It’s officially fall – so it’s only natural that we want to dress our homes in trends to reflect the season. We recently spoke with Suzanne Martenson, to get some decorating ideas, especially as it pertains to porches, sunrooms and entryways. Suzanne is the owner and founder of Stems and Styles in Homewood, Ala., who says that when it comes to decorating outdoor spaces, she looks for beauty in the unexpected.
The event stylist and floral designer says her goal is to make outdoor spaces both inviting and practical. Here are tips she shares exclusively with The Retreat at Mountain Brook, to make the most out of an outdoor area as leaves begin to turn and weather becomes cooler—
Strike a balance between style and function.
Martenson recommends placing a basket against the wall of a balcony or covered patio and filling it with rolled-up throw blankets. It’s an opportunity to add color and texture to the space, and the blankets are convenient when guests are over or you’re enjoying a glass of wine outside and there’s a chill in the air. “People can grab them and wrap up,” she says. “It’s always a nice, inviting touch to have.” Consider creating a container garden of herbs or adding herbs to flower planters, Martenson says. Not only will the herbs add visual interest, but they’ll come in handy.
Bring the indoors out with furniture and rugs.
A wide range of comfortable furniture in a variety of styles, from sleek to rustic, is now made to last outdoors, Martenson says. “There are sectionals and loveseats that really make you feel like you’ve extended your living room,” she says. A table on a patio, balcony or in a sunroom also can extend entertaining space. Today’s outdoor rugs can barely be distinguished from their indoor counterparts. “They really warm up the space,” Martenson says.
Be strategic with color.
Use a neutral pallet – tans, grays and whites – for large items such as furniture, Martenson advises. Then add color with accents like pillows and other small items. This way you can inexpensively change the entire look seasonally – or when you get tired of the current one – by replacing the accents. “If you buy a full printed sofa, you’re going to be stuck with it for a while,” Martenson says.
There’s so many wonderful flower shops near The Retreat at Mountain Brook, where you can be inspired and find just the right accessory for you fall makeover.
Here’s a few of our favorites:
One of our favorite places to visit for fall decor close to home, is Billy Angel’s Oak Street Garden Shop in Crestline Village. Just a quick drive to Crestline, you’ll find Oak Street Garden Shop just across from Mountain Brook City Hall. The staff is super creative and happy to help, or let you wander through the gardens to gather inspiration on your own.
Another Retreat at Mountain Brook favorite, Leaf n Petal, can be found in three locations; our favorite though, is Leaf n Petal at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Talk about inspiration—and a short drive, under 15 minutes– from the community! While there, be sure and take time to walk through the garden and enjoy the season in full bloom.
Lastly, if you’re the type who enjoys an early morning or after brunch stroll to pick up plants straight from the farmer—you must visit The Market at Pepper Place Open from April through December 10, it’s an ideal place to find those unusual items you won’t find elsewhere. While there, visit Richard Tubb, for some of those “neutrals” Suzanne recommended to keep you décor fresh and in season.
We’d love to see what you come up with—please share! Happy Fall Y’all!