplants.”
“Adding faux arrangements to your bookshelf, your countertop, your mantle or your coffee table is an inexpensive yet impactful way to infuse some fall decor to your home,” Connor says. “This affordable purchase really packs a punch and does a great job of bringing in seasonal colors in an understated, simple way.”
If you’ve got the storage, these are worth the minimal investment, says Caan. “I usually buy real pumpkins, but these decorative pumpkins can be used each year,” she says. “They will look so nice on the front stoop with some green and purple cabbage plants.”
While pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks and bales of hay are all welcome components of a festive front porch, fall florals — from mums and cabbage to pansies — play an integral role too, and this planter from Threshold designed by Studio McGee is the perfect place for them to live.
Another fall must-have according to our experts? A delicious-smelling candle. This one is Caan’s favorite. “Fall scents of fire and fig smell incredible this time of year,” she says. Horan Beuttenmuller is also a fan, adding, “Bring the smell of a crackling fire into your home whether or not you have a fireplace.”
A more affordable candle that smells just like a nearby fire, this gets bonus points for having a crackling wood wick to really set the mood.
Avoid rotting or critters munching on your live pumpkins with this minimalist faux set that will match any decor aesthetic. Place them around your home (indoors or out) or stack them together where they’ll reach more than 2 feet in height.
Not all decor investments this time of year need to be fall-themed, which these luxe hand towels handily prove. “I love a monogram on just about anything, and this Etsy shop does the prettiest appliqué styles in any color combination you can dream up,” Horan Beuttenmuller says, adding that these towels will provide “a pretty update for your powder room in time for the holidays.”
Per her advice to invest in a timeless piece and rotate out foliage, McGee’s beautiful stoneware vase is just the vessel to house fall branches, spring blossoms and beyond. What we love most about the piece, however, is that ultra-affordable price.
Gussy up your front door or fireplace mantle with this showstopping faux wreath. Stately and luxe all at once, the 24-inch wreath is the epitome of autumn splendor.
A more modern take on the fall wreath, this one is adorned with feather-shaped wood pieces in various fall-inspired colors with glitter accents. We also love this bright felt leaf wreath with metallic acorns.