Every year, I like to set a rustic autumn table, borrowing all the codes of the season from Nature. It can be a forest- and undergrowth-themed table, a farmhouse-style table… either way, it’s always rustic, warm and inviting.
This season inspires me enormously, as it’s the time of the year when I’m most often outdoors, particularly in the forest, wandering the paths and tracks covered in a carpet of golden leaves, enjoying the contrasts of color that evolve with the passing weeks. It’s a time of year that gives us the opportunity to rediscover our environment from another angle.
Autumn allows us to appreciate the landscape in a new light, to notice trees and hidden corners that we ignore the rest of the year, but which at this time of year are decked out in their finest finery, creating fiery groves where each tree and shrub finally reveals its particularity.
Autumn is also a season when I love to entertain and cook simple yet gourmet dishes. On certain weekends, I take pleasure in going to the market and selecting good produce, then coming home and setting a pretty table before getting down to the meal. If you too would like to recreate a warm atmosphere for lunch or dinner at home, I’ll explain in this article how to set an autumnal table in the colors of the season.
As a starting point, I used plates perfect for this theme, paired with an Italian linen tablecloth, and above all, I created an autumnal centerpiece that is one of the essential pieces of this staging. There’s no need to add bouquets – you can do just fine without them, although I did add a few beech and oak branches in vases that look like tree bark. These bouquets, like the candles, highlight the sublime, fiery colors of the season while adding a little volume to the table.
Autumn being synonymous with abundance, I like to combine different motifs in a « mix and match » logic, i.e. superimpose different elements that work well together. The rustic feel of this setting is reinforced by the checkered napkins, which are embellished with small embroideries representing different animals. The napkins are orange and work well with the theme.
To create this feeling of abundance and coziness, you need to add plenty of natural elements (it’s better to overdo it than underdo it) that also add a touch of authenticity. And the season gives us plenty to decorate the table, even more than we need! In this particular case, we’d had a big storm a few days before, and all we had to do was go into the forest to pick up lots of broken branches in beautiful hues along the way. Whenever possible, I like to add fruit and vegetables to the table, and in this case, the original-shaped cucurbits took their place all along the centerpiece. Large bunches of grapes (a reminder of the tablecloth) could also have been placed in pretty bowls or compotiers. But I wanted to opt for something different and not reminiscent of my recent table celebrating the grape harvest.
Add fresh hazelnuts, which are very pretty, small pine cones and a bit of moss around candleholders, and you’ll be amazed at what small elements of natural decor placed here and there can bring to a table or a setting more generally. And don’t forget to use candles on a table, as they not only add charm to any setting, but also provide an opportunity to add color to liven things up. And what better way to create a cosy, warm atmosphere that will be appreciated by your guests, than to light a few candles as night falls?
To explain how to recreate this centerpiece at home, I’ve put together a tutorial that you can find here, as well as a video on YouTube that explains two ways to proceed: a simple version using a « fake » autumn garland, and another starting from scratch. Not only will creating your own decorations please your guests, it’s also a very rewarding and relaxing activity!