Vintage “Fall” Decor

Fall is my favorite season. The colors are my colors (red, gold and rust), the scents (crispy dry leaves and apples) intoxicate me and don’t get me started on all those luscious meals of hearty stews and soups with warm crusty bread! Even the lengthening, cooling nights provide the chance to light my candles and curl up in soft afghans. It’s a cozy season. My favorite.

While I don’t decorate for the seasons, I do like to switch things up from time to time. I have no design/decorating experience so I just play around until the objects seem to fall into accord with one another! I pulled together this grouping of vintage items on our family room mantel. I like the juxtaposition of the moody, autumnal colors and textures.

The Angelo Gleria painting, Art Nouveau jug and carved wood box are for sale in my stores, but I’ll be sad to see any of them go! I got the little hand rake (with charred wood handle) at a Quaker rummage sale a few years ago. It was priced at 10 cents, but I didn’t have any change and they tossed it in for free. I know it’s crazy, but I really like this little rake. I wonder how it got burned and why someone kept it. And now, of course, here I am keeping it! It reminds me of my youth working in our garden.

On our living room mantel, I decided it was time for some of my vintage/antique brass beehive candlesticks to be more prominent. This collection got started when I inherited two small ones from a grandmother who died when I was a baby. At some point I started buying more on eBay and it seemed like overnight (though it was years) and I had dozens of these brass beauties! I am starting to sell off some of them, but am keeping my favorites. These will get used all fall and winter.

One caveat: You want to avoid burning candles made with paraffin, lead wicks and synthetic scents. All of these components create toxic air in your house. I use 100% pure beeswax candles with cotton wicks which actually help remove mold and allergens from the air. My trusted go-to source is BlueCorn Beeswax.

I also added a collection of ceramic pumpkins I’ve bought over the years from ceramicist Hsinchuen Lin. (You can check him making one on YouTube.) I have no idea why I fell for these, but I used to pick up one every year from my city’s annual clay and glass festival. Once I got to five, I decided that was enough!

I also thought the 1969 painting of San Francisco at night by W. Dean French in browns, oranges and blue seemed a nice addition on the mantel. (I bought this on for $70 for myself.)

In the grouping below, I put my white Lin ceramic pumpkin on the Fortnum & Mason basket (given to me by my friend Lisa) and added my beloved mysterious tree painting by friend and artist Kevin Courter. The only thing for sale in this vignette is the huge 1970s wood frame.

I may still play around with this, but I do like the way the white pumpkin echoes the moon.

In this fabulous sterling silver bowl I bought from another Etsy seller, I added the little Chinese frozen Charlotte doll that I bought the other week at that challenging estate sale. It seems a perfect companion to my Dakin teddy bear (also bought from an Etsy seller!) who’s dressed for fall!

I have a weakness for silver and particularly love pieces that are engraved.

Later I may fill this with pinecones, nuts or Christmas ornaments.

Other than the ceramic pumpkins, there is nothing that screams “fall.” Which I suppose is how I like it–just a moving around things we already own and appreciating them with fresh eyes. To me that’s the best way to trick out a home–with things you already love.

How about you? Any fall decor?

Happy hunting,



  1. Great choices for decor. I really like those ceramic pumpkins! I love decorating for Holidays, at least I used to but I’m a lot more simple these days, just don’t have the energy I used to for all the crazy decorations. I think keeping it minimal is where I’m headed.

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