Fall Decorating: Layering On Halloween Decorations

Little time for fall decorating? Lifestyle and home furnishings designer Tracy Porter shows you how to liven up your interior and exterior spaces with quick and easy Halloween decoration ideas (that are just as fresh and festive on Thanksgiving Day as they are in early October).

Have you developed a passion for fall and holiday decorating? You're not alone. Everyone seems to be catching the bug. If you're like my friends and family when they first started out, you may not know exactly what to buy, where to shop or what to do with the accessories you buy. That's why I've developed this holiday decorating strategy that will help you decorate like a seasoned pro—no matter what your skill level—and create arrangements and vignettes that you can refresh as the seasons change.

Getting Started: Gathering Natural Fall Decorations

Two words always come to mind when I decorate: transition and layers. These concepts save time and money. Let's face it, we're all busy and don't have the energy to create fall and Halloween decorations from scratch. The goal here is to decorate for fall, transition from fall to Halloween, and then take your arrangements one step further into Thanksgiving. The transitions are achieved by adding and eliminating various layers and making the most of the pieces you've invested in.

So where do we begin? There is one place I always turn to for the world's best fall decorations—the outdoors. Whether you live in the country or the city, natural and beautiful objects abound (for you city dwellers, think local parks and farmers' markets). Here are a few essentials you will need to create fabulous and relatively easy holiday displays:

Branches: Try to find really interesting shapes and textures (some plain, some with berries, some from evergreens) that will be great for creating various vignettes.
Leaves: Autumn provides the most beautiful colors. Bring them into your home and tuck into displays.
Pinecones: These are perfect for fall and can be kept out well into winter!
Gourds: Pumpkins in various sizes, including the minis, aren't just for carving--they make easy indoor and outdoor decorations.

And don't stop at these suggestions. Check out your local famers' market for Indian corn or any other natural, spirited goodies.

The Next Step: Choosing Fall Decorating "Investment" Pieces

Once you've had a chance to get out and collect your natural items, pay a visit to your local craft store, super-center or garden center. These treasure troves feature fairly inexpensive fall and Halloween decorations and are certain to delight your imagination! Here are a few things to be on the lookout for:

Pumpkins: Most craft stores offer some type of ceramic or papier-mâché pumpkin—these are great to have in the mix as they can be recycled year after year.
Wheat Sheaves: Great for framing holiday scenes
Moss: This is an absolute essential! It adds an extra layer of nature to each display, and again, is reusable.
Beaded Fruit: I love the warm and luscious look beaded decor adds to a display.
Wreaths: No need to waste your time creating one from scratch. Just pick up a couple of these beauties and add your own layer to them by tucking in leaves, berries, pinecones, ornaments—anything goes!
Garland: Again, no need to make your own, simply pick up a couple garland strands and tuck in little lovelies along the way—a perfect transition piece.
Vessels: These are perhaps the most important items, so start a collection! Stock up on various textures, from woven baskets and glass cloches to great metal pots with interesting finishes. You will use them all and often throughout the year.
Candles: Next to vessels, these are essential items to stock up on; they add a delicious layer of warmth to any decoration.
Topiaries: Real or fake, they're perfect for transitioning through the seasons, whether they are pines, evergreens or herbs!

Pulling Together Your Fall and Halloween Decorations: A Tour of Tracy's Holiday Home

Now that you have your lists of essentials, have fun! I've created some fun displays to spark your creativity. Although my vignettes are great to draw inspiration from, I really encourage you to go with your gut. Your holiday personality (like your clothing personality) will change from year to year. But by having the basics covered and adding and subtracting layers, you are able to move and groove in any direction. You can go as "novelty" as you want with Halloween decorations—just think of it as another layer. I tend to add a twist to the basics; my boys simply love it when I add in layers of cobwebs.

Feel free to take your fall decorating to any extreme you wish, whether you create your own haunted mansion filled with Halloween decorations, or are perfectly satisfied with one ornamental shelf (or two, or four!).

For further fall decorating and shopping ideas, please visit TracyPorter.com.

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