These 6 Popular Fall Decor Trends Actually Make Designers Cringe

Tessa Cooper
6 Popular Fall Decor Trends That Make Designers Cringe

If autumn is one of your favorite times of the year, you probably feel a natural urge every September 1st to start decking the halls for fall. It’s always a good idea to put extra thought into your new purchases so you can make wise decisions on your decor investments. So before you add the velvet plush pumpkins or salted caramel candles to your cart, take a minute to hear what these designers have to say. Here, they share half a dozen fall trends that they recommend skipping.

fake pumpkin

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Faux Pumpkins, Leaves, and Florals

It can be tempting to opt for fake versions of natural elements when decorating for fall. But according to Whitman, nothing beats what Mother Nature offers.

“Fake leaves and flowers just can’t compete with the charm of fresh, local blooms from the farmers market—They set such a unique and welcoming vibe,” says designer Kari Whitman, founder of Kari Whitman Interiors. “You could even go for a walk and pick up some leaves and twigs. Get creative; Don’t go for the porcelain pumpkin or turkey. Go for organic fall nature.”

Designer Kristin Marino at KozyKasa echoes the same sentiment and recognizes the improvements that have been made in faux decor. “Faux garlands have come a long way,” she says. “However, they still feel too kitschy and dated.”

Marino recommends instead opting for real, in-season plants that are native to your area. “If you live in a hotter climate, consider skipping the garland altogether and decorating with pumpkins, squash, and even hay instead,” she says.

bright colored fall decor

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Loud, Over-Saturated Warm Tones

Luminous hues of orange, yellow, and red aren’t for everyone. Investing in fall trends that you might grow tired of before next season isn’t a good idea, according to Karen Frome, founder of Rise Projects, an architecture and design firm.

“Big displays of vibrant colors are currently in the spotlight, but I would recommend sticking with neutrals,” Frome says. “They pair well with any finish and are always timeless. You can accent a neutral interior with small pops of color, but the overwhelming use of bright hues can be hard to live with.”

Instead, Frome suggests incorporating textures and patterns into a space to curate a cozy atmosphere during the fall.

fall scented candle

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Fall-Themed Scented Candles

Here’s a hot take for you: Not everyone loves that maple candle you’re burning. “[One] no for me is candles that are ‘pumpkin spice latte’ and ‘salted caramel’ scented,” says designer Sarah Tract.

Tract wants you to remember your home can smell good year-round. You could even try a consistent scent that becomes a signature for your home in all four seasons of the year. “You want your guests to remember the timeless, fresh perfume in the air and not the cheesy or headache-causing candle that you put out during the fall,” she says.

If you don’t want to ditch the fall-themed candles entirely, you can always enjoy them when you aren’t having company over and stick to your signature scents when you’re entertaining.

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Decorating With Cliché Fall Symbols

When decorating your home for fall, consider thinking beyond the on-the-nose or expected fall accessories. Marino recommends avoiding any piece of decor that seems too literal, such as pumpkin-shaped vases or throw pillows.

“Instead, opt for pieces in a fall color palette like rust, terracotta, olive green, and even tan,” she says. “These pieces can be used year-round and during the fall season to help make your home feel more cozy.”

tons of fall throw pillows

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Going Over-The-Top

When you’re scrolling through Instagram, you’re constantly met with images of homes with dozens of colorful pumpkins for practically every room. It’s also important to remember that these photos and reels often come from influencers who need to produce new content, so it’s not necessarily the norm.

Tract recommends taking a minimalist over a maximalist approach when decorating for fall. “Over-designing for the seasons isn’t practical or timeless,” she says. “I cringe when people swap out their pillows or their throws to ‘trendy and cutesy’ seasonal decor. To me, these should be considered permanent fixtures in the home.”

Swapping easily changeable items is a common piece of advice, but Tract has something different in mind: “Instead, consider bringing in outside elements that you don’t normally have out, but try to keep them simple. For example, when it comes to Halloween decor, I think incorporating solid pumpkins that are orange is nicer and chicer than those with designs and have color painted all over them.” 

halloween decor

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Leaning Into Halloween-Centric Decor

When it comes to decorating your home for fall, keep in mind that you will only get to display Halloween decor for a few months out of the year. However, if you love neutral earth-toned fall hues, you can leave those colored accessories out during the other seasons.

“Follow yourself rather than what is in the holiday section,” Whitman says. “Don’t fall into the trap of following decor trends that revolve around holiday shifts. Create your fall in your own way.”

Rather than going with the prescribed decor, “go for decor that truly resonates with you, [such as] something timeless that can make your home feel cozy and welcoming all year round,” advises Whitman. “By investing in classic pieces and warm color palettes, you not only save money but also help the environment by reducing the need for constant replacements. Choose decor that reflects your personal style and creates a lasting, stylish atmosphere in your home.”

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