Dress the table for fall
There's nothing quite like gathering your favourite people around the dinner table and sitting down to share a home-cooked meal. Make it even more special by dressing up the table with these autumnal DIY decorating ideas.
The roast is in the oven, the red wine is at the ready, now all you need to do is create a gorgeous, welcoming environment for your dinner party guests.
Autumn is a great time of year to dust off the cookbooks, try out new recipes and warm up your home with good company and mouth-watering dishes.
When decorating your autumn dinner table, the key is creating a setting that exudes warmth and homeliness. You want your guests to feel welcome and at ease so you can all relax and let the conversation (and wine) flow freely.
When choosing your colour palette, incorporate warm shades like burnt oranges, deep reds and browns. Plan a menu of hearty comfort food to match and you'll be one popular hostess.
When looking for tablecloths, consider using neutral colours like grey, bone or light brown and then bring it to life with coloured embellishments like orange napkins or brass lanterns. You can find a surprisingly decent collection of affordable tablecloths at your local discount store, which means you can stock up on a range of different colours, or take a browse for fabric in your local craft store and hem the edges yourself.
Alternatively, if your dinner table has a great tabletop — perhaps it's a rustic old farm table or made from quality wood — work with its charm by leaving the surface bare and simply adding a few coloured placemats, instead of covering it completely.
Placemats are important to protect your table from hot plates, particularly if you're planning on leaving the surface bare. For autumn, consider using natural elements, such simple wooden or cork placemats and coasters. Get extra creative and use treated tree stumps that have been cut down as round placemats, or create a table runner by laying clean straw down the centre of your table.
You can also look out for offcuts of lino or cork, or sewing your own fabric version. Layer a few pieces of different coloured material and add white crockery.
Decorative embellishments really help bring some individuality to your dinner table. Candles create a feel of homeliness and warmth and are ideal to help set the mood. For an autumn twist, try gathering a bunch of beautiful dried orange leaves and scattering them around the table. Alternatively, roll them up into bunches or bouquets and secure with string. Petals, pine cones and even star anise can make sweet decorative extras.
Also think of unique ways to serve the meal — such as presenting your cheeses, olives and quince paste on a rustic wooden chopping board for a quaint and homely look. Bake muffins in small, brand-new terracotta pots (available from your local nursery), or serve cocktails in jam jars with retro straws.