Holiday How-To: Upgrade Your Fall Decor with Advice from Local Experts

Interior designers share their tips on creating easy, elegant décor that will take you from Halloween through Thanksgiving.

photo courtesy Susan Muschweck 

The leaves in the Pittsburgh area finally are changing, which means it’s also a great time to think about switching up your décor to make it more fall-worthy.

From adding pumpkins to your entryway to perfecting your dining room décor, these tips from local interior designers make decorating for fall as easy as pumpkin pie, and they should last you from Halloween through Thanksgiving.

photo courtesy Susan Muschweck 

Fabulous Front Entryways

No fan of what she calls “over-the-top decorating,” Pine Township-based interior designer Susan Muschweck prefers a minimalist seasonal décor that incorporates organic and available materials.

“My teenagers work at Shenot’s Farm Market in Wexford, and I’m always checking in to see what they grow each season and incorporate it into a front entrance design,” she says.

With that in mind, Muschweck loads up on pumpkins and gourds and adds a few fun Halloween decorations. Once trick-or-treating is over, she removes the Halloween items and lets the rest of the décor scheme carry over into Thanksgiving.

“Come December, I switch out the pumpkins for small evergreens and a large Santa that my grown children love,” she says.

photo courtesy Carrie Lehmann

Carrie Lehmann, owner of CL Interiors in Sewickley, recommends mixing textures and heights in your fall décor to give it interest and symmetry. For example, a tall scarecrow could be placed next to low pumpkin. Or, add two lanterns of varying sizes to your entryway.

“Try combining a smooth pumpkin with the roughness of hay and three-dimensional objects like Indian corn,” she says.

Another one of Lehmann’s favorite items to add into the mix is an upbeat sign printed with “Harvest,” “Happy Fall Y’all” or, because this is Pittsburgh, “Happy Fall, Yinz.”

photo courtesy Susan Muschweck 

Mums the Word

Muschweck says she’s a sucker for the colorful, hardy mums that pop up in September and can last for several months.

“Combining the mums with hardy Boston ferns and fall pumpkins creates a magnificent display that carries you over until the end of November,” she says.

Although there’s a variety out there, Lehmann recommends sticking to no more than three colors of mums. Plant them in the ground so they come back year after year, or display them in an elevated planter.

“Yellow pops, but the muted purple gives a nice subtle addition to your front yard or table scape,” she says.

photo courtesy of Splurge 

Light It Up

Your outdoor decorations don’t need to stop at sunset, according to Lehmann. She recommends adding a lighted ceramic pumpkin to your décor or erecting a lit sign with trendy vintage marquee letters.

Muschweck also loves utilizing tiny white lights and incorporates them into her landscape year round.

“I keep them on timers and illuminate different zones at different times of the year,” she says. “My deck is always lit from sundown to midnight and, come fall, I illuminate the front shrubs quietly. It’s a beautiful, low-light glow that gives your home the much-needed, soft light.”  

photo courtesy of Carrie Lehmann 

Tables and Beyond

When it comes to fall décor, Lehmann suggests picking a coordinated color palette that combines neutrals in shades of brown, cream and oranges. Kick it up a notch by adding purples, greens and yellows.

For the table, she prefers a table runner with texture. To make it a standout, place three to five decorative items — think gourds in a basket, mini-pumpkins or a twine pumpkin with ribbon — to the runner.

“But keep it simple,” she warns. “Too many objects can become fussy and create clutter.”

photo courtesy of Splurge 

At Splurge in Fox Chapel, boutique owner Kym Pelcher carries glam, feather-accented velvet pumpkins (pricing starts at $14) that look good strewn pretty much anywhere in the house. To give your trick-or-treater a little fun, and a touch of glamour, try Splurge’s hot pink “I Want Candy” treat bag ($10).

photo courtesy of Splurge 

To add an unexpected pop to your fall decor, Pelcher suggests adding strings of crystal beads and drops or pearls to wreaths and pumpkins.


Categories: Nest