It's that time of year when you want your home to feel cozy, and what better way than to introduce fall color schemes to send your coziness levels off the charts?
For color lovers, ‘tis the season to embrace the bold, the dark and the vibrant – base your fall decor ideas around the natural world and you can’t go wrong.
As the leaves turn from green to fiery oranges, yellows and reds, and the harvesting on autumnal vegetables increases our appreciation for earthy browns and inky purples, it’s time to get down and dirty with our palettes.
However, don't think that fall color schemes are only for fall. As these rooms demonstrate, they can work all year round, creating a home that has that welcoming essence of fall right through to summer.
Fall color schemes
While a glance at your outdoor fall decor ideas and the natural surroundings that inspired them will likely serve you with ample chromatic inspiration, we’ve gathered some stunning ideas on how to integrate fall color schemes into your home, and asked the experts to highlight their favorite hues and combinations to help you get it right.
1. Amber glass lighting will add a subtle glow
You can really amplify fall color schemes, and even more neutral room ideas, with lighting, whether with warm-colored bulbs or shades.
'Fall hued lighting such as Amber and Sargasso are always popular colors at this time of year. In the form of our handblown glass lighting it has a real warmth and sunshine appeal when illuminated which is perfect for the winter months when daylight takes on a more stark cold tone,' says Vicki Rothschild, co-founder, Rothschild & Bickers (opens in new tab).
'This colored lighting has a very positive, uplifting feel to it – improving your mood without you even realizing it which we all need when the weather outside is drab. We mostly see our richer and golden shades of lighting used in a lot in bedrooms and hallways to add a welcoming warmth and they also works really well against darker colors to create a moody and cozy space.'
2. Use pink as an alternative to classic fall shades
'This little room plays with patterns, a feeling of the fall harvest comes to mind as a luxurious rug grounds the floral couch which links the bedroom and the drawing room together. The soft and delicate Nina Campbell fabric on the walls provides movement and depth,' says Kit Kemp, founder and creative director of Firmdale Hotels (opens in new tab) and Kit Kemp Design (opens in new tab).
3. Eggplant is a fabulous fall shade to consider
'So many of us have become more color confident that this fall is the time to take the plunge and redecorate at least one room in a rich color. My favorite way to achieve this is to go bold. For the ultimate statement, create an ultra-luxe, all-encompassing, floor to ceiling finish in one color, such as a lustrous, deep shade burgundy,' says Helen Shaw, UK director at Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab).
4. Layer coffee tones to create a cozy feel
'Layered tonal colors and texture help to create a cocooning and comforting interior this fall. A breadth of coffee colors from latte to expresso provides an idyllic neutral base to coordinate with complementary seasonal shades,' says Jane Nicholson, co-founder at House of Dome (opens in new tab).
'To add warmth, experiment with tactile accessories, choose cushions in shades of deep mustard, rich russet and berry. Consider incorporating metals within your interior scheme, copper, brass and stainless steel add a touch of opulence and delicately reflect light, perfect for dark candle-lit winter evenings.'
5. Add a green stripe ruffle drape to a gray scheme
'We can't resist a ruffle, and when teamed with a practical door drape to keep the drafts out, it's a must-have buy for fall. A green accent with a pop of red in an existing gray living room will give it a lift as we approach the cooler winter months,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens.
6. Monochromatic with russet and sage
Fall bedding trends come and go, but what don't change are fall color schemes.
'Warm colors such as russet reds, pumpkin orange, mossy green and soft browns have long been associated with the fall season. Introducing colors that are found in nature at this time of year is the perfect way to bring the outside in during the autumnal months.
'Metal elements such as brass accessories and light fittings look great with warm colors and will add a sense of luxury to any room,' says Marketa Rypacek, managing director at Industville (opens in new tab).
7. Connect to nature with muted tones
‘A palette of muted tones is the perfect way to bring a cozy feel in cooler months, and rich earthly shades offer an instant connection to nature, creating an ambience that is calming and tranquil,' says Stefan Ormenisan, creative director of MindTheGap (opens in new tab).
'Opting for a more refined palette such as this, is also an excellent way to easily introduce a mix of patterns, where the muted colors act as a unifier for a mix of differing scales and motifs. It is also an easy palette to update, simply by adding a pop of color with a brightly colored cushion or throw.'
8. Add a pop of coral to change up to fall
'Beige has a reputation for being safe and boring, but we reckon that’s a bit unfair. it’s warmer than white and works beautifully with rustic or wooden pieces. Here beige is accentuated by coral and walnut shades plus there’s plenty of pattern to amuse the eye without being overwhelming,' says Natascha Dartnall, founder and director of ND Studios (opens in new tab).
9. Choose nature inspired prints
'To me color and texture are so important to get right when creating a welcoming and warm home environment. Investing well in good quality fabric for curtains will help to keep the house warm as the nights draw in whilst also creating a cozy interior.
