Simple Fall Decorations Add Color and Beauty Indoors and Out

 Decorating for fall is both easy and an invitation to stretch your creativity. You can even get double duty out of your efforts by combining elements in your new Chicago home to add an autumn touch and offer a nod to Halloween.
If you have a mailbox at the end of your driveway, why not turn it into a focal point? Tie some corn stalks together and add a vignette of hay, mums and pumpkins. Besides creating a beautiful scene to welcomes visitors, your display will be a nice diversion for the mail carrier.
Another terrific spot for fall decorations is the planting beds at the front of your house. Create a scene with a scarecrow in a chair; tilt his head to make him look like he’s napping and dot the scene with crows. Layer in apple baskets filled with mums and tuck in colorful pumpkins, goards and squash.
A front porch is a natural setting for fall decorations. Adding a simple table between two rockers or chairs decked out with branches of bright red and orange leaves is simple and fast. Lean an old wooden ladder against a wall and wind vines and swags of fall leaves through the rungs. Pair a large lantern filled with mini pumpkins with glowing jack-o-lanterns.
Dress up the front door in a flash with a swag of vines and autumn leaves. If all your flowers have faded, replace them with stacked pumpkins. Set a twig wreath inside a planter and center pumpkins on top of the wreath. Wrap with vines of dried berries or dried grape vines.
Create a lavish fall display on your mantle. Symmetrical or asymmetrical styles are both attractive above a fireplace. Mix up deeply colored candles, pumpkins and acorns from the yard. As an alternative, pull together an arrangement of large hurricane lanterns filled with acorns or colorful leaves.
In the kitchen, take the quick route by draping cabinets or vent hoods with pre-made fall garlands. Tuck in tiny squashes and ears of Indian corn to add depth and dimension. If you have a large center island, create a mound of pumpkins and squash. Add tall dried branches for vertical interest.
For small fall touches, perch squash and pumpkins on small containers. They’ll look like pedestals, giving your pumpkins both height and prominence. Stick these in the corners of the kitchen or on the living room coffee table, surrounded by ivy studded with berries or other fall foliage.
Don’t forget about simple decorative elements like dried grasses, twigs, hay and branches. Your own back yard is filled with fall beauty and you can pluck whatever you want for free!
This post was originally published in the Chicago Tribune on Oct. 8, 2103.