50 Easy Fall Decorating Projects | Midwest Living
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50 Easy Fall Decorating Projects

Decorate your home inside and outside with gourds, leaves, pumpkins, nuts and other seasonal materials for beautiful fall DIY displays.

Bountiful wheelbarrow

Put together a colorful outdoor fall display using a sturdy wheelbarrow as a base.

Our wheelbarrow overflows with ornamental cabbage and peppers, ornamental grasses, chrysanthemums and other seasonal plants. Fill the wheelbarrow with soil and insert the plants loosely, or tuck containers into the wheelbarrow, making sure to fill in the gaps with more plants.

Crafty gourds

Trade the usual fresh gourds for jewel-tone painted dried ones. Start with dried gourds in varying sizes. (If not available locally, try amishgourds.com.) For crisp lines, apply painter’s tape around the middle of a gourd. Paint half of the gourd with latex wall paint and remove tape when dry. For a drippy effect, pour 14 cup paint into a resealable plastic storage bag. Snip a corner to drizzle paint around the middle of a gourd (like piping frosting). Using a foam brush, carefully extend paint up from the drips, adding additional paint as necessary, to reach one end of the gourd. Pile painted gourds on a mantel or shelf or in decorative bowls.

Cozy glow

Wrap glass votive holders in textural flair. Tie raffia around three or four overlapping moistened corn husks trimmed to fit. A spotted guinea fowl feather (available at crafts stores) adds a flourish. 

Leaf card art

This display is a biology lesson and wall decor in one! Tape leaves to identification cards created with crafts store materials or printed from our free templates below. Then place them along a card-holder tree. 

Color combo

Create an eye-catching fall centerpiece with candles, succulents and fresh flowers—we used dahlias and billy buttons.

Golden glow

Clear glass containers show off both candlelight as well as colorful materials. 

Nestle a candle in popcorn kernels or other seasonal materials, such as candy corn or colored clear round stones (available in crafts stores). If you prefer, use a battery-powered candle for safety.

Natural vases

Gourds and squash come in all shapes and colors and easily become seasonal vases. Cut a hole big enough to accommodate a couple of florist tubes. Insert flower stems for a unique bud vase.

Rope in decor

Replicate a chandelier with leaves instead of lights. Drill a 14-inch hole in each canning jar lid. Pull a separate piece of rope through each hole, then tie a knot under each lid. Place single leaves in jars, and tightly secure lids. Tie rope pieces together and hang from a heavy-duty ceiling hook.

Harvest vases

Add fall flavor to a tabletop or mantel with cylinder vases filled with nuts and wheat. Roll coordinating scrapbooking paper into decorative cuffs that slip inside the vase.

Simple leaves

Highlight the beauty of fall leaves with this display.

Put single leaves, either pressed or fresh, in small glass vases. We used old lab beakers—look for them at antiques stores. Replace leaves as they brown.

Season's bounty

Gourds in a variety of sizes, colors, shapes and textures fill a wooden tray, accented by flowers and berries. 

Autumn votives

Such a simple, but pretty idea: Tie fall leaves around votive holders with string or twine. Use artificial leaves and battery-powered candles for both safety and long-lasting beauty.

Leaf art

Pressed leaves taped to crafting paper make for simple seasonal art. Hang a few rows with removable adhesive strips for high impact above a bed or sofa.

Video: How to make a fall wreath

See how to make a beautiful fall wreath from field corn, gardening wire, gourds, snowberries, cranberries, tiny pumpkins, pine boughts, ribbon and jute.

Orange-and-white centerpiece

White pumpkins encircled by bittersweet vine and set along an orange table runner create a striking table arrangement. 

Monogrammed pumpkins

Create a welcoming fall scene with personalized pumpkins. Etch your monogram into small, medium and large pumpkins, using different fonts and styles. (You can get a similar look with paint if you'd prefer not to etch.) Show off your pumpkins on an old chair or stool.

Bottle display

Show off bittersweet berries in gold, green and clear bottles on a windowsill or shelf. Tiny gourds between the bottles add another shape to the seasonal mix.

Floating display

Clear glass containers highlight the seasonal beauty of smooth pumpkins and frilly flowers in this unusual--and ultra quick--display.

Fill an assortment of glasses with water and float mini pumpkins along with Teddy Bear sunflowers or other autumn blooms.

Hanging vase

A swan gourd makes a natural vase hanging from a front gate or porch railing. Cut a hole near the gourd's neck, then hollow out enough space for fall flowers: mums, black-eyed Susans, Virginia creeper or other favorites.

Creative candleholders

Use repurposed candleholders for easy fall displays of small pumpkins and gourds. Look for inexpensive candleholders in varying heights at a garage sale or antiques store, then spray-paint black for a unified look.

