Autumn in the Living Room

By Kate Riley September 23, 2013

It rained on Saturday. You know that first rain of the fall season that fills the air with a scent you wish you could bottle? The one that’s created by the raindrops falling on summer’s residue. Coupled with the sound of cars driving through puddles, it made me want to open all the windows and doors just to breathe it all in. And then to curl up with a cozy throw, a cup of coffee, and a great book.

autumn mantel centsational girl

I’m trying out a new mirror on the mantel (source below), the famous white one has been there for so many years I needed a break but I still love it so it will return next summer. This season, the look in the living room is neutral and warm, a ‘menswear meets cabinet of curiosities’ approach that includes layers of texture and wood tones.

trio of yellow candlesticks

leaves pumpkins boxes on mantel

I was inspired by a fine piece of Harris Tweed wool I found at a thrift store a few weeks ago and thought how lovely and cozy the fabric would be stitched up into pillows by the “fireside” – an arrangement of birch branches and lit candles.

candles and birch logs in fireplace


I’m one of those people who ruthlessly edits my home’s decor – often tipping to the side of simplicity – but this year I just couldn’t help displaying all the little tidbits and collected things that have been tucked away in cabinets and drawers for months and years for the sake of just because.

gray console with leaf prints

I brought back my wild oak branch, the one I had posed in here in 2011 – I’ve rotated it around the house, it’s sculptural and beautiful to me so I love that it just hangs out in the corner as a work of natural art.

I’m all about bringing nature indoors and mixing different woods tones with things collected on family nature walks. My son found the pine cones, my daughter the sycamore leaves. Among the millions that fall to the earth, these ones are special because they are a gift from their tiny hands.

basket of logs under gray console


wood bowl with ceramic pinecones


golden bowl of pinecones


Wild clippings from trees in the yard inspire me too – the taller the better.

tall leaves in living room


I tend to reuse things I love, the pillows, the candlesticks, the same leaves from a faithful ornamental shrub.

mirrored apothecary chest

silver mirror and fall accessories

I’ve always mixed fresh with faux, yes that’s right, go ahead and layer a few craft berry twigs with your leaf clippings, or your fake pumpkins with the real deal. It all works.

white and gold vase with leaves and berries

Even though I reuse the favorites, there is that little birthday present I bought for myself in NYC a few weeks ago at my favorite shop in the West Village – a vintage Heinrich vase with abstract gold leaf swirls and strokes – my newest treasure. 

Sources for other accessories: on mantel, ivory inlay boxes from Marshalls (purchased last year) / yellow candlesticks from local shop / arch mirror from World Market / black & white bone inlay box from Joy & Revelry / Lenox club chairs purchased from Joss & Main / essex rug from Z Gallerie borrowed from master bedroom / Worlds Away gold leaf side table (purchased on sale at One Kings Lane) / gray console / twist basket holding birch logs / hammered golden bowl from Z Gallerie / wood bowl from HomeGoods / ceramic white pinecones from Joss & Main (purchased last year) / art: pear print from IKEA (three years or so ago), leaf print from flat flower designs / gold leaves shadowbox (DIY project) / silver ribbons Kitchler mirror from Wayfair / mirrored apothecary chest from Joss & Main / silk ikat pillows from West Elm (last year) / gold and cream faceted vase from Target (last year) / geometric cream & gold candlesticks from a shop in Montreal / vintage brass maple leaf bookend / vintage Heinrich white & gold vase.

I took a walk with my daughter yesterday evening as the sun was setting. We smelled the eucalyptus trees and the air, kicked the leaves, observed chickens running around in a neighbor’s front yard and kitty cat napping on a porch. We talked about the day and soaked it all in. I was reminded how wonderful it is to be alive, to move and breathe and feel and experience the changing of the seasons.

Autumn is so beautiful, isn’t it?

... ..


  1. I love this post. I especially love the grey color on the curved console table. Did you paint this table and if so, what color is it? Beautiful.

