There’s nothing more luscious than inviting nature indoors in the fall: The brilliant colors of autumn make our homes feel deliciously warm and cozy as the weather turns cooler. Changing leaves, swags of grapevine, and vibrantly-colored apples and squashes make gorgeous, inexpensive decorations.
Find out how to connect with the abundant bounty and beauty of this harvest season with these fun, easy tips for decorating with nature:
1. Preserve some colorful leaves. You can iron them between sheets of waxed paper, microwave them for a few seconds, put them in a solution of glycerin, or press them between the pages of a heavy book. Then you can apply them to backsplashes, place them artfully in a vase, mount them around a pile of gourds or squashes, or even use them as coasters for your favorite beverages.
2. Food is art. Find a local farmerís market or roadside stand and load up on apples, pears, pumpkins, decorative squashes, nuts, gourds, and Native American corn. A simple wooden bowl loaded with these treasures makes an abundant centerpiece. You can parade them in a line on a mantel-piece or pile them in a basket. What you donít eat, you can enjoy looking at.
3. Other treasures. Bring in grapevines to twine along the countertops, or make wreaths for doors or cabinets. If you live in an area where bittersweet is not a protected plant, harvest some to put in an earthen vase. Corn shocks are traditional to stand beside a door, but broom corn makes a beautiful and less usual alternative with its graceful russet fronds.
4. Beeswax candles. The amber color and honey-sweet aroma of these safe, all-natural candles just evoke the golden glow of autumn. As the days get shorter, it can be a soothing ritual to burn a beeswax candle at dusk.
5. Echo fall colors. Bring in the autumn hues of russet-red, vibrant shades of orange, deep greens, mellow golds, wine-reds, and vivid scarlet with cushions, towels, scatter-rugs, or other decorative accents. My family has a brightly-colored autumn leaf potholder and a set of pumpkin-shaped mugs that we use with pleasure year after year. Find the simple treasures your family will enjoy.
6. Try this creative and relaxing Leaf Meditation. Find a perfect autumn leaf and spend some time really looking at it, noticing the variations in color and shape. Trace its outline on a piece of paper, then try your hand at coloring it in with colored pencils, markers, or paints. Slowing down and taking time to savor the beauty of something as simple and commonplace as a leaf opens our eyes and hearts to nature’s magical variety. You may want to cut your colored leaf out and glue it on the cover of a journal to keep you company throughout the autumn months. Or do several leaves to decorate your cabinets or walls!
7. Think water. Western European traditions often associate autumn with the element of water, since it is a time of deep feeling and flowing away: birds migrate, trees shed their leaves. Honor this ancient idea with a bowl of water in a special place. Notice how water evaporates. As you refill your bowl throughout the autumn months, give a little thought to your own feelings, and the things that you are in the process of releasing from your life.
Adapted from Witch in the Kitchen, by Cait Johnson (Inner Traditions, 2001). Copyright (c) 2001 by Cait Johnson. Reprinted by permission of Inner Traditions.
Adapted from Witch in the Kitchen, by Cait Johnson (Inner Traditions, 2001).