'I’m constantly inspired by nature and I see my walks through the countryside as a perfect opportunity to soak up the colours of fall. To me, my Strawberry print – a rambling pattern of wild strawberries, stands for tradition, nostalgia and British charm. I love the delicate fall shades of rust and copper especially when pared with a rich yellow ochre,' says Molly Mahon, founder of Molly Mahon (opens in new tab).
10. Mix prints with plains for an eclectic feel
Mixing patterns and prints in interior design is key to creating a scheme that looks rich and layered, and is the perfect complement to fall color schemes.
'Plains aren't for everyone and it's easy enough to add some seasonal prints into a scheme as the year progresses. Drapes and couch pillows with prints will lift a space, choose a mixture for an eclectic mix and add in some bold scarlet red for a punch of color,' says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens.
11. Or opt for bright blue with cozy fabrics
Decorating with blue is possible within fall color schemes, if you combine a warm blue with other warm shades, and choose fabrics that are inviting.
'Comforting fabrics such as wool and velvet are perfect for updating your interior this fall. Our fabric collection features a wide range of these fabrics in a wide multitude of fall colors inspired by falling leaves and fall foliage.
'For extra coziness, layer up with throws and cushions in contrasting colors to add interest and provide the perfect place to hibernate for the colder months. An unexpected flash of contrasting color, such as the blue in this scheme. adds interest and an eclectic touch,' says Sarah Massouh, founder of Willow & Hall (opens in new tab).
12. Bring the outside in with olive greens
Even as fall brings a bounty of color, we admit that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. ‘Autumn is also a great time to introduce shades of green as the verdant greens of nature start to disappear for winter – there’s no need to wait for spring to see them again,’ says Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Dulux (opens in new tab).
Green living room ideas have been a key trend in interiors in recent months, as the pandemic has had us longing for the great outdoors – and it’s set to continue into the colder months, even as the leaves and your outdoor fall decor change color. To bridge between the season, choose olive – as demonstrated in this room including the Kitty fabric in Spring Green by Linwood (opens in new tab), it can feel fresh in the daylight, but its brown undertones keep it cozy.
‘Olive is the chameleon of the paint palette,’ says artist and color expert Annie Sloan (opens in new tab). ‘It can be a neutral, dropping into the background, or it can be the shining star of a color scheme. It’s warm, earthy, and mutable – a useful color and real hidden gem. It’s a classical shade, but also works as an anchor for a cool 1950s mid-century modern color palette when paired with harvest golds, oranges and pale blues.’
13. Channel fall leaves with burnt orange
If you’ve started scouring the sidewalk for the most vibrant leaves to inspire your fall wreath ideas, don’t let the inspiration stop there. Terracotta decor is a wonderful addition to your fall color schemes.
‘As we have a craving for life beyond the windows, combining shades of nature always works well to help bring the outside in,’ adds Shillingford. ‘Colors that we are used to seeing together naturally on a crisp autumn day such as rich auburns, reds and golds sitting against warm earthy neutrals work beautifully. Toasty hues such as Dulux’s Blood Orange and Rich Earth are perfect for the colder seasons to help bring warmth into a room.’
The undisputed color of fall, using earthy oranges – either in accents or as a wall color like in this example by interior designer Kit Kemp (opens in new tab) – will wrap a cozy layer around any space. ‘Where we put on coats, scarves and gloves, your home needs extra rugs, throws and patterns,’ adds Martin Waller, founder of Andrew Martin (opens in new tab). ‘Burnt oranges and deep red tones in rugs and cushions – think of a scattering of autumnal leaves.’
14. Fire up a scheme with deep reds
Perhaps the ultimate interior indulgence, sumptuous red room ideas are a daring choice, but inarguably enveloping when done right. ‘Deep maple reds from Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)’s Blazer to Preference Red make for the perfect autumnal living room palette,’ says Patrick O’Donnell Brand Ambassador for the paint gurus.
In this example, red takes the reins of the bedroom color ideas, keeping things light enough with white accents and warm neutrals, as well as a complementary yellow ochre stool. ‘Brick reds and rich mustard yellows look beautiful together,’ adds O’Donnell. ‘Use empathetic whites to balance the tones and avoid the room looking too cloying.’
15. Pepper warm neutrals with rich autumnal hues
For people who like their color in small doses, it’s perfectly possible to create an autumnal look with a neutral background. In this example, a cream wall color is paired with natural brown woods with orangey undertones, and accessorized with soft furnishings Mind The Gap (opens in new tab) that sport rusty red, muted blue accents and tons of texture.
‘Muted shades like Pressed Putty and Pebble Shore look beautiful in combination with more rich autumnal hues like ruby, aubergine or forest greens,’ says Shillingford. ‘They quieten down the sharper notes and bring out something much more grown up for spaces like the living room, kitchen and adult bedrooms.’
16. Earth yourself with dark browns
Don't dismiss decorating with brown. As the nights draw in, it’s time to embrace the dark side. In this room with decor and furniture by John Lewis (opens in new tab), shades of dark brown envelope the room, their natural connotations emphasized by the grassy fall table decor ideas.
