Decorate with Crafts

Fall Frolic

The Country Sampler stylists rake up piles of harvest-hued accents to warm up gathering areas just in time for seasonal entertaining.

About the time leaves reach their peak color and a chill creeps into the air, we tend to set about making our homes cozy and inviting in anticipation of cooler weather and family gatherings. Fort Recovery, Ohio, homeowner Laura Wenning is no exception. "I just love decorating for fall," she says. "The colors are just so warm and vibrant."

Country Sampler stylists René Haines and Carolynn Geesaman worked with Laura to further enhance the autumn ambience in some of the gathering areas in the trilevel home she shares with her husband, Ben, and their four children.

Luckily, Laura, who owns a local shop and decorating business, had a lot of great country basics in place. One of the family's most-used spaces is a snug nook that's adjacent to the open-concept kitchen/dining area. "It's our favorite little corner in the house," Laura says. "The kids love to sit in the chair while I'm in the kitchen cooking."

In that space, as well as in the lower level family room, Laura installed refurbished barn beams as wall shelves, which she uses to showcase a rotating selection of seasonal fare. "Since I don't have a fireplace, I think of them as my ‘mantels,' " she notes.

Though Laura always makes a point to decorate even the smallest areas in her home, often with items from her shop, René and Carolynn brought her a fresh viewpoint, she says. Read on to discover their 18 great ideas for welcoming fall!

A Grand Entrance

1. Worth its weight. Call attention to smaller decor, such as a mini handpainted seasonal sign, by elevating it atop a scale-style clock. "Scales are really popular right now," René observes. "You can put so many things on top of them and they work well in every room, from a kitchen to a bath."
2. In the clear. Encase a singularly stunning leaf in an inexpensive clear acrylic picture frame. If you can't find a leaf you like, make your own from scrapbook paper. Cut out a bunch of solid and patterned leaves to scatter amid other items on display.
3. Bold and bountiful. Celebrate harvesttime with a cornucopia of fresh and faux flowers, greens and acorn picks, balanced by a pair of dimensional wood pumpkins. Arrange the grouping on an easy-to-move piece of salvaged crate.

A Grand Entrance

4. Pallet pinups. Paint craft pallets with a weathered gray finish and affix bronze-painted clips to the center top, where they can hold interchangeable prints.
5. Ball of fire. Gently push faux leaves into a foam ball with a pencil and then glue them in place to make a topiary that blazes with fall color. Use a ribbon-trimmed twig as the "trunk," inserting the twig into a pail filled with a block of moss-covered floral foam.
6. Black ties. Bring depth to the setting with touches of black, such as checked chair pads, napkin rings fashioned from satin ribbon and a Scottie dog planter brimming with seasonal blooms.
7. Standout candles. Get creative when it comes to containing candles. On the table, a mason jar packed with nuts features leaves and berries glued around the rim and a pillar candle perched atop the lid. On the sideboard, a nut-filled vase topped with a votive candle sits within a pail trimmed with a ring of faux hops.
8. Fringe benefits. Repurpose a cream-colored blanket as a table cover, allowing the patterned runner to pop.
9. Seasonal sentiments. Set a reflective tone in the dining area with one or more signs artfully emblazoned with words or phrases that call to mind festive family get-togethers and feelings of gratitude.

A Grand Entrance

10. Branching out. Situate a light-up tree in the corner of a room to cast the space in a favorable light. Trim it for fall with beautifully burnished metal leaves. The leaves' variegated finish reflects the worn appearance of a trio of decorative wood suitcases that provide substance to the scene and help fill in the space beneath the bench. Cast-iron crows coordinate with the metal leaves and enhance the harvest theme.
11. Soft touch. Employ textiles to balance hard goods and offer a layer of texture. Here, a quilted wall hanging adds a bit of background color and acts as a screen of sorts when draped over an open railing. Other elements, such as a doily, a windowpane-plaid throw and a richly striped rug help keep things cozy.
12. Leafy looks. Take a cue from the foliage in a print depicting a favorite fall pastime and scatter faux leaves or glue a few to a woven carryall in the adjacent display. Place an electric candle with a leaf-adorned sleeve inside a weathered wood lantern amid a colorful blend of berry picks and fragrant potpourri.
13. Pumpkin spice. Punch up the palette in any room with iconic orange pumpkins, from a pair of rustic wood creations to a fresh or faux fruit cut to serve as a vessel for an autumnal arrangement. If you're using fresh flowers, insert a block of floral foam inside the pumpkin and use pieces of wood skewers to hold the "lid" in place.

A Grand Entrance

14. Makeshift mantel. Fashion your own focal point by using a beam or other large piece as a substantial shelf that can support everyday accents, such as lanterns and greenery, as well as spots of seasonal color.
15. Bright bookends. Give decorative wood pumpkins a function beyond mere display by working their angles to support small books.
16. Perfectly personal. Create a statement piece by making a monogrammed pumpkin and placing it on a pedestal assembled from a candlestick and a round breadboard topped with garland and a small grapevine wreath. To decorate the pumpkin, Carolynn wrapped it in lace fabric and sprayed it with white paint. After removing the fabric, a lacy orange pattern was revealed. A decoupaged letter or decal provides personalization.
17. Ladder to success. Fill a narrow space with a painted blanket ladder that coordinates with other accents in the room and use it to showcase a petite grapevine wreath outfitted with a timer candle.
18. Small comforts. Make a snug space even more appealing by bringing in a seasonal pillow cover and a classic braided rug that echoes the upholstery colors. Top off an ottoman with a rustic tray perfect for holding a snack. "The little touches make it a welcoming space that just invites you to sit down and relax," Carolynn observes.

For more information, visit our Country Marketplace online.

Scale clock, Home Decor for Your Style
Handpainted fall mini sign, Gainers Creek Crafts
Dimensional wood pumpkins, DMZ Designs

Simply Blessed sign, Pink Silo Co.
Scottie dog planter box, Primitive Home Decors
Rustic Flying Geese quilted table runner, Choices Quilts
Black Check chair pads, Allyson's Place
Rustic pumpkin wall decor, Custom Cut Decor, LLC

"The Apple Gatherers" canvas-texture print, set of two cast-iron crows and windowpane plaid throw, The 13th Colony, LLC
Rusty fall leaves, Custom Cut Decor, LLC
Rustic farmhouse-style pumpkins, Three Sisters Cottage
Harvest Log Cabin wall hanging/throw, Choices Quilts
Large Maple Leaf candle sleeve, Country Village Shoppe

Primitive grapevine fall tier candle wreath, Gainers Creek Crafts
Handmade leaf pillow, Simply Donnie
Pull-apart pumpkins, DNL Woodworks
Oval braided rug, The Braided Rug Place

Written by Lisa Sloan
Photographed by Matthew Owen
Styled by René Haines and Carolynn Geesaman