My Autumnal Tablescape DIY

I LOVE fall. The colors, the outfits, the briskness in the air! Okay, so maybe not here in LA. But after upgrading our fall garden, it definitely feels like autumn has arrived! I’ve already transitioned most of the spaces around the house to really signal that we’ve started a new season. Even if the weather is still in the 80s, it’s all apple pie and pumpkin spice at the Yokota’s! 

Anita wears a chunky, knit sweater holding a mug, standing in front of her completed tablescape

Seasonal transition is mostly a mental game, after all. Reflecting the changing seasons inside the home is a visual indication of an emotional shift. More than just the leaves change over time—we do too! Getting into the seasons helps process those subtle shifts in new ways, associating them with personal growth and new goals.

Waking up in our freshly-decorated fall bedroom has been a great daily reminder that we’re starting a new chapter. Plus, I feel all the excitement of a new decor scheme that reminds me how much I love our space! Maybe it’s the “back to school” vibes, but this time of year I’m all about setting personal challenges and trying to grow my own skills.  

Recently, I was at the floral store for a client shoot and saw these amazing orange flowers! They totally took my breath away, and the wheels started turning in my head. At the time, we were working in the backyard, and I thought immediately of our outdoor seating area. A lightbulb went off, and I set a personal design challenge for myself: how could I use them to create a beautiful al fresco tablescape?   

Anita's be-sweatered arm reaching out to touch the big burnt orange flowers


With the weather outside being so nice, we’re still able to eat outside—but I don’t want it to feel like summer dining! Warm California evenings mean we have to use our creative powers to get into the autumnal spirit, evoking rustic farmhouse visuals and harvest textures. I wasn’t 100% sure exactly how this would work in our modern backyard, but I decided to give it a go!  

The colors in our outdoor dining space are mostly bluish-grey cool tones, and our chairs are really modern. We recently incorporated Sherwin Williams’ Color of the Year into the space, which has worked wonders for warming up the yard! With this in mind, I felt inspired to make it work. Modern-rustic here we come!  

Completed tablescape in Anita's backyard

I started by plotting out the key components of our table: the runner, earthenware, and place settings. I love a neutral table runner that can do multiple seasons well. Ours is a linen runner with a blue-toned stripe pattern. And yes, I totally consider stripes are neutral! Having a soft, understated pattern helps to create a sense of consistency, so you can get a little wild with other elements of your design.

The plates and bowls we used have asymmetric edges that feel super contemporary, yet with a hand-touched artisan quality at the same time. They’re also a great neutral that really helps bridge the gap between warm and cool! Modern, meet rustic. Then, I added the candlesticks. The matte black matches the plates, and tapers are a classic that works well with any scheme! 

Gold Flatware set next to ceramic table setting

Levels are so important when tablescaping, and a variety of heights adds visual interest to the display. This is a great place to bring in texture; I used what rustic elements already had on hand—like our pizza board! Wood and rattan are great warm, natural textures that help maintain the harvest vibe.  

Who can forget cutlery? The gold flatware is really bringing the warm, autumn flair. The final touch was my beautiful orange flowers! I interspersed these with eucalyptus, baby’s breath, and cornhusks, using a mixture of glass and earthenware vases. The finished product is a modern farm table right in our backyard. I’m so pleased with the result! 

The finished tablescape at night!

Bonus Coaster DIY! 

I’m not the only one who loves a festive fall challenge. After my tablescape success, I wanted to get my girls in on the action! Emily, Natalie, and I are the three amigos when it comes to craft projects. When I found this terrazzo coaster DIY, I knew we had to try it! 

This one was super easy, and polymer clay is soooo fun to play with. Using a rolling pin, parchment paper, and some guides to keep an even coaster height, we rolled out the base layer, and sprinkled in our colorful, cut-up pieces of polymer clay. Then we rolled again until the little pieces are flattened in, and used a circular cookie cutter to trim the excess. Bake for 30 minutes at 265° and voila! 

4 completed terrazzo coasters, and you can tell whose is whose!

We used blue, pink, grey and burnt orange for the speckles—although the girls didn’t love the orange color. Emily was clever and diluted her orange with white to make a light peach that she was happy with! I love seeing them problem-solve during craft projects to make something that’s unique to them. 

After all, DIY’s are just that: an expression of YOURSELF. You should feel comfortable adapting any online recipe to suit your own tastes. Maybe it’s something I could learn from them… It drove me nuts that I couldn’t get a perfect circle. I got a little obsessive, and I made like 8 more after the girls had left! 😂 

Who knows? I might just incorporate them in my next tablescape! 



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