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Simple & fast fall home decorating ideas

If you have an, too, can bring a touch of fall inside your home.

I live in Southern California – the land of perpetual summer --- the land of no-seasons some say. However, I take exception to this characterization. Who cares if it’s 90 degrees outside in mid-October; the quality of light really does make a subtle shift. Those in the know call this subtlety or light shift change, FALL.

In California we don't have spectacular color displays like on the “other coast”, but fall foliage is not necessary when you can bring it all indoors with some simple, natural and sophisticated styling tips.

As a busy Southern California interior designer, I don't have much spare time to decorate my own home. I'm no different from all of you who live hectic lives, even if I do design for a living. Today, I only have two hours between my last client appointment and guests for dinner.

Interior Designer Tip: If you have a Trader Joe's store in your area, it's a great place to purchase groceries, flowers and pumpkins of all sizes...for less.

Short on time, fill clear glass vases with candy as I did here. If candy's not your thing, use natural materials such as acorns, dried leaves and twisted grapevine.

.... Home from the store with 1 hour left to decorate before my company arrives!

I head to my prop closet to grab a few items.

"Caw, caw, caw." Black crows cry out to be heard. I love these little guys purchased from a craft store a few years back.

A rustic basket and and old straw hat. Why not give a nod to the straw man...Wizard of Oz? It's almost Halloween, right?

Add few live mini pumpkins, a branch of orange things that look like little pumpkins now spill out of my basket. What do you know? FOYER less than five.

Next stop the Living Room.

INTERIOR DESIGNER TIP: Organize a prop closet or dedicate an area for crafts. Fill with holiday decor and craft supplies. Label appropriately. Cuts time required to change decor for future seasonal displays.

I continue to keep the decoration simple and natural in the living room. A candle with some rustic branches; a few faux succulents on the mantle (all from my prop closet of course); and a live mini pumpkin or two scattered around the room. Done in less than ten minutes.

Living room fireplace mantle and coffee table are ready for some warm Southern California breezes.

INTERIOR DESIGNER TIP: Invest in quality faux succulents for indoor use. If you can't afford to purchase all at once, add a few plants to your prop closet over time. These succulents get quite a workout during all four seasons. One of the few fake plants that I love and actually look real!

The DINING ROOM centerpiece took me less than two minutes. Here's how: I pulled a large white ceramic serving bowl from the kitchen; filled it with pumpkins and gourds I purchased from Trader Joe's; added a few tea lights and I'm ready for my dinner party.

INTERIOR DESIGNER TIP: An assortment of mini pumpkins and gourds in a bowl or basket makes a fast and easy natural display for a dining table, coffee table or any location that needs a punch of color. Pumpkins will last through Thanksgiving if you soak in a mix of bleach and water for 45 minutes. Fill a plastic spray container with bleach/water mixture to give you pumpkins a spritz after they're carved.

Finally, light candles and welcome guests.

I confess....I didn't carve these pumpkins out within the hour before my guests arrived. I did it the day before. It took me about an hour to carve holes large enough to insert the glass hurricane vases for candles in 3 pumpkins. Far less time than to carve a spooky face. The idea is to create a sophisticated exterior entry decoration that will last through Thanksgiving and not just until October 31rst!

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