Decorate with Crafts

Come Sit for a Spell

The Country Sampler stylists turn a small home's cozy living spaces into enchanting autumn retreats that invite visitors and homeowners alike to relax and revel in the season's splendor.

0910wDWC00Despite measuring only a modest 1,000 square feet, every inch of Sue and Alan Dieter's West Chicago, Illinois, home exudes classic country character. The 100-year-old, one-bedroom home serves as a part-time residence for the couple, who also have a year-round home in Rhinelander, Wisconsin; regardless of its size and limited use, however, Sue makes sure that her preference for timeworn style gets front-and-center attention from floor to ceiling. "We married young and just took everybody's hand-me-downs and 'whatevers,'" Sue says of her look's origins. "We loved great deals and fixing things, and we never really got out of that mode. We just made it work!"

For a fresh perspective on bringing full-time fall style into her part-time home, Sue invited Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker to give her some new decorating ideas for her favorite time of year. Enhancing Sue's country look (and even acknowledging her aversion to the color orange), Sally-Jo and Catherine introduced some thoughtfully displayed autumn accessories that usher the living spaces into the season. "It doesn't matter what size your room is," Sally-Jo says. "Just position your fall accents purposefully, and you'll make a big impact in no time!"

0910wDWC01Small Wonder
1. Be a gingerbread fan. 
To create a low-cost delineation between the petite sitting room and the hallway to the bedroom and the bathroom, Sue added bits of gingerbread trim to a $29 discount-store screen door. As a fall add-on, the stylists highlighted the ornate piece with a berried wreath on a candle-accented hanger.
2. Stack up. 
Adjacent to the screen door, a black wall cabinet opens to reveal two stacks of colorful gourds. "Choose your gourd colors to complement other accents, such as framed autumn artwork or a braided rug," Catherine advises.
3. Give things a boost.
  Propped up on a wood stool for better visibility, a pair of crow-themed boxes continues the stacking theme utilized above.
4. Let it sink in.
"We drew attention to Sue's beautiful dry sink by crowning it with a simple gathered window treatment," Sally-Jo says. "We also placed a single pumpkin in the sink and rested a bronze vessel overflowing with grasses, marigolds, coleus and sweet potato vine on the top for color." Nearby, a leaf garland dresses up a floor lamp, and tiny apples arranged around the base of a triple candleholder serve as a seasonal substitute for potpourri.
5. Weave in some texture.  An inexpensive and easy way to bring dimension to a display, burlap introduces coarse texture beneath the candleholder and a small cream-colored clock; a ribbon-like length of the fabric also disguises the chandelier chain.

0910wDWC02Cooped Up
6. Reinvent the wheel -- or the coop.
  Sue's innovative chicken-coop coffee table provided the stylists with the perfect spot to showcase orange and green pumpkins that amp up the living room's harvest style.
7. Cage your interest.  More cage-like containers -- a wire pumpkin holding a matching candle and a metal planter cradling a mum-filled pumpkin -- complement the chicken coop.
8. Aim high.
  Consider playing with the placement of your drapery tiebacks, as Sue did with her blue gingham curtains. By gathering the drapes with tiebacks attached to the window's upper corners, she created an opening above the white cafe panels where the stylists could suspend a metal star.
9. Bare it all.  Not only does Sue mix up her window treatments with both long and short curtains, she also has bare rods installed in the trimwork that she can adorn with pretty ornaments or seasonal garlands.
10. Hang around.  Sally-Jo and Catherine used one of the curtain rods to hold a repurposed vintage water bag filled with some fall fare. "We found the water bag at a flea market and tucked plants into the top," Catherine explains. "We just nestled the pots inside the top and left the bag empty because we didn't want the extra weight. But, if the bag is hung on a sturdy hook, feel free to fill it up and place flower stems directly in the water."
11. Get graphic. 
In addition to the retro imagery on the water bag, the stylists also brought in a pair of framed prints with country and fall themes. "You don't have to change all your artwork to reflect the season," Sally-Jo says. "It can be fun to pair an everyday piece with a more festive one."
12. Call on color. 
Because Sue prefers to minimize the presence of orange in her rooms (except when it comes to pumpkins), Sally-Jo and Catherine chose to accent her decor with items in other fall-appropriate hues, such as a bright green candle on the end table, a barn red coverlet and pillows that match the plaid couch, and a rust-toned berry wreath hung on the window at right.

0910wDWC03Comfort Zone
13. Get in line.
  To draw attention to the stone fireplace in the living room, the stylists arranged three different yet cohesive groupings on the mantel. Red, black and natural square bowls provide gathering spots for distinctive decor, including a star-accented pitcher, resin pumpkins, hedgeapples and colorful perennials.
14. Grasp at straw.  "Straw and wheat stalks are must-have additions to any autumn scene," Catherine says. "On the mantel, we added a bundle of wheat for texture and to coordinate with the burlap runner."
15. Leaf it be.
  Another fall staple, leaves in the wreath on the mirror over the mantel and a leaf-shaped dish on a footstool strike a seasonal note.
16. Think small. 
Pair up a comfy armchair with a petite just-for-show version cradling an autumn add-on, such as a pumpkin-shaped pillow. Behind the mini make-do chair here, the stylists propped up Sue's small broom for some witchy wow-factor.
17. Pack a punch. 
If your room needs a little extra primitive pizzazz, place an appliqued pillow on the armchair, light up a dim spot with a clip-on grubby candle, attach a sign to the hearth, or position a decorative plate on a shelf or the mantel.

For more information, visit our Craft Fair online.

Pumpkin-and-berry wreath with candleholder and candle, Smicksburg Drying Shed
Wool "Autumn Harvest" picture and triple hogscraper candleholder, Country Village Shoppe
Bakersfield wall cupboard, The Country Cupboard
Primitive prairie curtains, Country Prim & Folksy
Crow stacking boxes, Saltbox Primitives
Wood clock, A Country Shop
Braided rug, Colonial Braided Rug Company

Metal hanging star with candle, Toadally Country
"Fall Gathering" framed print, Summer Snow
"Pumpkin Sticks and Pumpkins" framed print, The Country Nest
Bittersweet wreath, Piper Classics
Coverlet and two pillows, Olde Farm Creek
Large rusty pumpkin, Carnation Candles
Pumpkin tealight and decorative wood plate, Homespun Productions
Green votive candle, Montag Fine Candle Company
Mason jar wax warmer lamp, Beth's Country Primitive Home Decor

Reversible window and primitive wreath, SA Shutter Mill
Cream and black star pitcher, Plum Creek Primitives
Square bowl set, Country Prim & Folksy
Resin pumpkins and antique metal star book light, Country Village Shoppe
Wheat stalk, Olde Farm Creek
"Harvest Time" sign, North Country
Primitive make-do chair, Toadally Country
Stuffed pumpkin, Auntie Em's
Ceramic leaf, Annie Kay & Company
Black pineapple appliqued pillow, Lake Erie Gifts & Decor

Two small gourds on top shelf of wall cupboard, Factory Direct Craft Supply, Inc., 800-252-5223,
Green gourd in wall cupboard, Furniture Gourmet, 877-641-3279,

Written by Elizabeth Preston Morrissey
Photographed by Maurice Victoria
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad & Catherine Parker
Produced by Dennis Morgan