If ever there was a season to revel in, it's autumn.
In September and October, when the days grow shorter and the temperature dips, people start reaching for wool and corduroy and velvet — all the deeply tactile ways to celebrate the season. They mothball the shorts, sundresses and sandals, and wrap themselves in sweaters, scarves and jackets.
But why should they stop there?
These days, it's more than possible to bring the house in on the change of seasons, too. The home fashion world is warming to the idea that people want to update their furnishings — at least a little bit — to reflect what's going on with the calendar, particularly when it comes to fall.
"This time of year it's all about feeling warm and comfortable," says Stephanie Gamble, owner of Baltimore's The House Downtown. "People are gravitating toward that feeling of home."
It used to be that folks who wanted to decorate their home seasonally were forced to err on the side of kitsch, loading their entryways with pumpkins and mums, finding salt and pepper shakers shaped like turkeys for the Thanksgiving table.
Now there are plenty of subtle and tasteful ways to inject a feeling of fall into one's decor — and in pretty much every room of the house.
And that doesn't necessarily mean spending a lot of money. While there are fantastic investment pieces that radiate autumn — Crate and Barrel's new silhouette sofa in snuggly gold fabric for $999, for instance — the more sensible way to get seasonal involves accessories.
Peeking inside a few Baltimore stores revealed all sorts of ways to bring a bit of autumn into almost every room of house:
One of Gamble's favorite ways to get in the fall spirit is to change her home's fragrance. This time of year, she's putting away the citrus and the lavender and bringing out scents like fig, cassis and, of course, apple.
At The House Downtown, they've got candles and diffusers by k. hall design in the Johnny Apple Spice fragrance, which would make a home smell like an orchard — or better yet, like the spiced pie one might bake after a trip to an orchard. The candles cost $24 while the diffuser is $44.
Gamble says she has a customer who ushers in each season by changing her wall art. The frameless stretched canvas oil paintings of big bouquets that look just like trees sporting leaves in brilliant reds and golds cost $195 apiece and look even better grouped together.
At Arhaus, they've gotten in a shipment of whimsical and wooly pillows — possibly the easiest way to freshen a home for the season. There are flannel ones with wool flowers for $54 and large ones that look as if they were made from cable-knit sweaters for $64.
For a bigger splurge, the Garner sofa is just the thing to curl up on in front of the fire. Its fabric, called "wigwam woolcoat," is a tweedy play on gray, what Arhaus manager Michael Butler calls this season's "it" color for home fashion.
Crate and Barrel seems to take the change of seasons more seriously than the average furniture store, and this fall is no exception. The store at the Towson Town Center is filled with earthy reds, browns and russets and rich jewel tones.
People can bring the outside in with the Isadora bowl. Made of recycled brass and designed to look like interwoven branches, the piece, for $129, would dress up a dining table or sideboard.
For serving ware, there are the appropriately named Autumno platter and plates in playful leaf shapes. The platter, for $34.95, comes in deep yellow, while the plates, for $7.95 each, come in yellow, orange and green.
Also to give the table a bit of fall flair, the flora tablecloth brings together sage, brown, cream, gold and deep red into an abstract floral design. The collection ranges from $34.95 to $64.95.
The House Downtown has a selection of throws that will increase a home's cozy factor just by tossing one across the arm of a chair or the foot of a bed. The environmentally aware design company in2green has versions in orange paisley and in a maize and gray ethnic print for $150 each. There's also an exceptionally fuzzy one in a chocolate and cream paisley print. It's called the Sheepy Fleece by Pinecone Hill and costs $54.
At Crate and Barrel, they bring the leaves into the bedroom and bath with the Madison Persimmon bed linens collection by Marimekko, foliage stenciled in while on a vibrant orange-red background. The collection ranges from $34.95 to $139 and includes a shower curtain and towels.