When should you start decorating for fall? 5 signs the time is right

As we leave the last of the hot weather behind us, find out when to start decorating for fall to celebrate the new season

Living room with sofas, armchair and wooden coffee table in front of lit fireplace.
(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

After record-breaking hot weather this summer, it is perhaps unsurprising that many people are looking so readily towards the fall months and wondering when should you start decorating for fall.

Despite fall not officially beginning until September 22nd, there is arguably no such thing as it being too early to break out your fall decor ideas. As we start to prepare homes for fall with annual maintenance, design ideas such as the best fall wreath ideas and fall table decor ideas seem increasingly exciting. 

Here, we have looked at the best times to start decorating for fall in case you are concerned about standing out in the remaining summer months. 

chiana dickson
Chiana Dickson

Chiana has written over 70 articles for Homes & Gardens, many of which focus on trends and home decorating. She spends her days talking to designers about the leading trends and design tips and shares their advice with H&G readers so they can update and beautify their homes.

As we approach fall, Chiana is turning her attention to seasonal topics due to her love of the season and affection for seasonal trends and design. 

When should you start decorating for fall? 

‘Fall is a wonderful time to bring your family together as we settle in for the cooler temperatures and holiday seasons. It is the perfect season to consider overhauling your space to make it feel inviting in a way that your home might not for the rest of the year,’ says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘For me, fall is a particularly beautiful season, known for its rich color palette and luxurious fabrics, it is the ideal time of year to experiment with bolder, earthier colors that have been proving popular already this year.’ 

Although there is no set time to start decorating for fall, there are a few things that might help to guide your decorating decisions and help you refrain from ending the summer feeling too early.

1. Wait for the cooler weather  

Front door, wreath, red autumn creeping ivy

(Image credit: Ben Anders)

The best time to start decorating for fall is when the weather begins to cool down for longer periods. After the intense heat of summer, cooler weather is often the first herald of the fall season and can help to make fall decor such as living room fall decor ideas feel all the cozier. As the weather changes, you may also want to look for changes in the leaves. The beautiful red and orange tones of autumnal leaves are a great signifier that fall is approaching – and the warm colors look lush as a backdrop to your outdoor fall decor ideas

Cooler weather also allows for the lighting of fireplaces and wood stoves, making fall mantel decor ideas more appealing.  

2. Start the season on October 1st  

A small orange pumpkin on a widow ledge with a let tealight in a glass holder

(Image credit: Unsplash / Hasina Kassam)

Despite fall officially starting with the fall equinox on September 22nd, October 1st marks the beginning of the so-called ‘spooky' season. October is the perfect time to begin adding fall decor or Halloween decorating ideas to your home in preparation for the holiday.  

3. Decorate at the same time as neighbors  

A mantlepiece with green leaf garland, small white and orange pumpkins, two lit tapered candles, and a framed illustration of a regency lady

(Image credit: Chris Terry)

If you are conscious of ending the summer season too early, look to your neighbors for a sign that it is a good time to start decorating for fall. 

You want to remain a considerate neighbor, so start your decorating, especially outside with your fall porch ideas, when you notice other people doing the same thing. There is nothing worse than bright, possibly loud Halloween decor illuminating the street a month and a half too early. 

It may be a good idea to start small if waiting for other people, such as adding an autumnal wreath to your front door – you might encourage others to do the same. 

4. Decorate for fall without Halloween influences  

A white bedroom with dark wood beams, a dark orange bed with red and grey throw blankets

(Image credit: SImon Bevan)

If you want to get a head start on decorating your home for fall, consider using decor pieces that do not speak to the Halloween holiday. 

For subtle fall decor, consider items that help to set a cozy mood such as autumnal-inspired candles, lush throws, and cushions in reds, oranges, and yellows, and subtler motifs such as pumpkins and leaves. Introduce rustic elements such as dried flower arrangements and wreaths to bring fall color schemes and natural brown tones into the home. 

5. Decorate for fall in stages 

A white sofa with wooden legs in a white room, with sisal carpet, dark grey coffee table, cushions and blankets, a terracotta tea set on a wooden tray, and a dark green leafy plant

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

If you are unsure when to start decorating for fall, but can’t wait for cooler weather, consider making small changes in your home in stages.

Start by removing summer decor items such as cushions, florals, centerpieces, and thinner throws to make space for fall pieces. Start adding to the space with thicker soft furnishings in more luxurious textures such as velvet and wool, or even switching out table scaping pieces like runners and napkins. Now is also a good time to consider generally preparing your house for the colder months by cleaning out your hearth ready for cool fall nights.

As the season progresses, buy pumpkins and other seasonal plants for fall color to adorn your home and front porch, before finally embracing fall fully with more direct decor pieces and Halloween decorations.  

What is considered fall decor? 

Fall decor can be considered anything that is associated with the season. Pumpkins, leaves, and warmer-toned decor pieces such as soft furnishings along with candles can be considered cozy fall decor pieces. If you are trying to decorate for fall, try to stay away from Halloween decor pieces such as stereotypical bat, cobweb, or spider decorations and motifs to separate the holiday from the season.  

One of the most popular fall decorations is pumpkins. These autumnal squashes make excellent home decor pieces both carved for the spooky Halloween feeling or uncarved for a more authentic look. Try mixing different varieties for a more interesting look and break up the solid orange tone. 

Consider using fake pumpkins if you want to reduce food waste, or would prefer to have longer-lasting decor items that last throughout the fall season.