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Spruce up fall in Queens

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The crunch of fallen leaves and brisk air herald another New York City autumn, and in Queens, Forest and Cunningham parks are transforming into vibrant fall postcards.

Fall weekends in Queens mean pumpkin picking and hay rides, crisp apple cider, wine tastings and a pie-eating contest at Queens County Farm Museum in Floral Park.

Yes, Halloween is just around the corner, followed by – you guessed it – Thanksgiving, which means family gatherings. This calls for a comfy, cozy-chic environment as folks spend more time indoors and welcome guests for the holidays.

As the days get shorter and colder, why not spruce up your space with simple, eye-catching, budget-friendly decorating ideas that add a touch of whimsy and punch of color. Lift up spirits for the upcoming holidays and transform your home — no matter how modest — into a showcase.

Nothing says welcome like a gorgeous autumnal entryway. How about a unique acorn wreath tied with red ribbon for your front door, and an easy-to-arrange harvest-style display on an entry or side table? All it takes is a bit of imagination and an eye for color: Arrange long branches, like golden gingko, in a large sculptural vase, pile a few pears into an interesting bowl and place several pine cones in another then set out a fruity wine, mixed nuts and voilà! You’ve made an “autumn is here” statement.

Ideas and pick-me-ups

Rita Plush, president of Rita Plush Interiors, author and program coordinator of the Interior Design/Decorating certificate program at Queensborough Community College, will be teaching the Basic Principals of Interior Design, and the Accessories segment of the accessories and Color class this fall.

“You want warm and soft to make things cozy,” she says. “Fake fur pillows and throws add a fun look and go with any style.”

Here are some quick tips:

•Think a textured, weathered look for accessories.

•Mix metals and woods, sleek and textured finishes in picture frames. Put up a ledge and lean some framed pictures or photos of different sizes on it.

•When arranging accessories use odd numbers, they’re more pleasing to the eye.

•Dress up a bathroom with a fall-themed shower curtain, mat and guest towels.

•Choose one of the colors in your room, and paint an accent wall in an eye-catching hue.

•Hang a tassel from an armoire door or a pull on your dresser drawer.

Harvest décor — Queens-style

A new décor trend has cropped up featuring fall-inspired touches that bring hints of nature and the outdoors inside, while the fruits and flowers of the season easily combine to create a bountiful harvest centerpiece.

Simple accents like faux autumn leaves or pinecones wreathes can bring a earthy, comfortable feeling to any room. Try these easy designs at home.

Fall leaf streamers

Materials needed: Silk fall leaves or natural leaves gathered outside, one spool of 8-pound fishing line, scissors, hot glue gun and hot glue sticks, wax paper, painter’s tape, measuring tape and leaves.

Take a stroll outdoors to gather especially beautiful autumn leaves — or head to your local craft store to buy silk versions. Sort leaves into separate piles by size.

To determine how much wax paper to use, measure distance between the bottom of your chandelier and the surface of your table. Then, roll out and cut a piece of wax paper that’s as long as that measurement. Glue the leaves to the wax paper.

Roll out a length of fishing line that’s 6 to 8 inches longer than the wax paper. Use painter’s tape to secure the fishing line to the top and bottom of the wax paper. Leave the extra 6 inches of fishing line hanging off the top edge of the wax paper. You’ll need this later for tying the line onto your chandelier.

Pinecone wreath

Here’s what you’ll need to make an organic, glitter-dusted pine cone wreath for hanging on your front door or on a foyer mirror: foam wreath, hot glue gun with glue sticks and pinecones.

Attach pinecones until the entire front surface of the wreath is covered, applying glue as needed.

Turn the wreath over and glue pine cones along the back edges to ensure the foam surface won’t be visible when the wreath is hanging.

Hang with ribbon.

Decorative pumpkins

Stylish, artificial glittered pumpkins embellished with pushpins, lace or decals can add character to any fall arrangment.

Materials needed: Pumpkins, colored glitter, spoon, spray adhesive, small paintbrush, brown craft paint (for the stem), roll of craft paper and newspaper.

First, prepare your work area by laying down craft paper on top of newspaper. Spray the top and middle of the pumpkin with adhesive and use a spoon to apply glitter. Allow to dry. Remove excess glitter by shaking the pumpkin then funnel the loose glitter back into the container to reuse.

Tip the pumpkin to the side and spray adhesive on the bottom half. Apply glitter, allow to dry, remove excess. Use a small paintbrush to apply brown paint to the stem of the pumpkin.

Check out your local craft story for supplies and other great fall decorating ideas.

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