Nostalgia is Hot for Today’s Fall Centerpieces

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There is something so nostalgic about fall for me. Maybe it comes from growing up in a small, Midwestern river town, where the trees turned spectacular shades of scarlet, amber and orange. Where apple orchards were bursting with juicy fruit ready for a snack or pie. Or maybe it was the excitement of football game days in our small college town. Fall just feels like home, familiar and friendly.

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So I’m not surprised that the big, new look in fall décor this year is, actually, an old, wonderful look we’ve all loved for decades. Instead of spotlighting a few trendy colors in fall florals, accents and fabrics, designers are wrapping their arms around the same time-honored visual symphony outside your window: shades of browns, greens, reds, oranges and yellows.

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To help you bring the beauty of fall into your home, I wanted to show you some of the centerpieces our seasonal design team has created at Nell Hill’s, as we get ready for our big Fall Open House on Sept. 9 and 10. (Remember, we have one store now, in Kansas City, so don’t head up to Atchison.)

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This lovely fall table features one of my favorite tricks: Place a black urn at your table’s center and fill it with foliage and gourds. We finished the table with one of my loves: Plaid throw blankets. Small blankets, shawls or even a square of fall fabric turned on an angle at your table’s center make perfect little tablecloths, adding tons of texture and pattern.

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Being a dish-a-haulic, I have never met a set of dishes I didn’t swoon over. But some patterns are even more crush-worthy for me. Spode transferware + fall tables = true love forever. We like to mix transferware with green majolica plates for a little extra spice.

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Our centerpiece for this gorgeous fall table was really easy to create. We topped a pedestal with a fall wreath, then inserted a trio of hurricanes. Done in a flash!

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My hometown of Atchison has been called the most haunted town in Kansas, so maybe I come by my love for Halloween naturally. I’m an empty-nester and proud to tell you, you don’t have to have any kids in your home to get in the spirit of this fun holiday. Do it up big, or just add a jot or two of Halloween  to your fall displays, like we did in this easy-to-assemble basket, perfect for the middle of your dining table, kitchen island or fireplace mantel.

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This year, I’m crazy about vintage-inspired holiday folk art by Bethany Lowe. Like me, Bethany is from a small Midwestern town and has lots of fun memories of Halloween, which she brings to life in her fanciful creations.

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At Nell Hill’s we like to create displays that last all season, from early fall through the holidays. Here’s a great example. As soon as Thanksgiving is through, remove Tom Turkey and the fall foliage, then sub in something for the holidays, like a tree ornament or reindeer. To build this display, which is ideal for a buffet, coffee table or entry table, we started with a rustic tin, popped in the focal point – the turkey figure – and filled in with a mix of fall foliage and evergreen picks. To make the fakes feel lifelike, bend them around so they look as they do in nature, ascending and descending, twisting and turning.


Next week … Give your mantel an instant fall makeover. I will have ideas to get you going.