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

Find out when you should start decorating for fall so you can make the most out of this cozy season with stylish and celebratory decor

Fall kitchen/diner with dining table and green sofa
(Image credit: Tess Interiors, photography by Nick Glimenakis)

Even as we continue to enjoy the summer months, many of us can't help but look forward to cozy days indoors and the seasonal traditions that fall brings.

Fall officially begins on September 23rd, but how do you know when it is the right time to start getting creative with fall decor ideas, outdoor fall decor ideas and more? 

From waiting until the start of cooler weather spells and shorter days, to complementing Halloween decor ideas, we explore some of the best times to start decorating for fall to help your seasonal decorating ideas transition with ease.

When is the best time to 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, we have explored a few key factors that may help you find the perfect moment to embrace fall decor in all its glory.

Lucy Searle
Lucy Searle

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens for over 30 years, starting within the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-1990s. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine, which is the UK's oldest interiors magazine at 103 years old. Lucy is a serial renovator and also owns rental properties in the UK and Europe, so brings first-hand knowledge to the subjects she oversees.

1. Wait for the cooler weather to settle in

a living room with lit fire in a woodburner, marble mantlepiece and plain marble effect walls, wood floor, two armchairs and dried leaves and grasses floral decorations.

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

One of the best times 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, feel all the more cozy and inviting.

As the weather shifts, 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 provide beautiful inspiration for decorating ideas in the home as well as for activities such as fall craft ideas and fall wreath ideas.

Cooler weather also allows for the lighting of fireplaces and wood stoves, making fall mantel decor ideas more appealing. Before you light your first fire of the season, knowing how to clean a fireplace and how to prep your chimney for winter is key.

2. Start the season on October first

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 23rd, October first 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. From decorating with pumpkins, to ensuring you have plenty of the best candles dotted around you home, Halloween decor and fall decor will always go hand in hand.

3. Decorate at the same time as your neighbors

Front door, wreath, red autumn creeping ivy

(Image credit: Ben Anders)

If you are conscious of ending the summer season too early, looking to see if your neighbors have started to decorate may help you to decide when to start decorating for fall.

Start your fall porch ideas and fall planter ideas when you notice other people doing the same in your neighborhood – there is nothing worse than bright, possibly loud Halloween decor illuminating the street a month and a half too early.

It may also be a good idea to start small if waiting for other people, such as with an elegant autumnal wreath for fall front door decor – you then might pave the way for your neighbors to start doing the same.

4. Decorate for fall without Halloween influences

Cozy living room in brown and deep purple color palette

(Image credit: OKA)

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 more subtle fall decor, similar to cozy room ideas, consider items that help to set a snug mood; such as autumnal-inspired candles, lush throws and cushions in reds, oranges, and yellows, and subtler motifs such as pumpkins and leaves. You can also introduce rustic elements such as decorating with dried flowers and wreaths made from fall foliage; bringing natural fall color schemes and the beauty of nature into your home.

Interior designer Brooke Spreckman from Design Hutch suggests, 'swap out the little things that you touch and feel every day. Such as a new hand towel and soap dish in your powder room in a rich, cozy color palette. You can also rearrange or buy some beautiful new seasonal artwork. A nice visual re-set throughout your space will undoubtedly make you feel refreshed and ready to take on fall.'

We explore how to decorate tastefully for Halloween in our designated guide

 Brooke Spreckman
Brooke Spreckman

Principal and Owner of Design Hutch Interior Design, Brooke Spreckman has been practicing Interior Design since 2013 in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and beyond; and has a diverse background in residential and commercial design.

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 or how to start decorating for fall, consider making small, simple 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 such as thicker soft furnishings in more luxurious textures such as velvet and wool, or simple switches in table scaping pieces like runners and napkins. 

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 obvious decor pieces and Halloween decorations.

Shop fall decor


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.

What is the most popular fall decoration?

Similar to the most popular Halloween decoration, one of the most popular fall decorations is pumpkins. 

These autumnal squashes make excellent home decor pieces, both pumpkin carving ideas and pumpkin painting ideas can create a striking, spooky Halloween feeling, or no-carve pumpkin ideas can establish a more authentic look. Try mixing different varieties for a more interesting design feature and to break up a 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.

Before you start decorating for fall, it is also worth considering generally preparing your house for the colder months by cleaning out your hearth ready for cool fall nights. We explore how do I prepare my home for fall in our designated feature, and have also created a fall cleaning checklist to help you on your way.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.

With contributions from