8 steps to a sophisticated autumn home
Give the predictable a time-out and explore the softer side of fall
Special to the Daily
When your signature style is a fusion of muted colors and vintage décor, it’s no wonder that autumn is your favorite time of year. For Jamie Lundstrom, nature’s mellow season syncs comfortably with her aesthetic. You’ll find examples in her blog, somuchbetterwithage.com; her book, “French Vintage Décor” (Page Street Publishing); and her new interior design site, jamielundstrominteriors.com. We asked the Vancouver, Canada-based stylist how to give your home a cozy autumn hug.
Choose a non-conformist color scheme
While burnt orange and warm brown might be fall’s most obvious color pairing, nature has a whole palette of seasonally appropriate hues. “A while ago I started looking around garden centers and my own yard for inspiration, and found purple hydrangeas that had started to turn, then added eucalyptus leaves,” says Lundstrom. “The purple and green color scheme looked really pretty for fall. Almost anything that you’d find in nature that time of year will work.” So look at Russian sage, creamy chrysanthemums, and scarlet amaranthus. The pinkish coral roses Lundstrom used one autumn were a subtle seasonal nod that still steered clear of clichés.
Shop your closets
Lundstrom maintains there’s no need to rush out to a store’s seasonal decorating aisle. “Honestly, you don’t need a sign that says ‘I Love Fall.’”
She digs into her kitchen cabinets, pulling out mason jars, large crockery vessels, and hefty stewpots, then heads into the backyard with a pair of clippers.
“Clip a few tree branches, put them in a sturdy ceramic crock, and set it on your kitchen island. You’ve made something beautiful.”
Other treasures that come out of hiding: mismatched teacups, vintage embroidered napkins, antique baskets, and galvanized buckets.
“Fall is when you can bring out things with a bit of age. In the basement I found an old wooden toolbox that was perfect for displaying Mason jars of flowers. One year I found an antique basket I really liked, found a bowl that fit inside it, and filled it with hydrangeas. I love using faded objects from thrift stores for holding flowers, apples, or even a pile of throws.”
Do a quick seasonal swap
If you’ve got 15 minutes, you can give your home a fast fall overhaul. First, put away anything that screams “summer” — replace a straw hat hanging by the front door with a plaid throw or scarf, and store the beach towels and chairs. If you like scented candles, this is the time to bring them out. Change your throw pillows from light stripes to velvets and faux furs.
Lundstrom says it’s more space efficient to invest in quality down inserts, then buy or sew zippered or envelope-style covers that take up minimal space in the linen closet. “You want to be able to switch things up without having to rent a storage unit.”
Create a cheerful first impression
Lundstrom says that your front entry is the one part of your home that everyone sees, even if they’re not lingering inside.
“Make sure the front door and steps are clean and swept, and maybe get a new doormat — typically by fall it’s gotten pretty ratty.”
The same goes for summer plants that have become leggy.
“If you have planters, put in some flowering cabbages and kale, fall perennials, or boxwood” for a tidy, cheerful welcome.
And while you’re at the garden center, keep an eye out for planters. This is the time of year when lightweight planters are replaced by more substantial, earthier pieces that make major statements.
Large homes often have big front hallways that are great places for major seasonal statements. “My previous house had a two-story foyer, and it was easy to decorate with lots of foliage in a huge vase on the front table,” says Lundstrom.
In general, one or two large-scale pieces, rather than a dozen diminutive accents, make a more handsome impression. Lundstrom says that while the photos on her blog typically feature many layers of decorative elements, she actually prefers a less cluttered approach.
“Putting together a photo for a blog is like applying makeup on TV. You need a lot more than you use in real life. I like a more streamlined look with just a few large seasonal elements. That way your eye is drawn to the fall items, rather than bouncing around a slew of little things.”
Don’t fear the faux
Lundstrom is a fan of faux greenery, as long as it’s displayed correctly. “What gives it away is the stems, which don’t look that real. So use a vessel like a piece of pottery, rather than a glass vase.” Combine some tree clippings from your backyard with two or three few faux branches, and place it on a mantle, side table, kitchen island, or your home office.
Savor the smells of childhood
The scent of an apple pie, a fresh loaf of bread, or a big pot of stew are synonymous with fall. Lundstrom thinks that they are particularly welcoming because, for many of us, these warm, hearty aromas bring back memories of childhood. Appealing to all the senses creates the deepest impressions.
Get the kids involved
Creating a sophisticated fall interior doesn’t mean you can’t bring your kids into the process. One project that’s particularly suitable is the set of craft pumpkins Lundstrom painted in muted fall colors. “You have to paint them in a way that’s not perfect in order to make them look more realistic. Kids will generally miss spots, and that’s exactly what you want.”
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