The latest harvest decorating ideas are thrilling us just as the cooler temperatures arrive. Fall-focused décor, from painted pumpkins to inviting centerpieces and seasonal mantels, will transform your home from a summer oasis into an autumnal retreat. No matter what your budget, you’ll love these harvest decorating ideas that are perfect for enjoying every moment from the changing leaves before Halloween through the last plate of Thanksgiving leftovers.
Colorful Leaf Art
If you are searching for decorating ideas that incorporate items you may already have in your yard or home, harvest leaves are always a good place to start. Plus, you can get crafty family members involved as you transform your home. Traditional kids’ activities often include creating leaf rubbings using fallen leaves, crayons, and thin colored paper (or even baking parchment paper). Martha Stewart Living suggests taking this fun, family project to the next level by “by trimming around the edges of the paper leaf” and then “[writing] the names of your dinner guests or gift recipients in a contrasting color” on each rubbed leaf. Even if you are celebrating in a family-only bubble, the place cards or tags turn every meal or gift into a special celebration. Do you have leftover gold or silver spray paint from another project? The Magazine recommends having the kids “find leaves and bare branches,” spraying the findings with the metallic color of your choosing, and then hot-gluing them to the once bare branches before arranging them into an extra vase or basket.
Leaf art is also a terrific way to bring harvest decorations into your kids’ rooms. Decorating professionals tell Real Simple that they adore the idea of taking deeply colored leaves, particularly those that are intact and newly fallen, flattening them and then “affixing them to pretty pin boards as wall or mantel art.”
Colorful leaf art also can add to your home’s autumnal glow with the help of wax paper and battery-operated votives. Midwest Living explains how to employ this simple harvest decorating idea: “Cut waxed paper into four 5×12 pieces, then fold in half to 5×6 pieces. Put leaves (fresh, dried, faux or cut-out printed images) inside the folded waxed paper, then press with an iron on low heat to seal.” Simple tape can fasten the lantern form, which is then placed over a battery-operated candle.
Crafty, painted pumpkins and other gourds are among Midwest Living’s list of their favorite harvest decorating ideas. While the traditional deep orange pumpkin will always be a favored option for Halloween, the Magazine suggests that people “[trade] the usual fresh gourds for jewel-tone painted dried ones.” Choose dried gourds in a variety of different shapes and sizes and break out the latex wall paint. You can opt for solid paint hues like ruby or sapphire, or grab some painter’s tape to create an eye-catching design. Whether you display them in decorative bowls, on your mantel, or as part of a centerpiece, they will impress.
Want to bring an extra autumnal glow to your pumpkins? Southern Living admires the idea of “[going] for a mod look with a gold rectangle pattern” and then “[grouping the] painted pumpkins by the fireplace for added shimmer.
Want to go that extra mile for Halloween? Midwest Living’s “ghostly gourds” are just a bit of spray varnish away. Once the pumpkin is thoroughly covered in varnish, it is time to get out the acrylic craft paints to bring your spooky design ideas to life. Another dose of acrylic varnish will set your designs. The Magazine loves the idea of displaying your eerie produce and adding “dried vines, bittersweet berries and maybe even an abandoned paper-wasp nest” before hanging each gourd with florist wire or twine on your porch or by your entryway.
It’s easy to bring warm fall harvest colors into your home with a quick change of fabrics in your living areas and bedrooms. And, as Real Simple notes, “there’s nothing like curling up by the fire with a cozy Pendleton blanket or tartan throw.” Now is a terrific time to put away the florals and bright colors of summer and dress your couches, loungers, and beds with layers of throws and pillows made of soft fabrics in richly-hued solids and patterns. If you can change out your duvet cover, opt for something heavier in a warm tone for an immediate infusion of cozy harvest-inspired warmth.
Decorating your home’s front door is a beautiful way to welcome the changing seasons. Harvest wreaths are among Martha Stewart Living’s favorite seasonal decorating ideas, and the Magazine raves about the natural beauty of a dried wheat wreath “laced with wooden beads and sculptural bleached seedpods.” For a striking look, Midwest Living suggests creating a “wreath [of] cut fresh marigold heads” that are attached to “a premade grapevine wreath” that can be found in many craft stores. The dried flowers offer an effortless elegance that will last for a few seasons when stored properly.
Are you looking for a unique use for your miniature pumpkins? Southern Living adores the idea of incorporating them into your harvest wreath. The Magazine suggests “[using] all cream for a more modern look or brightly colored orange for more Halloween-centric curb appeal.”
