Nora Murphy’s Fall Dining Room is an Indoor Garden

Light and shadows created by the autumn sunshine play across the table, causing the glassware to glitter. Against the back wall stands the pine hutch Nora found at HomeGoods and uses as a statement piece to hold her collection of white serveware. “It’s a big room, so it needed something that would anchor the table and be the statement piece,” she says.

Decorating for fall can be overwhelming, especially with the added pressures of hosting a dinner or party. Save yourself some stress and plan on an elegant, yet simple table setting this year. Designer and homeowner Nora Murphy of Nora Murphy Country House proves that all you need are a few essential pieces to make your dining room an autumnal paradise.

For a pop of color, Nora clips branches from her garden to hang on the chandelier. Though they’re fresh, they tend to last for several days.
Autumn’s own shade of vibrant red is the perfect color to pair with the black and white dining space without sacrificing Nora’s preference for natural elements.


“It’s very simple, but everything has a European garden feel,” Nora says. With large rosemary plants, vibrant maple leaves and an antique bee skep hidden away in the corner, Nora brings the wonders of her garden indoors and uses it as a natural base to style her fall dining room. “I’m a gardener, so I always go fresh first for entertaining,” says Nora. The branches, leaves and pumpkins are all fresh to create an authentic look in the room, but you can always use faux options if you prefer.

The simple and elegant table setting pieces are all from Simon Pearce. A red striped placemat creates a base for the white plates, linen napkins and hurricane glass candle holders. She positioned a baby boo pumpkin on each setting and tied a wood tag bearing her guests’ names to mark each person’s place.

Color Palette

With a mostly white palette, Nora brought in black Windsor chairs and painted an antique bench to bring contrast to the space and create a cohesive set. They look as if they could just as easily belong to an outdoor table, which helps the garden vibe.  To continue her white color palette, Nora chose to keep her dishes and décor of the same shade. “I like to use what’s in season, so I loved the idea of white pumpkins and keeping everything to one color: creamy white,” she says. However, she incorporates bits of red through the leaves and placemats for pops of color.

This European garden-themed dining room has a simple and elegant look for fall. Live maple leaves and branches add color to the otherwise neutral palette. An antique bee skep and 18th century European mural grace the room with history.

Autumnal Dining

To set the scene for her get together, Nora started with a 10-foot 19th century work table as her base on which to build her tablescape. She then put hand-blown hurricane candle holders from Simon Pearce in the middle of the table and placed creamy white candles inside of them as the start of the centerpiece and sprinkled pumpkins in between to finish the look. “Set the large pumpkins first, then the medium and small,” she says. “When a group is meshed together, it creates an impactful look. That’s the beauty of the centerpiece: it’s bold, yet simple.”

Nora finished the look with a white baby boo pumpkin on every plate as the place card holder for an elegant autumn look that is sure to please family and friends.

To set the scene for her get together, Nora started with a 10-foot 19th century work table as her base on which to build her tablescape

Like Nora’s dining room? See more of her home here!

Kristin Dowding

Published by
Kristin Dowding

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