Home Trends: The Latest in Fall Design

The trees are covered in that familiar autumn palette, your neighbors are starting to don caps and scarves and even your car is ready for the annual heater and antifreeze check.

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Contrasting modern design with traditional pieces isn't necessarily new, but it's definitely "in."

But your house deserves to get prepped for fall, too. You can light a spice-scented candle or place a new welcome mat in the shape of a maple leaf at the front door, but why stop there?

There are a number of ways to bring fall into your home, whether you are an experienced DIY weekend warrior or a shopper who knows how to spot great deals on the latest seasonal accessories.

Playing with scale is a contrast that people are utilizing a lot more, and it's being done in tasteful way. You can do unusual combinations. How you mix it … there's no right or wrong.

Denise Wenacur, owner of DW Design & Decor in Westchester County, New York

Juxtaposition & Contrast, Color & Texture

This fall is all about making a statement, often using pieces you already own but in new mode.

Experimenting with scale is a trend that has homeowners juxtaposing the big against the small or the conservative against the avant-garde, said Denise Wenacur, principal owner of DW Design & Decor in Westchester County, New York, just outside New York City.

For example, if you own a lamp and really like its base, change the lampshade to one that is different in size, shape or style. You could reupholster an older chair to give it a contemporary finish against the vintage shape, she suggested, or "mix stained cabinetry with painted cabinetry" in your kitchen.

"Playing with scale is a contrast that people are utilizing a lot more, and it's being done in tasteful way," Wenacur said. "You can do unusual combinations. How you mix it … there's no right or wrong."

Mixing patterns and textures is also huge in home decor this fall, said Ani Semerjian, owner of Semerjian Interiors in Devon, Pennsylvania.

"We will be seeing a lot of mixing of elements. Think textured wallpaper against an animal print chair or heavy geometric-patterned pillows or a throw on a leather sofa," she said.

And while the traditional warm palette of browns, oranges and deep yellows still exudes the essence of fall, bold colors that provide some punch are on trend.

"Black and white with pops of color is the biggest trend for the fall. Teal is still the 'it' color, and it looks like it's sticking around for the fall," said Semerjian, who said she expects popular neutrals to lean toward the warm rather than the cool. "Grays are going to be more taupe and chalky; whites are going to become more creamy."

Attempting to shed its stigmatized reputation, wallpaper is making a comeback in patterns and textures that bear little resemblance to what many of us recall from decades past.

"Wall coverings are going more toward architectural wallpaper. Seashell and glitter and cork are very popular," said Tatiana Garcia, an interior designer based in Mesa, Arizona. "My clients are using it on an accent wall so it's not overpowering, or they use it in a small powder room."

Small-to-Large DIY

Incorporating festive accessories is the most fuss-free means to bring fall into any part of your home. Whether it's adding amber-and-chocolate throw pillows on your sofa, replacing the cream-colored area rug with one with hints of orange and red, or putting new window treatments in the master bedroom, this redesign can be done in little more than the time it takes to pull your purchases out of the shopping bags.

Wenacur said she likes to use bedding, window treatments and lighting to create a fall-inspired bedroom that screams comfort and makes a nesting ambiance perfect for curling up with a good book before entering a restful slumber. "The bedroom is a place not just to sleep but a respite through beautiful bedding and beautiful lighting," she said.

Jazzing up simple and clean furniture styles with highly textured accessories is another trend, Semerjian said. "Think animal skins. Lace is also big for fall. We are seeing a lot of it in draperies and home accents."

An easy way to get creative is by changing lighting fixtures that can effortlessly be switched up. Hang illuminated glass pendants over a kitchen island or replace light fixtures with versions in new designs or shapes, suggested Chelsea Nazarian, lead project manager and interior designer for Elements of Design in Scottsdale, Arizona. "People are doing more with lighting. They know it's not permanent so they're willing to go outside of their comfort zone," she said.

For those who seek a more ambitious project, paint or wallpaper makes for a relatively fast option that takes a little more work but yields more permanent results.

For the kitchen, Garcia sees palettes inspired by fruits and vegetables on trend this season. "Paint colors are going back to what you see in the market: peas, beets, yams. You can bring this in with fresh fruits and vegetables, but the least expensive way to do it is with paint," she said.

Nazarian said she likes adding high-end wallpaper to a bedroom to add a bit of luxury, although she acknowledged it's a little difficult to persuade clients before they see the results. "They have that image of their grandmother's floral rose wallpaper, but there are so many paintable wallpapers that add texture to a wall that flat paint wouldn't," she said. "I like to do it on one wall or inset niches."

If you want to go even further, tackle your cabinets by changing out the hardware or stripping and then staining or painting them, Garcia suggested. Add a backsplash if you don't already have one or look for a vintage piece of furniture for that shabby chic look.

Fall at Home

How fall feels depends largely on where you live. Decor might be universal, but what your climate is like dictates what your throw blankets are made of or which finish you choose on your accent wall.

Modern homes usually look good with clean lines on furniture and fixtures, with bronze or gold hues in pearl or satin finishes to dress them up, Garcia said. Overstuffed pieces, cozy rugs and other traditional home-sweet-home touches complement country-style abodes.

On the East Coast, Semerjian sees a lot of tweeds, plaids, wools and heavier fabrics with more traditional patterns, "as opposed to the West Coast and Florida, where you see a lot more whites, geometric patterns and primary colors."

Homeowners in warmer climates tend to lean toward lighter and brighter colors and utilize shutters and window treatments to keep out the heat and the sun's rays, Wenacur said.

Chenilles and heavier upholstery are desired in colder northern regions, while materials tend to be lighter in the South. Wall-to-wall carpeting and thicker rugs are more prevalent in cooler regions, while lighter floor coverings or flooring that easily resists sand from the beach or water from the pool are practical in coastal homes, she said.

Those who move to a climate much different from their previous home often bring their old furniture and accessories with them and attempt to duplicate their former living arrangement in their new one. This, Wenacur said, can be a mistake.

"They sometimes feel disjointed. They say, 'I don't know why it doesn't feel right.' It's because you lived in New York and now you live in Florida," she said. You have to understand your climate. Having velour or velvet in a hot climate probably wouldn't be your first choice."

Your wardrobe isn't the only part of your life that can get a seasonal makeover. Depending on how much time and resources you are willing to dedicate, your home can easily be very fall fashionable.

Quick and Easy Fall Fixes

Living room: Using paint to create an accent wall, changing out a few throw pillows and adding some festive candles make this the easiest room to freshen up for the season, said interior designer Tatiana Garcia.

Bedroom: Focusing on the bed goes a long way toward setting the mood for a warm feel for the season, said Denise Wenacur, founder of DW Design & Decor in New York. In a warm autumn palette or the trendy eggplant shade, "Have a duvet, then blankets and comfortable pillows," she said, adding, "people love a full, cozy bed."

Kitchen: Centerpieces work beautifully and quickly to bring some seasonal spirit to this popular gathering and workspace, said Chelsea Nazarian, lead project manager and interior designer for Elements Design in Scottsdale, Arizona. "Great things to use are dry arrangements with branches and dried flowers to incorporate fall. What works well is having a centerpiece on your kitchen island."