Columbia, S.C. With kids back in school and sweaters in the stores, it's looking a lot like fall.
That's true for decorating your home, too.
This is the time of year for what interior designer Jolene Smith of Ballentine, S.C., calls the end-of-summer shuffle. People start turning their attention to the inside of their homes anticipating spending more time indoors.
"After they get past the trauma of getting the kids back in school and getting the clothes bought that's about when retail shops start unveiling Christmas (items)," said Smith of Southern Magnolia Interiors. "Then they hit panic mode. It's time to get their homes decorated, spruced up for Christmas."
For those who practice feng shui (the ancient Asian philosophy of design and placement used to create balance in your home), fall is the time "we feel grounded. We're looking for things nurturing and simple," said interior designer Eileen Weklar of the Red Envelope in Blythewood, S.C.
"From a feng shui perspective, this is a time people are drawn to decluttering," she said. "They're getting ready for school, getting rid of things that don't fit. There's a newness happening."
We asked some interior designers to share their ideas on ways to spruce up your home for the changing season.
Some ideas are simple and inexpensive. Others will take a little more money and creativity.
Here are some fixes for fall.
l Making an entrance. Start with the front door (where you should replace any faded welcome mats), says Cheryl Schlensker of Cheryl Lynn Designs.
Among her suggestions: Add a traditional, dried floral wreath with a beautiful ribbon. Or try a grapevine wreath and add dried fruits, berries and nuts. Put a grapevine or twig swag above the door to frame it.
Or position three potted plants, such as colorful mums, on your landing or front stairs.
l Bring the outdoors in. Even when the weather cools, it's a perfect time to bring things from the garden indoors. Think fruits of the harvest or dried flowers. Even a big branch can be moved inside as a swag over a door to hold your collections.
"I'm always looking for a good branch," Weklar said. Consider hanging small pumpkins from one. Or set one in a flower pot like a tree and hang your collections from that.
How about a yard display? Try a bale of hay, a few pumpkins, cornstalks and mums topped off with a scarecrow.
"The kids will love it and will have lots of fun helping you set it up," Schlensker said. A wheelbarrow or a bicycle with a basket can be used to display those same items.
l Paint it. Nothing transforms a room as drastically and inexpensively as paint.
Designer Joan Goodwin of Verandah Interiors suggests painting one accent wall in a rich green or brown.
To decide which wall to paint, stand at the entrance to the room and figure out the dominant visual point. In most cases, if it's a family room, it's the wall with the fireplace. If not, it may be the wall behind the sofa.
What colors are hot this season?
Chocolate and chestnut browns, paired with all sorts of colors, from hot pink to orange to blue, Smith said. Blue also remains popular, with designers showing various shades of blue in the same room.
l Cozy up. Change window treatments and bedding from lightweight, bright summer colors and fabrics to heavier weight, stronger jewel tones. Those colors better represent the fall, winter and holiday color palate, Schlensker said.
l A new room. Pick one room for a new look. Smith suggests the family room.
Empty the room and then think of it as it's never been before.
"You could put the rug on diagonal or put the furniture diagonal," she said "It gets your mind set and ready for a new time of year."
Buy at least one new accessory for the room you choose to rearrange and switch out one accessory to another room.
The change will give you a new way to use the same furniture.
l Tabletop change. You don't have to change furniture or accessories to make tables look different. Try new tablecloths, napkins, table runners or table squares in your kitchen or dining room. Again, the choice of colors and fabric weight conveys the changing season.
l Flower power. Floral arrangements are an easy and inexpensive way to change the feel in your home. Take out the light, colorful summer displays and use corns, berries and twigs.