Pottery Barn Hacks for Fall

I admit, I love getting my Pottery Barn catalog in the mail.  I never fail to find inspiration and sometimes some laughs.

Here are some random things I noticed in the current issue.

Big bowls.  Yep, big bowls filled with plants, flowers…

and other stuff.  I think we all would agree that large accessories have more of an impact than smaller ones, but for some reason, when I shop my house, I realized that many of my accessories are micro.  I think part of my problem is that I’m thrifty, and it seems “better” to buy 5 small items for $5 each over time than one large $25 or $40  impact item that I’ll love.  I’m making a mental note to go larger.

Look how simple it is to add a little fall.  Any of us can get that look.  Locate the largest hurricane you can get your hands on, add neutral candles, stick it in a huge terracotta or wood or ceramic bowl and put a few dried, real or pretend {but realistic looking} twigs around it. Stick a fork in it.

One of my personal favorite things to do is to use non traditional, real pumpkins.  Seriously, pumpkins come in all sorts of beautiful textures and colors–why is it that we all gravitate to those bright orange ones?  You can see one of our different pumpkins {we drilled holes in the green one and at night it glowed} on my very first post.  Farmers markets are a great place to find unique and unexpected pumpkin varieties.  They make you look more sofistimicated and rich.  Or at least they look better in your home where orange might not be your favorite color.

It’s official, anything can be painted with chalkboard paint.  I actually love this globe almost as much as these chalkboard horses from Houndstooth Design. Think outside the framed chalkboard.

Pottery Barn was also selling chalkboard painted rocks for $16 for four. Mercy.  Now we have crossed that line.

Beautiful!  Can I get an amen?

This might just be my favorite idea.  I am a sucker for natural things like Spanish moss and I love this mantel.  Although I’m a little worried about the dried moss catching on fire.  You can even buy the moss on ebay. Can you get arrested for harvesting Spanish moss?


  1. Thanks for the insight into decorating with one big item instead of several small. I also struggle with this. Regarding the spanish moss…I have tons hanging from my trees!

  2. I love the last picture, too! I am eager to collect the moss that has fallen onto the road after being so inspired lately… perfect for Halloween/fall!

  3. Love it! I just requested a PB catalog because I don’t get it. I keep all kinds of catalogs for ideas. It’s hard to even think fall because we really didn’t get much in summer weather here this year :( I’m just not ready to say good-bye!

  4. I just got my new catalog in the mail today. I can’t wait to look through it!

  5. I was JUST saying the very same thing to a friend yesterday! I always buy smaller things because they are more in my price range and I really need some larger pieces. I saw that bowl with the glass hurricane and candles and LOVED it. I have a bowl just like that so I cant wait to find a hurricane. My daughter loced the chalkboard rocks in the catalog, so we may give that a try too. Seems easy enough to do with her. :)

  6. You can get nasty bugs from harvesting Spanish Moss. Bugs are gross…leave it on the tree and buy fake moss.

    • I agree! Red bugs and chiggers are no fun!

      • soak it in water and then bake it in the oven!! It will kill ’em dead. Or microwave it. All kinds of recommendations on the internet. I have a biiiig tree with moss on it in the front yard. Y’all can come harvest away if you like. Just don’t take it all, I like it. :)

  7. I’m chuckling at the chalkboard rocks. Wow. and I bet they charge an arm and a leg to ship them too!

  8. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to knock off PB items! Did you see the huge framed corkboard in that issue?? I made my own knock-off and might I say nicer version. See the details HERE> http://imsimplysarah.blogspot.com/2010/08/pb-inspired-entryway-message-board.html

  9. How fun could those rocks be for other occasions? I could see them as inspirational words or even conversation starters in a big glass jar on the table, or as place cards, even to mark platters on a buffet with the name of the dish! FUN! (but sooo overpriced, I’ll make my own tyvm!)

  10. Love getting my PB catalogs, too. Stephanie Lynn at Under the Table & Dreaming did her own chalboard globe – and it looks great. Check it out!

  11. I think it’s time I had my NE family mail me some foliage :) Certainly none in Charlotte yet!

  12. I saw the chalkboard painted rocks too…interesting idea, but that price is crazy!

  13. totally amen. getting the PB catalog is totally inspirational and I agree, mental note to go BOLDER with everything. loving this.

