Let autumn's colors, nature guide your fall decor

Welcome the season — and guests — into your home this fall with these festive decorating tips and tricks from local interior design experts.

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If you're after a more contemporary look, try incorporating cooler shades with the traditionally warm fall palette. Tiara Gerhardt, a designer at Winfield House, says blues, teals and grays (seen here in a fall display at Winfield House) have been trendy in recent years.

Keep color in mind

When it comes to creating a cozy fall feeling, “color is more important than anything,” says Jennifer Metzger, owner of Fine Design Studio, 1410 Kasold Drive. Think less about holiday-specific design motifs and more about capturing the warmth of the season.

She recommends working in oranges, reds, earthy greens and even eggplant shades. If your look is less traditional, try adding in cooler hues.

“The blues and grays and teals are really popular trends that we’ve seen the past few years,” says Tiara Gerhardt, a designer at Winfield House, 647 Massachusetts St. “We’ve been taking those colors and blending them with the reds and oranges, and they look really together. It’s a fun, more updated twist on fall, decor-wise.”

Change out linens

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If your tastes are traditional, take a cue from this arrangement at designer Jennifer Metzger's Lawrence home. Use a traditional fall palette (oranges, reds, earthy greens and eggplant hues) and harvest motifs such as leaves, berries and gourds.

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Table linens evoke a cozy, warm feeling in this autumnal display at Winfield House.

Looking for a quick and easy way to add autumnal warmth to your space? Start with linens, Gerhardt suggests.

“Going into fall, you want things to be a little homier, and so adding any kind of linen can really soften things up.” Create a homey feel in the living room by adding a new throw or pillows to the sofa. A table runner and place mats can give the dining area a festive feel.

Bring the outdoors in

Fall, traditionally, is harvest time. So why not take advantage of the last wave of nature’s bounty before the colder months hit?

For the best results, try a mix of fake and real greenery, Gerhardt says. Branches, acorns and pinecones from the yard make a festive addition to any mantle or table-top arrangement. But steer clear of real leaves — they’re wont to dry out and turn into a crumbly mess, says Susan Anderson, a designer at M. Street Interiors, 825 Massachusetts St.

If you like pumpkins and plan on using them perennially in your decorations, consider buying ceramic, cloth, glass or pumpkins. They’ll last longer and will save you trips to the pumpkin patch. Same goes with gourds.

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A witch's hat provides the anchor for this whimsical centerpiece at Jennifer Metzger's Lawrence home. Metzger, owner of Fine Design Studio, encourages readers to "think outside the box" when it comes to putting together a fall arrangement.

Create a fabulous centerpiece

Dreaming of the perfect tabletop arrangement but clueless about putting it together? Don’t stress — have fun, be creative and think outside the box, say the designers. That being said, here are a few tips from Anderson to get the ball rolling:

• Choose a focal point — a candelabra, lantern or even an old birdcage are great options, Anderson says, and add other elements as you go.

• Stagger the height of the objects (“you don’t want it to be flat”), but avoid grazing the bottom of your ceiling fixture.

• Mums are a classic choice for fall, though flowers in general have more of a summer feel. Instead, consider cottony spider webs, berries or even bird feathers.

• For a contemporary look, lay some branches on the table and weave a garland through, Gerhardt says. For a Halloween-y arrangement, try recycling old costumes as props. Metzger put together a whimsical centerpiece for her dining table using a orange-and-black witch’s hat as the anchor.

Don’t forget your outdoor space.

Transitioning your home from summer to fall can be as easy as adding a seasonal doormat to your entryway, Gerhardt says.

If you’re feeling crafty, try making your own wreath. Start with a plain wooden one from the craft store, and add trinkets as the season progresses — spider webs, pinecones, bows, whatever you like.

A few potted mums, a fall favorite, near your mailbox or door give off a cheery, welcoming vibe. Add a little flair by wrapping a colorful ribbon around the base, Anderson says. And, of course, don’t forget the jack-o’-lanterns.

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