Natural Fall Decor Ideas | Bring the Outdoors Inside

 Who doesn't love October? For a few short weeks, Mother Nature puts on a spectacular show, visually delighting us with her colorful foliage displays.

Fall wreath

This is my favorite time of year, marked by long strolls on crunchy paths and through falling leaves. No walk is complete without me returning home with handfuls of foraged treasure ranging from jewel toned leaves and scavenged seed heads to fluffy grasses and interesting berries.

Decorating with dried leaves, grasses and other botanicals are a wonderful way to bring the outdoors in and extend the autumn season a little longer. Plus, there's something to be said about experiencing the fading beauty of something that was once at it's peak but is now nearing the end of it's life. Drying flowers and leaves allows me to preserve their beauty for a little longer and admire the organic shapes and forms that they take on during the natural drying process. 

Dried Iris stems, iris flower heads, seed pods

At this time of the year, I create beautiful dried botanical arrangements all around the house. They're perfect as attractive seasonal centerpieces. But I most enjoy arranging these botanicals with other common household objects to create interesting vignettes that bring charm and life to a space.


1. Arrange colorful fresh leaves in a small vase

This is ideal for those who prefer as little decorating work as possible. Just collect a bunch of pretty leaves and plop them into a little vase. Let them dry naturally. As they dry, they will curl up into attractive, organic shapes that are simple and naturally beautiful.

Vignette with sugar maple leaves

This little vignette sits on my living room center table in front of the fireplace. A collection of sugar maple leaves in a labware glass, surrounded by a few curios and books in the same hues create a simple and pleasing arrangement. A few leaves sprinkled on the table create a relaxed and informal look. This arrangement is about 2 weeks old. The maples have curled and dried, but have retained their lovely pinkish red color.

So, it's not just red and gold leaves outside, but inside too. And, when October passes all too soon, and the last leaf clinging to a branch is finally blown away in a strong, cold November gust, I'll still have have my beautiful, colorful floral displays to brighten me up on dreary, grey days.

2. Display pressed leaves in a herbarium

This is sure to take you back to your childhood! Remember pressing leaves between pages in a book and waiting for them to dry? Well, a herbarium frame is a beautiful way to display leaves. And they don't need to be dried ahead of time. 

Hanging Herbarium frame, Pressed leaves and flowers, Drief leaf and flower glass frame, decor and display

Just place fresh leaves in a herbarium and hang them up in a window. When the light shines through, the leaves just light up. They'll eventually dry in the frame, but will remain colorful and attractive for the next few months. And every day when the sun shines through them, you will be left absolutely delighted!

3. Create vignettes in muted shades of grey, green and taupe.

It's natural to gravitate to the bright and brilliant shades or red, orange, rust and gold that is synonymous with changing autumn leaf colors. But if you look past all those showy colors that usually take center stage, there lies hidden gems of foliage in muted shades of  sage and eucalyptus colored greens with cool gray undertones. These partner well with lighter toned woods and leather for an understated, yet elegant look. I recommend adding a bit of crisp white to keep these greens and taupes looking crisp and not too muddy.

Dried botanical arrangment with ostrich feathers, oak leaves

This vignette sits atop my piano. The trick to creating this look is arranging elements of similar tints and shades together. Created with just varying colors of oak leaves displayed in an ostrich egg, the soft ostrich feathers and white birch bark candle add texture to this arrangement. And the curves of the dry gourd continue to soften this composition, creating an attractive, feminine arrangement. 

Dried botanical arrangment with ostrich feathers, oak leaves arranged in ostrich egg. Surrounded by a dried gourd and birch bark candle.

4. Display texturally attractive and unusual seed pods 

As I walk into my foyer, kick off my wet boots and throw down my keys onto my hall mirror, this little vignette greets me. The beautiful, white, silky, wispy seeds from a burst butterfly weed seed pod shows up beautifully against the dark wood of my hall mirror. A peeling birch bark candle and other interesting seeds continue the rustic, woodland theme. A golden beadwork coaster brings a touch of sparkle to the arrangement.

A burst butterfly weed seedpod with silky, fluffy, wind dispersed seeds.

5.  Add some zing

This neutral tan and black arrangement of black beard wheat and dried white roses is immediately elevated in energy by adding a vivid spray of fuchsia miniature dried roses. The bright pink accents add an unexpected zing to an otherwise subtle, fall arrangement.

Dried floral arrangement with preserved dried roses and black beard wheat.

This arrangements sits on my kitchen breakfast table. The dried flowers arranged in a large, white milk pitcher ooze rustic French countryside charm.

Dried floral arrangement with preserved dried roses and black beard wheat. Farmhouse style, French countryside decor

6. Display what delights you

It's common to see Gingko trees turn into yellow flames in Fall. However, when I stumbled on a few Gingko leaves that had dried a gorgeous rust tone, I felt like I had just found a four leaf clover! This was so unusual that I just had to display them. It may be just dried leaves to someone, but to me, they are beautiful; they make me happy and that's all that matters.

Gingko leaves, rust color

These are just a few of my dried botanical arrangements for this Fall. I hope it inspires you to try some of your own. 


Check out my other DIY ideas, by clicking on DIY below.

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