60-Second Video: Fall centerpiece ideas

Highlight the bounties of fall in a simple centerpiece. Gather a few pumpkins, leaves and other natural materials to assemble enchanting tabletop decor

Leafy display

While the trees may be dropping leaves outdoors, you can preserve them inside on this tree -- perfect for an entry display or party centerpiece.

Anchor a branch (we used manzanita from a floral shop) in a decorative pot with floral foam or rocks, then cover the top with moss. Decoupage color copies of gathered leaves onto small cards or hot-glue pressed leaves to cards. Tie to branches with twine or raffia. Add lines of favorite seasonal poems to the back, if you like.

Colorful collection

A papier-mache hatbox, mums and pumpkins create a bright orange centerpiece. Glue fabric and rickrack to the hatbox, and add rickrack or ribbon to pumpkins to get the look shown here. A bowl of candy corn adds a festive touch.

Forest scenes

Create a forest-like scene for a mantel or sideboard with natural materials. Here, we've arranged pinecones of different sizes into vintage molds.

Put large pinecones upright on pine needles or artificial grasses. Use a cinnamon stick or twig to support smaller pinecones and secure with hot glue. Fresh pine needles provide a beautiful grassy base.

Leafy banner

Tissue paper and twigs make a pretty, leafy garland to drape in front of a window. Trace leaf shapes onto heavy cardstock to create templates. Cut out and trace shapes onto colored tissue paper, then cut out the leaves. Glue small twigs on the leaves to look like veins; glue or tape finished leaves onto a thin strip of twine. Hang in a sunny place! 

Mantel of gourds

Use as many gourds as you'd like to create this simple mantel decoration. We mixed two larger hard-shell gourds with smaller soft-shell gourds (and tucked in a squash for good measure). Bittersweet branches and maple leaves provide extra color and texture.

Harvest table

An easy grouping of seasonal items and colors brings autumn to your tabletop.

Orange and white pumpkins plus yellow chrysanthemums in a sunny yellow container create an eye-catching centerpiece. Elevate some of the pumpkins for added flair.

Bountiful wheelbarrow

Put together a colorful outdoor fall display using a sturdy wheelbarrow as a base.

Our wheelbarrow overflows with ornamental cabbage and peppers, ornamental grasses, chrysanthemums and other seasonal plants. Fill the wheelbarrow with soil and insert the plants loosely, or tuck containers into the wheelbarrow, making sure to fill in the gaps with more plants.

Mummy-look

Fashion a spooky tabletop display that starts with easy-to-make plaster-cloth spheres.

Wrap plaster-cloth strips (from a crafts store) around a balloon, following the directions on the plaster-cloth package. Leave open spaces as you wrap. When dry, remove the balloon and use a crafts knife to cut an opening for inserting the light. Place sphere over an orange or white battery-operated votive. Set your spheres on clear glass cake stands or similar displays.

Gourd beauty

Unusual combinations of pedestals and gourds make an easy and novel centerpiece.

White gourds look like miniature sculptures when placed on pieces of old table legs and balusters. Other items to try as pedestals: upside-down bowls, old candlesticks, decorative nesting boxes, Mason jars--use your imagination!

Highlight nature

Create simple but striking arrangements with autumn beauties. Try cattails, ornamental grasses, coneflower seed heads or dried hydrangea blooms.

Set a scene

A stack of pumpkins and gourds in an unusual stone birdbath highlights an autumn scene. Mums, fall leaves and berries add even more color.

Celebrate fall colors

Create this beautiful fall wreath with a variety of materials that reflect autumn's hues: gold, red, orange and brown.

Both your yard and a crafts store should provide a bounty of choices. A mix of fresh and dried materials looks lovely, but a wreath of all dried materials lasts longer.

Lightly soak a 10- or 12-inch ring of Oasis floral foam in water. Group your materials by color to plan each section of the wreath, then insert materials by the stems. We used tree leaves and fresh mums for red and orange bands of color, tree leaves and dried yarrow for gold, and dried oak leaves and pinecones for brown. Hot glue or T-pins help hold materials in place.

Video: How to Make Easy Pumpkin Torcheres

With a handful of garden stakes and some simple hardware, you can transform palm-size pumpkins into a bouquet of magical torches in minutes! 

Staircase decor

Bring waves of grain to your staircase with bundles of ornamental grasses, available fresh at some flower shops and dried at many crafts stores. Bunch one or more types of grasses or wheat and secure with a rubber band. Tie to every other baluster with raffia.

Seasonal letter

Make a leafy monogram to hang on your door for a touch of fall flair. Paint a papier-mache letter and let dry, then hot-glue dried or silk leaves to the layer in letters. Hot-glue a wire loop to the back of the door for hanging. 