Inviting fall centerpieces hinge on an array of colors: vibrant shades of orange, red, and gold, as well as deep, natural earth tones. Autumn harvest vegetables, dark blooms, and scents like cinnamon and clove are all go-to elements in the perfect centerpiece. Cornucopia’s filled with jewel-toned fruits and vegetables will always be visually enchanting. For something non-traditional, consider snaking an apple garland down the middle of the table. This is one of Martha Stewart Living’s favorite harvest centerpiece ideas, and it allows you to customize it based on your favorite fall fruits and dried flowers. The Magazine suggests a blend of magnolia leaves, dried amaranth, crab apples, and pomegranates, as well as berries and chestnuts as a garnish.
Are you looking for decorating ideas for a sideboard centerpiece? Martha Stewart Living suggests moving away from more formal floral options towards a display of “wispy dried branch stalks in different vases.” The dried stalks are perfect for transitioning from fall into winter; remove the stalks from your fall display, spray paint them with white floral paint, and arrange them back in their vases as the temperatures drop. This quick fix makes it the perfect wintry arrangement.
Do you have woven bread baskets in your pantry that you’d like to incorporate into your harvest décor? The Magazine also delights in the idea of creating a “baskets of bounty centerpiece.” You can leave them in their natural state, or paint them in your favorite shimmery shade. From there, the Magazine suggests creating a “lush centerpiece [by inserting] a plastic liner, [that is filled] with a mix of neutral, silvery-leafed plants along with flowers in deep purples and soft magentas.”
Whether you are welcoming your “bubble-safe” friends and family to Thanksgiving dinner or creating something fun for Halloween, a personalized mantel display will always delight. The editors at Martha Stewart Living are fans of a “Pear ‘Welcome’ Display” featuring fragrant, seasonally-inspired “Forelles and Anjous pears.” As the Magazine explains: “Simply arrange seven pears on a mantel” and then write your “welcome” across the pears. From there, you can add a scented surprise by “[pressing] whole cloves into the flesh along the lines.”
The editors at Real Simple enjoy the idea of decorating your mantel using mini-gourds or pumpkins holding beautiful, long candles. The Magazine advises that the process is easy; “[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,” and then fill them with sophisticated white candles or stylish, “earthy colors.”
Are you intrigued by the possibility of decorating your fireplace with a rustic garland? Southern Living recommends “[adding] a touch more autumn dazzle to your display with this simple addition: Gather an assortment of colorful fall leaves, and use wire to fasten them to a length of rope to form a beautiful seasonal garland.” Temporary hooks are all you will need to add this simple yet appealing fall decoration to your mantel.
Harvest fruits and vegetables offer more than nutrition – they can also add a special autumnal glow to your festivities. Richly-hued vegetables, like turnips, are among Martha Stewart Living’s favorite decorating pieces. Whether placed in the center of a table, on a sideboard, or along a mantel, the Magazine suggests that “turnips — in varying sizes — can be scooped out to hold votive candles provide a soft glow.” Deep red apples and miniature pumpkins set in short jars or on trays can also be cored to hold small candles as part of your updated harvest décor.
Midwest Living agrees that a golden glow is an often overlooked accessory for seasonal decorating, and clear glass containers could be your go-to idea. They recommend “[nestling] a candle in popcorn kernels or other seasonal materials, such as candy corn or colored clear round stones (available in crafts stores).” If the containers are outside, in high-traffic areas, or in easy reach of kids or pets, consider using a battery-powered candle instead of a live flame.
Even small decorating changes can make a remarkable difference. One simple lighting idea for elevating your harvest décor is to switch out the light bulbs to a softer wattage in your dining room, living room, or parlor. Using small table lamps or candles, rather than overheads also can make a significant difference. As Target home style expert Emily Henderson tells Real Simple, “when entertaining I’ll use different hurricanes and votives throughout a room or on a tablescape” to create a cozy glow.
Fall Blooms and Window Boxes
The editors at Southern Living urge those hunting for harvest decorating ideas not to forget the possibilities that planting fall blooms bring. The Magazine supports surrounding brilliant plumes of purple fountain grass with “‘Fireworks’ gomphrena, which is great in the ground or a pot,” as well as the addition of “three ‘Bandana Red’ lantanas for bright blooms and two ‘Margarita’ sweet potato vines to trail.” If you have steps leading down from your porch, they recommend lining those steps with brilliant mums. The Magazine explains: “Once buds begin to open, you’re guaranteed blooms whether your display is in sun or shade.”
Do you dream of window boxes filled with the harvest’s bounty? Southern Living shares your decorating dream. The Magazine recommends window boxes that work with the transitioning weather: “Start with ornamental cabbage, bittersweet, pumpkins, dried hydrangeas, artichokes, and ivy, then add in gilded branches and berries to suit the season.” The hearty elements, like the cabbage and ivy, are perfect decorating ideas for anyone living in areas that experience real winter, as they handle the temperatures dips well without losing their visual appeal.