Designer Joanna Buchanan talks entertaining in fall – and autumnal tablescapes

Discover how the designer uses color and texture to dress her fall home to perfection

Blue tablecloth, orange and blue napkins
(Image credit: Jane Beiles)

'I love to look outside for inspiration – pulling in foliage from around me will give a wonderful starting point for color. I love a contrast, so with the autumn leaves in amber and pumpkin, I think that indigo is a beautiful counterpoint to that color,' says designer Joanna Buchanan, talking about her fall decor ideas

Fall table decor ideas are her specialty: 'To me, a beautiful table has a lot of layers, texture, and interest. A bold tablecloth is always a really easy way to start to build a layered look. The ecru ground of the tablecloth is really warm, and the vintage Portuguese pottery also has that warm ecru base, so in this table I am steering clear of stark white. 

'The natural texture of the linen napkins complements the rustic texture of straw pompom napkin rings. By adding different materials and scales of pattern, you create richness, and if you keep the color palette tight, it's easy to keep adding in!'

'The glassware I chose picks up the color of the autumn leaves and the bloody Mary (below). Nothing wrong with having your cocktail match the tablescape! I think it’s fun to have a Bloody Mary station when hosting a brunch, it's a real ice breaker... it’s fun to have people build their own cocktail and add whatever they fancy to their drink, plus they get to decorate it with chic cocktail picks. And they know which glass is theirs!

'I also love the contrast between the blue and the gold, and I think paying up bees at this time of year is lovely with Rosh Hashanah just around the corner and honey being a symbol of that celebration. 

'The patterned tablecloth needs a gold mat and by picking up the bees in the placemat and the napkin ring, the imagery is obvious but not too overt or 'themed'.'


(Image credit: Jane Beiles)

'Pumpkins as a center piece are an obvious choice for fall – but I like to put a twist on that. I really had fun spray-painting the pumpkins (top) in an ombre to match my dining room color palette, and they totally inspired my Capiz ones that we added to the collection.'

White dining room, green chairs, animal print rug

(Image credit: Jane Beiles)

'The green pumpkin (above) is totally natural, and I really like finding those pumpkins with a lot of surface pattern and texture. A smooth orange one isn't going to cut it for me! 

'I liked adding a little bit of sparkle to the centerpiece with our mini bee clips – they are so versatile and a great talking point at a party. 

'I find by adding a tray underneath the arrangement means it is super versatile and can be moved from table to coffee table to hallway with minimum effort!'

Flowers and place settings

(Image credit: Jane Beiles)

'For all your entry and hallway décor, you MUST work with your home décor, and there are always creative solutions to signal the season without bringing in colors or decor that just doesn’t work with your aesthetic. I needed to find softer colors for pumpkins and foliage and spray painting was the perfect solution.'

Pink flowers, silver pot

(Image credit: Jane Beiles)

'If you aren't going to use a tablecloth for a base, you need to be sure you use a ton of texture and choose pieces with maximum impact. We chose our hand-beaded ombre placemats in navy and then our hand embroidered napkins in flax linen. I just tied with a simple bit of gardener’s twine as I didn't want anything too over the top that would complete with the centerpiece. I like to always have balance in a tablescape – a little rustic, a little glamor – too much either way can lack dimension and interest.'

Blue flower table cloth

(Image credit: Jane Beiles)

'I do worry about too much orange in the fall, and I like to remind people there are ways to signal the change of season without having to be too bold and bright!

'When entertaining in the fall, your home must be super inviting and cozy, and it doesn’t just have to be additional of traditional fall colors. A beautiful hand knitted throw with bright colors, but the cozy texture makes it a perfect transition piece and the rose gold vases with the late season dahlias.'

Jane Beiles
Joanna Buchanan

Joanna Buchanan developed an unmistakable vision for luxury, color, texture and pattern not only from her 20 years in the fashion retail business but also through her Hong Kong childhood, adult years in Europe and extensive travel throughout India.

Joanna’s line of luxe, seasonal accessories, holiday décor and gifts was born from her mother’s love of holiday decorating and a dig through her great randmother’s vintage collection of ornaments stashed in her parent’s home in the English countryside. Inspired by these finds, she envisioned a new take on classic holiday décor – an unexpected twist on conventional ornaments, she has transformed the holiday season by adding a level of vintage sophistication and glamor that has been missing from the marketplace.

Joanna’s homes in New York City and Connecticut, which she shares with her husband and two children, showcase treasures picked up during her years of traveling. They epitomize her ability to curate modern colors, chic graphic patterns and eclectic home furnishings. Her garden is a huge inspiration for the natural elements in her work.

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for, 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 also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.