Fall is almost here, and as area residents prepare their homes for cooler nights and crisper days, local designers are seeing a big shift back to the basics.

Whether aiming for simplicity, opting for well-crafted antiques, or cooking up some homemade meals, people are looking to slow things down this season.

Seeking calm

“I’m seeing a trend going back to family, home and ‘less is more,’” said Once Upon a Find owner Mary Jane Clevenger, who also runs a home design business and consults with Winchester antique store Past & Present.

“Clean looks are in and not a lot of clutter,” she said.

One way to achieve that look is by making use of hidden spaces such as closets and armoires, she said.

With many people still working from home, she said that people have been using closet space as a small home office that they can shut away when they’re not working.

Old armoires and entertainment units are also being upcycled as desks or bars, Clevenger said.

“And then you close them all up,” she said.

To set the tone for a calming space, Clevenger said her customers and clients have been opting for candles and quality essential oil infusers to use around the house.

“They make a nice relaxing atmosphere,” she said. “It really changes the mindset. … Totally changes one’s mood.”

It makes sense for the season too, she said, as the days grow shorter and people look for signs of warmth.

“Fall is going to be a lot of candles,” Clevenger said.

“Going into the holidays, I’m seeing people wanting to make things more tranquil in their homes.”

Keeping it real

One of the season’s biggest trends is the switch to natural home decor, said Brenda Miller, owner of The Miller House in Stephens City.

From late summer foliage to well-crafted furniture, recent design trends are focusing on rich textures and natural colors.

At her store, which sits alongside her parents’ business, Valley Furniture, Miller sells American-crafted items that are built to last.

Though they’re especially on-trend, now, she said that well-made furniture has “always been big for my store.”

Some materials that have sold well lately are walnut, cherry and other live-edge pieces.

This is “where you truly see the artisans’ talents,” Miller said.

“People are looking for real now,” Clevenger agreed.

In Winchester, she’s been seeing that residents are looking for furniture pieces that last. Since well-made items can be costly, she also urges designers to offer more opportunities for cost-effective items

“I do a lot of design on a dime,” she said. “Hopefully, we’ll see more affordable designers.”

Working with color

People this season are decorating with real gourds, branches, eucalyptus leaves and succulents as well as beads and bottles.

“The bohemian look is very popular,” Miller said. “And of course the popular lanterns.”

A white lantern can easily transition the home from summer to fall to Christmas, she said, depending on if it’s filled with greenery, leaves, gourds or pinecones.

Overall, she’s seen people focusing on natural looks, using more greens, silvers and light grays this season instead of the popular reds, oranges and browns of the past.

Think light green pumpkins and silver pinecones.

For a touch of warmth, she’s also been seeing a lot of wool incorporated into designs.

And for the country, farmhouse feel, she noted, “Everybody wants the truck.”

The red pickup truck image that’s been featured on various craft items over the last few years is still very much on-trend, Miller said. Though the red truck is ever popular at Christmastime, she said green could be an option throughout the fall.

Old is new again

While fall and vintage styles seem made for each other, Miller and Clevenger have noticed that vintage has made an even bigger comeback this year.

“I’m seeing a new uptick in the antique collectibles shop,” Clevenger said.

That’s where “you find those diamonds in the rough,” she said.

Orange and poppy-colored finds are still a great option for fall, and she said that vintage items pair well with fall seasonal decor.

Specific items people are buying are barware such as wine glasses and kitchenware like old Pyrex dishes.

“It’s really in the trend,” Clevenger said. “People are seeking out all of that original stuff.”

Also trending along with reuseable items is anything else related to the kitchen, such as aprons, bakeware, cookie cutters and “nice-smelling things” like candles that use cinnamon, apples or fresh linens.

“Cooking is back,” said Clevenger.

Also on the rise are sales of records, DVDs and VHS tapes of old movies.

“And the kids are loving them,” she said.

The Miller House, at 5960 Valley Pike, Stephens City, will have its fall open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 10 and 11 and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 12. There, visitors can get some ideas for decorating their homes this fall while also seeking out items they might still need. For more information, call 540-869-2148.

Visit Past & Present at 100 Full House Drive, Winchester, or call 540-662-3800 for more information.

Visit Once Upon a Find at 48 S. Loudoun St., Winchester, or call 540-662-1254.

Contact Josette Keelor at jkeelor@nvdaily.com