Outside In: bringing the early flecks of autumn from the garden to the home
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There are various transitions throughout the months of September, October and November; it’s a visually pleasing time. We all love the freshness of a green summer, but the variety that nature displays in the Autumn brings with it plenty of scope for interior design, using elements from the outdoors.
Autumn happens in stages.
Unlike winter (which tends to plunge us into a 3 month state of bare trees, frosty windows and foggy mornings) the autumn season is about change and colour. At Christmas, we decorate our home with strands of ivy, sprigs of conifer, boughs of holly - and we display a whole tree in our living rooms! It’s just what we do - and it gives the home that special sense of seasonal pageantry.
There are just as many opportunities to do this over the months leading up to Christmas too. October is all about pumpkins and bright yellows and oranges; but September is a transitional month, from summer into autumn. The trick here is to ease the mellow season into the home subtly, not obviously.
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There is still a bounty of greenery outside in September - the temperature isn’t cruel enough to have dropped too drastically and killed everything off just yet. But ultimately, the leaves will soon be turning crispy and starting to lose their fresh-looking palette. So it makes sense to help some of them along early and prune away some of the green branches still swaying in the trees and bushes outside, and display them in vases in your home for a final burst of summer.
But it’s not summer - so while you’re at it, snip off some of the branches that are starting to turn yellow and orange and dot them in with the greenery as well. Gather some sprigs of berries (from outside or a florist) and place them in the arrangement. You’re retaining a fresh look around the home, yet celebrating the turn of the season as well.
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Into the woods:
It’s a rustic time of year, and nothing quite instils a natural tone to a home like wood. There are opportunities for all sorts here. Twigs make for a structural centre piece in a vase - perhaps in a corner where you can be generous with height. Willow is particularly striking. For an added touch entwine some fairy lights around them. Select orange or white lights for that extra autumnal glow.
Twigs can look effective scattered on surfaces too. Not everywhere, just in intriguing spots around the living room or dining room. Across a mantelpiece for example, or a bundle of sticks tied with string in the middle of a dinner table. Logs should be used in and around the fireplace and any wayward bits of wood you might find on a walk in the woods are equally nice accents around the home.
Continuing the theme of wood - bark makes an attractive filler for glass hurricanes or bowls. Autumn provides plenty more options for this type of decorating too. Acorns, conkers, moss, seeds and even certain types of nuts can work. Pine cones is a particular favourite at this time of year, and horse chestnuts can look great in a display, as well as sycamore spinners.
Jars filled with coffee beans, walnuts or pasta look fantastic in the kitchen. Mini pumpkins look great in a variety of clear containers (but keep them mini - larger gourds should be saved for later in the season). Copper and tin canisters also make for great display tools, should you prefer not to just use glass.
Splashes of colour:
In terms of flowers, simply display what you prefer; but to keep in step with the seasonal theme, typical choices are sunflowers, speckled roses and calla lilies in reds, oranges, purples and duller greens. Finish these off with sprays of wheat sheaf, dry grass, yarrow or caspia.
Also popular this time of year are flowering kale and cabbage, which come in an array of colours put are particularly eye-catching in pinks and whites. Terrariums are another summer-to-autumn feature that can boast the last splash of green from the warmer months enclosed in a glass casement. Ferns, moss, trailing plants and rooting plants look great in this kind of surround.
Part of bringing the garden into the home means you can showcase the products of your summer gardening endeavours. If you’ve worked hard on cultivating your fruit trees and vegetables, put them on display around the house in between picking and eating them. Bowlfuls of blackberries, pots of apples and harvested ears of corn all make intriguing decoration ideas.
Up-root carrots and display them in vases, accentuating the root idea touched upon earlier. Because these need to remain fresh, this idea works best when looking for temporary feature ideas if you’re hosting a dinner party or a gathering.
These ideas are great because they offer creative elasticity. They will plant the decorative seed into the mind of the aspiring decorator - but the freedom is there to merge, entwine and create new formats. Put your own spin on these autumnal trends to suit your home and your eye; and enjoy the beginnings of autumn both inside and out.