Fall might be the perfect season for outdoor entertaining. While the summer and spring may be more regularly associated with dining alfresco, there's something magical about enjoying fall flavors surrounded by twinkling lights and bundled up by a firepit while crisp air fills your lungs. Plus, it's a wonderful alternative to the usual restaurant dinner or bar routine on the weekends. So before the weather completely transitions from brisk to biting, why not host a group of friends for a casual dinner party or even a festive Friendsgiving celebration?
Meet the Expert
Heather Taylor is a Los Angeles-based designer whose home-goods collection, Heather Taylor Home, has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, House Beautiful, and more.
If you don't know where to start, fret not. Heather Taylor of Heather Taylor Home offers masterful tips for creating an ideal fall table décor setup for an evening spent outside with good food and even better company. As a sneak peek, Taylor says it's all about layering materials and textures, adding in the right colors, and having key pieces on hand. We've also selected a range of products from Lulu and Georgia that reflect Taylor's best fall décor advice.
The Key Elements
When creating a fall table setting that's sure to impress, Taylor notes that there are a few key elements to keep in mind. For example, pay attention to your choice of linens, foliage, and ceramics. Taylor suggests choosing tablecloths and napkins in rich autumn tones, incorporating lush foliage throughout the spread, and sourcing beautiful ceramics in earthy hues for a natural feel.
These elements can all be spotted in this outdoor tablescape. Cloth napkins are presented in a warm shade of ochre, and the linen tablecloth features a subtle striped pattern in a variety of fall colors. Bountiful flower bouquets in the center of the table complement the natural foliage of the backyard location.
When it comes to colors, Taylor recommends sticking to traditional fall and autumnal hues. "There are so many options, but we love pumpkins, marigold, hunter greens, and cream," Taylor says. However, don't be afraid to mix and match patterns when it comes to the tablecloth and napkins—so long as you stick to complementary colors.
While the Heather Taylor Home for Lulu and Georgia striped tablecloth pictured above is no longer available, the linen tablecloth below comes in a neutral color so you can still mix-and-match your table settings.
In this fall table setting, everything from the flowers to this ceramic pitcher displays colors of the season. It all works to create a welcoming atmosphere that evokes all the best elements of fall. When hosting your own gathering, focus on earthy, natural hues that you might spot in a forest with fall foliage on full display.
"The menu can be a great jumping-off point for a theme," Taylor points out. When designing a fall-inspired table setting, it's only natural that the food might follow suit. You can pair the two elements by serving fall fare like dishes that incorporate seasonal produce in complementary colors to the rest of your spread.
Alternatively, Taylor adds that you don't necessarily have to relate your table setting to the food you serve. While it can be fun to have a running theme, "You don't need to feel bound by that," Taylor explains.
The Flower Arrangements
When it comes to creating a showstopping floral display, Taylor believes the arrangement is dependent on where you live and what you have access to. However, she tends to go for rust, peach, and burgundy color arrangements for fall.
Here, the floral arrangements feel natural and of the season thanks to the addition of autumnal leaves along with more traditional flowers, like roses in varying shades. Plus, they look beautiful next to sophisticated yellow cloth napkins and ceramic patterned plates in complementary colors.
For the final touches, Taylor suggests investing in key pieces to always have on hand so you can pull from what you already have around you. Whether that's high-quality linens, a simple water carafe, or statement flatware, it will help you throw together your next fall fête in a snap. Then, if you want to go one step further, you can go for more detail. Taylor likes to use place cards, and her favorites are from Los Angeles–based stationery brand Jonathan Wright.