  2. I love how subtle your decorations are for Fall Kate. That mirror looks great in the mantle for this season for sure. :-)

  3. I definitely gravitate to the side of simplicity, too, but it’s fun to change things up for a little while, isn’t it? Everything looks lovely.

  4. Kate-

    You have an amazing home! I wish I could replicate everything!! I always get a “feel good” feeling after I check out your blog. It also makes me feel inspired. Great job!!

  5. I love all of natural elements for fall. Something about the season does seem to make you want to bring the outside in. Lovely post!

  6. Lovely! The mirror is right up my alley – I added some global flair to our fall mantel, which I’ll share at tomorrow’s link party.

    What a great idea to incorporate some of your kids’ little treasures. My son collected acorns last fall, and you’ve inspired me to dig them out and display them properly (yet also somewhere his 1yo sister won’t find them!).

  7. You have such beautiful style. I love the sophistication of this living room. Can you tell me where you bought your tufted sofa? Thank you!

  8. This is simply gorgeous. I love all of the branches, leaves, and overall nature you brought inside. Mixed with some glitz and metallics, it is just lovely. I am always inspired by how you put your rooms together. Simple, pretty,and totally appropriate for the season. Love!

  9. I install new Fitted Wardrobes & Sliding Wardrobes (Dont worry this is not a marketing post) Just wanted to put across the fact I work in such a department but when I come across furniture and great designs like these it makes we want to buy loads of old furniture and do it up and re do my entire living space.

    It is beautiful.

  10. Hello! Just wondering how your lenox club chairs are holding up? I’ve been eyeing them on wayfair forever and am nervous to take the plunge! Thank you.

    • So far so great Meg, they’re not a large chair, but my husband finds them comfortable and he is 6’2″. The cushions are firm, but they’ve held up for two years now, looking good.
      I picked them up for around $275 each as I recall on Joss & Main, you might want to hold out until they come back on sale there – I often see them pop up for around $300 or so.

  11. Hello. I love the paint color on the upper portion of your walls. What color is it? Thank you!

    • Hi Aubrey, all the paint colors in my house are listed on a separate page – see link in sidebar!

  12. That mirror is amazing. I love all of the metallics for fall. I definitely want to try decorating in a similar fashion this season.

  13. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I need to go outside and see what I can bring in. I tend to lose imagination past the pine cones…..

  14. Really beautiful Kate! It’s cozy and elegant. I love the little treasures that your tiny hands contributed and I love the big treasure you found in NY! Gorgeous vase.

  15. Love it all! Where are the white and gray drapes from? I’m sure you’ve said in posts past, but I recently am in the market for curtains pretty much exactly like yours! Please help a girl out!

    • Hi Laurel, those curtains are one of my designs. I recently tweaked the pattern – the fabric will be available in January.

  16. What a beautifully written post! You perfectly captured the feelings of autumn! And your house is amazing as always :) Thank you for sharing your inspirations with all of us.

  17. You have such exquisite taste. Everything you have is picture perfect together. You have such a great sense of design and style that truthfully goes unmatched by anyone else in blogland. You are an inspiration! First time commenter.

  18. Like so many have already said – beautifully written, beautiful room, Kate. And that viburnum again – gotta get me one!

  19. Kate – I love how you are always changing little things up in your house, but I have a question, where do you store everything?? I mean, do you have a secret floor in your house to store all your fabulous treasures?? lol Anyway, thanks for all the inspiring photos and projects you do!

  20. Very nice post! You´re a talented writer! I´m looking forward to autumn each year, it´s by far my most favorite season. And you described just the things I love about it so perfectly! The decorations are adorable, especially the birchwood in the basket. I also like to collect things like these on my wanderings through the forests and bring them home. They just make me feel closer to nature and add such a nice personal touch to my place.

  21. Through the years I’ve had a storage problem i.e. Never enough room to change out seasonal accessories other than store in the attic. You must have a ton of closet space for you items. You have a keen eye for detail ~ I enjoy your blog!

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