Front door with an autumn wreath.

With Thanksgiving ahead and guests coming to dinner, why not set a welcome tone with a fall wreath to greet them at the door? Wreaths are just as lovely during the fall as they are at Christmas and they add a warm, welcoming touch to your home. If time is short, a trip to your local craft store can help you find wreaths you can customize yourself quickly to add a festive fall touch in a snap. Better yet, you'll get a custom look with off-the-shelf materials.

Base wreath

At your craft store, look for base wreaths in fall leaves, magnolia leaves, or fall-toned flowers, such as mums. Many of these wreaths are ready to go as they are, but with a few simple changes, you can make them look custom and more expensive. You can also use plain base wreath such as grapevine. A quick wreath to put together would be to grab a small wired bunch of fall silk flowers. Arrange and wire the flowers in the lower left portion of a grapevine wreath, then add two or three fall fruits such as pears, pumpkins or pinecones pick to give your wreath dimension. Loop a single piece of ribbon at the top and you have a wreath that's ready to hang.

Ribbon change

An even simpler wreath that has a custom look perfect for a traditional or contemporary home only requires ribbon. You can create a whole new and custom look simply by adding ribbon to a purchased wreath from your craft store. One ribbon that's sumptuous and makes an off-the-shelf wreath look terrific is satin. A rich satin ribbon will create an understated, yet elegant wreath when added to a base wreath of natural elements, like pinecones, pumpkins or acorns.

Purchase a piece of wide satin ribbon in a fall color such as orange, brown, gold or forest green. Next, create a bow by tying two loops together and around each other and into a knot, like when you learned how to tie your shoes. This creates a neat and professional looking bow. Affix the bow to your wreath and then hang. Because of the contrast in textures of the natural elements of the wreath combined with a luxe satin ribbon, it creates a sophisticated and stylish look.

For a wreath with a farmhouse appeal, look for a base wreath with a mix of elements such as greenery with dried wheat. Or choose a base wreath of fall flowers. Look for ribbon in a checked pattern for hanging and to make a bow. Rustic charm is easy to add to a base fall wreath with burlap ribbon. Create bows or loops and tuck into your base wreath for country appeal. Lastly, a quick and custom fall wreath only takes a tobacco tray and an off-the-shelf fall floral arrangement. Affix the arrangement to the lower left corner of the tray and hang. Even simpler? Add a fall wreath to a tobacco tray, and tuck in ribbons or bow, and hang.

(For more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her website, www.redlotusletter.com.)