September officially marks the beginning of autumn at home.
We’re slowly entering the most beautiful of seasons, and the richest, too, in culinary terms. The changing light, the crisp, fresh morning air, the trees donning their golden, flamboyant mantle and the first chestnuts spotted on the ground are a foregone conclusion. Autumn is here, but it’s only fleeting, so let’s seize it by the hand, hold on to it for a few weeks, then let it recede to make way for a more festive season. In the countryside, in the family home, the garden has been designed to express itself fully in autumn, so that we can enjoy this incredible palette of colors.
Every year, we observe this season with the same wonder as the Canadian literary heroine Anne Shirley in her adopted village of Avonlea.
To make the most of autumn this year, I propose in this post 15 decorating ideas to make your home cosy.
Autumn, one of the most inspiring seasons
All through September and October, we’re enjoying this period of abundance. The pleasure of going to the market, delighting in stalls full of good things to cook and dreaming of pumpkin soups, apple tarts and cinnamon rolls…
The end of September also means seeing the first chestnuts fall from the trees in Paris, and treating yourself to them (a small family tradition) to seal the official start of the « season of mists » as the English poet John Keats called it. But it’s when you’re out in the countryside, smelling the wood burning in the chimneys of nearby houses and hunting for pumpkins in local garden centers, that this period really comes into its own.
I have the impression that certain traditions come back in autumn – it’s a time of year when we feel the need to get together as a family more than usual. A strong need to spend time at the table, but also to sip a blackberry liqueur prepared at the end of summer for long evenings by the fire…
A time of year when you feel more motivated than ever, autumn is an inspiring season for many creative projects.
Taking advantage of autumn also means taking a break from your Netflix series to make hot cinnamon cider together and plunge back into beautiful or shivering stories under a warm tartan plaid.
Embracing autumn also means taking a stroll in the woods to gather foliage and dead branches for decoration. It’s about going even further afield and finding our secret spots, hoping to see the first mushrooms appear. And the joy of returning home with baskets full of treasures.
Now let’s get to the heart of the matter.
1. Add a rustic touch to your jam jars
From midsummer onwards, but also in autumn, my mother and I get into the habit of making jams and preserves with fruit and vegetables from the garden. It’s a moment we like to share (like when we bake Christmas cookies) and, above all, it’s a delicious way of preserving healthy produce and enjoying it all winter long. My mission is to design the labels that will adorn the jars and jars, always in a country spirit. On some jam jars that will be gobbled up during the Halloween period, I draw little witches on their broomsticks or spiders for my nephews. For those destined for the Christmas season, I’ll be drawing fir trees or snowmen… Another trick to make the jars prettier and give them a rustic country feel is to buy Liberty or checked fabric and cover the lid with linen twine. It’s a trick that everyone at home loves. As a decorative touch, I take a few jams out of the cupboard and display them in a china cabinet in the kitchen with their little fabric cap. It gives an authentic touch that’s quite popular.
2. Display liqueurs or other culinary creations
Autumn is the season to take the time to taste the liqueurs made from the fruits of the garden. I choose bottles that have a vintage feel, and the ones I also display in the kitchen are from the previous year. With their homemade labels, these little bottles are charmingly rustic.
Blackberries are my favorite fruit and I love them in all forms: in ice cream, in crumble, in jams, in cakes… but also in liqueur. We have a lovely mulberry vine that usually does very well (apart from this year) and when we get tired of making jam, we tackle the liqueur. You can find the recipe here. It’s a little pleasure that we share at weekends in the country, after dinner, usually in front of the fireplace. You can also serve it after a long walk in the forest to invigorate your tribe (for the grown-ups, of course).
3. Decorate the house with branches
and other natural elements
Whether in your garden or on a walk in the woods, take a basket and collect acorns, chestnuts, oak leaves and maple leaves to display around the house. Collect pine cones and place them in metal bowls for a rustic effect, for example. You can also place dry branches (with a little lichen) in tall vases in autumn colors. I also take a little moss and wrap it around large candles or candleholders. And if I find any tree bark on the ground, I’ll grab a few to make a centerpiece. And don’t forget ferns, which are making a comeback and adding interesting structure to your decor and bouquets.
One of my favorite decors is to use large birch branches or trunks. They look great and create a very warm atmosphere. You can make them stand upright, or hang them from the ceiling with thick rustic twine and hang a few elements, or even add a small string of lights.
4. Decorate with pumpkins, pumpkins and coloquintes
In autumn, the choice of pumpkins and coloquintes is pretty wide, and it’s a good idea to buy them in numbers and arrange them in groups. For example, you can place them in threes around the house, according to their size, shape and color (diversify the colors to take advantage of the beautiful palette of autumn hues – yellows, oranges, whites, reds, blacks, greens).
5. Place seasonal fruit in pretty baskets
Why not use seasonal fruit such as apples or pears? It’s a very simple and inexpensive decorating trick. Placed in attractive salad bowls or baskets, they add charm and a rustic, country feel. The only risk, as I’ve experienced, is forgetting to eat them!
