Cosy fall decor in the French countryside

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I’ve always loved the beginning of September, which marks the start of the new school year, with its feeling of a fresh start and renewed energy that brings with it many new projects.

It’s also a time of year when childhood memories come flooding back, those of back-to-school with its share of anxiety and excitement. Buying a new coat, a few warm sweaters and booties, and, above all, school supplies. The smell of new notebooks and those many blank pages just waiting to be filled!
At home, the season now marks the start of the end-of-year festivities (yes, we’re getting an early start!), as we celebrate autumn from the beginning of September as it should be and throughout the weeks leading up to December.
So we’re starting slowly to decorate the house with autumnal objects stored in the attic, and once the squash, pumpkins and pastries invade the market stalls, we’ll complete the decor with these natural elements. We’ll also need to take a few walks in the woods to collect all those branches and pine cones. And let’s not forget the beautiful apples and pears that will complete the ensemble and later be used to make delicious cakes.

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Enjoy a cosy autumn in the countryside: a warm season that encourages you to draw creativity from Nature

In autumn, I spend almost as much time outdoors as I do indoors. The various creative DIY projects I undertake often require me to be outside, and I really appreciate not only the freshness of the season, but also the fading light, which becomes softer and warmer. And what a pleasure it is to come home after spending a whole afternoon making an autumn wreath or garland, and preparing a nice cup of tea accompanied by a good English magazine. Every year, autumn inspires me in a different way, and I don’t hesitate to create a scrapbooking notebook by cutting out illustrations and images relating to the season, which will be a common thread for certain creations. Not only does this allow me to gather inspiration from a variety of sources, it’s also a great way to relax.

You may already be familiar with my article entitled 15 tips for decorating your home in autumn, and below you’ll find some additional tips to help you decorate your home in a cosy, autumnal style.

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1. Decorate the house with foliage and elements inspired by nature

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Autumn decor is very warm because it brings together elements in bright, golden hues. I’m starting to have a small collection of decorations in yellows, oranges, browns, burgundy and greens, which are the tones that best represent the season. I like to contrast these autumnal hues with pretty blues for an interesting contrast and to bring a certain dynamism, otherwise the result risks being too « smooth ».

I generally use many natural elements that I find in the nearby forest: beech and oak branches often fallen after gusts of wind, rosehip branches, moss-covered tree bark littering the ground, but also pine cones that I find on my walks through the village…

And don’t be afraid to mix real foliage with fake elements. Some are very well done, and I take them out every year, long before the real autumn colors appear, so I can enjoy them for longer. After all, this beautiful season is far too short!

2. Let your creativity flow to embellish your home

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Autumn is the perfect season to let your creativity flow. We’re less inclined to feel the pressure of the festive season, and it’s a time when we can really spend some time for ourselves. The harvest and grape-picking season is also rich in floral and culinary possibilities. Whether it’s creating decorations for the home or cooking comforting seasonal dishes, starting a herbarium by collecting beautiful leaves or signing up for workshops… there’s so much to do and discover. For example, if you have young children around, you can help them make a garland of fallen leaves, or make Halloween shortbread.

It’s also a great time of year to organize a tea party, for example, or game nights with your friends.

3. Use seasonal produce: pumpkins, apples, berries...

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The prettiest backdrops are often simple, natural ones. And autumn offers many opportunities to showcase the fruits and vegetables that appear as the weeks go by.

Get out your old baskets, farmyard crates and tin or metal buckets. Pretty old bowls can also be useful for certain fruits, such as grapes or figs. Arrange apples, pears, hazelnuts, pumpkins, gourds, pumpkins and pastries in these containers, as well as grapes… And for an even more rustic effect, insert a few small oak branches or leaves that still have their acorns among the fruit. New this year, I’m using wild rose branches, because their fruit shape and color make them really interesting, just like the Rosa Rugosa species.

4. Add a cosy touch with velvet mushrooms

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A notebook from Artisan Paper's Autumn collection
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Velvet mushrooms are a big hit at home, which is why they’re a welcome addition to the decor from September until mid-January. I buy them as soon as I find them, and in different colors if possible. They’re quite fragile, but they’re my favorite decorative elements, and not just in autumn. I also use them in my Christmas decorations. You can find them in garden centers or Christmas stores, depending on the year. And since they’re sometimes hard to find, I buy several right away. They’re a sure bet!

5. Adding autumn wreaths

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Autumn (or Christmas) wreaths are my great weakness. I love making them and the result is different every time, depending on the elements I use. It’s a real pleasure to combine foliage, berries and other elements and see the result. You can find my tutorials here if you’d like to take on this type of DIY project. But I also have some very special faux wreaths that I use to dress up the house when autumn hasn’t quite set in and I can’t find what I need in the forest to make them. I hang large ones and smaller ones all over the house. Some are simply placed on a table around a candle with the scent of autumn (wood fire, candle…) while others will be hung on a wall in place of a picture.

6. Create little autumn scenes

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If you haven’t already done so, take advantage of available space to create small, rustic and colorful autumnal settings. A lantern is usually a good place to start. I find mine in garden centers in the home decor section, and the idea is to accessorize them. I buy battery-operated candles of different heights for each lantern and insert leaves, hazelnuts and pine cones inside. You can also add a few branches (real or fake) by wrapping them around the top of the lantern. Next, I place candleholders with tapers in tones that go with the rest: burgundy and violet candles with dark red and green decorations, or blue and orange candles with decorations in warmer tones. A small basket containing a few apples and pears completes the look. Place a red- or blue-checked tea towel underneath (folding the material a little) for a timeless, cosy country style.

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Don’t forget to add velvet or wooden mushrooms (I’m seeing more and more of them this year), and small pumpkins (real or ceramic). Create these settings on a mantelpiece, a chest of drawers in your living room or bedroom, or even on a small pedestal table in your hallway, for example. A corner shelf on a bookcase will also do nicely, and you can even use the shelf space above a radiator.

7. Entertain at home with seasonal themes

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There’s something enchanting about an autumn dinner party, the atmosphere is undoubtedly special thanks to the subdued lighting, the candlelight and the conversations that become more intimate as the sun declines. And this harvest season offers so many possibilities in terms of celebrations and food, it would be a shame not to exploit all the potential! We can play with different themes and color combinations to create a pretty table with a warm, authentic feel.

During autumn, I often invite friends over for a gourmet snack and prepare my recipe for cinnamon rolls or chocolate babka, all accompanied by a good cup of tea. We meet up for a chat and the afternoon can even end with a walk in the forest or a game night. For an autumn dinner party, I’ll usually set the table according to a chosen theme, but always in a country spirit. You can find out more about the different settings here.

You too can make the most of this season, which is so special but all too short, so no moment should be wasted, and no place left unused!

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