How to Get Ready for Luxurious Fall Entertaining

how to get your home ready for luxury fall entertaining

As September arrives, many hosts and hostesses begin to make the transition from summer to fall in their home decor. How to do that elegantly and easily? Our resident expert on interior design and home decor, Laurie Woods, has the answers. She’s sharing her insider tips on how to get your home ready for luxurious fall entertaining.

making the transition from summer to fall in home decor

Oh, Autumn, the season I love to hate. While most eagerly embrace the leaf encrusted Fall marketing message, I am loath to let go of the carefree days of Summer only to navigate the onslaught of corn husks, chrysanthemums, and pumpkin spice everything. What’s the best way to transition elegantly and easily to fall home decor? And is it possible to hang onto some of the joys of summer as we prepare for luxurious fall entertaining at home?

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Whether you’re an enthusiast or a skeptic, come along with me and we’ll get to our Fall Happy Place: sipping single malt Scotch with friends in chunky sweaters.

how to get ready for luxurious fall entertaining

Here are 12 tried-and-true insider tips on how to get ready for fall entertaining season.

1. Ease into the season

There’s no need to abandon the outdoors and batten down the hatches just yet. As the warmer temperatures subside, alfresco entertaining can be even more satisfying.

inside tips on fall entertaining

Photo Credit: Magdalena Kernan Photography.

One key piece of advice on how to get ready for fall entertaining outdoors? Turn off the fans and change out the beach towels for snuggly throws.

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Cover the teak tables with with lightweight modern quilts. Provide more lanterns as the daylight hours shorten. These lovely Ambient Collection lanterns from Gloster bring both style and a pleasing glow.

luxurious autumn entertaining home

Luxurious autumn entertaining at home: the Gloster Ambient Collection Lighting collection. Courtesy Photo.

And as the temperatures dwindle further, light up the firepit and finish your evening with a mug of warm cider – spiked or family friendly.

2. Invite Mother Nature in

A single branch of dappled maple or oakleaf hydrangea in a clear vase can make a dramatic statement for luxurious autumn entertaining at home.

inside tips on autumn entertaining

Inside tips on autumn entertaining: set out a potted flowering cactus or two.

Or try a crab apple branch stripped of leaves to expose only the berries. Even small potted succulents with their red and orange blossoms can be coaxed into autumn décor.

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And if you are lucky enough to have a foliage view, like my client’s Hudson River residence (photo below), let the vista make the statement, with a single color reference like the vibrant cut orchids. That’s how to get your home ready for fall with just one simple addition.

3. Bring in the warm fuzzies

The slick and shiny finishes that looked so cool in the summer now call for the warmth of textures and natural materials.

A lux throw adds an immediate sense of warmth and comfort, as will a plush rug spread on the bare floor. Beyond the obvious, layer a sheepskin rug on top of your summer sisal. This unique felted wool pillow brings a different texture and handmade quality (available through the trade). 

transition to fall home decor

How to elegantly transition to autumn home decor: Curated Kravet Simpson Pillows. Courtesy Photos.

And for your tabletop, the crocodile-embossed chargers and burlap trimmed napkins in the latest collection from Kim Seybert are stylish enough to take the pressure off whatever you are serving.

how to get home ready for fall

How to get your home ready for fall: tabletop decor from Kim Seybert’s new collection. Courtesy Photos.

4. Tone it down

There’s no need to banish the bright and saturated colors of summer. Just supplement them with neutrals and naturals. Add cool grey, warm beige or sophisticated taupe to bring the cleaner summer hues into the coming season. New textural pillows and throws do double duty in rich neutrals by grounding your more colorful pieces.

inside tips on fall entertaining

Bring in wood tones with a modern classic like this walnut stool designed by Eames. Its solid sculptural style adds richness without being too serious.

Eames Walnut Stool

Or how about getting ready to entertain this fall by adding accents like a leather or suede frame? Perhaps for the Powder Room mirror  – or to showcase that money shot from your summer travels? Chocolate colored leather can be a stylish dramatic contrast against polished chrome or light colored lacquer.

5. Go green.

If verdant tones are more your vibe, introduce the rich green tones of deep moss or dusty sage.

These colors can be a great foil to fuchsia, turquoise, lemon yellow and the brighter colors you may have embraced in the warmer months.

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Fern pattern fabric or wallpaper can create cozy woodlands connotations, making for a graceful transition from summer to fall home decor. If recovering a chair or papering the foyer is a little scary for you commitment-phobes, look for earthy green fern designs on dishes and serving pieces for your dinner party to toast the harvest moon.

