From a harvest feast to a cozy coffee on the sofa, fall table decor ideas are the key to making your autumnal hibernation feel as atmospheric as the changing leaves.
Fall decor ideas are all about bringing the outside in, just without the chilly breeze. Incorporating the colors, scents and textures of the natural world as it drifts from green and lush to orange and crisp will make tablescapes small and large feel at one with the seasons.
Be sure your guests get that warm and fuzzy feeling too, with layered linens and candles becoming essentials in the colder months.
Fall table decor ideas
From pine cones to placemats, we’ve found some stunning fall table decor ideas, and asked the experts for their advice on creating the perfect autumnal tablescape.
1. Choose natural materials and colors
When considering color, look to the natural outdoor fall decor for inspiration. ‘When creating a tablescape inspired by autumn, it is important to consider color and texture,’ says interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch. ‘We recommend using napkins in natural materials like linen which reflect autumnal colors such as mossy greens, burnt oranges and even smoky blues.’
In this relaxed table setting, a burnt orange linen throw pulls in colors from the room’s leather armchair and brick fireplace, while a yellow cushion and earthy brown ornaments create a subtle tonal effect with the colors of autumn leaves. ‘Changing up your color scheme can help usher in a new season, without going overboard or too ‘on-theme’’, adds interior designer Cindy Rinfret.
2. Decorate with seasonal foliage
Don’t just leave the leaves to your fall wreath ideas – put them front and center of your table displays too. ‘Seasonal foliage is a perfect and inexpensive option for a table centrepiece,’ says Sims-Hilditch. ‘We love taking inspiration from our natural surroundings and gathering flowers from the garden is the ideal way to celebrate the change of season. It is also a nice way to add elements of warmth and homeliness to what might otherwise have been a slightly stark or more formal setting.’
In this example, seasonal leaves are used as accents on the dining table’s fabric runner, and on the sideboard. ‘You could arrange autumnal flowers as a statement centrepiece on your coffee or dining table, or perhaps split them into a few small vases to create a nice symmetry,’ suggests Sims-Hilditch.
3. Consider scented decor for atmosphere
Moving from the dining room to your living room fall decor, consider making your table displays smell as good as they look. ‘It's about creating an atmosphere,’ says Rinfret. ‘Fall is about the colors and scents – think burnt orange, mossy green, russet, [but also] pine, cinnamon and musk.’
To bring autumnal scents into your display, find natural sources or include some of the best reed diffusers to blend them together. ‘Styling a coffee table is a great opportunity to create seasonal displays which can easily be updated every few months,’ says Sims-Hilditch.
‘A selection of naturally scented diffusers paired with collections of branches, ferns and pine cones help to bring the outside in. The array of pleasing textures and scents target all the senses, bringing to mind a warming autumnal evening and helping to immerse the inhabitants in the aesthetic.’
4. Layer linens for a warming effect
If your cozy fall porch ideas haven’t quite warmed you up enough, ensure your tablescape gets the job done by the time you reach the kitchen table. ‘A tablecloth instantly gives the effect of warmth and homeliness, something which has been so important this last year,’ says interior and tableware designer Birdie Fortescue.
‘Then why not add a co-ordinating printed napkin and placemat? It is the perfect time to follow the trend of subtly mixing patterns.’
Layering up textured and patterned table linens like in this example will give the sensation of being all wrapped up from the cold.
5. Light it up with candles
In the evenings, the fall is the perfect time to bring out your best candles, and let them bring a warming atmosphere to your meals or downtime. ‘For dinners, I would minimise the flowers and add an array of candlesticks in tonal colors, preferably in glass, with colored candles to finish the look,’ says Fortescue.
Looking for farmhouse decor ideas? At this farmhouse dining table, a series of black candles at a range of heights run the length of a low-level, forest floor-inspired display put together from moss, twigs and pine cones.
6. Color match your florals with your linen
When putting together fall color schemes, you’ll want to consider a range of complementary colors. It’s important, however, that individual hues come in pairs at least, so think about color matching your natural displays to your autumnal linens.
