Summer's all about no-frills entertaining — paper plates and plastic cups, bags of hot dog buns and bottles of ketchup on the table. But come fall, something a bit more lush, a bit more reflective of the season's rustic bounty feels in order.
"It really is all about those warm, autumnal colors," says Jessica Joyce, spokeswoman for Bed Bath & Beyond. "You want to have the oranges, the reds, the browns to really bring the outdoors in."
In addition to deep color, adding layers to your table with runners or place mats or tablecloths can add a rustic yet rich touch. So can adding texture — rattan chargers or bread baskets, hammered silverware. As can hearty pottery accessories and family-style serving bowls that can accommodate pastas, stews and roasted vegetables.
"When dressing a fall table, I love to use rustic elements from the outdoors, like branches, leaves, stones and pine cones for my centerpiece," says Taniya Nayak, an interior decorator who is featured frequently on HGTV and also serves as a celebrity spokeswoman for the retailer HomeGoods.
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A well-set table sets the tone for your dinner.
"Setting a tablescape helps create ambiance and mood to your party," Nayak says. "It can serve as a great conversation starter and also sets the tone for your gathering. ... Good food, good friends and good design are all ingredients in the recipe to a fabulous evening."
Need some ideas? Just look to the left.