With each new season, I have a blast coming up with a new display for my front door. Depending upon how much time I have to devote to decorating, my concoctions have run the gamut from super simple treatments to those that are elaborate and involved. I’ve hung plates on my door, artwork, lanterns filled with thematic tableaus and a million kinds of wreaths. But the time I got the most comments on the appearance of my front door was the year I didn’t hang anything! Friends and neighbors were so used to looking for my constantly changing door displays that when I didn’t have time to reinvent the look of my door one season, they were sure that something dreadful must have happened to me. You wouldn’t believe the number of calls I got from friends to see if I was OK.
This fall, treat visitors to a warm fall greeting by dressing up your door for the season. Here are three fun and quick looks to inspire you.
A Bountiful Bouquet
For today’s blog, I asked Gail, a member of our talented visual team at Nell Hill’s, to join me in creating three simple and fun fall looks for exterior doors. We had intended to dress up the front door of my home, but the day we had scheduled our blog photo session turned out to be so blisteringly hot, we wimped out and instead stayed in the wonderful air conditioned confines of Garrity’s. So, as you look at each door treatment, use your imagination and picture it not on the interior door of a shop, but on the door of your own home.
Nothing says welcome like a happy basket spilling over with the glorious colors of fall. So for our first look, Gail hung a simple flower basket on the door by a burlap ribbon. New this year, these white wicker baskets make fabulous year-round decorating tools. They are long, thin, lightweight, inexpensive and feature a handle at the top that makes them easy to hang from a door. We’re carrying the basket in three sizes, but I think the large size (28 inches high by 24.5 inches wide, and priced at just $19.75) and the medium size (24.75 inches high and 10.5 inches wide, priced at only $14.50) are the best sizes for door displays because they are large enough to make a statement that’s visible from the street.
Gail hangs the basket a little lower on the door so that when she adds the bouquet, the floral arrangement will be right at eye level. My husband, Dan, goes nuts when I hammer nails willy-nilly in our home, so I have tried to come up with creative ways to hang things using as few nails as possible. One way to do this on your front door is to hang your display from your door knocker, securing it with a lovely seasonal ribbon. You can also use a door hook that secures over the top of your door.
If your front porch is not covered or if you get a lot of wind where you live, like we do in Kansas, you’ll need to secure the basket so it doesn’t bang around in a stiff fall breeze. Gail solved this problem by putting a weight in the bottom of the basket, which does a nice job of helping it hang straight, no matter what the weather.
With the basket in place, Gail begins filling it with a bouquet of fall goodies. To create the signature Nell Hill’s look, she uses a base of fallen sticks for the arrangement. She positions four twigs in the basket so they look like they’ve grown there naturally. Next, she fills in with a mix of fall foliage. She inserts one sprig of faux maple leaves at a time, being sure to keep the look light and airy, bending and twisting the artificial branches so they look lifelike. Then she adds some fall flowers, like sunflowers and black eyed Susans, and even a hefty fake pumpkin for added fun. I also adore bittersweet and honeysuckle vine in displays like these. When you pick out the fabulous fakes for your basket of flowers, be sure to select foliage, flowers, grasses, vines and berries that look sensational with the color of your door and with your home’s exterior paint.
When Gail likes what she sees, she secures all the pieces with florist wire so the display won’t get torn up by the wind. Then she finishes it off with an adorable half bow treatment—my favorite these days. She makes a loop out of burlap ribbon, knots it and lets the two ends trail down.
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
I really love to use mirrors on my front door, especially in the fall when Halloween trick-or-treaters will come knocking. I like it when the kids can see just how adorable they look as they wait for us to come to the door with our bowl of candy.
Gail selects a traditional oval mirror in a distressed painted finish. If your porch is uncovered, be sure to pick a mirror that can withstand wind and rain. I recommend you go for something waterproof and inexpensive. You’ll also want to pick a mirror that is heavy enough not to be tossed about by the wind. And, consider putting a piece of felt on the mirror’s back so it doesn’t scuff your door.
Gail hammers in a small nail at the very top of the door’s inside then ties a bit of twine to the nail. She brings the twine up over the door, where she ties it securely to the picture hanger on the back of the mirror. Twine is a great pick for your fall display because it’s so rustic.
Next, Gail makes a simple loop bow out of one of the new ribbon styles we just got in for fall. This adorable burlap check ribbon looks great in a host of fall displays—you can loop it around wreaths, in and out of bouquets, on lantern handles or candlesticks, and around the base of fall topiaries in your garden. I can’t decide which I like better, this cute new patterned burlap or my trusty gold standard—solid burlap ribbon. It’s a tie: They both scream fall.
