9 Gorgeous Natural Fall Décor Ideas to Elevate Your Home for Autumn
From the Farm Stand: Chinese Lantern Plants
These small plants are known as Chinese lanterns because they have delicate, paper-thin husks that resemble paper lanterns (their scientific name is Physalis alkekengi). Their gorgeous red-orange hue and pretty shape are ideal for adding fall colors to a banister. Glue thin pieces of velvet ribbon to the stems and tie them between each spindle. Choose ribbon in a muted, fall color palette to bring the whole theme home. When the season's over, wrap them in tissue paper and place each one carefully in a box to store. Handle with care, because dried Chinese lanterns retain their color and should last for a few years, so you can have these accents for next season and beyond. This natural fall detail is also beautiful scattered separately across a table or woven into autumn garlands.
From the Farm Stand: Mini Pumpkins and Gourds
These cuties embody the very essence of autumn, and in our opinion you can never have too many pumpkin fall décor in your house during this season. (Plus, unlike carved or painted jack-o-lanterns, you can keep these out past Halloween.)
One of our favorite ideas? Turn them into festive and functional candleholders. Use a sharp knife, an apple corer, or a pumpkin-carving tool to cut a two-inch-deep hole about the size of a quarter around the gourd's stem. Go with white candles only, or opt for a handful of earthy colors. They’ll look great lined up along the mantel like in this photo, or use them as dinner table lighting, which will give off a warm, cozy glow.
From the Farm Stand: Lady Apples
One of the oldest known varieties of apple, this small fruit is lightweight enough to hang from a chandelier with fishing line or raffia for perfect natural fall décor. When shopping, choose unbruised apples with stiff stems. To make the apples last through the holidays, spray them with clear lacquer (available at craft stores). Decorate the table by placing a pear or some other fall fruit on each napkin.
From the Backyard: Foraged Branches
Why go shopping when you can forage right outside your own door for earthy elements, free for the taking. Once fall is in full swing, that means you’ll see some beautiful foliage and branches. If you come across any interesting branches in your backyard, or while you’re out walking the dog, collect them to make a natural, fall-inspired centerpiece. To add height and drama to an entryway, display branches in a glass vase and hang mini acorns in various spots with thread or fishing line. Use a rock to anchor the arrangement and make it sturdier. It will also look great on a console table in the living room or dining room.
From the Backyard: Leaves
Is there anything more quintessentially fall than a colorful leaf? Scour the yard or a nearby park for pretty leaves with nice color (and that are still intact). Place your favorites inside a thick book for 24 hours to flatten before affixing them to pretty pin boards as wall or mantel art. This is such a fun and easy fall activity to do with kids too.
Some kinds, such as pin oak and southern magnolia, keep their color naturally; others need a little help. David and Leanne Kesler, co-owners of the Floral Design Institute, in Portland, Oregon, recommend an old-fashioned trick: Iron them. Using medium-low heat, press leaves between two sheets of wax paper until the wax melts, bonding the sheets together. Separate the two pieces; the leaves should come right off. Voila! Perfect natural fall décor.
From the Backyard: Lichen
For a more nontraditional centerpiece, fill bowls with sand and top with lichen, a pretty and rustic fungus-alga (similar to moss). Search for pieces of lichen on the ground and on rocks; some types can even grow on concrete, limestone, and sandstone. To complete the look, forgo a standard table runner in favor of an artfully placed piece of driftwood.
From the Grocery Store: Herbs
Grab unexpected decorative accents, like herbs, while out on your trip to the supermarket for gorgeous fragrance, surprising shapes, and organic appeal. Who needs a rosemary or lavender room spray when you’ve got real thing? Welcome guests with the invigorating aroma of rosemary by tucking stalks of this rustic herb into a wooden box. Add flair with a few pieces of lavender—its soothing scent will tone down the pungent rosemary. You can also dry herbs by bunching sprigs together, securing them with a rubber band, and hanging them upside down in a dark, dry, and warm area for a couple of weeks. Keep lavender out of direct sunlight to preserve its lovely purple color.
From the Grocery Store: Citrus
Combine the fall-colored jewels of the citrus family—kumquats, clementines, oranges, and limes—to make a pretty, sweet-smelling wreath. The beautiful citrus rinds will wake up your space and add some vibrant color ideal for easy, natural fall décor. It’s easy to make, but it looks intricate and impressive.
Start with a circular piece of florist’s foam, then use wooden florist’s picks to secure large items, such as oranges, first. Continue with smaller fruits. Tie with a thick velvet ribbon. The wreath should look good enough to eat for at least a week. Place it over your mantel like in the photo, or hang on an interior door.
From the Grocery Store: Peppercorns (and More!)
Add some extra items to your grocery list for some subtle and elegant fall décor. Fill clear glass vessels with figs, peppercorns, pomegranates, and Champagne or Concord grapes. Whole peppercorns will last naturally for months; pomegranates, a week; and figs and grapes, just a few days. Arrange the vessels together on a dining table, side table, or mantel, or use one large statement vessel as your dining table centerpiece.