The autumnal equinox toward the end of September means that it is officially fall. But we lovers of the great outdoors are not quite ready to come inside and hibernate until next spring just yet ... especially if we're lucky enough to be in the midst of a late spell of gloriously mild, sunny weather. So how about a compromise? Keep on enjoying your porch, deck, or patio, but give a nod to the new season with these easy-to-do decor updates.
Plants. Mums and marigolds are the quintessential fall flowers, in shades of tangerine, gold, and crimson. Place a pot or two in your favorite outdoor lounging area -- or flanking your front entrance -- to say "Welcome, Fall."
Produce. Bowls or stacks of freshly harvested autumn fruits and vegetables are a must. Apples are lovely and dried corncobs in shades ranging from sunny yellow to deep maroon, as well as lushly ripe gourds, are a must for fall. Ring the changes by subbing white pumpkins for the traditional orange variety … or try a head of ornamental kale or cabbage.
Baskets. The perfect recipe for getting into an autumnal mood. 1. Take your kids apple picking on a crisp weekend morning. 2. Come home and eat a bunch of apples out on the deck. 3. Line the leftover apple basket with a scrap of gingham and use to display pretty candles or jars of homemade preserves.
Rough Textures. Anything burlap is sure to be a hit, because its roughness is reminiscent of farmer's feed sacks. Other popular rugged textures are twine and twigs. Combine them all into a country chic wreath.
Clever, inspiring, or just plain cute, signs can add a little snap to your fall outdoor livingscape. Buy them or create your own from salvaged wood, chalkboards, felt, or whatever else inspires your imagination. Then broadcast your message to the world. Here are some seasonal suggestions to get you started:
- Autumn is here (in case you haven't noticed).
- It's harvest time.
- Celebrate fall fun.
- Feel gratitude for the end-of-summer abundance.
Changing your decorating scheme with the seasons is fun but it can get pricy -- not to mention wasteful -- to buy all new materials four times a year. So look for ornaments that will be easy to store and reuse.
Textiles. Change out the cushion covers on your porch seating or swing. This is a bit of decor dazzle that is cheap and easy. Extra benefit: out-of-season covers take up very little storage room while they're waiting for their turn to shine. Another textile that's inexpensive yet simple to use and also to store is ribbon whether colorful, sturdy grosgrain or delicate tulle in timely shades of peach, maize, or wine.
Rag Wreath. A charming rag wreath is a double winner. It's not only reusable; it's already reused, made from remnants of cloth. The resulting shabby chic style is perfect for fall. Bonus: A rag wreath packs flat when not in use adorning your outdoor room.
Plastic Pumpkins. Reluctant as we are to promote plastic, farm fresh pumpkins are expensive -- as well as heavy to cart home -- and yet they last for only one season. (The good news is that uncut, they'll stay good for 8-12 weeks if the weather is a cool 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit; just be sure to take them inside when a frost is predicted.) Plastic pumpkins can be upgraded with paint or sequins to figure in your porch, deck, or patio decor for many autumns to come.
Bargain Buys. Keep an eye out when you shop dollar stores, bargain bins, or garage sales at any time of the year. You may find goodies like a mini wheelbarrow or autumn-leaf shaped tealight holders in April. Organize one storage shelf (perhaps in the basement or garage) to neatly stow all your seasonal items. Pack spring, summer, fall, and winter decorations separately, each in their own neatly labeled box.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.