6. Slow it down

Your music, that is. Update your playlist to reflect the mood of the more earthy season. Whether its old school R&B like Nina Simone or some updated soulful tunes from Jill Scott, its time to mellow and deepen the acoustical background to your next soiree.

transition to fall home decor

7. Add the plaid

While a bit ubiquitous, there are too many great options to pass up this seasonal craze. It need not be the green and navy tartan of your high school uniform. Add a twist with a modern version in a tone-on-tone neutral like this one from F. Schumacher. 

How to get your home elegantly ready for fall: a tone-on-tone Herman Miller throw. Courtesy Photo.

8. Restrain the clichés

Fall is often associated with abundance, but make sure your entertaining space isn’t overburdened with ideas. The proverbial horn of plenty can quickly becoming a horn of excess.

A minimalist approach can look more urbane while also saving you time, energy and table surface! Of course you can indulge in a few gourds (white or light tones, please) and pomegranates. But please leave the mums for the homecoming corsages.

how to get ready fall entertaining

How to get ready for fall entertaining: play with minimalist arrangements with pumpkins and autumn gourds.

9. A glimmer of things to come

Introduce some metallics into your scheme.  Not only do they provide rich contrast to the textures and added neutrals, but they will also begin to set the tone for the dressier winter holidays yet to come. As with the other trends of the season, remember that a little goes a long way (save the real bling blast for New Year’s Eve!).

transition to fall home decor

10. Share your summer story

Show off some of the treasures you collected on your travels as you set the stage for luxurious fall entertaining at home. Those copper tumblers you snagged in India or the carved figurines from Nairobi mixed with some saffron colored tulips will make a very personal table or buffet.

Use the iconic Australian bandannas you picked up in Melbourne as dinner napkins. Or for a real treat, pour a little of that Van Nees liqueur you smuggled back from Amsterdam to warm your guests’ spirits.

11. Pack on some pounds

Pack away all those lightweight, poolside-friendly serving pieces, and reach for the earthenware. Not only will it fit with the Fall aesthetic, but better to hold those rich dishes you’ll be serving.

And when it comes to presenting your favorite Manchego and spiced nuts, this stonewood stipe serving board and spreaders from Juliska will do you proud.

Jurliska Stonewood Stripe Serving Board and Spreaders. Courtesy Photo.

In the same vein, upgrade your glassware worthy of your Fall Signature cocktail. Add some color with this Moser barware.  

Moser Barware

12. Light it up

We all know pillar and taper candles can instantly set a mood of intimacy and warmth, so be sure to stock up on those (I prefer off white or ivory color) for all the entertaining in the months ahead. Do give extra thought to how you display those tapers.

Tall tapers held in these rock crystal Orb candle holders from Alexander Lamont provide just the right weight and natural elegance.

Alexander Lamont Orb Candleholders. Courtesy Photos.

And for a unique votive cover with the bonus of added texture, nothing tops these whimsical votive shades from Tucker Robbins

transition to fall home decor

Inside tips on fall entertaining: consider these whimsical Tucker Robbins Votive Shades. Courtesy Photo.

For a cocktail party or after dinner drinks, scented candles are allowed as long as you avoid the obvious pumpkin spice varieties. Wondering how to get your home ready for fall in a sophisticated way? Try something luxuriously subtle, like Cashmere Valley Wood from Kobo.  

inside tips on fall entertaining

Inside tips on fall entertaining: utilize lightly scented candles like this Kobo Cashmere Valley Wood Scented Candle. Courtesy Photo.

that’s how to prepare your home for luxurious fall entertaining

Okay, maybe the upcoming season can help us focus on our fortunate bounty, the richness of our world, and the warmth of friendships. And a great way to share those gifts is by entertaining. But as you prepare, just keep in mind the warm yet disciplined Danish design approach. In other words, a little more Hygge and a little less hay bale.

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Join our community! For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.

Laurie S. WoodsLaurie S. Woods, ASID, has been practicing Interior Design for 30+ years with clients from Pebble Beach to Park Avenue.

She loves interpreting her clients’ personal styles and design influences into reflections of their individuality. She views entertaining as one of her most basic and strongest needs. Along with travel, Laurie sees gathering friends for food, wine, and laughter among the best of life’s pleasures.

She lives in New York with her architect husband and spends hours bantering with him over just how tall is too tall for a NYC skyscraper. Learn more at

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