By Chief Design Officer Terry Lin

It’s ironic that we generally associate summer with being outdoors, and when fall rolls around, we think about going inside to get cozy.

Consider this: The temperature in much of the country in June, July, and August is in the 90s, with a heat index that feels like an extra punch in the gut. The bookends of the early morning or the end of the day are when we get some respite from the heat, but at that time of year, we still must contend with the mosquitoes, gnats, and no-see-ums (or an unhealthy dose of bug spray).  

When September arrives, the air turns crisp, the bugs have gone… elsewhere, and you can spend the entire day outdoors if you want, without sweating. Autumn is my favorite time of year to be outside. As we transition from summer to fall—new styles, new trends, new rhythms—it’s natural to want to extend that to our homes. Here are some tips on cozying up your outdoor space for the fall season.

Before: Outer in the Summer

Invest in “double duty” accessories

For a simple backyard refresh, think about keeping the “stuff” to a minimum. You probably already have plenty of storage bins in the garage full of holiday decorations that make an appearance about five weeks each year. As a parent of two young children, “stuff” just happens. As a designer, trying to maintain a sense of style without the clutter is a priority in our home.

You’ll see plenty of makeover ideas this season about displaying wreaths, gourds, and pumpkins. But, I like the idea of selecting double-duty decor—such as (indoor) baskets, serving trays, and pillow covers—to make a backyard refresh quick, easy, and most importantly, easy to clean up at the end of the day. With winter around the corner, you’ll most likely soon want to haul everything back inside, so keep the additions to a minimum, and just spruce up what you have.

When we started Outer, we discovered that transporting your stuff from your outdoor lounge to your garage or shed was a big pain. That’s why we designed our seating with an integrated cover, making transportation and protection a breeze. Who doesn’t want to create an effortlessly beautiful space?

Rely on storage baskets

With storage baskets, mixing and matching is always best. Baskets are functional and beautiful (double duty!) Use them to bring out your eclectic mix of throw blankets — I love chunky cable knit throws and timeless Pendleton blankets that guests can grab to counter the chill in the air.  

Bring out the serving trays

Trays are another multi-purpose accent. In addition to using your trays to serve your appetizers, cocktails, and hors d’ oeuvres, why not use a tray or wooden dough bowl as the base of your tablescape?

Some ideas: Start with a few hurricane glass candles and candle holders, then fill in the gaps with found objects in your area, like pine cones or Eucalyptus seeds, [or] add some life with baby succulents. There really isn’t a wrong way to do it.

Get color inspiration from nature

A good rule of thumb is to find colors in nature that inspire you during this time of year and create your own palette that invokes what autumn means to you. Swap out pillow covers for new patterns or shades that feel seasonal and warm.

After: Outer, Ready for Fall

Fall reminds us to slow down and enjoy the comforts of being home with family. It’s also a reminder that, depending where you live, our outdoor days and nights are numbered (winter is on its way!). We hope this guide inspires you to add a little extra warmth to your outdoor space, and to use it as much as possible in the coming months.