How to Easily Style Branches for Fall

Sometimes the only thing you need to usher in the new season at home is an arrangement fit for autumn. This is a fuss-free way to seasonally decorate- and it adds texture, color, and contrast, all while reflecting the time of year. I’m often asked how to style branches, as they can be a bit tricky in comparison to florals. I wanted to share an easy, everlasting arrangement idea with you… that can be pulled out year-after-year to celebrate the autumn months- well into festive gatherings and tablescapes for Thanksgiving. I also have a few tricks of the trade up my sleeve. Click through to see how I do it, and to peruse some of my favorite faux branches for the season…

How to Easily Style Branches for Fall -

*This post is sponsored by Afloral. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to create unique content while featuring products I actually use & enjoy!

Gather Your Supplies

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I’ve been heavily into terra cotta vessels lately- which probably comes as no surprise. These are the timeless type of vases that look good any time of year. I found this extra tall floor vase, with charming double handles, and scooped it up for an oversized branch arrangement. Here’s everything I used for today’s branch styling… they’re all clickable in the collage below!

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Source Your Branches

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For this arrangement, I grabbed five of the grape ivy branches from Afloral in green eggplant because they felt very fitting for autumn. They’re oversized, take on a soft shape, and have that seasonal palette I was looking for. I knew these would be perfect for decorative longevity for the months of September to November. They’re ideal for the beginning of fall- all the way until harvest & gathering season or Thanksgiving.

Alternatively, you can also forage for branches outside, if you’d prefer to take the natural route- or are in a time crunch. The styling tips apply for both everlasting and live branches. I’ll link some more of my favorite (super convincing) faux options for you below…

Use a Mesh Arranger

How to Easily Style Branches for Fall -

This is my best tip for arranging branches… use floral mesh! It’s heavier than the tape grid hack and is capable of supporting heavier or taller stems. The easy arranger pack I have comes with three sizes: 4″, 5″, and 6″.

How to Easily Style Branches for Fall -

Place this over your vase and bend it around the edges. Alternatively, you can tuck it inside the vessel for a concealed look- which is usually what I do once my branches are in place. It’s easy to manipulate!

Strategically Place Your Branches

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Next, it’s time to start inserting your branches. First, decide what you’d like yours to look like… sparse, full, asymmetric, etc. I typically avoid symmetry when styling branches because I think it gives it a more interesting, realistic shape. More on that below…

Branch Styling Tips

In addition to using the floral mesh, I wanted to share some tips for manipulating and styling branches for the best arrangement outcome.

How to Easily Style Branches for Fall -

Five things I always do for faux branch arranging, to make it feel more realistic and beautiful…

  1. Fluff your branches or florals out of the box– before you even begin. Faux plants are often compressed for packing & safe shipping, so they do require shaking or fluffing upon opening. The goal is for them to look natural and organic, even if if they appear a bit unruly.
  2. Close the gap between the vegetation and the top of the vessel– this may require trimming or bending the ends. The first leaves or vegetation should begin close to the top of the vessel. Negative space is ok, but you do want some texture beginning at the lip to draw your eye upward. My pet peeve is seeing the awkward empty stems at the bottom of branches that contain no leaves- it’s a sure giveaway the arrangement is faux because in nature we know, leaves cover the majority of the branch.
  3. Keep it to a minimum for a sculptural look– six branches or less, depending on the type. Negative space is usually your friend when styling branches- and it keeps costs down. Go for height and texture instead of fullness- unlike a floral arrangement. Don’t overstuff your vase and practice restraint with an editing eye. This provides a sculptural and designer look.
  4. Consider height & width– Unlike most florals, it’s easy to go tall or wide with branches because of their oversized, rigid form. Capitalize on this! When trying to make a BIG impact and take up a lot of space, branches are the ideal medium. Go for the height or width, while considering a larger vessel that visually supports the look, providing balance below.
  5. Avoid symmetry– branches lend themselves to a sculptural, organic look… lean into that. As I previously mentioned, I tend to avoid symmetry when styling branches for this reason.

Enjoy All Season Long

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The obvious pro to everlasting or faux branches is the ability to use them year-after-year. They’re require zero maintenance, no water, no bugs, no mess, no falling leaves, and they’re an investment you can continue to enjoy. When it’s time to transition from autumn to my holiday decor, I’ll tuck these away in my prop closet and pull them out next August or September.

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What is the size of your vase?

It’s 20″ tall and 8″ wide… a really nice size! It’s the tall terra cotta vase with handles from Afloral.

What are you favorite branches for autumn?

I’m partial to magnolias, oak, aspen, fig, or any sort of sculptural ivy branch. I love displaying the colors of the season.

If foraging for branches, how do you make sure they’re clean?

Give them a good shake. You can also soak or spray them- some people use vinegar, soapy water, or bleach. I’m never too concerned about bringing things in… I figure some things from outside will eventually make their way indoors, anyway.

Any advice for styling a GIANT arrangement?

Get some of the wire mesh! Having a good sturdy support system in place will allow you to build bigger, more secure arrangements.