Eerie entry

Greet your guests with ghostly gourds this season, cleverly decorating your stoop to show your holiday spirit.

Just a little paint will transform fall produce into eerie apparitions. Start by covering your gourd with acrylic spray varnish. Use acrylic crafts paints to create your design. Finish with another coat of spray varnish.

To hang each gourd, drill a small hole through the top of the neck and thread florist's wire through it. Finish your display with dried vines, bittersweet berries and maybe even an abandoned paper-wasp nest.

A picture of fall

For an easy mantel display, combine brightly colored fall leaves with an empty picture frame.

Hang leaves on S-hooks (used for jewelry making and found at crafts stores) or pin to a ribbon. Put nails in both sides of a colorful frame and suspend the ribbon loosely across the center, tying it to the nails. Add to the display by spreading a branch full of brightly colored berries across the length of the mantel and setting small gourds on top of egg cups.

Lantern glow

This simple arrangement of pumpkins around a lantern adds a stylish, seasonal touch to an entryway. Use a battery-powered candle if the lantern will be unattended.

Sunburst wreath

Mimic a blazing sunburst with this fall wreath. Fold out the husks on ears of Indian corn so they point straight out from the tops. Hot-glue the ears to a straw wreath, and "fluff" the husks to complete the look.

Pumpkin color

Fresh fall branches and Jack-Be-Little pumpkins in the bottom of tall glass vases showcase a pumpkin color scheme. Twine passed through holes drilled in Sweetie Pies lets these smaller pumpkins hang from a chandelier.

Pumpkin lights

Light up the fall evenings with pumpkin candleholders. In the top of a miniature pumkin, carve a small hole wide and deep enough to hold a votive candle. For a rustic look, display your creation in a wire jar holder. 

Walnut photo holder

Give nature photos, family pics or place cards a seasonal lift. Drill a small hole in the top of a walnut. (Pick nuts with flatter bottoms so they stand up easily.) Cut a 6-inch piece of 18-gauge wire. Wrap one end of the wire twice around a wide marker. Remove the marker, and pinch the loops together. Insert the other end into the nut. Slip a photo or card between the loops.

Creative runner

You might have trouble keeping the piles of foliage outside in order, but these leaves march in perfect rows across a table runner.

Use a stencil or rubber stamp and fabric or crafts paint to decorate a plain linen cloth. Follow instructions on the paint container for setting and washing the finished design. The same technique can be used to create other fall linens for your home, such as hand towels or even pillowcases.

Branches and fruits

Snips of fall branches make easy—and inexpensive—arrangements.

Look for interesting shapes with leaves, acorns or berries. Add fruit such as lemons in the base of your container for both color and stability.

Harvest centerpiece

A short branch makes a striking centerpiece for an autumn party.

Weight a pot with stones and fill with florist's foam to secure the branch, then wrap the pot in a drawstring jute bag. Pair the arrangement with flowers and plants in leaf-inspired colors—we used roses, millet, kale, leaves and berries.

Two shades of gold

A wheat wreath reflects your Midwest heritage. Insert dried sheaves into a foam wreath form, then dress up your wreath by slipping the stems of golden maple leaves into the spaces between wheat heads. Use leaves sparingly for the best effect.

Keyed pumpkins

Use antique keys (secured with long straight pins) to create seasonal messages, such as fall or eek, on your pumpkins for an easy DIY fall decoration.

Harvest corn basket

This easy-to-make ornamental corn basket holds all of your fall favorites. Attach 12 to 13 ears of ornamental corn (including husks) to a 6-inch terra-cotta pot, using hot glue. Fill with asters, peppers, safflowers, gourds, pompons, sunflowers, rosehips and maple leaves.

Fall garland

Drape this garland indoors or out. Twist eye hooks into the tops of corn cobs, then string the corn along a piece of sturdy twine, alternating cobs with husks looped over the twine and glued together.

Nature's artistry wreath

Embellish a square store-bought magnolia wreath with color-coordinated real and faux materials, including twigs, seedpods, nuts, berries, wheat and leaves.

Faux fireplace

No fireplace for that cozy fall feel? Fill a large bowl or wire basket with logs. Weave in battery-powered orange twinkle lights and enjoy the glow.

Natural vase

A creatively cut pumpkin "basket" makes an imaginative centerpiece for a fall table.

Cut out two top quarters of the pumpkin, leaving the stem and a narrow strip as the basket "handle." Zigzag the bottom edges, and hollow out the base. Place a block of wet floral foam inside. Position two glass votive holders in the foam and surround with a bevy of fall blooms and leaves.

More fall decorating ideas

Click below for more great fall and Halloween decorating ideas! 

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