Fall Decor for the Outdoors

Make hay bales while the sun shines for chic seasonal seating.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Samantha Knapp

Photo courtesy of Samantha Knapp

Lay colorful bathmats over hay bales to create a rustic coffee table.

It doesn't take much to lure me outdoors in the spring and summer; I'll perch on a patch of peeling porch paint just to be in the warmth. But when tank tops give way to hoodies, I need a good reason to head outside — a cozy chaise, plentiful pillows, long blankets and a place to set a big mug of tea. 

"If your outdoor space looks and feels like summer, it psychologically cheats you out of spending time there in the fall," says Samantha Knapp, interior designer at Tiger Lily's in Greenwich, Connecticut. "You can incorporate summer colors to extend the season; salmon looks great with hunter green. There are lots of ways to create an edgy fall feel using the natural elements of the season." 

Step one: Remember that the outdoors is, in fact, outdoors. "You can't be trapped in the idea that whatever you put outside is going to last forever," Knapp says. "But if it's on the way to the garage sale pile anyway and it gets you outside five more times, it's worth it." 

Step two: Take your cues from the plant shop. "I always find inspiration at the nursery," Knapp says. "What are they selling? What are the horses wearing outside when it's cold? These are the products and materials that will do well in your outdoor room." 

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Samantha Knapp

Photo courtesy of Samantha Knapp

Using old fencing as the base, Knapp created an outdoor area with fall textures like burlap and fur with hay thrown around the edges.

Hay, Baby! 

Stack two bales on top of each other and throw a cool chevron bathmat on top to create seasonal seating. "Bathmats are the perfect size and shape to throw on top of a bale of hay," Knapp says. "You can also use bales as a coffee table because they're so compact. Put a tray on top for drinks or snacks." 

Scarf It Up 

Knapp suggests putting those winter scarves to work as a table runner. Plaids are hot for fall; wrap pillows or cushions with a patterned scarf for a quick fall upgrade. 

Take Cover 

Flannel sheets are a quick and inexpensive way to add the look and feel of fall to outdoor furniture. Wrap cushions in them or have them altered into cushion covers. And don't forget to pile Navaho and army blankets and patchwork quilts in big baskets for easy access.

Raw Beauty 

Don't reach for the faux flowers just yet. Knapp suggests popping some cauliflower —especially that gorgeous purple variety — in planters and filling wicker baskets full of root vegetables. 

Glow for It!

It's not time for red and green just yet, but Knapp says some white holiday lights look great wrapped around a bunch of corn stalks. "Lighting is such an important part of the ambiance," she says. "It makes the idea of spending time outside so special." 

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