Mother Nature is a crafter at heart. I imagine her motto might be “simple elegance.” As home decorators, we can take our cues from her by replicating her outdoor canvas. And just like Ma Nature, we can group fruits, flowers, branches or even fallen leaves indoors and around the house – or isolate them for extra emphasis. The best part is you really don’t have to go far to find what you need – just head outside your door.

Fall okra swag

Add some dried okra pods and orange slices to a fall swag for a stunning entry decoration.

Photo Credit: Megan Bame

Pumpkin entryway

Who said pumpkins need faces? Extend the pumpkin season by decorating them in a more holiday-neutral way.

Photo Credit: Megan Bame

Gourds on table

Miniature gourds are inexpensive and can be displayed on their own or dressed up with a few tucked-in flowers and oat stems for more interest.

Photo Credit: Megan Bame


Camouflage boring mum pots with a few branches from a magnolia or other thick-leaved evergreen.

Photo Credit: Megan Bame

Your edible garden may have been bountiful through summer, but come fall, the bounty shifts to beauty. Okra, once green on the stalk, dries to a dull gray, revealing cream stripes as the pods begin to split. Bundled together, then accented with flowers, ribbon or fruit, these prized Southern veggies make an attractive, rustic spray.

Miniature gourds are novelty garden items that are grown primarily for their decorative quality. The bright, sometimes mixed colors, knobby shapes and multiple uses make these a Thanksgiving favorite. With all the food that traditionally graces the table, the centerpiece should be colorful enough to make an impact but compact enough so it’s not in the way. A pedestal or tall vase can help elevate your “gourd-eous” centerpiece so it doesn’t get lost among the feast.

Another ideal table or buffet decoration is the cornucopia or horn of plenty. The legend, from Greek mythology, states that the possessor of the goat’s horn (gifted by Zeus to Amalthea) was granted whatever he or she wished for. The horn was originally illustrated filled with fruits and flowers, which is essentially the same as how it’s used today, though the horn itself is now a horn-shaped basket. Simply fill it so it’s overflowing with apples, oranges, grapes, bananas, pears, nuts, wheat stalks, colorful leaves or chrysanthemum sprigs. (And of course you can feast on the fruits once the centerpiece has served its duty!)

Don’t forget to decorate your entryway, too. Pumpkins are wonderful, colorful choices for October into November. While a pile of pumpkins might offer interest on its own, a little embellishment goes a long way toward creating a fun, yet sophisticated, display. Paint family monograms on them and tie some raffia around each stem for a quick and easy project.

And while mums are a great choice for a punch of color as the season transitions, the nursery pot is often overlooked – and can detract from a visual display. Instead of using a shiny or printed pot wrap, try masking the pots with a grouping of magnolia branches to bulk up your display, or set the pots down in a peck or bushel basket. Hay and pumpkins can work nicely as well.

Using nature to help welcome the change in season is as easy as it is beautiful. However you choose to decorate, make fall a festive occasion – and not one that’s just filled with things, but filled with thanks, too, especially as we move toward the holidays.