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Omaha Magazine

My Fall Harvest Table: Kid-safe, Neutral, And Oh So Easy

Sep 22, 2023 11:23AM ● By Michelle Horst
michelle horst thyme and theory october 2023 fall harvest table

Photo by Mandy McGregor.

Thyme & Theory: My Fall Harvest Table [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
It’s that time of year again… for jumping in piles of crunchy leaves, carving cute jack-o-lanterns, and embracing the cozy feels of fall. I admit, as soon as Starbucks starts selling pumpkin spice lattes, I decorate my home for harvest season. It’s a beautiful time in Nebraska!

One area that I used to dread decorating, but now love, was our dining area. It always seemed a hassle and a bit impractical, given our young kids and busy mealtimes. But in this new home, I’ve found ways to keep it simple, festive, and versatile for transitioning into the next holiday.

I like to start with the most basic things and layer upon those. Below are some ways I bring the autumn theme to my dining space while keeping a calm, neutral space that complements my home’s coastal retreat decor.

Start with Neutral Tones
When it comes to my fall decor, muted and earthy tones are key. Think warm whites, soft browns, and soothing beiges for tablecloths, napkins, placemats, etc. These set the stage for fall accents in soft olive green, dusty terracotta, and other harvest hues.

Layer with Textures
Fall is all about texture, and I love to mix and match. In this tablescape, I paired soft linens with woven seagrass and rustic wooden accents. These textures not only add visual interest but are also kid-friendly as they can be hand-washed as needed. (I love velvet this time of year, but with children, it’s not practical at the table. I save it for throw pillows in the living room.) 

Let There Be Light
 As the days get shorter, lighting becomes essential to set the right mood. Candles in various sizes add a touch of allure and warmth. Since we have four small boys, I only use battery-operated candles on the dining table (accidents passing the food or bumping the table are too risky). I save traditional, scented candles for the kitchen counter, out of harm’s way. 
*Remember, always prioritize safety and never leave candles unattended.

Bring the Outdoors In
Autumn is a season that celebrates nature, so why not bring it inside? I add natural elements to my displays and tablescape, like pinecones, acorns, greenery, or small branches as decorative accents. The best part? These can all transition into my winter decor, allowing me to keep them up for months (that means less packing and unpacking holiday items, perfect for busy parents).  

Incorporate Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
For an every-day fall table display, I add seasonal fruits and vegetables like pumpkins, gourds, and apples, but just a few so they’re easy to remove when I need space. When expecting guests, I add a plate of festive fall treats and pretty drinkware. These items dress up the table and allow everyone to gather for some nibbles and quality time. 

Now that the decorating is done, I’m off to grab another pumpkin spice latte. Happy fall! 

This article is part of a series chronicling the design-build of Michelle Horst’s Midwest coastal retreat home in West Omaha. Follow her at ThymeandTheory on Instagram.

This article originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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