18 of Our Best Fall Harvest Decorating Ideas for Your Home
Welcome guests to your home this autumn with rustic gourd garlands, decorated pumpkins, and wreaths and centerpieces made from foraged materials. Our fall-focused indoor and outdoor decorating ideas are guaranteed ways to make the perfect first impression when family and friends come calling on Thanksgiving—or any day during the season.
When summer fades, many of us are ready to welcome the fall season. The harvest of crops that were planted in early spring and summer and are now ready to be enjoyed is something that has been celebrated for centuries. It's food. It's life. It's preparing for the winter season ahead. And you can show your thanks to the harvest with these unique decorating ideas.
Pumpkins, gourds, and other decorative squashes are in abundance this time of year, so why not use them as inspiration for your fall harvest decorating project? Start with the fall color palette of rusty reds, deep oranges, and glowing auburn hues. Add even more color to your home by creating tabletop cachepots. The harvest season makes for the prettiest vases: squashes, gourds, and pumpkins—especially heirloom varieties. Pair them with autumnal blooms them to make a beautiful floral arrangement. A welcoming committee of pumpkins, squashes, and dried Indian corn is a picturesque way to greet autumn visitors to your home. And in cold weather, the unfussy outdoor decorations should last for months.
Pumpkins, of course, feature heavily in most fall harvest decorations. This is because the pumpkin is an abundant crop during the fall season. They can be carved, etched, painted, or assembled together as a supplement to your decorating theme. Fallen leaves can be encircled into a fall wreath or embroidered as place cards. Corn husks—inspired by the corn husk dolls of early America—can be crafted into wreaths, garlands, and even decorative favors for guests. Of course, any Thanksgiving family feast or Friendsgiving open house calls for an impressive centerpiece. Surely, a cornucopia brimming with fruits and vegetables will do the trick.
Wheat Wreath with Wooden Beads
Pluck a few transitional branches at their golden peak—just before they turn brown—and incorporate them into your autumnal arrangements. Paired with dahlias, the floral jewels of the season, they bring one of the most exciting parts of fall (foliage!) right into your home.
Corn Husk Garlands
At the front door, visitors to your home will marvel at this outdoor display. Decorative corn is a farm-stand staple at this time of year and can be used in all manner of home décor projects: dye them, batch style, in a rainbow of colors or braid the husks to create a seasonal garland that drapes around your doorway. (For that idea, space cobs six to eight inches apart on a length of raffia (available at crafts stores), tying it around each piece where the husk meets the kernels.)
Beyond a few dried grass elements, harvest-time branches are all you need to put this dramatic display, composed of green-and-burgundy leaves, together. Textural add-ons, like fluted emerald vase and a nearby plate of seasonal fruit (try apples draped with wheat!), polish off the vignette.
Pear "Welcome" Display
Once inside, guests will be treated to a friendly, fragrant greeting using the season's abundant Forelles and Anjous pears. Simply arrange seven pears on a mantel. Then, with a fine-tipped washable marker, write letters on the front of each pear. Press whole cloves into the flesh along the lines and the sweet aroma will be as welcoming as the message itself.
Lamp Chimney and Candle Centerpiece
Many people say grace at dinner, but you'll feel thankful well before if you prep the table with this easy yet eye-catching centerpiece. Incorporate the lamp chimneys at varying heights for a high-low look and better ease for guests to converse across the table.
Summer flowers may have wilted with the changing of seasons, but wheat stalks—with their delicate, golden form—are long lasting. Arrange an armful of tall stalks into a vase, cropping the ends and fluffing the tops, and display your glorious autumnal bouquet.
Squash-and-Pumpkin Flower Arrangements
Use the fall's harvest to make one-of-a-kind vases. Squashes and pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, and when paired with seasonal blooms, they add character to your table. Pictured here, we used a mix of varieties, including a large greenish Hubbard squash paired with bittersweet branches and a white "Baby Boo" pumpkin with bright orange mums—placed in glass jars and votives.
In a season of abundance, make full use of those richly colored vegetables that flourish in the transition from autumn into winter. Amid a set of gray-washed baskets on the table, turnips—in varying sizes—can be scooped out to hold votive candles provide a soft glow.
Cabbage Bowls and Cups
Not all crops come in the autumnal reds, oranges, and muted earth tones of tradition. Bring in new colors and textures to the dinner table with heads of cabbage. Hollow out whole cabbages with a paring knife and spoon, and use them to hold appetizer dips. Then, wrap the remaining leaves around glasses to hold crudités, cheeses, and breadsticks.
Sprout Napkin Ties
Small Brussels sprouts and sage leaves combine to make a charming addition to each guest's place setting. For each napkin tie, sandwich one end of a ribbon between a sprout and a pair of sage leaves. Use a sequin pin to secure, pinning through the leaves first, then the ribbon, then into the sprout. Repeat on the opposite end of the ribbon, and tie it around a napkin in a loose knot. The sage leaves aren't just a pretty addition—they're fragrant, too.
Hanging Basket of Fall Flowers
Assorted pinecones, pods, acorns, and other natural decorations all make for a wilt-proof wall hanging. Treat them with a few coats of golden yellow paint, then hot-glue them to dried twigs gathered from the yard.
Glittered Corn Centerpiece
A few organic elements, touched with a bit of gilding, evoke fall's abundance. For an eye-catching centerpiece, turn a glass compote into a horn of plenty with glittering Indian corn and squash.
Baskets are good for more than bearing fruit (and vegetables, and everything else harvested in fall): make use of them on the dinner table as centerpieces, salt and pepper cellars, or an added touch to your guests' place settings. For each place card, cinch a napkin with waxed cord and tie the ends around the basket's handle as shown here.
Pumpkins, gourds, and other harvest bounty need not be limited to the front porch or dinner table either—try interspersing them throughout your home, as shown on this rolling bar cart. It doubles as both a way to greet your guests (and get the party started!) with cocktails and a decorative statement.
Gourd Door Stopper
A graceful gourd isn't just decorative—it can be practical, too. Fill it with sand and it makes a great doorstop. To do this, hold the gourd steady by clamping it into a vise or to a tabletop. Once it's secure, drill a hole through the bottom of the gourd. Shake out any dried seeds or membrane, and discard. Then, using funnel and scoop, fill the gourd with sand. Plug the hole with the cork. It's lovely as is, but you can also spray on a layer of gold paint as a festive finishing touch.
For the piece de resistance of your fall harvest decor, why not consider the universal symbol of bounty? The cornucopia, that is. Pictured here, a raffia cornucopia lined with a bed of dried wheat stalks holds an abundance of golden squashes, apples, and pears. Set on a wide sideboard or chest, it's a natural Thanksgiving decoration that radiates good fortune.
Leaf Gift Tags and Place Cards
Here's a grown-up application for a traditional fall kids' activity: Turn leaf rubbings, made with thin colored paper and standard wax crayons, into gift tags or place cards by trimming around the edges of the paper leaf. Write the names of your dinner guests or gift recipients in a contrasting color.