The Target Home Style Expert and interior designer explains how to curate a seasonal space that doesn't feel too autumnal.

By Sarah Schreiber
September 25, 2019
Sara Ligorria-Tramp

If there's a time of year that resonates most with interior designer Emily Henderson, it's autumn. "I love any excuse to play around with seasonal décor, and fall is my favorite time of year to do just that!" she tells Martha Stewart Living. The creative—and Target Home Style Expert—knows how easy it is, however, to go overboard with "loud" fall decorations (think one too many pumpkins and way too much plaid); in fact, this is one of the most common seasonal decorating mistakes she sees homeowners make, she says. Luckily, Henderson shared her best tips for curating a space that speaks to the season—and demonstrated how to best apply this advice during her latest collaboration with Target.

"For this particular project, I knew I wanted to create a warm, inviting, cozy, and casual space that an entire family could enjoy," she explains. "That's why I styled a variety of chunky throws and pillows in the living room and master bedroom and also added in small, seasonal touches. The end result is an effortless, casual space that evokes a fall vibe without being over-the-top." Ahead, snapshots from this autumnal makeover, as well as Henderson's best advice on how to translate this inspiration into your own home.

Related: 15 of Our Best Fall Harvest Decorating Ideas for Your Home

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Begin in the heart of your home.

Fall is all "about creating cozy moments at home," says Henderson, who—as soon as that autumnal chill sets in—begins decorating for the season at the heart of her space: the living room. "I like to make some obvious changes, like swapping out lighter pillows and throws for warmer, cozier textiles, but I also love creating small, dedicated nooks in my home using seasonal fragrances and faux arrangements."

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Texture is king.

"Layering textures throughout your space is one of the most important décor tips to remember when it comes to fall," explains the designer. "This Opalhouse pillow features a beautiful crocheted pattern which I love and this Threshold faux mohair throw just screams fall. Here, I draped the throw over my bed and layered a variety of pillows to achieve an effortless, cozy look."

Work within both classic and unexpected color palettes.

Though incorporating the season's signature shades, like mustard, orange, deep red, and purple, is an obvious way to bring fall indoors, "don't be afraid to also use nontraditional colors," says Henderson. "I personally love incorporating a mix of grays, blacks, and creams into my fall décor, as well."

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Avoid the urge to splurge.

There's no need to splurge on fall décor, explains the pro. Instead, she recommends scooping up bulk items that work in multiple places. "For example, I love picking up a variety of faux stems and branches in a warm color palette and arranging them in vases that I can move throughout the house," she shares. "Target has a ton of gorgeous faux stems this season that start at just $4.99 and look so good in the living room, kitchen, or bedroom.

If you are looking to dish out a bit more cash, Henderson says to make sure that your purchase is as functional as it is beautiful. "Invest in a durable quilt or duvet that you can layer onto your bed season after season. This year, I love the Threshold velvet quilt because it is so cozy and looks great styled over a white comforter or sheet set you might have on your bed all year round."

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Look for transitional pieces that toe the line between two seasons.

Introduce pieces that feel multi-seasonal, so you can craft a fall-ready space with staying power. "Swap out focal rugs in your living room or bedroom," advises Henderson, noting that this Threshold rug, complete with fun fringe detailing, both "complements existing décor" and carries you straight into winter. Another great transitional piece? This Threshold striped pillow: "It would look so good styled on an oversized chair or bed," she says.

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