Denver designers show how to make autumn’s bounty part of your fall home décor


Autumn is upon us, and this season of abundance is worth celebrating, both indoors and out.

“This is my favorite season, hands down,” said BJ Dyer, an award-winning florist and president of Bouquets in LoDo. “I like seeing botanicals produce the work of their season: fruits, rose hips, berries, whatever the plants been working on all season. With a lot of plant varieties, I prefer the seed version as opposed to the flower.”

Anuschka Pashel, the owner of Bloom by Anuschka, in Cherry Creek North and Union Station, agrees. “In the flower world, I prefer autumn to any other season.”

Annie Huston, owner of garden boutique Birdsall & Co., on South Broadway, said Birdsall is getting into the “autumnal spirit” as well.

The three designers known for their exquisite appreciation of the natural world shared their favorite fall decorating tips for indoors and out.

Spray paint pumpkins. “It’s possible to buy white pumpkins, but it’s also easy to take cream-colored matte paint and very lightly spray them,” Dyer said.

“If you do them lightly, the orange shows through like a coral pink. Or use metallic gold to fully spray pumpkins or just mist them a bit to add enough metallic paint to catch the light and leave some orange showing through.”

His secret lies in leaving the stem natural. “The pumpkins look more real and not plastic if you don’t paint the stem,” Dyer said. “I use the plastic bags my Denver Post comes in to put my hand in and hold the stem to cover it while painting the pumpkin. This trick works well.”

Branch out. Dyer is big on branches — especially curly willow. “It’s the most consistent branch almost all florists use because it has the most interesting organic scribble to it,” he said. “It’s fairly inexpensive, partially because it’s so easy to root and grow.”

Dyer also works with red birch for straight verticality. He also likes kiwi branches. “It’s not local, but it has a beautiful texture to the bark. It’s velvety to the eye,” he said.

“Another big favorite is filbert, which has a lot of names, including Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick,” Dyer said. “It twists and turns and is an interesting thing for the eye to follow.”

Branches can be arranged in water, but to avoid mold and bacteria that fouls water, the sticks can be displayed in sturdy containers without water.

“They will become brittle more quickly, but a lot of branches are only up for fall,” Dyer said. “If you’re tossing them after two months, before Christmas, why worry about the water?”

Just be sure branches to arrange branches in a container heavy enough that it won’t topple — especially if they’re outdoors.Add ballast to the container using sand or stones to counter winds.

Dyed oak adds drama. “I’m using a lot of dyed oak branches in an eggplant color, black and red,” Pashel said. “Mixed in with other greens, it’s a great background for bright colors like fuchsia celosia or orchids, roses or dahlias. We use lots of dahlias in fall.”

Let sunflowers shine. “This is the time of year for sunflowers,” Dyer said. “They’re very affordable now. And sunflowers with branches is simple to do. All you need is a heavy container that will keep them from tipping over. It’s a great look.”

Spin the color wheel. “I don’t like to do obvious fall,” Pashel said. “I’m over using pumpkins and purple and orange. I like to put a twist on fall with refined color combinations. Try a rust, peach and pink combination. It looks amazing. Use vibrant, strong colors in the fall.”

Wreaths span seasons. “A beautiful wreath sets the mood for fall,” Pashel said. “You can get a wreath structure at a store and add your own things that you pick up from your walks outside or from your garden.”

She also recommended pinecone wreaths that will be appropriate both now in autumn and into the Christmas season. “A nice wreath carries you through the new year,” she said.

Shop farmer’s markets. “A bowl at home just full of pears or pomegranates is almost like a flower arrangement,” Pashel said. “In fall, it’s all about the fruits, the vegetables, the harvest, and bringing everything together.”