Outside thinking

This time of year, there are plenty of ways to bring fall colors inside

There is something about autumn that makes us want to capture the brilliant fall colors and bring them indoors.

“This year, I’ve noticed that our customers have been anxious for fall to get here,” says Nanci Williamson, manager of Stanek’s Nursery, Gifts and Floral. “Instead of traveling, they have been fixing up their homes so their families have an inviting place to be together.”

“People know winter is coming and they want to make their nest indoors,” adds DeAnne Wilfong, customer service associate at Stanek’s. “They are looking for ideas of what they can do so they can still be surrounded with the beauty they see outdoors.”

Now that fall is here, what can we do to brighten up our homes without throwing the budget out the window? Plenty, according to local home décor experts.

According to Williamson, the place to start is to “go back to the old standbys. Get some pumpkins, a shock of corn and a big pot of mums for your porch. Pots of plants that feature bright fall colors – pansies, kale and mums – will last right up to Thanksgiving.”

She also says this is a great time of year to use candles indoors to add color.

At Mel’s Nursery Floral and Gifts, office manager Stephanie Welch has a wealth of good ideas for changing your home décor for the season.

“Adding new touches to a room doesn’t have to cost a lot,” she explains. “Colorful accent pillows, placemats, candles or an afghan can give a warm and cozy feel to a room. Even doing something as simple as changing a lampshade can reinvent the room.”

Welch also suggests making the kitchen or dining room table more of an accent instead of just being utilitarian.

“Filling a colorful vase with Indian corn or fall leaves can give the table a whole new look,” she says. “Or bring in the last of those fall-blooming flowers so you can enjoy them before winter gets here.”

JoAnn Fabrics sells baskets, fall floral arrangements and wreaths as well as faux pumpkins, gourds and leaves. Their clay flower pots or copper window boxes and pots would work well for making decorative arrangements.

Those with sewing skills can purchase fabrics in bright fall colors and make attractive table runners or placemats to dress up their tables.

At Michael’s Arts and Crafts stores, shoppers can find attractive silk sunflowers and hydrangeas in fall colors like burgundy, pumpkin, gold and olive green. They sell pre-made and custom fall arrangements, although one can find plenty of inspiration and supplies for creating homemade fall decorations.

Karen Garvin, a floral design specialist at Michael’s, has plenty of economical ideas to share.

“Buy a straw bale at a feed store and stick in scarecrows of varying heights,” she says. “I use artificial pumpkins to keep the deer from eating the displays at my home.

“Then I add a welcome sign and some lights that are controlled by a timer. All of this is pretty inexpensive but can make a nice impression on visitors.”

Garvin suggests going to a thrift store for supplies: “Buy an old, beat-up chair and put a fall arrangement in the chair seat. In the summertime, you can set a real plant in the seat.”

She also recommends hanging up a garden rake from which fall decorations can be hung. Wheelbarrows can hold decorative items as well.

JoAnn Fabrics and Michael’s carry an assortment of ribbons in bright fall colors that can be used to dress up floral or decorative displays.

To make simple centerpieces, use real or faux pumpkins or gourds. Just add some candles and fall foliage and you’ve got a winning accent.

Another option is to head up to the Green Bluff farming community to buy fall produce that can be used in decorations.

A basket of apples or pears can make an eye-catching display on the table. Pumpkins, gourds and winter squash provide a lot of color both indoors and out.

During fall yard clean-up, set aside some pruned branches to use as a foundation for a festive display. Ribbon or sheer fabrics and lights can be woven throughout the branches. Consider pressing fall leaves to use for decorative accents as well.

A whiz at floral design, Maralee Karwoski is especially creative this time of year to dress up her home, both inside and out.

“I recently made several fall wreaths, using inexpensive straw wreaths and fall silk florals that were on sale at JoAnn’s,” she says. “With the help of my trusty glue gun, a few greening pins and some ribbon remnants, it was super easy and cheap to make four in an evening.”

She’s also on the lookout for some small pumpkins. “I plan to hollow them out and plop a 4-inch mum or ornamental pepper into each one for table centerpieces,” she says.

It’s easy to see that with a little creativity, one can add a festive touch to the home while staying within the budget.

Susan Mulvihill can be reached via e-mail at inthegarden@live.com.

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