Fall Table Inspiration from Lu Ann

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the blazing colors of the leaves, from gold to orange to red. The cool air touched with aromas like fallen leaves and ripe apples. And the food. Don’t even get me started on that: apple pie, savory soups, spiced cider.

We’ve been decorating Nell Hill’s for weeks, getting everything ready for our Fall Fanfare: An Autumnal Design & Décor Event, on Friday, Sept. 7 and Saturday, Sept. 8. Our visual design team has outdone itself yet again, and everywhere you turn in the store, you are greeted by creative displays filled with ideas to help you bring the beauty of fall into your home décor.


I really like to have dinner parties at my cottage in the fall, when we can dine al fresco. Through the years, I’ve gotten a million ideas for table top treatments from Lu Ann, one of our visual design team members at Nell Hill’s. Today, I asked Lu Ann to show us one of her favorite fall tables at Nell Hill’s and tell us how she created it. Here are her tips:


Start with the dishes.

Lu Ann lets the look of the table flow from the dish pattern she wants to spotlight. For this table, it was this lovely china from Portugal, with its brown and white hunt theme. Perfect for fall.

Experiment with table linens.

Don’t confine yourself to a traditional tablecloth, Lu Ann advises. She likes to use different types of linens on tables to make them more interesting. On this table, her pick was a washable plaid throw turned on the diagonal. Likewise, think outside the box when selecting napkins. The black and white plaid napkins on this table are actually dish towels, finished with sweet quail shaped napkin rings.

Layer up place settings.

Lu Ann started her place setting with a woven lattice placemat because its color and texture reminded her of the season. Next came an enamel plastic charger, with a sweet ticking stripe. Then, she mixed several dish patterns, zipping up the china with green majolica.

Add surprises to your table.

We like table treatments that make guests smile with delight. So we always add a surprise or two. On this table, Lu Ann slid a bittersweet wreath between the dishes. On top of the salad place, a wood riser is topped with an adorable black urn filled with fall accents.

Old books and book pages are one of our favorite decorating tools at Nell Hill’s. Use the books as risers or to bring visual interest to a tableau. Or, cut out pages from the book, roll them up and insert them into bowls or urns.

Fashion a creative centerpiece.

On this table, Lu Ann took three candelabras that resemble deer horns and intertwined them with large, amber hurricane lamps. The end result is a look that is big on drama, but does not block cross-table conversation.

Mix up your glassware.

We love to use amber glassware in the fall. On this table, Lu Ann mixed a pattern we regularly carry in the store with a one-of-a-kind vintage set.

Pop in great serving pieces.

I like having fun with serving pieces when setting a seasonal table. This unique ice bucket, with its wood frame and deer head details, was perfect for this hunt-club inspired table. It not only adds style to your table, it’s a great way to keep your beverages chilled while you and your guests linger.

Tweak and refine.

When she sets a table at Nell Hill’s, Lu Ann has a design in mind. But she improvises as she goes. Give yourself license to change your mind and follow your muse, too. Start playing and see what you come up with.