All Things Home

Fall Decor for Dummies

Written by Tara Hall

When it comes to the holidays, it’s hard not to decorate the house, even if you’re a sole tenant like myself. There’s something about the changing of the seasons and the impending excitement/anxiety surrounding the holiday season that just gets under my skin. That said, I can also get very skittish when it comes to traditional decorations. I’m not one for inflatables in my yard, for example. No life-size bloody ghoul sitting on my front stoop. And no cornucopias. At least not yet.

Fall decor doesn’t have to be predictable. And if it is slightly predictable, why not make it more personalized? Here are some tactics I’m considering employing that will carry me through Turkey Day.

Have fun with gourds. Forget pumpkins. Crazy-looking gourds are the way to go. The warty beasts look cool all by themselves, but invest in a $5 can of matte black or winter white spray paint and they can look even hipper. Stuck on the pumpkin idea? Instead of the boring (but still pretty) lone pumpkin, buy three — a small, medium and large — and stack them one on top of the other for a cool totem pole effect. Better yet, spray those with the matte spray paint and you’ll be in the running for the “Neighborhood Martha” award.

Embrace glass. I have a love affair with serving dishes, particularly of the large and “what the heck am I gonna do with this now?” variety. Now’s the time to bust those out and put them to fun use. Like apothecary jars. Fill those with almost anything in a monochromatic way — like caramel-colored acorns in one, dark pine cones in another — for a modern look. Or fill them up with candy corn, twigs or spray-painted tiny pumpkins.

Have a glass cheese dome or cake stand? Use that as a display for your gourds and pumpkins, or arrange homey smelling candles on it, surrounded by small ornamentals like the aforementioned acorns.

Even easier: Take a wine glass and put it upside down over a tiny pumpkin. Then use the base, which is now flat in the air, as a holder for a votive candle. Cute, no? (Thanks, Jar of Paperclips for that brilliant idea.)

Think long-term. And by long-term, I simply mean more than one holiday. Changing the fabric out on your pillows might seem like a headache, but what if you just had to reverse the cover? Creating reversible decorative pillow cases can be a fairly simple weekend sewing project. Buy two styles or colors of fabric and make one side an autumn hue and the other a festive holiday choice. Simple as that. Want something even more hands-on?

What about a DIY doormat! This verifiable crafting project comes straight from Martha Stewart herself. Once you’ve put it together, consider painting it some funky stripes like this one from Say YES! to Hoboken. How original and useful. You’ll be wiping your feet in style for months to come…or until you decide to redecorate (read: repaint) next season.

About the author

Tara Hall

For the longest time, Texas transplant Tara Hall wanted to be a profiler when she grew up. A bona fide FBI agent with mad analytic skills who could take on crime and the jacked up minds that commit it.

Instead, the long and winding road has led straight to writing.

It all started with an obscure undergrad study spot: the usually empty upstairs of a local live music dive in Austin, TX. Psychology books in tow, Tara would grab a seat in the balcony and read her assignments between performances of local musicians, ultimately leading to an internship with Austin's Citysearch office in the late '90s.

Skip ahead a little more than a decade to present-day. Tara now spends her time interviewing musicians, researching stories and penning articles for entertainment-centered publications and websites such as Metro.pop magazine and SoundSpike.com.

Best part of the job: Researching topics I'm perplexed by and interested in.

Secretly obsessed with: Eyelash extensions. Instant femininity and loads of compliments!

Current dream vacation: An exotic beach locale with a beach bag full of new fiction. A hot man alongside wouldn't hurt either.

Theme song: Nina Simone's "Feeling Good"

Snacking on: Light rye Wasa crackers, little dollop of Dijon and thinly sliced turkey. That, or a spoonful of Nutella, my semi-healthy chocolate fix.

If trapped on a desert island: Cherry Chapstick and a fun, resourceful companion.