“Autumn brings a second spring when every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus

For many of us, fall is a favorite time of the year. The changing colors, crisp air, cooler weather and abundance of pumpkins all make up the season’s splendor, the inspiration of poets and nature lovers alike. So, what better way to pay homage to autumn’s glory than by bringing nature’s golden harvest into your own home?

A stroll through a wooded park or your neighborhood can yield a bounty of decor opportunities in the forms of fallen pinecones and acorns, as well as branches of changing leaves. Here are our suggestions for bringing the nature indoors.

Styled by Nora Murphy / Photo by Darryl Arbesman

Vibrant Leaves

Snip thin branches baring leaves that have transformed from green to their autumn hue.

These can be arranged into tall vases with stunning results as seen in Nora Murphy’s dining room tour or assembled into garlands and wreaths for the table, front door or something less expected, such as this chandelier.

Like flowers, fresh leaves may not last very long once they’ve been cut.

If you plan to use fresh leaves as a centerpiece while you entertain, take into account the time involved with process of putting the centerpieces together.

Thankfully, these branches look lovely with little effort for an elegant and naturally imperfect style.

Pinecones and Acorns

When it comes to pinecones and acorns, where one is found, there are generally dozens more nearby. This makes a large collection easy to find all at once for a “more is more” approach to decor. Shallow bowls or clear glass centerpieces allow these natural artifacts to show off for full effect.

However, if you do choose to find these in the wild, be sure to check them for critters that would be unwelcome in your home. KariAnne of ThistleWood Farms has a funny story about one such mishap that you can read here.

Potential problems can be exterminated during the cleaning and drying process. First, soak your finds in a solution of vinegar and warm water for about an hour. Next, lay them out until they are dry to the touch. Finally, spread them out on an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet and set your oven at 200 degrees fahrenheit. An hour should do the trick, but we recommend checking the progress half-way through to turn your acorns and pinecones over. Drying in heat will also cause pinecones to open, or bloom. Don’t be afraid to add drops of essential oils like orange, cinnamon, or nutmeg to capture wonderful fall scents.

To be fair, a stroll through your local craft store will also produce these items in everlasting faux varieties.