For passionate seasonal decorators, the final three months of the year can feel like both a blessing and a curse. Typically, decor is seasonal: You bring out pastels and florals for spring, lighter fabrics and lush greenery for summer, heavy blankets and faux fur pillows for winter. But the months of October, November, and December—while they do mostly cover the fall season—post particular decorating challenges.
Yes, you want to display all the decorative pumpkins that you can get your hands on, but you also want to try some DIY Halloween decorations for October and put out your Christmas decorations as soon as December strikes. (Most people agree that you should decorate for the holidays right after Thanksgiving, after all.) And then there’s November: While those who celebrate might put out special decorative accents for the week of Thanksgiving, there’s not a month-long theme to decorate around during the 11th month of the year.
Never fear: November need not be forgotten amid the rush to clean up Halloween decorations and set up the Christmas tree. To figure out how to decorate during this in-between month, we turned to two experts for their tips.
Meet the Expert
Repurpose Halloween Decor
“Halloween seems to be the beginning of the holiday decor season for our homes,” Andi Morse of Morse Design says. “Many of the pieces we use can be salvaged to stay for the Thanksgiving season.”
If you haven’t packed up your Halloween decor quite yet, leave out any uncarved pumpkins, gourds, or haystacks, Morse suggests. These accents are classics for fall, but it’s easy to let them sit in their boxes after October. Instead, leave them out (or put them back out, if you replaced them with jack-o’-lanterns and cobwebs for spooky season) and let them shine in November.
Focus on Flexible Colors
“For the most part, Halloween colors (oranges, blacks, purples, greens) are also generally seen as fall colors, but different hues give off different aesthetics throughout the season,” Beth Diana Smith, a HomeGoods style expert, says.
Rearrange or re-match decor or accessories in classic Halloween colors to make them more appropriate for November and the final weeks of fall. As fall foliage fades, you might even try colors beyond the classic orange, red, and brown—Smith says mustards, dark greens, and blacks work for both Halloween and fall. Rich purples, too, are popular at Halloween and great for subtle fall decor.
“Pairing orange and black decor will always give Halloween vibes, so instead I recommend replacing the orange with darker greens and moody purples as a great alternative that fits both the spooky season and harvest aesthetic,” Smith says.
To work with these colors in November and beyond, look to wall art, throw pillows, vases, and other easily movable items. When picked carefully, these items can work for October, Halloween, November, and Thanksgiving—particularly if you move them around to create pairings that suit different occasions. Try black and orange for Halloween, black and white (perhaps in a checkered print) for the whole season, or dark green and black for mid- to late-November. With different colors and arrangements, you’ll be able to use the same decor without sacrificing the spooky joy of October or the peacefulness of November.
Play With Scents
As any good candle lover will tell you, scent is as much a part of your decor as a throw blanket is, and updating the scents you fill your home with to match the season will do a lot to shift the overall atmosphere into something more festive.
“I love having a seasonal, signature fragrance, as this means taking a long, luxurious trip down the candle aisle at HomeGoods, selecting unique candles I love like cinnamon, pumpkin, chai, amber, or even pecan,” Smith says. “You’d be surprised how many smells we associate with sweater weather.”
And don’t forget that, while your scented candle serves as an accompaniment to your seasonal decor, it can also be decor.
“Look for candles in ceramic patterned holders or brushed metal candelabras for an eye-catching look,” Smith says. “Overall, this is my favorite affordable way to create an autumnal feeling for your home this fall!”
Think Cozy but Fabulous
Beyond the standard seasonal elements such as leaf motifs and carefully arranged gourds, there are more trends to put to use this November—and while they might get put aside during the holiday decorating season, they can be great additions to your space again come January.
“I think the cozy and fabulous factor is going to be turned up this November,” Smith says. “I expect to see oversized, wine-colored chenille throws draped over the sides of sofas, velvet detailed patterns on ottomans, benches, and pillows that remind us of Persian rugs, and bolder color palettes where mustards, dark greens, and blacks make an unapologetic introduction.”
In other words, if you’ve always wanted to take your decor in a moodier or bolder direction, this is your chance.
Focus on Fall Imagery
Trying something new is great, but there’s also plenty to be said for keeping things simple and sticking with the familiar—and for fall, that’s often decor inspired by nature.
“The best November decor is from nature,” Morse says. “Of course, pumpkins and gourds are great! You can get creative and add in a bowl filled with apples or pretty pinecones on a console or table. Placing a vase with some beautiful tree branches is a gorgeous look, too!”
Whether your November decorations stay up during Thanksgiving and beyond is up to you, but with a few simple additions or the intentional repurposing of decorative accents you already have, you can help the month of November feel like a distinct time for creative home decor.