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Originally published Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8:01 PM

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Pumpkins and fall foliage

What is fall decorating without a pumpkin or two?

Scripps Howard News Service

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Want to perk up your home for autumn, but you don’t have the time or inclination for a full fall makeover? Here are three quick looks you can create in a jiff using my favorite fall decorating tools.

Pumpkins, lanterns and candles

What is fall decorating without a pumpkin or two? Not only do these chubby little guys scream fall, they are easy to work into lots of different kinds of fall and year-round displays.

Start with a lovely bowl and fill it with a jumble of faux pumpkins and gourds. Somehow this minimalist presentation gives you the feel of a fall bouquet without the challenge of floral arranging. The display is low-profile enough to work perfectly on a coffee table, yet dramatic enough to hold its own at the center of your dining table.

Lanterns make great year-round decorating tools, and in my book, you just can’t have enough of them. I took one of my favorite lanterns, which features a white wooden base and black metal top, and fitted it with a simple pumpkin-inspired display. Start by inserting a twist of honeysuckle vine into the open lantern. Then, tuck in a few faux pumpkins. Add some color with faux greenery.

Finish off by decorating the top of the lantern with a ribbon that cinches a few more twists of honeysuckle vine.

Once it’s completed, put the lantern on your front stoop, an entry table, a corner of your mantel or on your kitchen island.

Find a great candlestick, remove the candle, and replace it with a pumpkin or gourd. Put a thin bed of Spanish moss on top of the candlestick, under the pumpkin. Or, use a tiny fall wreath under the pumpkin.

Don’t just confine yourself to beefy pillar candlesticks. Thin silver candlesticks and majestic five-armed candelabra look great holding mini-pumpkins, too. Arrange a line of them marching across your fireplace mantel or down your dining table. Perch one or two on your kitchen windowsills. Amass a cluster on an end table.

Dough bowls

I frequently place dough bowls on top of tall furniture, then fill them with pumpkins and gourds. Stop there, or take your display to the next level by filling in the space around with a stack of wicker boxes and branches.

Looking for a simple-yet-striking centerpiece? They are easy to build in a dough bowl. First, make a foundation out of faux fall foliage. Then, place pumpkins and gourds among the sticks and leaves.

Orbs

Orbs are just the tool for fall decorating because they allow you to build a bigger, bolder display that still allows the colors of your seasonal décor to shine through.

A sophisticated display starts with a silver punch bowl perched on top of a hand-carved pedestal. Then roll in an assortment of chrome silver orbs, letting them fall where they may. If you want a year-round display that transcends the seasons, you could stop here. To tweak it for the season, simply insert some seasonal foliage.

A slightly larger orb fits perfectly atop an iron urn, giving us a trellis of sorts to hold a display featuring fall foliage and pumpkins. This fun arrangement could stand alone in your garden or on a small table.

Or it could be worked into a larger, more complex display. I grouped an orb-topped urn with an empty urn and a lantern, which echoes the aged patina of the orb. This would be a wonderful treatment to place next to your front door.

For a slight variation on the orb-topped-urn concept, create a display using faux pine branches and fall berries. With the simple addition of pine, you extend the life of this display. Just take out the fall berries and add in some frosted holly picks and a winter ribbon, and your fall display has morphed into one perfect for the holidays.


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