Decorate with Crafts

Ripe for the Picking

The Country Sampler stylists harvest a bounty of richly colored seasonal decor and show how to infuse everyday spaces with autumn ambience.

The Poneto, Indiana, ranch-style home where Marsalene Roush has lived for more than 40 years was built by her late husband and a friend, using plans they purchased from a book. Over the years, Marsalene has filled the rooms with treasured antiques, including those she's collected and family heirlooms passed down from her mother and aunt.

Those inherited pieces, which ignited her penchant for antiques, tend toward the Victorian era, but Marsalene has since come to consider primitives her true passion. "I like things that are old and rusty or worn," she says. "I'm not a fancy person, and primitives fit in with my lifestyle."

Marsalene's favorite items to collect are smalls, such as sugar buckets, jugs, oil lamps and wooden bowls. She'd like to obtain more primitive furniture, but, she notes, "I'd have to add on or get rid of what I have in order to collect more." One prized piece is a cupboard top that she rescued from her father-in-law's barn.

Although Christmas is her favorite holiday when it comes to decorating, Marsalene's home has an everyday palette of mustards, browns and dark reds. "I don't have a lot of fall things, but I love those tones," she says. Country Sampler stylists René Haines and Carolynn Geesaman were more than happy to partner up with Marsalene to help incorporate more autumn accents into her living and family rooms.

Read on for 18 simply stunning ways to bring a touch of fall to your home.

Ripe for the Picking

1. Fabric flourishes. Create a backdrop for a window-side vignette with fabrics by draping a length of crow- and pumpkin-printed tobacco cloth over solid black curtains and dressing the tabletop with black tulle and a square of harvest-hued fabric edged with pinking shears.
2. Pop-up perch. Boost a fall icon, such as a cast-iron crow, by stacking a pedestal candleholder atop a footed cake plate. To unify the two pieces, encircle the candleholder with an acorn wreath.
3. Candy crush. 'Tis the season of tricks and treats, so anchor a dish full of sweets with the firmly planted feet of a second decorative crow. Bring the whole grouping together with a candy-corn-inspired garland.

Americana the Beautiful

4. Scene stealer. Situate a standout seasonal accent amid a collection. This stuffed crow seated on a spindle echoes the shapes of the surrounding antique spools.
5. A-maizing glow. Partially fill clear glass hurricanes with multicolored Indian corn and position a battery-operated candle in the kernels. Dress up the outside of the glass by wrapping it with black lace and coordinating ribbons and securing them with hot glue.
6. Material issues. Soften your mantelscape with a fall-motif runner, which also lends a bit of color and pattern to a wood surface. This pumpkin runner highlights the distinctive shape of Marsalene's mantel, which she designed herself and had a friend fabricate. "The runner really helps to anchor the color scheme," René says.
7. Balancing act. Create a balanced display by incorporating multiples of an autumnal icon but in different forms, such as a crow candle sleeve and a wood sign.
8. Uplifting elements. Call attention to select decorative accents within a display by elevating them. For example, a black wall drawer lifts a glass hurricane atop the mantel and a one-drawer cubby gives a lighted house a more prominent position.
9. Buckets of color. Fill your buckets, firkins or crocks with faux foliage, including floral, berry and leaf picks or a bundle of twigs and bittersweet. If you have stacking boxes, tuck a few sprigs in between each layer.

Americana the Beautiful

10. Churn style. Assemble a quick and easy wreath to adorn a wall, door or collectible, such as this butter churn. Wrap a twig wreath with leaf garland, wire on a few sunflower blooms and then add a looped bow made from coordinating ribbon.
11. Pumpkin spiced. Punch up the flavor of an all-white dish display by sprinkling in a few terra-cotta plates and some painted with pumpkins. Add a small decorative mat to one shelf and introduce a bit of sparkle with metallic glass gourds.
12. Lighting the way. In lieu of a standard lamp, position a metal lantern with an electric candle atop a small crock filled with a bouquet of berry and leaf picks highlighted with a large sunflower and a gingham ribbon. Top a nearby wood block accent with a similar arrangement for a unified grouping.
13. Runner for cover. Rather than opting for a slipcover, smooth a coordinating table runner over the back and seat of an upholstered chair for an instant update. Pull the look together with a matching throw pillow emblazoned with seasonal emblems.

Americana the Beautiful

14. Flowery sentiments. To dress up a peg rack, René and Carolynn crafted sweet trinkets using inexpensive faux flower heads and leaves. The globe-like bauble has a foam ball as a base, and the others have a foundation of pinecones. "Sunflowers are great because they span several seasons," Carolynn says. "You can have them on display from early August through November."
15. Towel topper. Turn a plain pillow into a seasonal stunner by draping it with an embroidered cotton tea towel.
16. Tray chic. Convert a compartmentalized piece, such as this wood change tray, into a multifunctional display by filling its sections with candy, candles, and petite plants, selecting colors to coordinate with a harvest-hued runner.
17. Bountiful blanket. Perk up a plain blanket or throw by affixing felt leaf and pumpkin cutouts with a temporary bonding spray, such as a basting adhesive. Later, pull away the felt pieces and, if you like, add new cutouts to suit the next season. To continue the leafy theme, add a punched-tin lamp to a nearby table.
18. Words of wonder. Seek out signs of all sizes with fall motifs and phrases that refer to pumpkin patches, harvest time and other themes befitting the time of year to add a nostalgic touch to walls and shelves.

Written by Lisa Sloan
Photographed by Scott Campbell
Styled by René Haines & Carolynn Gessaman