Outdoor Decorating Ideas for the Chilly Season

There’s a chill in the air and the mornings bring frosty breath and brisk walks. It’s time to embrace the season and decorate your home’s exterior.

When it comes to outdoor decorating ideas, there are plenty of ideas to make your outdoor space cozier, more comfortable and more accommodating to the social distancing requirements that are currently necessary when spending time with friends and family.

Here are four straight-up tips for outdoor decorating ideas.

#1: Focus on adding some color

In the warm months, we tend to focus on bright colors that remind us of the sun and heat. When the nip of cold arrives, our decorating color palette should shift toward deeper, richer shades of these colors. Choose warmer tones of red, orange, brown and cream, which can include deep red, pumpkin, umber and dark mahogany. These colors and tones are visual reminders of warmth and comfort, conjuring up images of fire and hot embers, hot chocolate and mugs of coffee along with hearty stew and soup. While the exact colors do not matter, the key is to focus on natural hues – colors plucked right from autumn landscapes.

Look for fabrics and decor items in these shades – throw blankets, outdoor rugs, weather-resistant pillows, large candles and brightly colored planter pots.

Don’t be afraid to add patterns as well. While single-color decorations and fabric décor can add a splash of color in a classy way, adding in patterns and varying textures help add depth and a sense of comfort and warmth to your outdoor entertainment space.

#2: Don’t forget the flowers

Quite often, when the weather turns and the amount of daylight starts to dwindle, we see fewer flowering plants and less organic color in our gardens. To combat this drab look and feel, consider adding in fall-inspired dried flowers. Add wreaths to doors and use containers that can withstand changes in weather and temperature to hold dried or artificial flowers in colors that complement your fall décor.

Good vase and container options for outside use include wooden or metal vessels as well as clay, plastic and tile. If you are into rustic décor, go with reclaimed wood. If you want a bit of glam, consider polished metal or rhinestones.

To find or make wreaths on the cheap, check out the fake flowers sold at dollar stores; for more upscale options try local craft stores; for ready-made wintery ideas, check out the seasonal section at your local hardware store or gardening center.

#3: Don’t rule out live plants

There is good news for those of us who just can’t give up garden-time. Chrysanthemums (also known as mums) are a must-have for the fall season and commonly bloom in the late fall. The good news is that you can plant mums during the cooler months, well into the late fall and early winter. This is the ideal time to cut back or transplant your mums; but wait until the plants stop blooming.

If you’re adding mums or other plants that do well in the cold weather, pick colors that will add some dramatic flair while complementing your fall outdoor décor theme. For example, mums offer pops of yellow, purple or white; Dusty Miller and Goldenrod flourish during the cooler fall months, and offer shades of silver and yellow; or Sumac will give you tones of red and umber.

#4: DIY crafts & project

There’s no better way to add a bit of decoration than with some do-it-yourself crafts. The best part? You can get the entire family involved. Consider creating a family canvas using fall-inspired colors that can be hung on display under a covered deck or patio gazebo.

Another, more adventurous DIY option is to build your own stone or concrete bowl fire pit. A quick trip to your local hardware store and a chat with the specialist there will help you make a to-do list, complete with a list of materials that should allow you to finish this project in a weekend. The best part is that once complete, you can spend the remaining fall nights sitting around the fire pit, warming your fingers and toes with friends and family in a responsible, socially distant manner.

Final thoughts

While the cold season can mean unpredictable weather, and the current conditions mean we can’t always entertain inside, you do not have to give up on creating a cozy, warm home environment where friends and family can gather and spend time. Use these suggestions to create a comfortable, outdoor space where everyone will feel welcome.