With the changing colors of the leaves and the brisk fall air, comes the most blessed of all autumnal signs: the school bus! After the dog days of summer, it is indeed, the most revered of all sights. I’ve always loved fall in the Pacific Northwest. The trees explode into fiery crimson flames, the rain decreases, and the air is just fresh and cool enough to begin the layering process of clothes that is so chic. But, the sound of those diesel brakes halting that not canary, not sunshine, not butter yellow school bus makes fall the best of all seasons. Fall colors are my favorite colors.  While the kids are at school for 7 hours, I can clean, decorate, and prepare for the holiday months ahead.

I have many reasons to love fall. In my mind, there is no need for spring cleaning because summer closely follows. With it, comes the destruction of any sense of order as the kids, well, you know. It’s like shoveling snow in a snowstorm. Why bother? But fall? Ahhhh, fall! Order is re-established and decorating for the holidays can begin! Did you know you can decorate your home once for FOUR WHOLE MONTHS of holidays? You ask, “How can that be?” Let me share my interior designer secrets!

FIRST: FALL CLOTHES & CLOSETS. Kids have grown, shoes are worn, and styles have changed. For purposes of this article, we don’t have the word space to understand why styles change in three months. It’s absurd and wrong on many levels. Good luck explaining that to an eighth grader!

New school clothes dictate closet clean out day and science discovery missions. We have a three-pile rule in our house:

  1. Hand-it down to siblings / friends
  2. Donate
  3. Garbage (this is reserved for torn, stained and irrelevant)

Sort, fold, bag it up, drop it off, and done.

STYLE FLASH: Navy blue and burgundy are the new combo for 2018-2019. The fashion industry would like you to know, as Miranda Priestly would say, “…in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room.” In other words, “it’s not up to you what color you will be wearing this fall, it’s been decided for you by the fashion industry.”  Have fun!

SECOND: HAY! WHAT? HAY! It’s all about the hay. Yes, for the next four months, hay is your basic design ingredient. While they are still dry and assembled, pick up your hay bales this moment! If you have room, buy two! Are they messy? Yes. However, they are the area rug and sofa of your outside décor.

  1. September starts with scarecrows, corn stalks, and Indian corn.
  2. When October nears, simply add a skeleton, a witch, and a ghost. You’re done!
  3. For November and December, remove all harvest and satanic emblems. Erect the nativity! Add fake snow, a snowman, a reindeer or two, and voila, it all looks great surrounded by the hay!

TA-DA, four months of décor with two simple bales of hay.

THIRD: ORANGE TRULY IS NEUTRAL.  Despite orange being the most hated color in interior design, it’s all over the place outside. YOU LOVE IT – you know you do! Orange is my favorite color because it goes with everything. EVERY SINGLE OTHER HUE in the world plays nicely with orange. Think about it. Pink, blue, red, gray; you name it, some version of orange goes with everything. Orange is the “United Nations” of hues. Guess what else? You can wear orange! It’s all about the tints, shades, and tones. My favorite Christmas tree décor is my collection of orange and red ornaments and tree skirt embroidered fruit décor. Purple, red, and orange are great Christmas colors.

As you lace up those trainers and grab your hoody for your morning fall walk, drink in the orange that surrounds you. Find ways to bring in this fresh and vibrant color beyond pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns. Remember how much you love tomato soup and grilled cheese?


René Steelman


“Find the Strength in Your Solutions, Not Your Struggles.”

Award-winning interior designer, René Steelman knows quite a bit about tilting the balance towards solutions rather than struggles.

“Designing our lives and careers is so important because chaos is so hard.”

 This is true in our living rooms, as well as living in general! Life doesn’t always turn out like we plan. Sometimes, a curve is thrown our way that mixes up the balance of our lives or careers. Sometimes those changes are jarring. They require us to take charge of our own lives in ways we didn’t expect.

As an active philanthropist and founder of Steelman Family Foundation, René strives to provide as many families as possible with wheelchair accessible vans. Partnered with United Access, SFF has contributed more than 30 vans since 2016 to families around the country, holding true to their mission, helping “Families who Roll.”

As professional speaker, author of Heaven Sent and Bent and cerebral palsy advocate, René Steelman leads audiences to sift through the challenges and strip down life’s priorities to discover and experience joyful moments. Through humor, compassion, and a take-charge attitude, René shares skills and solutions to cope, survive, live, and thrive during life’s unexpected and overwhelming circumstances.

When not traveling the country speaking or promoting SFF, René spends time with her husband, six children and many grandchildren. Around the clock, with great support, and her family, she cares for her adult son, TJ, who has cerebral palsy.  To reenergize for her next mission, she sips umbrella drinks by the pool counting her blessings. Contact René for your next event or to inquire about sponsoring a family in need.