Falling into a New Season

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A simple fall mantle

I love when the seasons change and for lots of reasons. It provides an opportunity for planning because I do love a good plan.  But what I enjoy about it most is what it does for the senses, the temperature, the lighting at the beginning and end of each day, the tastes of the foods we eat at different times of the year.  It brings so many fragrant moments, the smells of fresh grass, falling leaves, or even the smell of winter with fresh damp pine, fireplaces burning dry wood in nearby homes, and even the new-fallen snow has a particular fragrance. Barefoot on freshly mowed grass, hand in the dirt, sleeping in under a warm puffy down comforter, and lazing around by the fire in a soft fluffy throw, are all part of the varying sensory experiences of the seasons. I go back and forth on my favorite season, but I seem to always “fall” in love with Autumn every year.  And how could you not when you live in lovely northern New England?

Before the end of September arrives, I begin thinking about making changes inside the farmhouse to reflect better what is going on outside.  I always start with nature!  My hydrangeas are usually my first stop at bringing natural elements into the house. I cut the branches and stuff the dried blooms in just about every type of container I have: large and small vases, small candle holders, and wooden boxes.

I also take into account our much cooler temperatures, as this is going to impact my comfort. I’m always cold! So with that, out come all the blankets and throws.  I keep them in baskets and over the sofas and ottomans. Easy to grab and cuddle for coffee in the cool mornings.

Before buying a single item, I head up to my attic, rummage through my seasonal bins, and pick out what I want to use. It is so tempting to buy all the new and trendy fall items from the big stores.  Think about how you will use that item year over year and try not to buy something too specific.  Stick with the colors and textures of a season versus purchasing things with words and images.  These tend to be trendy and expensive, considering how much you can use these items.  I try to put my fall décor changes together to get me through to the first week of December.  Once you’ve done that, it’s a lot easier to decide what you want to purchase to fill in the blanks.  It also saves you money!

I try to find a little space in our main living areas to make seasonal décor changes.  It also allows me to clean spaces like shelves and windowsills and wash throw pillow covers.  While I keep our house pretty clean, I do a deep clean at the change of each season and especially before I store any linen or fabric.

I updated the mantle in my living room, changed the throws, and added a new vase with seasonal blooms.  I had some old glass pumpkins that I piled and scattered about the room.  My only purchases this year are the pillow covers.

My kitchen shelf and window each got a minor update.  I added a fabric pumpkin and a botanical print I picked up on a recent antiquing trip to the wooden shelves.  My large window always needs something, so I added mini pumpkins and candleholders stuffed with my hydrangeas. Later, when the hydrangeas wither, I can add candles. 

Upstairs in the bedrooms, the only changes I make are to the bedding. Cooler nights call for the down comforters, so I’ll remove the quilts and make the beds with puffy comforters to stay snuggly warm on cool nights and mornings. I’ll add flannel sheets as we near December.

These are all small changes, with very little time, effort, and, most importantly, money. Here are my five tips for falling gently into a new season:

  1. Start with nature. Look around your yard, cut some branches, pine cones, drying blooms, and bring them inside! Easy and inexpensive décor, and it looks way better than the fake stuff!
  2. Add textured pillows or throws for interest. Amazon.com and others have great options at every price point and every color!
  3. Scented candles help bring in the scents of the season and moody lighting for when the days get shorter.
  4. Shop what you have on hand, take inventory before buying a single thing.  Keep in mind how long you’ll use the item versus the cost too.
  5. Keep things neutral, meaning not too trendy, not too holiday-specific.  This concept will save you money and time by not changing things out too often, i.e., Halloween and Thanksgiving.

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