With the stage set, Gail starts to add pizazz to our door treatment by working in some fall leaves, berries and, of course, twigs. She lets the greens cascade down from the top left side of the mirror, securing the stems to the back of the mirror with florist wire. Her goal with this display is to add in a bit of color – orange through the berries and green through the faux foliage – but to keep the bouquet airy enough so as not to obscure the mirror underneath. I think she found just the right balance.
I’m crazy about this simple, tasteful treatment. It’s streamlined enough to fit comfortably between an exterior door and a storm door. Yet it’s substantial enough to turn heads as people drive by the front of your home.
If you don’t have a mirror on hand, you could modify the look by using a piece of inexpensive artwork (oil so it’s a bit more moisture-proof), a decorative plate or even a flat-backed lantern.
Chalk One up for Fall
This door treatment is super easy to pull off and lots of fun to do. We start by hanging a decorative chalkboard from a small nail on the door (remember, you could also use a door hook or hang the chalkboard from a knocker). You can stop here or dress the chalkboard up a bit like we did. Gail scouted about Garrity’s for some fake fall gourds, eucalyptus leaf picks and faux fall maple leaf branches. She plays around with the pieces until she comes up with a look she likes. She pulls out her trusty florist wire and secures the pieces of the bouquet to the top of the chalkboard (to keep the gourds in place, she pokes holes in the back and strings florist wire through them). Presto! She creates a super cute look in a matter of minutes.
Since I can’t resist having a bit of fun, I embellish the chalkboard with a message. The chalkboard we picked is printed with the phrase, “Things to do in the garden ….” I add in a few options, like rake leaves, plant bulbs and seed. You can see which one I would choose: “drink wine”. I love to sit with friends and family in my courtyard in the fall and enjoy a wonderful glass of wine!
This fall, be sure to take a few minutes to trick up your door for the season. Your friends, neighbors and passersby will be delighted you did. If you need a few more ideas or supplies for creating sensational fall door displays, be sure to visit us at Garrity’s, where we have lots of fall foliage and gourds, at either Nell Hill’s location or at Nell Hill’s Online.
Next Week … Halloween is not just for kids any more. Be sure to come back next week when I’ll share some frightfully fun ideas for throwing a simply sinister Halloween bash for you and your friends.
Charla Jones saysSeptember 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm
These are just lovely ideas for a door. My problem is……I have double doors with large oval glass. Do you have any suggestions for me? I have used swags with bows on the respective left and right corners of the glass. I just want something different. Thanks.
maureen saysSeptember 28, 2010 at 12:07 am
wonderful ideas! I like the mirror decoration and may use this idea for an interior door in my home. Keep these ideas coming! I look forward to Monday!
Clayton D. Marr saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 2:08 pm
Heyho there, I just needed to state how interesting I think this blog is!
Shelly saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm
Thank you for sharing these beautiful designs. They have really inspired me to create something unique and different with my fall decor. I really love dressing up a mirror and giving it even more style.
Dee Ann saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm
Awesome! I so look forward to these….tremendous ideas and the presentation of them is everything! You are the best! We’re all blessed, by such marvelous suggestions for our seasonal joy in decorating! Thanks a million, Mary Carol and All!!!
Sally Moore saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Love the Fall Door Decoration but I can’t use anything on mine because I have a full -view storm door & cannot attach any kind of hanger!!!! Any suggestions for me & others w/the same problem?
Lou saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 7:31 pm
I love all three. I am planning on doing the mirror on my door to my beauty shop. Thanks for the wonderful ideals.
Cynthia Allen saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 7:49 pm
I love all the ideas — especially the mirror! An idea I’ll have borrow!
Miss Char saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 8:21 pm
Thanks so much for the great ideas. I actually have something similar to your first door but adding the pumpkin is going to make a big difference.
Sandi saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 9:34 pm
All the doors look just wonderful. Since I lam a basket fan and have them every where I am a little partial to the basket door, but love all of them the ideas are great!! Really like how you have been doing 3 different designs.
Bonnie Carlson saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 10:24 pm
I found a wicker letter holder with two pockets one upper and one lower that I used. I filled each one with fall picks and a small birdhouse wired on and small pumpkins. This is fairly flat and actually fits between the house door and the glass storm door. Worked great!