‘Napkins and placemats with a shaped edge can be a great way to bring a fun element to a tablescape,’ says Fortescue. ‘Pick out the colors of your linens in the floral arrangements for a cohesive look. Early season dahlias in rich reds and autumnal ochres can look very effective.’
In this example, orange-pink roses pair with the floral seat cushions and napkins, while the purple foliage makes for a deeper pairing with the grey tablecloth.
7. Keep the table bare for a rustic look
For a pared-back approach to dining table decor ideas, ditch the tablecloth altogether. ‘If you have a table with a pretty patina, leave it bare for a twist on a traditional winter setting and build up interest with decorative linens and accessories,’ suggests Fortescue.
This will instantly help create a modern approach to rusticity, as shown in this dinner party set-up, where visual interest comes from the layered place settings in natural materials, and the relaxed pine centerpiece.
‘For an opulent touch use silver candlesticks and clear glass vases to contrast with the texture of the table,’ says Fortescue.
8. Straddle the seasons with dried flowers
If florals are a decor favorite in your home all year round, the waning temperatures of autumn can make it tricky to find fresh flowers that fit the mood. Luckily, the trend for dried flower arrangements means you can have the best of both worlds, embracing the color of summer while acknowledging that those days have passed.
In this example, dried flowers have been displayed in a highly unusual way, installed under the glass top of a dining table – they do, however, work just as well in traditional vases or among your fall mantel ideas.
9. Embrace the harvest with fruits and more
While fall signals the close of summer’s bounty, it brings with it a whole new roster of edible treats. Embrace the harvest feeling by filling your tablescapes with foodie favorites – in this example the table is set for a lunchtime snack, but this gorgeous bowl of red apples can stay there all day long bringing color and character to the tableau.
‘It’s the perfect time of year to grab some architectural branches or include pops of color with bright red berries,’ adds Rinfret. ‘Fill huge urns with red berries and place them in a corner to anchor the room and create another moment in the space, or pull out some oversized glass hurricanes in autumnal colors and fill them with organic materials – like cinnamon or pinecones – to zhush up a coffee table.’
10. Keep it simple with trending terracotta and wood
Those with a keen eye on interior trends will know that natural materials and colors have been making a considerable contribution to our favorite schemes, regardless of season.
If you thought terracotta was just for your fall planter ideas, you’d be wrong – the earthy, pinky orange has been making waves in our paint and wallpaper choices, as demonstrated by this wallpaper by Little Greene.
The material itself makes for the perfect addition to an autumnal tablescape too – pair it with naturally tones woods for an outdoorsy combination.
11. Go all out with your most decadent tableware
You’re likely to be spending a lot more time inside in the coming months, but that’s no reason not to throw yourself a party. ‘When entertaining, go ahead and pull out the good stuff,’ says Rinfret. ‘Heavier pieces make more sense in the colder months as they can feel cozy and luxurious, whereas you want light and airy in the warmer months.’
In these dining room ideas by Sims Hilditch, cut crystal glasses and silver candlesticks make a real occasion of staying in. ‘A fun themed plate is another great nod to the holidays,’ adds Rinfret. ‘I have a set of pheasant painted plates I break out every year when the leaves start to turn.’
What can I use for a fall table centerpiece?
For a special occasion, there’s nothing like a showstopping centerpiece to create a talking point for your dinner guests. While natural materials and objects are almost always a key element of table decor, in fall, they should be front and center in celebration of the changing seasons. For a long dining table, create a runner-like effect with low-level objects and foliage like horse chestnuts, autumnal-colored leaves, pinecones and branches of pine.
For the center of a round table, bring dried flowers, branches, or grasses up together in a vase for a higher level display. This also works well for a day-to-day display, if you slim down the volume and reduce the height a little.
How do I make my fall table decor look good?
Just like wrapping yourself up in a number of sweaters and blankets, layering is key to making a fall tablescape feel curated and cozy. When putting together a table setting, consider stacking up natural materials – a linen tablecloth, a woven placemat, a wooden charger plate and a linen tablecloth in a complementary color for example.
If you’re forgoing a large centerpiece, consider dotting natural elements around the table – fill small hurricane vases with pine cones, weave small branches between place settings and space candles of varying heights and tones through the tablescape.
I 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. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.
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