Despite the fact that autumn’s cool nights and falling leaves signal the end of summer, the season is many people’s favorite. The cool snap in the air is refreshing and feels like a new start, even though winter and the end of the year are right around the corner. As gardens, trees and farms burst with vines, fruit and brilliant leaves, the time is also rife with compelling hues and textures. Decorating a cabin in the fall can be tricky, though, because so many cabins are already chock full of wood, surrounded by the scarlets and yellows of the woods and awash in accessories in plaid and hunter’s green.
“To avoid going over the top when decorating a cabin for fall, it is smart to avoid the usual gingham, check or plaid patterns and stick with some earthy solids,” interior designer James Tabb of online service Laurel & Wolf told Cabin Living in an email. “Although leaves can be vibrantly colorful this time of year, bringing those colors into the home can lead to some less than desirable results. I usually recommend sticking to the more muted tones of the season, such as birch bark, white gourds, pine cones, etc.”
Fall colors are head-turning. For your cabin’s indoor spaces, though, think in terms of textures or more restrained takes on classics like plaids, says Bhavana Bhimavarapu, M.I.A., design associate at Martha O’Hara Interiors, based in Minneapolis, Minn., and Austin, Texas.
“Use pillows and throws with a crocheted texture or cable knit in warm colors – but not just the reds and yellows – to get more interest in the space. With elements like that you can warm up the space for fall and not be too literal,” she says. On your next hike, bring back elements of the woods for a vase or to add interest to the woodpile. “We love working with fresh trees coming in from the outside, a branch of berries or cotton branches or even acorns,” she said. “Plus in a cabin, you’re bound to have a fireplace, and you’re going to get some fall aspects into the house, with cut branches and wood logs, and that should do the trick as well.”
The rough-hewn nature of many cabins, plus the extra wools and leather of blankets, sweaters and boots at this time of year are a sort of comfort food for the soul. But a little shine breaks that up nicely, too, suggests Tabb. “I like incorporating weathered metals, such as zinc, tin and copper,” he said. “These can be containers for flowers, wood holders, or candle holders. Layering materials in place of patterns is a tried and true method to ensure your seasonal decor looks chic and not cliché.”
What about tradition? It’s not like you can’t bring in squashes and gourds, though Bhimavarapu does say, “Maybe keep pumpkins outdoors.” But those classics come in many colors, so, again, think in terms of a streamlined palette. That way, as summer ebbs and winter creeps in, the cabin is a relaxing respite from the cacophony of color outside. “Sticking to an analogous color scheme when picking out your pumpkins will bring an understated elegance to the table top,” Tabb says. “Mixing too many colors of gourds will end up looking like a grocery store aisle instead of a welcoming table-scape.”