Think you don’t have the time or money to redecorate your entire house for fall? Don’t stress: There are plenty of ways to add a cozy autumn theme without a big design budget. It’s all about the accessories and colors; even small changes can make a big difference. Try a few of these ideas to decorate your house this fall.
1. Switch out pillows and throws.
This is one of the easiest ways to bring something seasonal into a space without spending much money. “I like to add new pillows and throws around my house, when I can, as the seasons start to change,” says interior designer Emily Henderson. “I’ll use thicker blankets with more texture on the back of my couch, or style them in a basket next to an accent chair.” This is the perfect time of year to experiment with sumptuous textiles. Bring in some chunky knits or faux fur for a luxe look.
2. Style the mantel.
When the days get crisper, nothing sounds nicer than getting cozy by the fireplace. “Make your fireplace the focal point of your living room by restyling the mantel,” advises interior designer Karen Vidal. “Group a different piece of art and some objects from other areas of your home, then enjoy some new scenery by the flames.” This is also a great opportunity to update your fireplace accessories. Consider purchasing a new basket for firewood or a decorative fireplace screen.
3. Bring the outdoors in.
It’s time to showcase the best of fall foliage, such as beautiful autumn leaves and green garlands. “I love layering fresh greenery throughout my house all year long, but especially in the fall,” Henderson says. “Try silver dollar eucalyptus — it will leave your home smelling fresh and it’s very affordable. I like to style branches in vases throughout my house.” Create simple arrangements with in-season blooms like dahlias and chrysanthemums. Place the flowers or branches in a copper vase or even a canning jar.
4. Mix in prints.
There’s nothing like curling up by the fire with a cozy blanket or tartan throw. “The patterns of your home decor will naturally tell a seasonal story, just like the colors do,” Henderson says. “Floral patterns and bright colors signal spring and summer. So for fall, try more substantial patterns like plaid or thick stripes, in warmer colors.” This is also a great way to introduce pattern into your home if your current decor contains lots of solids and neutrals. Just a blanket, pillow or rug in these designs will signal “autumn.”
5. Accent with seasonal colors.
Oranges and reds are staples of the fall color palette. “Fill a vase with orange blooms or fill a bowl with oranges instead of mini pumpkins,” Vidal says. “You can also showcase books with spines or arrange vases or ceramics in the hues more prominently for autumn.” The best part: You can keep these out well into fall and through the Thanksgiving holiday.
6. Light it up.
A soft glow or a bright light can really transform a room. For autumn, think of switching out light bulbs or displaying candles to create a cozy feeling. “As the days get shorter throughout the fall, it’s nice to have great lighting options,” Henderson says. “When entertaining, I’ll use different hurricanes and votives throughout a room or on a tablescape.” If you’re looking for a quick fix, hang some string lights on the wall or drape a scarf over a lampshade for softer light.
7. Change your bedding.
In summer, it’s all about keeping things light and airy, but when the weather turns colder, you’ll want to pile on the blankets and textiles. Get your bed ready for cooler mornings by swapping out your summer bedding for a warmer duvet. “Changing your bedcover to a heavier one for the fall season instantly makes the bedroom feel more cozy and warm,” says interior designer Andrew Suvalsky. “Tailored quilting will emphasize this feeling even more.” If you don’t want to change out your duvet (or it’s one that’s good year-round), place a throw blanket at the end of your bed for another cozy layer.
(Real Simple magazine provides smart, realistic solutions to everyday challenges. Online at www.realsimple.com.)