Is it too early to start decorating for fall? Here's what the experts say, plus quick changes to make today

Designers share their tips on when to start decorating for fall and simple tips to try right now

Living room with stripped wooden floorboards, pale grey walls and elaborate coving.
(Image credit: John Day Photography)

When is too early to decorate for fall? As the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, we begin spending more time indoors as fall arrives. This cozy season is all about spending quality time with family,  whether that's cuddled up on the couch in front of a film or enjoying a home-cooked meal. As such, it's important our homes look and feel the part, offering the warmth and comfort we associate with this latter part of the year. 

Knowing when to commit to decorating for fall isn't easy - the weather has a mind of its own and the chance of an Indian summer is never out of the question. However, late August is the perfect time to gradually start preparing for the cooler months. Summer cushions, bedspreads and decor can go into storage and slowly be replaced with hand-knitted blankets, thicker duvets and more wintery accessories. 

Whether you like to fully embrace a fall color palette with orange, brown and red tones, or you opt for a more subtle seasonal shift by adding warmth through texture, here are a few simple ways to introduce this wintry style into different areas of your modern home with some help from top designers.   

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She regularly shares articles with readers that detail simple ways to keep up-to-date with changing styles - and seasons. For this piece, she spoke with leading designers to learn all there is to know about introducing seasonality to your interiors for the perfect fall decor. 

Use ambient lighting in an entryway 

Dark grey hall with dark walls and ambient pendant lighting

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

As the first place a guest sees, the power of your entryway shouldn't be ignored. One surefire way to introduce a cozy fall setting in this welcoming space is with the help of ambient entryway lighting ideas.

'The right balance of lighting is essential in creating a cozy atmosphere,' says kitchen designer, Tom Howley . 'Ambient lighting, such as pendants and wall lights with dimmer switches, offer flexibility at any time of the day.'

'Take a cue from the sun and dim the lights a little earlier,' says Marie Joh, head of merchandising at The Six Bells. 'Candlesticks of varying height can also create visual interest, while candle sconces are a great option for those with less space.'

If you have a cabinet or shelving in your entryway, a lamp can also help set the mood and create a warm and inviting setting perfect for cold, dark evenings. 'Nothing sets a cozy tone like thoughtful accent lighting,' says Victoria Sass of Prospect Refuge Studio. 'Tuck a few glowy lanterns into shelves and add sconces to passageways or near architectural elements.'

Add artisanal pieces to your kitchen

A kitchen with wood panelled cabinets painted in pastel pink, green and blue

(Image credit: LochAnna Kitchens)

Kitchens aren't the easiest spaces to make feel homey, but adding hand-crafted artisanal pieces is a simple way to make the room feel cozy for fall. This could be achieved by displaying a piece of handmade pottery or even a locally sourced loaf of bread on the counter.

‘Introducing handcrafted, artisanal pieces brings warmth to the kitchen, helping you feel more comforted and calmer while you cook and chat with friends,' explains Lizzie Beesley, head of design at Magnet. If you want create fall kitchen decor, look to natural materials. 'These pieces can range from woven wicker lampshades to jute rugs featuring unique patterns and shapes, or a solid wood table or shelves, crafted by a local carpenter,' says Lizzie. 

Not only do they introduce the warmth and comfort we associate with fall, but handcrafted items always provide an effective talking point with visitors. 'In the kitchen, they can also bring with them that familiar, comfortable feeling that makes you feel more at-peace and at-home,' adds Lizzie. 

Bring the outside in by adding foliage to your living room mantelpiece

Living room with grey walls, bookcase in alcove and marble fireplace with foliage decorations one mantelpiece.

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

While we can easily adapt our design to replicate the changing seasons outside, we can also bring a small piece of the outside in by using foliage to decorate our rooms. A simple fireplace idea to update your home for the cooler months is using seasonal foliage to create a decorative statement on your mantel. 

If you want to introduce plants or foliage more subtly, you could add dried flowers in a vase to your shelving or coffee table. Pampas grass also has a fall feel about it and works well at adding softness to the corner of a room. 

Marie has an even more creative way of bringing the outdoors in that doesn't involve as much potential mess. 'Oversized branches of dried flowers are lovely but can make a mess indoors,' she says. 'Try pressing a selection of your favorite blooms instead, stems and all, or lean on ready-to-frame options from JamJar Edit. Switch them out for fall leaves when you’re emotionally ready.'

Create a stylish fall tablescape in the dining room 

An autumnal themed dining table tablescape with candles and red details

(Image credit: Magnet)

Fall offers some of the best home-cooked food of the year, be it pumpkin pie at Halloween or turkey at thanksgiving. An easy way to elevate your modern dining room and decorate for fall is with the help of a seasonal tablescape. 

'Tablescaping offers the perfect opportunity to soften up your space,' says Lizzie. 'The added texture brings a feeling of warmth, particularly if you curate a palette of earthy tones around your table – and don’t forget to top it all off with a few carefully placed candles.'

Don't overlook stylish dining table ideas like dinnerware either. Swap out your light china plates for a heavier ceramic that feels more fitting for hot soups and casseroles. 'Lean into warm brown tones with cream accents, from terracotta to nutmeg, or get behind some jewel-toned tablecloths that play well with simpler dinnerware,' Marie advises. 

A tablescape is another good opportunity to introduce natural foliage to your home, too. Pick a few sprigs of berries or scatter some dried leaves and you're sure to impress dinner guests. 

Introduce soft textures to a bedroom with rugs and throws

White bedroom, wood framed bed, assorted throws and blankets including sheepskin rug

(Image credit: Simon Brown)

Soft texture design and warming hues are a wonderful way of creating a cozy and relaxing environment during the cooler months. The best way to decorate for fall in a bedroom is by using rugs and blankets made of natural fibers to introduce these softer texture to the space. Your bedroom will offer the ultimate comfort that will make you want to hibernate through the winter.

Wool blankets or rugs are a great way to add softness to a space, especially if you have a neutral color scheme. On a practical note, it's also a wonderful insulator, ensuring that your bedroom stays warm and cozy all year round. 

'The texture of wool underfoot coupled with a warm color or welcoming pattern makes it the perfect base upon which to shape a comfortable and inviting interior scheme,' says Lisa Conway, marketing manager at Brintons. 'Where an alternative flooring like wood or tiles might make a room feel stark and bare, a soft woven wool rug or carpet will work to soften the room's overall look.' 

A faux sheepskin rug is another great way to add texture to a bedroom and they offer the perfect start to the day as you get out of bed. 'If you don't want to add sheepskin to the floor, you can add a few fluffy cushions to your chairs or drape faux fur blankets over the backs,' says Lizzie.

The ultimate trick to mastering texture however is layering. Layering rugs or blankets of different materials and sizes over one another will help add a variety and depth to your bedroom, as well as an extra layer of comfort. 'Layer your throws and play with different textures,' says Marie. 'Have options within an arm’s reach that range from lightweight and gauzy to heavier quilted cotton or wool.'

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.