During the transition from fall to winter, the weather becomes brutally unpleasant while the landscape grows inspiringly beautiful. Being more focused on keeping out the encroaching cold, most people fail to fully utilize the season’s enchanting beauty in their home design. Simply adding a few leaves for fall or a small pine tree for Christmas is not taking full advantage of the two most visually stunning seasons. Bring the outdoors in—with all of its frigid beauty—using these design tips for the fall and winter.

Make Use of Plants and Pinecones

golden pinecone resting on a wooden tableWe’ve all seen the classic scene, in one movie or another, of a person trudging through the snow to find the perfect tree for Christmas. The arduous task saps the poor soul of energy and hope until they finally find that perfect pine. Bringing a natural essence into your home may sound hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some easy tips for bringing the outdoors in and decorating without breaking your back in the process:

  • Enter the almighty pinecone. During the fall and encroaching winter, pinecones are plentiful and easy enough to forage. Rather than trudging through an icy tundra to hack down the perfect pine tree, snag a few pinecones for your home decorations. Pinecones can work well decoratively in a basket or bowl, with no special care necessary. If you want to add some flair to your decor, try painting the pinecones. Silver and gold work well for the holidays, but a deep red will look great throughout the fall and winter.
  • Plants are perfect. When filling your vases for the next season, consider something other than flowers. Flowers can be great for decoration, but they are also predictable and can be a hassle to maintain. Instead, fill your vase with twigs and small, leafed branches. Easy to obtain and hassle free, branches and twigs can effortlessly ramp up your indoor designs. If vases aren’t your thing, bind a few twigs with a colorful ribbon. A decorated bundle can bring natural beauty to your table settings or bookshelves.

Brighten Up Your Home

Natural lighting is a design godsend. It’s an effective design choice for every season, it lights up your home, and it helps keep utility costs in check. Let the sunlight warm your home during the cold seasons with these lighting ideas:

  • Let the light in. In order to truly maximize your natural lighting, you will have to consider the structure of your home. North-facing windows are great for ambient light but not so great for heating your home. South-facing windows provide more direct sunlight, allowing your home to be naturally heated. If your home runs a little on the hot side, then a heavy, light-reflecting curtain would be great for your southern windows. If you have too much light but want to heat your house, use a thin, heat-absorbing curtain to help dim the natural lighting.
  • Decorate strategically. Of course, once you have determined the effectiveness of your home’s window placement, there is not much you can do about where your windows are. Rather than fret over lost light opportunities, make the most out of your lighting. Use bright wall colors to boost your ambient lighting; dark colors can dampen a room’s brightness. Curtains and blinds will help protect you from too much direct sunlight.

Invite a Winter Aroma

white candle wreathed with pine leafs and twigsWhen designing an outdoorsy interior, it’s important to entice all of the senses. Candles can make for cheap, easy, and fun decoration projects to liven up your home with natural scents. Here are some different ways to decorate your candles for the fall and approaching winter:

  • Utilize bark and twigs. Adding bits and pieces of your outdoor surroundings to your decor is a great way to bring a little nature to your interior designs. You can decorate the candle holder with pine leaves and twigs, or you can wrap the candle itself in a fine birch bark for added effect. When decorating, always consider the integrity of the candle; a cool candle design is no excuse for a fire hazard.
  • Pick the right aroma. With candles, there are seasonal and neutral scents. Vanilla is a great scent year-round, while pumpkin only really makes sense during the fall. For a smell that will entice through the fall as well as the coming winter, try spruce or peppercorn. Pine is often too potent, but a smoky, woody aroma would be great for both seasons. In the end, you have to pick an aroma that fits you and your natural surroundings.

The cold doesn’t have to stop you from having a cool home. Design your house using the chilling beauty of the fall and winter seasons with these tips and tricks for decorating with natural elements.