Fall is a welcome respite after a few hot months of pool parties and backyard socials. There are many ways we prepare for autumn: filling your kitchen with pumpkin-everything and jugs of apple cider; swapping swimsuits for stylish pantsuits (or maybe just an oversized blazer) and wool sweaters; and the song of the summer loses its preferred spot on your playlist to something a bit more sad-girl fall.
The most important place to make the switch to fall is in your home. Try not to reach for the cheeky Halloween doormats, signs that say "It's fall y'all," and kitschy Thanksgiving-themed dishware. It'll clash with your aesthetic and require switching out more than is worth it. Instead, make small updates — changes that will last through the season. We spoke to a design expert to get her take on the best affordable upgrades you can make to prep your home for a chic and cozy fall.
Meet the Expert
Danielle Chiprut is the founder of Danielle Rose Design Co., a full-service residential design firm in the New York Metro area.
Swap Out Textiles
Swap accent pillow covers, throw blankets, sheets, and duvet covers. "I love to embrace warmer tones and cozier fabrics during the fall and this is a great way to transform the look of a room without a major undertaking!" says Danielle Chiprut, founder of Danielle Rose Design Co. Textiles with imagery or text specific to one holiday in the season will require changing when that holiday passes. Choosing items in fall-centric colors will give them lasting power. "Deep maroons, olive greens and rich ochres bring in the warm and earthy feeling of the season," notes Chiprut.
Evoke a Feeling With Scent
Nothing transports you to a moment in time quite like a meaningful scent. "I love to rotate out my summer candles and replace them with something a bit more warm and earthy," explains Chiprut. The scents of summer vacation—jasmine, vanilla, coconut—should be stored in a cabinet for next year. Cinnamon and pumpkin are the obvious choices for fall, but don't forget about sandalwood, leather, and patchouli. Choose vessels with earthy coloring or patterns like amber, terracotta, or terrazzo to make your candles worthy of décor status.
Update the Front Zone
The entry to your home is the ultimate first impression, and there's a lot of opportunity to express yourself there. "The first thing that I swap out when the seasons change is the wreath that hangs outside my front door," shares Chiprut. "I love creating an updated entryway to welcome our guests each season." Pick a seasonal wreath and add some pumpkins or potted mums to your doorstep.
Refresh Your Greenery
Just because flowers tend to bloom in spring and summer doesn't mean you can't get enjoy florals in fall. Mums, crocosmia, stonecrop, and strawflower are all great choices. "I bring in big branches with berries and create beautiful center pieces," notes Chiprut. Try displaying pussy willow, olive, bittersweet, or forsythia branches. Create the perfect minimalist, natural look by criss-crossing the branches at all kinds of angles so you get a large, sculptural arrangement.
Make Changes You Can Carry
A good rule of thumb when it comes to seasonal upgrades is to only make changes that would be possible to carry in a large tote bag. A painted wall? That can't be carried. A rug? It definitely won't fit in a reusable bag. But textiles, small pieces of décor, and home accents can all be carried. "It may seem like it would be easy to swap out something like an area rug, but this will be a major investment of time and money," advises Chiprut. "Focus on swapping out smaller décor items."
Don't want to buy anything new? Shop your home. Swap the bright green vase on the table with the off-white textural one in the bathroom room. Switch the linen pillows in the bedroom with the summery canvas pillows in the sunroom. Move houseplants in their cache pots into the unused terracotta vases. Many small updates can have a big impact.