  14. I love PB too….it is always inspiring…but really, painted chalkboard rocks? for $16? really?

  15. I love the wall of pictures! I saw it the other day and loved the mix of blacks, whites, browns and metal. It all goes so well together.
    Careful of harvesting your own moss. Creepy crawlies live in there! You can get rid of them but I have forgotten how.
    And I have been trying to go bigger items for the last few years. Bigger statements, less clutter.

  16. Love you Nester, but I can’t wrap my head around using MOSS as a decorating item! It brings back nightmares of that moss-covered wall from an old episode of Trading Space. That last picture looks incredibly odd – advocating moss anywhere near a fireplaces is just asking for trouble!

    Don’t even get me started on the chalkboard rocks. Or chalkboard anything for that matter, lol!

  17. I really liked the hurricane lamp with candles in a bowl. The simplest things really touch me, not so much the cluttered look!

    Got to get to PB soon and check it out for inspiration for Fall. Your blog does the same thing:) Come on Fall, I am past ready!

  18. Some of these exact images are already in my inspiration notebook! Now to begin implementing them…. Yay for fall!

  19. I seriously doubt you can get arrested for harvesting Spanish Moss!..not sure, but I doubt it. I’m not climbing that Big Oak in my yard to get it though! ;)
    LOVE my PB catalog too!

  20. Now I am waiting anxiously for my Pottery Barn Catalog! BTW, real spanish moss has mites and bugs in it-not a good idea to harvest :)

  21. well over here in Oregon, you cannot get arrested for taking moss or branches or cool rocks….however I think its a crime to charge 16.00 for rocks with chalk board paint on them! And I will give you an amen and how about a hello! there is a rooster in one of those photos!!!!!

  22. WHERE is my PB catalog?? Stupid Army post office. I’m sure someone is sitting on their bums in an office somewhere thumbing through my catalog. GRRRRRRR!!!!! I want my PB catalog!
    Those chalkboard rocks are awesome. $16 though? Come ON! That’s crazy. Now I’m going to be on the hunt for rocks that are smooth and flat. Oh, first I have to get my mom to ship me some chalkboard paint from the States. Germans don’t have chalkboard paint!!! WHAT is wrong with them???? They don’t know. They just don’t know. They don’t have Target either. Sadness.
    I’m totally going BIG for fall accessories. I like it. Germans do have loads of HUGE pumpkins in varying colors (it seems like a contest sort of thing-they advertise how big the “kurbis” are), so I’ll have to work in a few of those.

    • You know, I wonder if you need chalkboard paint. Am I the only one who writes with chalk directly one my painted furniture and stuff? I think it’s a ploy.

      • I bet flat black paint would work just as well!

      • Nope, you aren’t the only one. I write in a moulding-edged rectange on the front of my black-painted fireplace mantle. No chalkboard paint needed. However, I am starting to see some etching in the paint. I bet you wouldn’t with chalkboard paint.

        Do you know you can make your own cb paint by adding.. what is it… oh, powdered tile grout! Just add it to any paint color–you could have easter-colored rocks, or Christmas, etc. etc. Oooh, now I am getting inspired.

  23. I really love the paint color they used for the gallery wall scene. Beautiful.

  24. Glad to see someone else enjoys the PB catalogs as much as I do. They are so beautifully styled and photographed, with tons of good inspiration. I have a few catalogs that are 4-5 years old, I loved the rooms so much!

  25. I love the way the moss looks!! But….When we visited the Georgia coast, we saw tons of (what I think) was Spanish Moss. Our guide suggested not to take any. She told us a story of a man who took some, put it in his front pocket, only to find out tiny, biting critters of some sort lived in there. Yikes!

  26. I am so ready for fall! You are so right, there are more than the BRIGHT orange pumpkins for decorating.
    Love this post,
    Have a pretty day!

  27. I say go big or go home. It’s much better to spend the money on a few larger pieces than a bunch of little ones. The larger pieces will have a bigger impact and will keep your house from feeling too knick-knacky.

  28. Funny!! I was looking at my catalog mere moments before I logged on. I LOOOVE going through it, daydreaming, circling everything I want as if it were all free. Oh, if it were! Thanks for your hack post, I’ll be studying it carefully!

  29. Bahahahaha! Thanks for the Catalog Living link. HIL-arious!

  30. Thought the same thing yesterday when I saw those chalkboard rocks for sale!

  31. I rarely buy from Pottery Barn, but I do look forward to the catalogs and like you, get ideas.

    That one pic with the hurricane and bowl was in a previous catalog and I have loved it. Have not tried it yet, but plan to. I actually have a huge white ironstone type bowl with an embossed design (housewarming gift), that I could use. And I LOVE the old bread bowls, one would work great with some of those ideas.

