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5 Ways to Re-Style Your Outdoor Space for Fall

OCTOBER 12, 2021
Photo credit: Sunset Magazine

There’s nothing quite like the arrival of autumn and all the nostalgic feels that come rushing back with the first frost-tinged morning, football fever and schools back in session. And where did the day go? Like actual daylight. Seemingly overnight, we wake up to darkness and return home at the end of the day with the sun already setting and street lamps in full brightness mode.

How we embrace the change of season is very much informed by these little cues that are quintessentially, endearingly fall. If you’re catching all the fall feels like we are, you want to be out of doors savoring every crisp-aired, picture-perfect second of it before winter roars in.

We can’t think of a better way to embrace the full fall experience at home than to update our outdoor style to align with the seasonal changes. Not only is it a great excuse for a décor refresh, it will truly be a space you’ll want to inhabit all season. Whether grilling and chilling or dining and entertaining, it can be as simple as bringing in a few transitional touches — like richer color and cozier textures — to create that autumn-y vibe. Here are a few fun, affordable ways to style your most sought-after outdoor spaces.

1. Transition to rich fall color

It’s true, what’s on trend for your interiors is precisely what will look of-the-moment in your exterior spaces. Like most design pros, we look for color continuity from one room to the next (and we like to think of our outdoor spaces as rooms just like the ones inside). If you have cushioned furniture, consider changing the slip covers to a richer harvest hue that’s still in your overall color palette — consider teal to replace aqua or russet orange in place of bright citrus or papaya. Save the stripes and bright whites for the following spring and stick to earthy solids or neutral graphic patterns. For an even easier color transformation, introduce a fresh set of pillows in a rich color like moss green or deep charcoal. Layer a smaller rug with a bold pattern over a larger neutral rug to ground the space in richness. With a few simple color changes, outdoor living is feeling a whole lot cozier.



Photo credit: Camille Styles

2.  Invite texture and warmth

One of our favorite tricks for creating a warm, welcoming outdoor space is to style it with lots of texture like you would in a casual living room or den. The only real difference for outdoor is to be sure you’re using weatherproof furnishings and décor, and that everything is safely weighted or fastened down to withstand inclement weather. For fall, we like a larger area rug in a richly textured weave that stretches across your whole seating area. Mixing up seating so you have some cushioned pieces or poufs paired with modern metal or molded plastic seating is another great way to create contrast and texture. Warm everything up even further with cozy throw blankets and softly-textured pillows. If they don’t pose a safety risk with smaller children around, a chiminea or fire pit lends a cozy, artful vibe that can extend your outdoor use well into the colder months.



Photo credit: One Kings Lane

3. Switch to seasonal plants

Sad as it is to see the tropical plants and bright florals of summer go, it creates opportunity for bringing in gorgeous potted fall foliage that perfectly sets the vibe for the season. Heartier, temperature-resistant plants like Norfolk Island Pine and ornamental cabbage and kale not only look lush and healthy, they reflect the seasonal changes happening beyond your porch or patio. If you like pops of color here and there, look to vibrant, autumn perennials like mums, goldenrod, coneflower and pansies to establish a seasonal palette while keeping the vibe cheery. Think beyond the plant, as well, to what’s containing the plant. Replace the clean, minimalist containers that looked so sleek in summer in favor of richly hued glazed ceramic, galvanized metals and weather-friendly raffia or jute baskets with lots of texture. Just a few small changes can really set an autumn tone.



Photo credit: Capital Deck

4. Prolong outdoor dining season

One of the major perks of having an inviting, well-designed outdoor space is how it can serve as a second dining room — a more relaxed, intimate one even. This time of year, it happens to be our favorite dining spot in the house. Instead of packing up patio furnishings at the first hint of cooler weather, we’re all for keeping the table set but implementing some small changes to make the space feel warm and cozy. Changing out table linens like a runner, placemats and napkins for a set in a richer palette and a heavier textile is a great place to start. We like bringing in more table lanterns and flameless candles for warm ambient light, and switching out summer cushions and pillows for a richer color and texture. Refreshing your centerpiece and other table décor to include winter squash, gourds and potted fall blooms creates an artful vibe that feels aligned with the season (and your yummy, fall-inspired menus).



Photo credit: Josh Young for Architectural Digest

5. Give lighting a glow-up

Unfortunately, shorter days mean fewer hours of natural light but, being the eternal optimists that we are, it also creates the opportunity to rethink your outdoor lighting situation. Whether you’re using the patio to unwind with a glass of wine after work or throwing a dinner party after the sun goes down, you’ll need to put more emphasis on illuminating tables and gathering spaces, but also making sure your entire porch or patio is sufficiently lighted to keep everyone safe. In summer months we can get away with a few outdoor wall sconces and a lantern on the table but with darkness setting in early, creative lighting reinforcements like industrial-inspired string lights, galvanized metal pendants and portable globe lamps go a long way increase your wattage (not to mention your style). If you have an overhang or screened-in porch, consider an outdoor chandelier for instant ambiance. It’s about layering your lighting so that you have multiple soft lighting sources coming from different areas of your deck. Experiment with the level of illumination that helps to achieve your version of a cozy, relaxing vibe. We can feel the warm glow already!  


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