‘As summer rolls into fall, the natural exterior palette gently shifts to colors of spice and amber that inspire our interior choices,’ says O’Donnell. ‘Mix in earth browns, rich chocolate tones and the softest, most nuanced of whites. Rich browns such as Farrow & Ball’s earthy Broccoli Brown are an elegant yet practical choice.’
17. Choose warmer greys for a cozy neutral scheme
If you’re keen to mirror what’s going on outdoors, then grey always has a place in a fall palette. To make a space feel cozy rather than dreary, pick greys with brown, pink or green undertones for a warming sensation that conjures the natural world.
‘Although grey, with its comforting versatility will still be with us for a while, we don’t see the rushed return to anything gritty urban – or indoors for that matter – anytime soon,’ says Shillingford. ‘Color-wise we are throwing open the doors and windows and inviting every shade of nature in for tea.’
In this example by interior designer Beata Heuman (opens in new tab), grey bedroom ideas are given warmth and texture through the brown-grey woven wallpaper, and are enlivened by orange and green accents in the decor.
18. Bring a little sunshine to unexpected spaces with yellow ochre
If you’re missing the sun already, welcome it back into your home by sprinkling its warmth across rooms of the home where color is often neglected. ‘Warm yellows such as Cane, India Yellow and Sudbury Yellow are a surprisingly delicious choice for kitchen cabinetry,’ says O’Donnell. As well as the kitchen, consider using it to brighten your bathroom color ideas too, like in this example with paint by Annie Sloan.
Temper a sunshine yellow to make it fall-appropriate by adding a hint of brown into the mix. ‘Our wonderfully rich ochre India Yellow is a perfect choice for an interior that echoes the season outside,’ adds O’Donnell. ‘Layer it with strong contrasts for all-year relevance such as darker tones like Down Pipe for a bold counterpoint!’
19. Pair inky colors with muted forest tones
Just because fall signals a newfound passion for fiery hues, that doesn’t mean cooler colors get totally tossed to the wayside. Darker, inky colors can form part of a cocooning scheme, that will feel autumnal if also inclusive of natural ochres.
Among the kitchen color ideas in this scheme by Little Greene (opens in new tab), the Vine wallpaper in blue features muddy greens alongside muted blues, while these brown-greens spill out onto the cabinetry and an aubergine linen tablecloth adds extra depth to this absorbing scheme.
20. Add a hint of pink with copper tones
After years of ‘girly’ stereotyping, pink is slowly making its warming, comforting presence felt in interior design across the home. Along with terracotta, another natural iteration making its mark is copper.
‘Copper is a perfect color for the autumn,’ says Crown (opens in new tab) Color Consultant Kathryn Lloyd. ‘It looks at its most dramatic when used with either very dark colors like bitter chocolate and charcoal where it can glint out of the dark, or light whites and pale greys where it adds areas of shine and warmth. Red and burnt orange are also great partners which work because they are tonal and blend rather than stand out.’
A pink-infused alternative to orange, it also works well with verdant greens, as demonstrated in this wallpaper by Sanderson (opens in new tab). Alternatively, go straight to the source and incorporate metallic copper ornaments into your fall mantel ideas.
21. Layer up with tonal browns
Taking a tonal approach in any scheme will always help the end result feel cohesive and comfortable. When it comes to creating a fall color scheme, using a tonal palette of warm browns will allow you to explore the breadth of the season’s natural offerings.
In this hallway example, a parquet floor in varying tones of warm wood is bolstered by the wallpaper ideas – an all-brown illustration of wandering flamingoes by Arte – and plenty of wooden furniture in similarly orangey hues. Crisp white prevents things from getting muddy, while an olive green velvet is a sympathetic addition in the soft furnishings department.
What are good fall colors?
The best fall colors are the ones that remind you of the natural world during these unique months. This can range from the season’s idyllic aspects to its less bucolic but equally atmospheric characteristics.
The color of falling leaves and plump pumpkins, orange will always be at the center of a fall palette. For a contemporary take, look to burnt oranges, coppers and terracottas. For a wider view on warm colors, head to its complementary hues, red and yellow. To keep both feeling autumnal rather than aggressive, add a little brown and explore ochre shades. Brown itself is a fall staple, and pretty much anything on its tonal spectrum is valid.
Green has been having a big year with everyone craving some time in the great outdoors, so also look for shades of this hue with brown undertones, like olive and sage. Cool colors can also feel autumnal and kept muted, so consider inky blues and aubergine.
What fall color goes with purple?
Decorating with purple is wonderful with fall colors, but which shades to choose? It entirely depends on what purple you are talking about. A rich aubergine can in itself be considered a fall color, its inky yet warm properties and connotations of autumnal vegetables setting it firmly in this transitional season. This means it can be paired with all sorts of fall colors, as well as warm neutrals, for a cozy look. Wondering what color indigo is? It's a greenish blue purple, which means it too is great if you are decorating with orange. Plum and grape colors work well with burnt oranges, and even a pastel lilac will create a pleasing contrast.
Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.
- Sophie Warren-SmithContributing Editor
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