Transitioning Your Home From Summer to Fall

August 22, 2012 9:02 pm Last Updated: April 3, 2013 9:00 am

By Cathy Hobbs, ASID

Believe it or not, summer is almost over. As hot steamy days give way to balmy nights, many of you may be looking for ways to transition your décor from summer to fall, while still keeping your home lively, fresh, colorful, and of course, cozy.

Here are some of my top tips for incorporating fall into your home.

Use an Accent Wall

If you’re afraid to paint a whole room a bright shade, why not paint a single wall? I use accent colors for a specific purpose, to incorporate a bold color into a space without overdoing it. Accent colors not only add interest, but can also help to define a space architecturally. Accent colors can also highlight particular features of a space and serve as the foundation of a color palette.

 Stumped about which colors would make great accents? Think warm and inviting or bright and bold. Yellows, oranges, and greens all make great accent colors and can easily blend with lots of color palettes. Stay away from muted or pastel tones, as they do not make great colors for an accent wall and are best suited for all-over color. Accent walls should make a bold statement so that they stand out as opposed to blend in.

Trendy Color Combinations

One of the hottest color combinations that I love for fall right now is eggplant and orange. While I think the color combination is “seasonless,” it really is a wonderful color palette for the fall. The shade of eggplant or aubergine can either be rich and deep or lighter, such as an amethyst. As for the orange, one can pair either a burnt orange or rich pumpkin.

Think Green!

Instead of the typical yellow, use green instead! I simply love using the color green. Why? To sum it up in a single word, “versatility.” Not only can green be paired with so many colors, there are so many shades and tones of greens to choose from.

One of my favorite shades of green to use is the color of jalapeno pepper. What I love about this rich shade is that its deep yellow undertones not only create a bright, warm interior, but it also looks so amazing with a myriad of colors, from pure white to eggplant and other citrus colors, such as orange and yellow. The color green also adds a level of sophistication to an interior, especially when paired with other strong neutrals like white, black, and chocolate brown.

Hurray for Orange!

Orange is my all-time favorite color and to me no color says “fall” better than orange. In fact, it is my “signature” color that I sneak into nearly all of my designs. Orange to me is lively, sophisticated, trendy, yet timeless at the same time. I also feel orange is a happy color that instantly brightens a room. I especially love pairing orange with pure white and chocolate brown. Here’s a fun fact, a shade of orange is actually this year’s Pantone color of the year!

Consider Yellow

As an interior designer, I especially love using different shades of yellow for fall and pairing it with other citrus colors, such as green, or mixing it with chocolate, black, or charcoal gray to create a high-contrast color scheme.

[etInfoTableOVERALL DO’S AND DON’TS]1. Do consider using neutrals, such as black, charcoal, gray, or beige, and accent them with a “bold color”
2. Do select a signature bold accent piece and build a color palette around it
3. Do consider black and white as potential bold color statements
4. Do consider an accent wall if you’re afraid to commit to a strong accent color in the entire room
5. Do bring color into your décor through accent pieces, such as artwork and accessories
6. Do consider using cool colors in a space that you want to visually enlarge

1. Don’t just tie yourself into one shade of a bold color; consider tints and tones of the same color
2. Don’t be afraid to mix vintage pieces with modern
3. Don’t use colors that are too grayed down or muted
4. Don’t use colors that are too warm in small rooms, it can make a room look smaller
5. Don’t be afraid to “go bold”
6. Don’t paint the ceiling a color, it will automatically close in a space[/etInfoTable]When it comes to yellow, as well as other bold, vivid colors, use different tints, tones, and shades of the same color. One example with yellow would be to introduce a natural sisal rug into the space in order to bring in some rich mustard, caramel yellow tones.

Layer your décor using different shades of the same color and carry it through the accessories and furniture. Try selecting woods like walnut that have a lot of yellow tones and then incorporating toss pillows or accent pieces, such as pottery or pillows. One of my favorite decorative tips for the table is to fill a tall vessel with apples or lemons, as they bring in a wonderful burst of color.

The wonderful thing about yellow is that, like a great black dress, you can pair it with so many things. Match it with warm colors to create a space that is cozy and cheery, or cool it down using shades like chartreuse and pairing it with grays or black. From accessories to decorative elements like pottery and artwork and natural elements like woods and ropes, there are so many different ways to incorporate yellow into your decor.

Black and White

Yes, black and white are colors! From Dorothy Draper to today’s modern décor, black and white is actually one of those timeless color combinations that I believe will always be in style.
Black and white serve as the perfect “blank slate” for creating virtually any color scheme you desire.

Also open yourself to the possibility of creating a pure black and white palette; the stark aspect of the pure white with the rich black can really be stunning. What I tend to do most, however, is use black and white as the foundation of my color palette and then bring in a single accent color, such as yellow or red. 

Five-time Emmy Award-winning television personality Cathy Hobbs is the founder of Cathy Hobbs Design Recipes, a New York City-based firm specializing in interior design, home staging, and home staging training. Go to to learn more about Cathy, or to ask her a home staging or design question, send a tweet to @cathyhobbs.