September 22 is just around the corner! Okay, so maybe autumn moves a little slower in the south (just as everything else does), but the conflict between the calendar and the extremely warm Atlanta weather won’t stop me – it’s time to start thinking about rich, fall colors, hot chocolate, pumpkins, and Halloween.
I don’t store fall decorating items – I overdo it at Christmas time (as in four trees overdoing it) and I just don’t have the storage space. Instead, I prefer to use found items such as leaves and disposable items such as gourds, apples, and cranberries. You can bring autumn into your apartment with a simple bowl of apples on the kitchen table. Or spray-paint gourds in contrasting colors (metallic gold and silver or black and white – or even neon pink and green) and put them in a clear glass container, such as a brandy snifter. When the season changes, toss the gourds and replace them with ornaments or pine cones. You can keep the glass container out year-round (put seashells in it during summer and sprigs of rosemary or fresh flowers in spring), cutting down on storage needs.
Scents are also great during fall – cinnamon sticks and cloves make great potpourri, or get a seasonal diffuser or scented candle. These items are also disposable or can be easily stored in the back of a closet. And, even if you don’t do any other decorating, you’ll be inspired to make hot chocolate and dig out your favorite wool blanket.
Fall is all about the leaves, so go collect some! Take a nature walk and scoop up the leaves and pine cones – even a branch or two can look great on your coffee table. Spray-paint the branch white, gold, or even red and then add a scattering of leaves. Place a couple of candles in between and you have an instant, easy, cheap fall centerpiece.
Decorate your front door, fireplace mantle, or empty wall with a leaf wreath! Just bend a wire hanger into a circle and glue the leaves to it. (Here’s a great tip to keep your leaves fresh and colorful – rub them with moisturizer and let them dry. It will keep the leaves from curling and keep the color vibrant.)
Pumpkins are synonymous with fall. If you aren’t into cutting a jack-o-lantern, just set the whole pumpkin as-is on a table or on the floor. Or cut the top off, scoop out the pumpkin seeds, and fill it with fresh mums. Paint it black and stencil white flowers on it for a modern look. Put it on a decorative cake plate and surround it with cranberries or nuts for a quick centerpiece.
Want just a hint of the season? Choose some frames and use seasonal photos to liven up your décor. You can take the photos yourself (go to a local state park and photograph the changing leaves or do a still-life of a pumpkin, gourds, or Indian corn) or use ones you already have. Print out the size you need on photo paper and put it in the frame.
Perhaps you don’t want the typical autumn decorations but would like a hint of seasonal color. Decorative pillows and throw blankets can instantly change the look of your living room, whether you want the reds and oranges of fall or the colors of your favorite football team. Then, simply put them in a closet or in a storage ottoman until next year.
Bringing just a hint of the outdoors in will give your apartment a fresh look, so go ahead and enjoy the colors and scents of fall. Even if you live in Florida or south Texas – crank up the air conditioner, light your pumpkin-spice-scented candle, and sip some hot apple cider. It may still be 90 degrees outside, but it can be fall in your apartment.