PHOTO: This centerpiece consists of three blue-and-white ginger jars filled with hosta leaves and three inexpensive bouquets of orange roses. (SHNS photo courtesy of Nell Hill's)This centerpiece consists of three blue-and-white ginger jars filled with hosta leaves and three inexpensive bouquets of orange roses. (SHNS photo courtesy of Nell Hill’s)

One of the things I like best about living in the Midwest is enjoying the changing of the seasons. While I truly love each season, I confess that fall is my absolute favorite because of the rich color palette Mother Nature gives us to decorate with this time of year: amber, ruby, chestnut, sage, persimmon, burgundy, eggplant, chocolate and so many more luxurious hues.

At Nell Hill’s, we’re all about making the most of these brilliant fall colors in our seasonal decorating. But this year, we’re giving our fall tables a surprising twist by introducing some cleaner, brighter shades.

A few weeks ago, I was decorating my dining-room table for a birthday party when I stumbled onto a new look for autumn that made me swoon. There was almost nothing that reminded me of autumn when I picked the place settings and centerpiece for the table. But when the bright apple-green, deep royal blue and soft orange elements came together, they gave off a subtle nod to fall. That’s when I decided that this year, I was going for “fall, light” on my table.

To create this table, I started each place setting on whimsical placemats that look like they were made from just-picked leaves. Then I created a simple layer of plates, mixing my blue-and-white transferware dinner plates with crisp white salad and bread plates. To tie in the apple green, I topped each place setting with a little take-home gift wrapped with green tissue paper, tied up with a bow.

For a centerpiece, I placed three blue-and-white ginger jars down the center of the table and filled them with hosta leaves from my garden and three inexpensive bouquets of orange roses, the flowers snipped short so they formed a little mound right over the mouth of the container. I cannot arrange flowers to save my life, so instead of laboring over bouquets that always end up looking lopsided or lumpy, I’ve come up with this goof-proof formula that works every time.

Don’t you love the energy in this fun autumn table? To create this light yet vibrant look, we relied on awesome seasonal linens and our versatile white dishes. (If you don’t have a set of plain white dishes yet, you’ve got to get one. Not only are white dishes a great value, you can use them millions of different ways to transform your table for every season.) If you’d like to, you could also add orange, green or seasonal salad plates to this display, layering them atop the white dinner plates. The great thing about these colors is that they also work well in other seasons: the green is ideal for spring decorating and the orange would be a perfect addition to a sunny summer table.

This place setting would look wonderful just featuring these bright dishes and linens. But consider adding some iconic fall accents — say, an acorn pick fashioned into a wreath and a small white gourd.

I used to do lavish centerpieces on my fall tables, but this year, I’m keeping it clean. Other possibilities: Filling some green-tinted glass jars with faux pears, then topping them with a few fake fall leaves. Simple and sensational! Another great centerpiece look would be to create a line of candlesticks or glass hurricanes down the center of the table, them outfit them with apple-green candles.

Servers make great foundations for centerpieces because they add much-needed height to a table, which means a more dramatic presentation. Some servers can be outfitted with plates, giving you a chance to showcase pieces from your collection or some new seasonal plates. Once you pick the plates, dress them up with fresh fruit, veggies and cheese, or with seasonal accents like nuts or gourds.

(The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at http://www.nellhills.com. She can be reached at marycarol(at)nellhills.com.)

STYLE AT HOME

Source:  http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/homestyle-home082911/homestyle-home082911/

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