Autumn in the Las Vegas Valley is an odd time when desert dwellers make statements about enjoying “cool” weather that may wander into the 80s or 90s; meanwhile, the rest of the country grapples with temperatures that brush up against freezing point. With our version of “cool” weather officially here, many of us yearn for that true autumn feel experienced, say, in Chicago, New York or somewhere else in the Midwest or East Coast.
“There’s a downside to not having the four seasons. It’s hard to point to and feel autumn and winter,” says Eilyn Jimenez, founder of Miami-based Sire Design. “With warmer tones in the home though, even if it’s 90 degrees outside, you can still feel the time frame … and create that mood.”
Here are some tips for creating that traditional autumn feeling inside and around your desert home.
Start with front door
Start your fall decorating with a simple autumn wreath on the front door, says Jillian Ziska, a designer and owner of To Be Designed in San Diego, which creates custom settings in residences and for events.
“A simple fall cotton wreath is an easy, quick thing you can change out, and then you can transition to the holiday wreath later,” she says.
Ziska also suggests changing front door mats to ones with warm autumn colors.
“They get so dusty and bleached by the sun, too. It’s nice to have that refresh a few times a year anyway. Then, when you walk into the home, it feels good,” the expert adds.
Focus on subtle changes
To get the autumn feeling in a desert home, start with minor adjustments, experts say. Once you enter a home, if there is that table where keys or mail is typically tossed, use the space to add dried or silk flowers with copper or rust tones, Ziska suggests.
You can add gourds to other areas of the home, says Dak Kopec, an associate professor for the School of Architecture at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“You can create interesting crafts by hollowing out gourds. People make chimes and other things out of them,” he notes.
Living, dining and bedroom environments work for subtle autumn touches. All three experts agree that this is the time of year to add that accent pillow to the couch and add a seasonal vase or centerpiece, and you can swap out artwork for frames and images that embrace fall imagery and tone.
Jimenez likes to weave in decorative pillows, throw blankets and layer autumn copper, rust and neutral tones into bed linens. If your decor is modern, remember warmer autumn colors bring contrast, but you don’t want to overdo them, Jimenez says. The designer will look to dining areas to emphasize autumn in table napkins and dishes for a simple, but not overwhelming, seasonal touch.
“When you look at the aesthetic, autumn is warmer, modern is cooler. You want to combine things in a way to make it all look seamless,” she adds.
Ziska also says draping blankets on a display ladder in a living room or bedroom can make for a nice fall touch.
“When they’re neatly displayed against the wall, it’s there when you need something comfortable. It also adds extra dimension to the wall,” she says.
Expand thinking about color
Autumn does not need to be all browns and pumpkins, experts insist. Jimenez likes to add pops of burgundy, greens and blues into fall designs.
“Burgundy is a darker shade without having to go to brown. Brown can make a space feel outdated,” she says. “I’m moving away from orange a little bit. I think of autumn, and I think of deep blues and hunter green.”
Kopec also says purple can be an autumn color, “not the lavender but the darker purples,” he clarifies. Kopec also sees a place for blue in fall designs.
When it comes to autumn color choices, Kopec also draws upon ornamental Indian corn for some inspiration. If you look closely at it, you will find a wide range of shades of brown, burgundy, orange and heavier yellows.
Use lighting to enhance mood
All three experts say you can add hints of autumn with spice or vanilla-scented candles.
With their scent, candles can invoke an autumn feeling in the home.
Jimenez has clustered candles at various heights to “give a fireplace mood and feel” in homes that don’t have a fireplace.
Ziska sees some families buy small, inexpensive electric fireplaces to install under a mounted television during the fall. She has clients who like to turn on Netflix’s fireplace channel during the cooler months to add the feeling of warmth and amber lighting to a space.
Jimenez says a home’s lighting is “a huge mood creator.” She suggests installing dimmers for cooler months, and if you have large trees in the backyard, you can create mood lighting with candles near a fire pit for an intimate gathering space.
Infuse own style, have fun
Laurie Stanfield, a Simi Valley, Calif.-based home makeover designer and creator of The Original Wall Stamp, has designed an entire home around a color palette of a client’s pillow. While adding traditional hints of autumn into the home is good, she encourages homeowners to explore the colors and objects that bring them joy, first.
“I encourage you to look through your home and find items you love. What colors and tones are they? Are they bright and happy, muted, subtle, deep and rich, is everything white? This where you should start,” she says. “It’s OK to get ideas from others or love what is in style or trending, but tweak it a little to make it your own.”
She also encourages people to visit antique stores, estate sales, thrift stores or yard sales for ideas. Look for inexpensive lamps, decorative pillows, chairs, benches, end tables or pieces of art that can add to the mood and tone you’re looking for.
“Find decor items no one else will have, something that speaks to you. Trust me, you will know when you see it,” she adds.