Enjoy the change of seasons with pretty ideas for simple fall decor

October 13 |

Yo, Southern Hemisphere! I know you're springing into summer now. I'd love to hear your stories of what's happening on the flip side as spring drifts in, so if you have something to share from the south side, send it my way!

Photo by emilyonasunday. Used under Creative Commons license.

I know, I heard it from y'all that fall isn't exactly blustering in to the US. We're still in the 70s in Iowa, but the trees are changing and nights are getting longer, anyway. And it's a sure sign that the seasons are changing when the internet is splattered with lusty decorating images of fall vignettes like the one up there.

In a time of year when the natural world is the focus of so much admiration, there are ways to bring autumn home by taking advantage of simple beauty.

Like SMELLS.


In fall the air is crisp and less humid and smells don't stick around like they do in the wet peak of summer, so it's a little nicer to create them. Dollars to donuts, you associate warm smells like apple and pumpkin pies with the sound of rustling leaves on a dark, chilly evening.

If your internal clock hasn't acknowledged it's October, pop a couple cinnamon sticks (or a generous amount of the powdered stuff) in a pot of water and set it to boil. The house'll smell all like fall in a jiff.

Now Foods Sandalwood Oil
To explore more exotic scents, visit your local alternative grocery or New Age store and pick out an essential oil. Most places let you test a sample bottle, but if you can't at your joint and aren't sure what to get, I like sandalwood or jasmine oil.

Adding a few drops of oil to a pot of hot water — or a tea kettle — will do the trick here, too. To get a quicker injection of spice in a room, you can shake up oil and water in a spray bottle and spritz where needed. Do be careful; some oils will discolor fabrics.

Remember Indian corn?

Indian corn © by sam.soneja, used under Creative Commons license.

Also called flint corn, this is the stuff that's mostly known for its use in America as a fall decoration. Flint corn has calico-colored kernels of corn bearing hard outer shells on each seed — it's too hard to pop a kernel with your fingernail, like with sweet corn.

I haven't seen it around as much recently, so it must have fallen out of style, but it's so pretty. If you have a farmer's market, the vendors there may have ears of this stuff out for display. Or you can hit up Amazon to buy decorative versions.

Do you do anything differently at home in the fall? Are you all about collecting pretty leaves, or do you have a set of be-glittered, fantastical leaf-themed decor that comes out of storage? What's your home look like this season?

  1. I L-O-V-E fall! My favorite thing to do is sleep with the windows open and let the house air out and watch the cats laze on the windowsill. That's fall (and sometimes early winter) to me.
    Unrelated: I've not been able to see any of the photos linked from pinterest. If I click on where the photo is supposed to be, I can see it, but not in the actual post. That said, I like the pins you pick to post :)

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    • Amy, thanks for letting us know about the Pinterest image issue. A few questions so we can troubleshoot:
      * What browser are you using?
      * Any ad blockers running?
      * What happens if you disable your ad blockers and refresh the page?

      We're getting reports from other people about this issue too — I'm not sure what's going on, as the images are served from Pinterest.

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      • I have never had trouble seeing Pinterest images on OBH or any other website. I mostly use Chrome but from a few different computers.

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      • Same here… but this is the first post that has given me trouble. I've been able to see all the rest.

        (IE, refreshed & disabled ad blockers)

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        • Ooh, ooh. I think my developer JMDodd figured it out. Pinterest's embed codes are pretty inconsistent, and there's some odd stuff being included. She'll be fixing it!

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      • Sorry, I'm just seeing your reply. I'm using IE and no adblockers. Since you've posted that your developer is looking into this, they've started showing up. Problem solved :)

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  2. I put a bowl with dried late-summer flowers, chestnuts and leaves on the table and light lots of candles.

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  3. I read a really good idea recently in a cooking magazine: Rub ground cloves, cinnamon, and/or nutmeg on the underside of the lid of a jack-o-lantern. When it's lit, it'll smell really nice.

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  4. Since moving to the West coast from western NY the one thing I miss the most is the smell of dead leaves in the fall. Can someone make a candle that smells like that?

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    • Sadly, I don't think anything can smell QUITE like that… But I actually love Autumn Wreath from Yankee Candle – it smells JUST like Fall to me (from Michigan, where we have lots of fresh air and trees/leaves and apples).

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    • On the topic of fall scents, along with a dead leaves smell I would like a candle or something of dried corn being harvested. I moved away from Iowa and live in Montana now and as delicious as pine trees smell I find myself sniffing the sheafs of dried corn at the hardware store because they smell so much like home. I never thought I would miss all that corn, but here I am contemplating BUYING decorative corn.

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  5. I am now resolved to a new goal: change the centerpiece on my dining table seasonally. I think my first goal is to get some of that pretty corn I remember from my childhood. Thanks OBH!

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  6. As pagans the seasons in general, but fall in particular, are kind of a big deal for us. We've been decorating by bringing fall in since the beginning of September. We're almost done with our Samhain decorating with the exeption of the exterior "spider" webbing that cannot be done until a day or two before. Inside we have an insane mishmash of natural items we've gathered (acorns, interesting sticks, milkweed pods, pretty leaves), glittery halloween themed garland (I cannot resist shiny things), natural items we've purchased (gords, indian corn, squash that we intend to eat at some point), and inherited halloween decor (from the 80's).

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  7. Fall in our apartment is more or less how many Halloween decorations I can afford. I also have crafts that I made in 4-H, but half of those are still at home.

    I also make a LOT of mulled apple cider and tarts. I'm kind of the house baker. I also start making soups and stews, so there's lot of good eating.

    Now I want to make extra chunky brownies with a side of cider.

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  8. lol 70's IS fall in texas hahaha we still aren't even quite there yet.

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  9. oooh our halloween decorations are up i'll try to get them sent in tomorrow. We even have an amazing halloween tree i think ya'll will dig : )

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  10. I'd love to tell you lovely things about the Australian spring… but really, Sydney feels more like autumn than spring lately. >:P

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  11. I love Spring in New Zealand, so much so that last year I started my ribcage tattoo in September (start of NZ spring) of a cherry blossom tree. I love spring … daffodils, cherry blossoms, the light, fresh rain (as opposed to the heavy, opressing rain we get in winter), the smells … only shitty part is the hayfever :P

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  12. I change the scents in the house, the candles, the shower curtain, the towels, and sometimes the soaps. Everything turns to red colors and spiced smells.
    It's also not fall until I've had the local apple cider. I am NOT happy without that cider!

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  13. We had our first mini snowfall last week, although it's in the high 70's today, so I've been working hard to bring the fall in. I've fashioned a few wreaths from juniper branches and Indian corn, cleared our mantle of the usual decorations and replaced it with small gourds, rustic thrift store baskets, and milk bottles with tree branches. We have a few pumpkins, baskets of acorns, apples, and pinecones, more candles, and bunches of drying lavender. I've also got a few rubber bats and skeletons to celebrate halloween, but those will be removed after the holiday and replaced with more natural things to celebrate the harvest.

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  14. I freakin adore that wreath! I made my own and it's magnificent! Such a happy and upbeat fall palette!

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  15. I have a ridiculously tall black sparkly flower vase that we were bought. It has purple/blue artificial flowers in it for spring/summer and then reds and oranges and leaves for autumn. Also all my halloween/pumpkin mostly bits and pieces. Must dig them all out.

    Don't have an autumn door wreath, but must make one. I have made a christmas one.

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