Marilyn C. saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:16 pm
Gail, you are brilliant to have thought of using a weight to help the basket stay in place! I’ve been hanging a fall basket on my front door for years, and its swaying always confounded me. I have a hint: to avoid the basket scratching my door, I place several table (or floor protectors) on the back of the basket where it rests on the surface of the door. I do the half bow too, but wrap it around the body of the basket…as though it’s wearing a belt. Thanks, Gail!!
Suzanne saysSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:54 pm
MORE….MORE….MORE…this story deserves a part two….and three. PLEASE!! See Maureen needs more help.
Mary in Lawrence saysSeptember 30, 2010 at 12:56 am
Gail’s ideas are Super! It will be hard to decide which one to use!! Thanks so much!!
Bill saysSeptember 30, 2010 at 1:00 am
I really like the idea of the chalk board, and my nieghbors will love it. They usually are interested in what I’m going to do next, so your idea would work great for our Neighborhood Pie Club (such as anouncing when the next feast is and what to bring- they love Pie!) I can also change the decoration of the board for the season or theme of the Pie Club, our Key West theme was the most delicious this year so far. Thanks for all the ideas Mary Carol and fell free to stop by my Greek Revival Cottage anytime you like!
Irene saysSeptember 30, 2010 at 9:14 am
Hello Mary Carol,
I so much enjoyed this post! I love the door decoration, but you also inspired me to dress up our kitchen chalkboard. Thank you, and best wishes for a most enjoyable Autumn.
mary erbafina saysSeptember 30, 2010 at 9:37 pm
These are wonderful decorating ideas and fairly easy to complete thanks to the step by step instructions. Where might I purchase the door baskets (living in the New England area) or is it available on line thru Nell Hill? Thank you.
By the way, I loved the comment about “Dan going nuts with nail holes in the house”. My husband has an aversion to “holes in the wall”, too. It makes decorating a challange…. puts a twist on that old adage “to measure twice and use that hammer once”.
Lisa saysOctober 1, 2010 at 2:07 am
I love your door baskets! Thanks for the beautiful & helpful ideas. I had a basket on my door, but it moved around too much when the door is open & closed – so I’ll try putting some weight in the bottom. To protect my door I hot glued a small piece of felt on the back of the basket. I love your inspiring blog!
Elba H saysOctober 1, 2010 at 11:08 am
Love the Basket ideas, however I seem to be unable to find them in the On-Line store..
Are they available?
Carla saysOctober 1, 2010 at 7:00 pm
To Sally Moore,
I have the same kind of full-view glass storm door and I use a white two-piece magnet with a hook on the outside part that you put directly on the glass. I got mine on vacation somewhere, but maybe you could check someplace like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby for one. I love mine – no wires or hooks needed.
Mary Carol saysOctober 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm
Hi Mary and Elba—The baskets we used in the article this week are located at Garrity’s in Atchison. They are so fun to play with and come up with all kinds of decorating ideas.
Robin saysOctober 4, 2010 at 12:17 am
I’m always reinventing the look on my front door and love the look of the long square style basket as it would probably not wobble around as much. River rocks or even stones from the yard are helpful to use as weights. Since these baskets are white and very reasonably priced, I can’t help but imagine them painted in any every possible color to coordinate with the arrangement and the outside decor, and they would make great gifts!
Debbie Vogler saysOctober 5, 2010 at 1:22 am
Hello Mary Carol,
This is Debbie from Wisconsin. It was great seeing you this summer. I love the photos that you keep having posted. Thank you! I have to say~as I was placing my pumpkins atop some candlesticks, I thought of you and felt like “Mary Carol” :). Happy Fall to you all at Nell Hill.
Debbie Vogler saysOctober 5, 2010 at 1:23 am
Barbara R. saysOctober 9, 2010 at 8:53 pm
Thanks for the info for the weight at the base. It drives me crazy moving around and my daughter hates it. The mirror idea is great. Thanks
Ginny saysOctober 13, 2010 at 1:01 am
I have seen your beautiful ‘sugar pinecones’ in one of your books and wondered where I might find them to purchase? Love your style!! Thanks, Ginny
Pinky saysOctober 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm
How do I “follow” your blog???? I don’t see a place to sign up! Thanks!!!
Pat saysOctober 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm
MC: Love your decorating style, I have all your books including the newest Christmas one, Love, Love them all. I want to visit Atchison soon to see your stores. You are my Idol!!! Pat