Southern Lady Magazine

Entertaining Touches for Autumn

Get inspiring autumn décor ideas to create a warm and inviting touch to your home.


Good Scents

Welcome guests to your October table with a simple display that functions as both a long-lasting arrangement and an inviting fragrance. Start with a bag of your favorite store-bought potpourri, then gather pretty, seasonal embellishments like cinnamon sticks and pinecones. Homemade pomanders bring a special touch with just a few oranges and some cloves. For ease, use a toothpick to form the initial perforations on the fruit, and get creative with different designs. Once you’re pleased with your collection, put it all together in a bowl that continues the motif of fall’s flora and fauna—what a treat for the senses!

Center of Attention

Let the star of outdoor displays enjoy prominence inside with an easy, inexpensive tabletop vignette. The array of pumpkin varieties available this time of year seems endless—plump, petite, pretty, plain. And what to do with the good-looking gourds that don’t belong out on the ground? Try this presentation that starts with a pedestal bowl or a rimmed cake plate. Set your prized pumpkin in the center, and fill the base with natural elements straight from your yard, such as changing leaves and dried seedpods. Use the display as a lovely dining-table centerpiece or to dress up other entertaining areas. 

Autumn Lights

September sweeps in with flourish, shaking the leaves from Technicolor trees and quietly stealing the daylight a minute at a time. In summer, the sun shines until nearly bedtime, but in fall, it’s dark by dinner—and we don’t mind one little bit. In fact, we love it. We celebrate the change with an ode to autumn created with pumpkin-shaped candles (madebyelizabeth.com) perched atop vintage wooden spindles. Just arrange them on a table runner, then add a few winterberry stems and a scattering of acorns and dried citrus, and you have an autumnal centerpiece that adds cozy ambience to the season’s shorter days.

Pop Culture

A cozy autumn evening around the fire is made even merrier with a nice big bowl of popcorn. Let’s face it—popcorn is fun. But who knew this delightfully salty treat in its unpopped state could also be refined? Stylist Tracey MacMillan Runnion created a unique—and decidedly doable—centerpiece that starts with pouring popcorn kernels into a large, shallow bowl. Next, fill glass bottles of varying heights with more kernels, and place them in a pleasing arrangement in the bowl. Mini terra-cotta pots act as “stoppers” atop the bottles, and a votive candle is nestled in each pot. To finish off this clever fall display, add a few fall pears and another terra-cotta pot of flowers.

Decadent Glow

Incorporate sparkle into a centerpiece by creating a custom candleholder from your cherished heirlooms. Stretch a rubber band around the middle of a Mason jar. Slip forks and spoons under the band, and adjust until you are pleased with the arrangement. Attach the flatware to the jar, using glue dots where each piece touches the glass. Securely tie a decorative twine or ribbon around the assembly to help keep your flatware in place. Carefully cut or slip off the rubber band. Place a candle inside the jar, and light for a festive shine.

See more fall decoration and other seasonal entertaining ideas in our 2016 Autumn in the South special issue!