Fall is celebrated all over the world and in the northern hemisphere it’s just beginning. Articles are published daily about fall décor and how to decorate for this warm and relaxed season. Each one has a similar theme; plaid and gourds and neither one work for me. If you ever see plaid in my home you will know something has gone terribly wrong. The look of plaid and gourds or dried flowers and flannel is distinctly American-however autumn is not. So why do we continue to decorate our space in a look that is so limited? America is a nation of so many cultures and each has something to bring to the table this season.
Thus I bring you a list of fall decorating suggestions that do not include plaid, flannel, hay bales, gourds or dried flower arrangements.
• If you enjoy the warm golds and oranges of the season bring that color indoors with a blanket made of used sari’s in earthy tones of cinnamon and saffron. These blankets are fair trade items whose sales contribute to bettering a community in India. The goal of fair trade is to empower low-income, disadvantaged artisans around the globe, and to promote understanding between them and North Americans. Find these blankets at Baksheesh Fair Trade.
• Celebrate Day of The Dead and laugh at the skeletons that try to scare you. Bake skeleton cookies and decorate with skeleton figurines. Celebrate your ancestors and tell stories about your family to your children. This day is celebrated from that last days of October to the first days of November.
• Bake Dead of The Dead bread and allow the smell of anise to waft through your home.
• Now is the time to buy Chinese Lanterns from local nurseries. These delicate plants hang with spicy orange pods that look like thin paper lanterns and can be placed in large vases, ceramic pots or used as center pieces.
• Fill your home with the scent of fall and winter by making mulled wine or mulled cider. The cinnamon and cloves will infuse your home with comfort and the desire to invite friends over to share.
• Invite Celtic history into your home by learning about the festival of Samhain. Samhain literally means “summers end”. This celebration marks the beginning of a cycle in the Celtic calendar where Druids lit the fire of the new year. Pagan and Christian beliefs intertwined and the festival became All Saints Day celebrated on November 1st and All Souls Day on November 2nd. Objects representing wishes and hopes for the coming year were thrown into bonfires by the ancient Celts. Leave out plates of apples and nuts to represent this holiday.
• Gather up knotty sticks from a nearby field and pull them together with twine mixed with colors of autumn. Use this as an accent piece near a fireplace or as a mantel display instead of traditional stacks of firewood.
• As the days get shorter, add candles to your décor and turn off your lights. Save electricity and create intimate spaces. Tea lights can be purchased by the bag at Ikea or Bed, Bath and Beyond. For larger candles look for items made from beeswax or soy; these burn cleaner and keep your home air healthier then traditional candles. Additionally look for candles scented with essential oils and not synthetic scents; these too are healthier for the air in your home. And remember to never leave a candle unattended.
• Place accent pillows handmade from artisans. Try a Halloween theme or a general fall look such as these brown and blue accent pillows from Point De Amour’s Etsy shop.
Be bold this fall and think outside the envelope. Deviate from cute and try sophistication. Stretch your decorating talent to bring in items from different cultures that represent this change of seasons. These unexpected surprises will impress your guests and invite culture and global appreciation into your living space.