Where did you get the marble tray?

Those also came from Afloral. You can find the marble trays here… they come in a nesting set of two and are stunning in person!

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I hope you enjoyed this post! Drop any questions you have into the comment section below. Here’s to a lovely fall weekend ahead. Tonight we have a fun date night planned. We’re also planning to cross more home projects off our list… I’m chipping away at the basement flooring and Emmett is continuing along on the entryway. While half of our house is messy & chaotic, it’s nice to retreat to a seasonally inviting living room and a clean kitchen. I’ve found myself sitting in front of the fire most evenings. Happy Friday, friends! Have a wonderful weekend.

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  1. Good morning! So pretty! While I adore a glorious floral arrangement, sculptural branches and dried botanicals feel right to me as the seasons change. They easily inject the fall palette into a space, and their size adds drama that few flowers can match (unless you’re spending $$$). Of course that scale comes with a few drawbacks; I have sometimes found them a bit tricky to arrange. Sarah to the rescue! One obvious difficulty I’ve had is undersized vessels; picture my beautiful branches toppling before I’m even finished. Argh. Pretty certain I also make the composition too full…because I treat them like flowers. You might have just blown my mind with that tip. Ha. And, I confess my symmetry-loving brain struggles with twiggy chaos. There’s no denying your gorgeous results though. So many helpful tips! Not to mention, who invented those genius floral mesh gadgets? On a completely different note, I am positively mesmerized by those marble trays! That rich color? Gah. This post is so timely too. I was already planning some sort of foraged arrangement for our little birthday celebration this weekend. Now you’ve really got my wheels turning. Enjoy your date night and a super-productive weekend! I’m fully in cake and lasagna mode over here, but first- Happy Pizza Friday, friends!!💜🍕

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thank you, Peggi! I totally agree. I always lean in that direction this time of year… they’re perfect for autumn! The wire mesh definitely helps with the toppling- as well as strategic placement. I initially had a spooky branch in there and sat it on our dining table… Emmett walked by and it poked his eye. Haha! Probably not the best place for that one. Twiggy chaos fail. I hope y’all are enjoying a fun and festive celebratory birthday weekend. Cake and lasagna sounds perfect!! xo

  2. Good morning! Your branch arrangements are always such a lovely addition. I love the look of this one- oversized vases have my heart and the branches you selected exude fall. The wire mesh is such a great trick! I have struggled in the past with keeping branches in place- definitely adding those to my list. After a foraging adventure in spring that resulted in a particularly gross bug experience, I have resolved that faux is my jam. Ha! Do you have any tips for storing faux stems? Most of the ones I have get pretty compact, but my Christmas stems are another story. They’re currently perched precariously on storage totes in the closet and I’m convinced there’s a better way. Date night sounds fun- I have a date with my mom tonight, and my bestie’s wedding next week. A project weekend sounds fun and fulfilling- and I’ve been eagerly following along on IG and can hardly wait to see your cabinet doors for the basement kitchen. So fun!! I’ve also been perusing the Stuga Studio flooring, hoping that the samples I order turn out to be closer to what I want than others I’ve tried. Anyway, I hope you have a lovely weekend. Thank you for sharing your tips and tricks!

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Hi Lauren! Hope you and the fam are having a wonderful weekend! Oversized arrangements are also my favorite… especially with branches this time of year. Those wire mesh inserts are the best for the big ones. The tape grid hack just isn’t strong enough. That’s definitely a pro in regards to going for faux branches… no bugs! Ha! I store them in a bundle (tied together) and then sometimes I’ll put them in a black trash bag to prevent any fading (if they’re seeing natural light in my prop closet). I have an umbrella holder and laundry hamper that are not being used down there, I’ve got some stuck in those as well. Hope you had a fun mother daughter date- that’s so sweet! I finally fully unboxed our cabinet doors and they’re perfect. I’m excited to start painting those soon. We’re trying to finish flooring the main living area downstairs today. We’ve got a LOT left, so fingers crossed. Happy Sunday!!

  3. Fall is such a gorgeous season for adding textures and color and your arrangement is stunning Sarah. Those vines look so realistic and the Terra cotta vase is so very pretty. I do love to forage this time of year but having everlasting branches to be used time and time again are awesome too. I’ve never seen those wire mesh holders, how clever. Afloral have a beautiful faux selection and I’m sure their branches are top notch quality. The branches you carried at the shop looked gorgeous too. I have faux branches from like 25 years ago, I still use them but maybe it’s time for an update 😉
    Sounds like you and Emmett are making major headway, I can only imagine how much work you’ve done 🥵 you both definitely deserve a fun date night, Enjoy!
    Have a fantastic Friday and weekend 🍕🥂🍁

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      Thanks so much, Colleen! I’m with you… I like a mix of live and faux- depending on whatever is easy or accessible at the time. We’ve definitely been busy over here, but all fun things! Projects feel exciting at the moment. We had a great night of live music on Friday at a pretty fall outdoor venue, so I’m calling it a win. I hope you and Andrew are also having a lovely autumn weekend! xo