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Favorite Fall Icons Old-fashioned Delights
Favorite Fall Icons

10 Natural Motifs that Signify the Season

A time for harvesting and gathering nature's bounty, fall provides an abundance of material that can be used to decorate your home. Here are our top 10 fall classics, from or inspired by the great outdoors:

1. An Apple a Day

Whether you're spending an afternoon picking a bushel at the local orchard or bobbing for one at a Halloween party, apples are an essential part of fall festivities. They also make for a perfect decorating element. Fresh from the farmstand, they can become part of wreaths, garlands, floral arrangements and more, like these hollowed-out apples fitted with glass votive holders and candles. A grouping of these little gems is sure to add a lovely glow to your fall table.

Photographed and styled by Matthew Mead. This creative idea and others were featured in the article "Apple Dandies" in our September 2017 issue.

An Apple a Day

2. Forest Friends

As woodland creatures ready themselves for hibernation or seek warm spots for wintering, they are out in abundance, gathering food. While the real thing might not be welcome indoors, winsome renderings of field mice, squirrels, foxes and other country critters add a bit of charm to fall decor, as do these fabric fellows, who are paired with a galvanized pail brimming with dried pumpkin seeds.

Forest Friends

3. Standout Sunflowers

Symbols of faith and loyalty, golden-petaled sunflowers are North American natives whose function as a food source is rivaled by their cheerful countenance. Starting in late summer and extending into fall, these bright beauties are the perfect pick-me-up for your home, in arrangements such as the twig wreath twined with leaf garland, ribbon and sunflower blooms that adorns this butter churn.

Standout Sunflowers

4. Owl Be Seeing You

Sometimes spooky and sometimes sweet, owls are a popular bird during the fall months, when they can be part of Halloween vignettes or, like these calico owls, join a woodsy display created by inserting branches into a terra-cotta pot filled with floral foam and accented with moss and faux foliage.

Owl Be Seeing You

5. Golden Grain

Throughout the Midwest, especially, amber waves of wheat undulate in fields ready for harvest. Gather some into sheaves to fill crocks or baskets or tie them into bountiful bouquets with strips of colorful fabric or ribbon. Use one to festoon a door or several to decorate your staircase banisters.

Golden Grain

6. Bittersweet Memories

With its clusters of bright orange berries and gnarled branches, bittersweet vine is perfect for making fall wreaths, tucking into a basket or bucket or twining around a mantel, shelf or even a tabletop display, like the one shown here. If it doesn't grow near you, you can order it online or pick up a length of faux vine at the crafts store.

Photographed by Bill Mathews and styled by Pilar Simon. This home was featured in the article "To Preserve and Protect" in our September 2017 issue.

Bittersweet Memories

7. Corny Notions

Colorful and durable, Indian corn is also known as flint corn because of its hard kernels. With a variety of harvest hues, this long-lasting decoration is a staple in autumn arrangements, such as this bundle of ears displayed vertically in a weathered urn. Crumpled newspaper in the urn acts as a stabilizer and is hidden beneath a layer of in-the-shell nuts.

Photographed and styled by Matthew Mead. This display was featured in the article "Fresh Fall Touches" in our September 2016 issue.

Corny Notions

8. Rakish Leaves

Nature puts on quite a color show this time of year as the leaves change from green to a riot of reds and golds. Preserved leaves allow you to embellish your home with the peak colors of the season long after the last leaf has dropped from the trees outside. Here, preserved leaves are clipped to a wire basket pendant light with mini clothespins to give the fixture a cozy glow.

This project was featured in the article "Nature-Made Accents" in the 2016 issue of Country Sampler's Autumn Decorating.

Rakish Leaves

9. Gorgeous Gourds

Ornamental gourds come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes and textures, making them perfect for bountiful arrays spilling from baskets, bowls, boxes and more or to use on mantels or shelves in between collectibles. For table settings, you might hollow one out to make an instant bowl, or, as shown here, to use as a base for a glass hurricane candle shade.

Gorgeous Gourds

10. Great Pumpkins

Traditional pumpkins are most often found in shades of orange, but newer varieties on the market include those that are green, yellow, red, white, tan or even blue. You can also paint the fall fruit any color you like to complement your decor. Here, white pumpkins coordinate with a display of snowy mums in whitewashed buckets.

Great Pumpkins

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