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How to make pumpkins and fall decor work with your modern design

These fall decoration ideas are perfect for a modern home design

Bright orange pumpkins, garish color schemes, and plenty of natural textures are staples of traditional fall decor. However, sometimes these bright colors and ornate styles can look out of place in a modern or minimalist home. If you prefer to stay away from the eclectic look of conventional fall decoration ideas, worry not. You can celebrate the harvest season with a clean and sophisticated design scheme that won’t clash with your streamlined aesthetic.

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10 minutes

What You Need

  • Neutral colored pumpkins

  • Lanterns

  • Metal hoop (for DIY wreath base)

  • Fall foliage

  • Hot glue gun

  • Copper spray paint (optional)

  • Copper decor pieces

We've gathered some of the best, sleek design ideas to help you jump into fall without having to invite any tacky or mismatched decor into your home. These solutions are modern, fresh, and elegant, so you can rest assured your home will look stylish and seasonal without going overboard on the decorations.

fall decor for thanksgiving with pumpkins
JeniFoto / Shutterstock

Opt for pumpkins with neutral colors

As early as the end of August, pumpkins start cropping up in every grocery store and farmer’s market, inviting you to buy a couple and place them in every nook and cranny of your home. However, bright orange pumpkins can be an eyesore in homes with muted, neutral color schemes. We love adding pops of color to a room, but this certain shade of orange may not always be the way to go.

Step 1: Paint your pumpkins.

This fall, get a little creative and paint your pumpkins, whether they be real or fake, in white, grey, and cream hues.

Step 2: Or, choose a pale variety.

You can also spring for a naturally pale pumpkin, which is often more expensive than your traditional variety but will surely elevate your seasonal decor.

Step 3: Try out porcelain pumpkins.

To add more elegance and glamour, invest a little more cash in porcelain or ceramic pumpkins to make your design look a bit chicer. Plastic pumpkins tend to conjure images of trick or treating and dollar-store candy, and while these are certainly fun aspects of the holiday, they may not blend well with your sophisticated decor.

modern dining table with black lanterns
united photo studio / Shutterstock

Use lanterns

Glowing pumpkins, fairy lights, and LED bulbs are quick and easy ways to add some soft light to your home, but they might look out of place alongside the clean lines and metallic accents of your contemporary design. Instead, enhance your modern, effortless aesthetic by incorporating lanterns into your design.

Step 1: Use a solid white or black lantern.

The perfect balance between rustic and classic styles, a solid black or white lantern can be just the touch you need to illuminate a stairway, porch, or living room table. They are sleek and stylish, great for adding soft, delicate light to your space without using any flashy or gaudy colors.

Step 2: Pair with natural materials.

You can lean into the rustic nature of these lamps by adding more natural materials like wood, wicker, and hemp, or embrace the industrial vibe with brass fixtures and sleek black chairs.

fall wreath on front door
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

Make your own modern wreath

With a customized wreath, you can balance autumn decor with your modern style sensibilities. You can make your own wreath with only a few supplies from your local craft store.

You’ll need:

  • A metal hoop (for the base)
  • Foliage
  • Hot glue gun
  • Copper spray paint (optional)

Step 1: Start by tying fall foliage around a copper hoop.

Instead of big flowers and green garlands, tie or glue wheat, twigs, or small green leaves around all or part of a copper-colored hoop.

Step 2: Or, spray paint your own wreath ring.

If you can’t find a wreath hoop in copper, DIY your own with a can of spray paint from your local craft store. Keep in mind that less is more here.

Step 3: Use a simple color palette.

Though you should feel free to add your own character and style, design with a light touch and a simple color palette to create a more contemporary piece.

Copper-accented fall decor
Sergii Sobolevskyi / Shutterstock

Use decor with copper accents

We recommend copper as the base of your wreath for a reason. This color is subtle, industrial, and just a little reflective, bringing in the orange undertones of the fall palette without looking too gaudy.

Step 1: Invest in copper-toned decor.

Instead of filling vases and centerpieces with mismatched, natural elements like leaves, gourds, or corn stalks, invest in copper-colored fall pumpkins or a copper leaf dish.

Step 2: Opt for copper candle holders.

Copper-toned candle holders and serving dishes make for fantastic centerpieces as well, along with a metallic bowl filled with fall apples, squashes, or other fruits and veggies.

Step 3: As a more affordable option, use metallic paint.

You don’t need to spring for real copper to incorporate this style into your home either. Painting ceramic decorative pieces with metallic spray paint is a quick and inexpensive way to add a touch of elegance to your existing decor.

Fall decor with a blue vase
Maya Kruchankova / Shutterstock

Adopt a "less is more" approach

Over-theming and crowding your space with fall decor is a quick way to make a modern space feel kitschy. That’s why we recommend adopting a “less is more” approach with your fall decorum. Rather than adorning every inch of space with autumnal pieces, focus on placing these seasonal details in a few key spots. Decorating the fireplace mantle, dining table centerpiece, and adding some fall tones to the living room via blankets or pillows can make a world of difference while still allowing your space to feel modern.

Try to avoid any kitschy fall decor with words and glitter. Instead, opt for minimal, simple pieces like porcelain pumpkins, an orange throw blanket, or fall foliage. Just be sure to keep the decorating light. It’s also a good idea to take note of how many pumpkins, bats, ghosts, and black cats you add to the space since an abundance of these autumn motifs can make your modern home feel heavy and over-themed.

While fall decor tends to appeal to more rustic styles, modernists can still partake in all the lovely autumnal celebrations. Traditions are meant to evolve, so exercise your creativity this fall and add your own spin to classic fall designs. Have fun experimenting with unique lighting, and don’t shy away from painted pumpkins. Fall decor is about highlighting the changing of the seasons, and it’s possible to use modern elements to do so!

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Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
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