6. Add autumnal garlands
You can make them yourself, but unlike winter garlands, autumn garlands don’t last very long: the leaves, or flowers like dahlias, dry up quickly or fade. In this case, don’t hesitate to opt for fake decorations: garlands with autumn leaves or fabric physalis to frame an entrance, highlight a window or hang fake wreaths in flamboyant tones. Autumn garlands on a mantelpiece are also a beautiful way to decorate your home. I have a few velvet mushrooms that I add to the mantel because I really like the « forest » style of decorating.
Place these many (fake) mushrooms if you have them in your decorations, they look great paired with autumn foliage or simply placed on a sideboard surrounded by a bit of moss.
7. Make your own autumn wreath
Even if it’s likely to be short-lived, depending on the elements you use, a beautiful autumn wreath is a must-have for decorating the house indoors or hanging on your front door.
In fact, it’s my favorite decorating element to create, because the color and choice of elements are much more interesting than in winter.
Don’t hesitate to create a wreath that you can also place in the center of the table, with a few candles.
Here are two tutorials for making your own wreaths: the first is very autumnal and the second focuses on dahlias.
And for simplicity’s sake, you can also opt for a faux wreath…
8. Make small bouquets of hydrangea or dahlias
Like dahlias, hydrangeas are among my favorite flowers. It’s so easy to create a simple, visually beautiful bouquet with just a few heads, and why not add a few asters or viburnum stems? Make a few small bouquets and place them around your home.
There are many varieties of hydrangea, some of which are perfect for autumn with their beautiful seasonal foliage. If you’re thinking of planting some, I’d really recommend getting them from France’s dahlia specialist, the Hortensias du Haut-Bois nursery in Brittany. Here’s the article about them.
9. Take the aprons and plaids out!
Cushions, plaids, aprons… tartan patterns, warm materials such as wool and tweed… anything reminiscent of autumn has its place in your home. If you can’t find any interesting patterns, opt for warm colors in shades of brick, curry or fir green.
Having a few quality plaids will always come in handy, especially in a country home to keep you warm. The best ones come from Scotland and will last a lifetime – it’s well worth the investment. You can also find good quality ones online from the English.
In the kitchen, I get out the aprons and checked tea towels to remind me that we’re well into apple harvest season. I used to find them at an Alsatian weaver’s, but unfortunately his workshop wasn’t taken over when he left.
10. Keep some autumn reading on hand
The Season of Mists, as the English poet Keats called it, is more than conducive to reading.
Returning to the great classics or discovering good thrillers is an excellent way to enjoy the long autumn evenings. Even if it’s a fairly intense time of year, reading even just a few pages before going to sleep is a good way to escape the screens for a while and fall asleep peacefully. Elizabeth Gaskell, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Wilkie Collins… the choice is vast and the stories captivating.
Diving into a few decorating books is also a good way to draw inspiration for adding a few touches to your home to make it cosier.
11. Use seasonal crockery
One of my guilty pleasures in autumn is eating lots of cinnamon. So I make us snacks with a nice cup of tea and little cinnamon rolls… with cinnamon. To get completely in the mood, I serve them in mugs in the colors of the season. In the evening, it’s hot cider flavored with spices. As for the mushroom tableware, it’s ideal for the season, and you can find pretty plates adorned with deer and pheasants at your local flea market. The blue tableware (left) is a little spring-like, it’s true, but combined with orange or yellow it looks great on an autumn table.
12. Brighten up your home
Cooler evenings, faster nightfall… it all makes you want to stay warm indoors. Illuminate it with candles to add a warm, soothing touch. Arrange several, ideally with candles of different heights. My favorites for autumn are Feu de Bois by Dyptique and Carmélite and Ernesto by Cire Trudon. I’d like to add one or two Cire Trudon colored candles to this composition one day.
I believe you can also find scented seasonal candles at Yankee Candle (in Truffaut garden centers).
You can also choose beautiful lanterns and place them on your kitchen table, a sideboard or on the chest of drawers in the hall.
13. Create your own fireplace...
Why not build your own fireplace? If you don’t have a fireplace at home, or if you live in an old apartment with condemned chimneys, you can still make the most of it.
Gather a few logs (you can buy them in garden centers, ask friends or find some big wood in the forest) and wrap a low-energy LED string of lights around them. The candle flames have a nice effect and you’ll feel like you’ve got a little fireplace at your fingertips!
14. Highlight your front door
In the United States, as early as September, homes begin to be decorated for autumn. It’s not just the interiors that our friends over-decorate (much to my delight); a good deal of the decorating is devoted to the entrance to the house (or porch). Large pumpkins of various sizes and colors are arranged on the steps. You can use old wooden crates, Medici vases and straw bales as inspiration to play with volumes and, at the same time, accentuate the « harvest » effect by placing straw here and there.
In Paris, I have a balcony on which, in autumn, I place a wooden box with a pumpkin and a bit of straw near the window. I add a small lantern I found in a garden center, and this allows me to be immersed in an autumnal atmosphere by simply glancing outside, even though the trees haven’t put on their autumn finery.
15. Autumnal table settings
The primary purpose of this blog has been to share with you tables that I hope will inspire you. And autumn is an ideal season for entertaining, taking the time to spoil those you love and treat yourself at the same time. It’s also an easy season to set beautiful rustic tables with natural elements that can easily be found in the forest, in a public park or in the countryside. So seize this sublime season and pay homage to it! If you’d like to find more inspiration on the theme of autumn, go here!