When the leaves start to fly, our hearts and minds turn to the same thing: Something warm, something cozy, something close to home. We suddenly see the white, blue and pink of summer as being a little too light. The eye is drawn toward things that are heavier, darker, and invoke a sense of warmth. So it is with the colors of fall — we tend to look for things that reflect what we see outside the window. Deep reds, chestnut hues, rich golds, and even a vibrant orange are all welcome in our homes after the first frost hits.
Now is the time to take inspiration from the world around you and make your home a comfortable, cozy place perfect for hiding away from the winter winds.
Look to the leaves
If you want to see a gorgeous palette that is ever-changing, take a look at the leaves cascading down from the trees this time of year. Some fall while still a vivid green, but most will change colors long before they tear loose from their moorings. A look into the forest will reveal leaves of every red, yellow and brown imaginable. Every now and then there will be a vibrant pop of color — a vine that has turned crimson red, or a smattering of leaves that are the brightest yellow. Even though these pops of color draw the eye because they look out of place, the truth is that they complement everything around them.
You can do the same thing with your home decor. If the focal point of your living room is a fine leather couch in buttery brown, consider a burst of bright red or intense yellow — a throw pillow or a blanket slung over the back will do. Soften the entire room with other shades of brown, from the deepest mahogany in an area rug to the lightest tan lampshades. An occasional green here and there, such as a set of green pillar candles burning away on the hearth, will bring the outdoors in.
Stroll through the farmer’s market
Leaves are not the only game for fall — the farmer’s market has an intense variety of fall colors just ripe for the picking. Squash, the quintessential food of fall, comes in a huge variety of colors. There are gentle creams, butternut orange, and striped veggies that partake of greens, browns, yellows and even blues.
Potatoes aren’t just a dull brown, but can also be found in purple, blue, red, and maroon. Even late-season cabbages and broccoli bring in the pop of green throughout the stands. Apples are another gorgeous way to find inspiration for fall colors. From bright, almost cherry red to deep yellows and greens, as well as the striped and mottled varieties, a bowl of apples on the table can serve as inspiration for the rest of the house.
Start with your focal point — such as a butternut couch in rich leather, or a red fabric that draws the eye. Look for something green to put on the floor, such as a rich shag carpet. Not only does it echo the impression of a rich green garden, the thick pile also has the cozy feeling that is so necessary during the cool fall days. Look for quilts that contain all the colors of the squash bin, and seek out oil lamps in shades of deep blue. Both of these things do double-duty if you lose power in the coming months.
Consider the fireplace
If there is anything that heralds the true approach of winter, is is the first fire built in the fireplace. This seasonal event brings with it a calming, soothing palette all its own. There is the color of stone or brick, anything from a deep black to a lighter gray or even a strong, solid red. The wood is in shades of gray and brown, while the fire itself is a dancing testament to orange, red and yellow.
It’s easy to carry those colors over into the rest of the house. Even though black or gray sometimes seems a little cool or even cold, dressing it up with all the colors of the fire can make it seem much more inviting. Black furniture can be softened with red tablecloths, yellow throw rugs and orange curtains. Go for colors that are plump, scrumptious and rich, so as to compete with the black and brown of sturdy furniture.
Don’t forget to invest in a gorgeous, thick rug that can be placed in front of the fire (but a safe distance away, of course!). Then mix up some hot chocolate, pour it into thick stoneware mugs, and cuddle up with those colorful quilts while you settle down in front of the fire to welcome the cold winter’s night.