    I have not jumped on the chalkboard bandwagon, so none of that stuff appealed to me. I am with you on the different pumpkins though, I do not like the color orange and it does not go at all with my decor, so do use alot of the different colored pumpkins. Love the white ones.

    Be careful with the spanish moss. Do not harvest. I will never forget one of our trips to Savannah, we did the cemetary tour and the guide was telling us about two women taking some of the spanish moss. Apparently there is some little mite that lives in spanish moss and they like to never got rid of them! LOL!! So, I stick to buying my spanish moss. Funny what you remember.


  32. I always look forward to the PB catalogs! Great reminder to go larger with the accessories. I’m looking for my hurricane and large bowls right now…

  33. I don’t think you will arrested but you might get red bugs!!!!

    Love all the pictures…such great inspiration.

  34. Just a reminder, though, to those who want to use real pumpkins as decoration. If you sit them directly on furniture that is stained and not painted, they could leave a mark that will ruin the stain. Not many know this, but I’ve seen it done and I always remember to sit my on something … for example, I have a long narrow wood bread bowl that i turn upside down and line up pumpkins on every year. Looks great and my table is safe!

  35. “Sofistimicated” might just be my new favorite word!

  36. Before we can get sofistimicated, we have to get edumicated!

  37. My PB catalog hasn’t arrived yet, so I appreciate getting a preview of it here. Lots of great ideas. I love the Spanish moss on the mantel. That one’s a keeper…I’ve got some in my craft closet. Looking forward to some fall decorating soon.


  38. Not only will I give you an “Amen”, but I’ll throw in a Halleluia! Selling chalkboard painted rocks??? Yes, there is something very wrong there. {But I know what my weekend project is going to be this weekend}. I’d love to do that humongous hurricane in a large ceramic bowl, but you know it’s just going to block the TV and I’m never gonna hear the end of, “why do you have to put these things right in front of the TV”, so I’ll stick with the small things in that spot. Did you see the Fall Bed & Bath catalog? There’s one to swoon over.

  39. Its official. Im going into business. Chalkboard rocks.


  40. Always enjoy your posts! As several have mentioned, spanish moss can be infected with chiggers and spider mites. HOWEVER, if you treat the moss by either boiling it or microwaving it you will be fine! Here’s one of many links http://www.ehow.com/how_5708504_treat-spanish-moss-bugs.html that explains the process to treat spanish moss!

  41. I am going to put a candle and a hurricane in a bowl…I am not going to paint rocks with chalkboard paint. Are you serious? I want to know if ANYONE buys them…………..

  42. I already made the chalk board river rocks :) The kids LOVED making them pumpkins I cant believe people would pay for them

  43. Ashlee Duma says

    I just got my catalog in the mail today. I flipped through it and loved loved loved the chalkboard globe. I was already thinking, “How can I make that?” Thanks Nester!

  44. I love my PB catalog, too! It’s SOOOO obvious that little children do NOT inhabit those pottery barn homes/rooms…some of the things would just never work. And the Spanish Moss pic with the crooked candle? Paleeeez. Makes me soooo nervous. I CAN NOT WAIT for the cool weather to get here already! Let’s make some chili and decorate!

  45. “I think part of my problem is that I’m thrifty, and it seems “better” to buy 5 small items for $5 each over time than one large $25 or $40 impact item that I’ll love”

    This describes me exactly! I do the same thing with clothes… buy 5 cheap tshirts instead of one great classic blouse that I know I would love. It’s torturous.

    • Oh my gosh, same here. My mom does it too, straight to the clearance. Or goodwill. And then I have nothing respectable. I noticed while watching Design Star that many of them wore the same things many times {hello, Emily’s blue dress} but, they were stylish and very unique pieces and helped define who they were. I think I would have taken 79 outfits and only worn every thing once. Much better to have a few nice things than 79 ok things.

  46. I love non-traditional pumpkins! They’re so much easier to decorate with than the neon orange ones.

  47. Watch out…the spanish moss in Florida often has mites. But there certainly is plenty to go around.

  48. Yup, moss is full of bugs. Buy the fake stuff.

  49. If you haven’t seen it already, you have to go check out http://catalogliving.net/. It is HILARIOUS, and helps me keep those glossy catalog pages in perspective!

  50. In addition to the spanish moss in that last photo, I noticed and loved the small books under glass! I love old books and need new and interesting ways to display them…gotta try this one!

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