Don’t you just hate it when pumpkins get lazy? They congregate in dim corners and just sort of sit around, or they roll into each other, cheek-to-jowl? Passive and refusing to participate in what’s going on around them? Well….You can energize them, put them to work for you, rev up your decorating, and bring something unexpected to unexpected places. All you have to do is look up.
Seek those high points in your home, like shelves and the tops of cabinets or armoires. Think about what’s below, on those shelves, or featured—your collectables—and shop for pumpkins, mini-pumpkins and gourds that will bring out the life in what you already have. Think about scale, variety, color. Scale is important because you don’t want a pumpkin so large it ‘looms’ above you and your guests, and takes two people to lift up onto the surface above. And color is also something that you want to consider, because you want to complement what you already have in the room, or provide a nice contrast.
As you get your look assembled above, be sure and use some of the same elements below, which will create uniformity in your design, and even make your space appear larger. You don’t want your design to seem too polished, so look around at the pieces you already own and try and incorporate them into your look.
Don’t be afraid to bring your display into really unexpected places, like these kitchen shelves. These -out-of-the-way places serve as great little vignettes for seasonal produce heaped into a few similar bowls. Note the blown-glass irregular shaped vessels are the perfect receptacle for pumpkins and squash because they don’t obscure the fruit within, or make your design too heavy overhead.
While you’re creating a sort of natural design, go outside and find some things growing around your yard that will help you create a design point. Cut branches make a sort of ‘nest’ for this pair of pumpkins. The column capitals were nice and level, which meant the pumpkins would be fine resting on top. But the insertion of a few small stripped limbs around them gives the look a bit of texture and whimsy, which is always good.
When we think of pumpkins, of course we think of the color orange. So try to bring in a hue not as shopworn. ‘Ghost’ pumpkins are now easy to find, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. And by using such a pale color above, the design is not nearly as heavy as it would have been with the tried-and-true hot-toned pumpkin.
All you have to do to give your design that extra pop is elevate it. Use your seasonal elements in unexpected places—as high up as you can—and don’t forget the good design trinity: scale, variety, color. You will enjoy the seasonal transition much more and all with only a few new ideas or elements. And it can all start with you looking up for inspiration.
Chris Olsen is a nationally known home and garden guru, designer, author, TV personality and public speaker. In his book, Chris shares his landscape and gardening knowledge along with his unique flair for home decor and design.He is also a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. Learn more about Chris and all of his work at chrisholsen.com.