Hosting a dinner this fall? If you want to tailor your party to the season, you need to be aware of the fine line between tasteful and tacky autumnal decor. For a little guidance, we called upon Heather Taylor, the design-savvy entrepreneur behind LA in Bloom and her own line, Heather Taylor Home. These well-curated tips are a sure-fire way to set the tone for the season. Scroll through and learn how to throw a party that will impress all your friends and social media followers.
“Avoid the urge to spread red, yellow and orange maple leaves across your table," Taylor advises. "I love to put some freshly cut lavender and rosemary in a few small glass vases - it gives that autumn feeling without being so obvious.”
“Especially in the fall, I like exposed wood tables not covered in a heavy cloth. Use runners (or nothing at all) and allow the natural beauty of the wood to show through,” suggests Taylor. “I love to add a bold napkin instead. It’s a less fussy look and it feels less “done” but still is seasonally appropriate and sophisticated.”
Consider Your Palette
“Don’t be afraid to use color but think beyond the typical ‘fall’ palette,” says Taylor. “Fir green, plum and marigold are all rich, autumnal hues that keep your table from looking like a Thanksgiving window display.”
Go Beyond Florals
“I always have a focal point in the center of my table but—especially in the fall—you can look beyond just flowers,” says Taylor. “A gorgeous bowl filled with pomegranates or persimmons is a bit unexpected and evokes the harvest in a very subtle way.
“I try to mix old and new (like my grandmother’s china with some of my table linens) for a mix of formal and modern so the table looks fresh and not too 'traditional/stuffy' as many holiday tables tend to be,” notes Taylor.
Create An Ambiance
“I dim the lights and use candles (unscented on the dinner table of course). It’s perfect for this time of year and always helps create a warm and cozy vibe,” suggests Taylor.
“I try to have something for my guests to take home but I veer away from store bought ‘party favors’ that can seem impersonal and commercial,” says Taylor. “In the fall, I bake individual pumpkin breads wrapped in a beautiful tea towel. Everyone eats them for breakfast the next day!”
Play With A Theme
“Themes are festive and can make a simple dinner party that much more fun. Just make sure to stick to cool and sophisticated - think Day of the Dead - versus Pilgrims and Plymouth Rock,” says Taylor.
“Mexican food is always a crowdpleaser, but resist the temptation to get campy (read: sombrero-shaped anything),” Taylor suggests. “In the fall, I switch it up and make sweet potato enchiladas and pomegranate margaritas, which are yummy for a cool evening.”
“Dessert tables, especially during the holidays, can get really over the top and a little silly. I like to make dessert separate and casual,” says Taylor. “Serving affogato around a fire pit or on the porch offers a change of scenery and helps curb the regret that accompanies too many trips to the dessert table.”
“You can serve seasonally appropriate food while still being creative,” Taylor adds. “Instead of a pumpkin pie, I like cinnamon ice cream with sliced figs and caramel sea salt sauce. Skip the Hot Buttered Rum and make mulled wine with a few star anises as garnish. Still feels like fall, but not so overdone.”