24 Budget Friendly Ways to Cozy Up Your Home This Fall

Inside: Simple and inexpensive fall decorating ideas + how I used these tips and tricks to stretch my decorating dollar in the kitchen and living room!

Do you feel it? Not the trickle of sweat running down your back. It’s that ever so slight whisper of the changing season. Of fall.

As much as I love decorating, it can be tiring and expensive if you go all out for every season or holiday. Pretty soon people will be decorating for National Dog Appreciation Day (isn’t that every day?)

I now try to dial fall down a bit. I want to reuse. I don’t lug as many heavy bins down the stairs.

I’ve gotten resourceful in my quest to cut back the cost and work involved and figured out tricks over the years to make it easier on myself.

Thanks to many of these ideas, my kitchen and family room are already decorated this fall. Come on in and I’ll show you 24 different ways you can cozy your home for the season too!

Work with your existing color palette.

My family room and kitchen are neutral and earthy in basic shades of tan, black, gray, and white. So my fall color palette stayed with the same.

By using your usual colors, you can get away with as few or as many items you want to add for fall. And you can reuse them for as long as the materials feel seasonally appropriate.

The throw pillows and the neutral cable knit blanket will work all the way through winter!

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Go faux with pumpkins.

Not only are fake pumpkins the same price or less as the real thing, you can keep them forever, they’ll be available when you want them, and you won’t have the surprise slime of a pumpkin that’s aged out before the season.

And if you buy one or two each year and you’ll have a whole pumpkin patch before you know it!

And be sure to invest in a few white pumpkins. They’ll work with every color and style, even when you change your room design in the future.

Makeover cheap or old decor.

Give a fall makeover to thrifted items or those accessories you’ve already spent money on but never come out of the storage bins.

  • Paint some candle sticks a warm metallic like copper with  spray paint. (That large acorn above used to be harvest gold.)
  • Decoupage pumpkins from the dollar store. (See my  shortcut way to decoupage pumpkins.)
  • Or transform some not-so-pretty faux pumpkins with  this aged metal makeover. I used it on old ceramic and a couple of Dollar Tree foam pumpkins in this coffee table centerpiece:

Dry magnolia leaves.

Magnolia leaves dry naturally to a beautiful muted green and keep their rich brown underside. I’ve got faux on the mantel and real leaves in the coffee table arrangement above. They dried to look like that in just a couple of weeks of sitting in a centerpiece last year.

Replace the artwork in a frame.

Switch out the regular photo in a frame already on display with a favorite fall memory, fall quote, or a fall printable. Or treat the black hole of the tv like a piece of art and show a fall scene.

This year’s photo is my lil’ red headed Jessie from Toy Story at the pumpkin patch, almost 20 years ago.

Bring branches inside.

Can’t get cheaper than free! Go out into the yard and clip branches from a tree or bush and plop them in a vase. They don’t have to be bursting with fall color (we sadly never have that in Texas – we have to buy it).

I filled this vase on the kitchen island with these faux dried eucalyptus branches from Hobby Lobby that give me the same effect.

Dismantle a wreath for a fall garland or swag.

Reuse old wreaths as a garland or swag. Simply remove the ties or clamps that hold it together and straighten the wreath out (grapevine wreaths won’t work for this).

I used one of these last year as a wreath and repurposed it on the mantel this season. This magnolia and pine wreath was so small I had to pick up two more to fill the length of the fireplace.

Shop end of season sales.

Take advantage of end of season deals and stock up for the following year. It’s like a gift to your future self when you unpack it a year from now.

Shop the kitchen.

The grocery store is a great place for inexpensive fall decor. Place some apples, pears, or artichokes in a bowl. Or a loaf of crusty bread on a breadboard.

Add a seasonal twist to what you’ve already got.

One of the easiest ways to add fall seasonal decor is to place a few pumpkins around with the decor that’s already in place.

This rustic vase in my built in shelves now holds wheat stalks instead of summer’s fern.

Cozy up with candles.

Candlelight creates instant coziness. In the family room, I’ve added that glow the easy way with my favorite  flameless candle tapers on the mantel and  flameless pillars on the coffee table in this  5 minute fall coffee table centerpiece.

Hang a plain grapevine wreath.

Most of us have a spare grapevine wreath or two. And they already look fall-ish in their plain rustic state. Hang it on the wall, on the cooktop vent hood, or use it under a centerpiece.

Switch out pillow covers.

One of my favorite ways to switch things up is to replace the throw pillows for different seasons. And all of these fall pillows on the sofa were pillow cover changeouts, saving lots of storage room, and a bit of money too.

This Pottery Barn pillow cover  is from their fall collection but the colors can go in this room all year long.

Okay, I had a weak Target moment and somehow this very season specific sweater  pumpkin pillow got in my cart. But it’s a cutie.

Neutral color throws.

Part of cozying up in the fall requires throw blankets to snuggle under. And if they don’t have fall colors or prints, you’ll get much more mileage from them.

This chunky cableknit  can stay in our room until it gets hot again.

Add cozy layers.

Layer in a few more accessories than usual to make things cozy. But only in a couple of places to keep from feeling cluttered.

Last fall I layered it up big on the mantel. You can see how I kept it calm not cluttered here.

Dry some hydrangeas from the yard.

Again, some free decor if you have a hydrangea bush in the yard. These dried blooms on the table are from last fall and will probably last another couple of years stored loosely in their own bin.


Pine cones add so much rustic texture and make a great filler for centerpieces. They even look pretty in a bowl on their own.

I have a big trash bag full that comes out fall, Christmas, and winter. Mine were free from someone’s yard, but you can buy them at the craft store if you have to. They’ll be put to use a lot.

Switch out accessories to warm aged metals.

The glow of copper, gold, or brass brings warmth to a vignette or display. Copper from thrift stores and flea markets shines up like a new penny even after years of neglect.

Scatter mini pumpkins.

Buy a bag or two of white baby boo pumpkins. They’re inexpensive and last a long time, so I don’t mind buying a few every year. A couple of these white mini pumpkins can instantly add a sprinkle of autumn anywhere.

Repurpose old fall decor.

Tired of the same old things every year but don’t want to buy new? Give fall decor new life by simply using it in a different place.

I filled a dough bowl for a fall centerpiece for the kitchen dining table entirely with items used other places last year (much of it from that  fall mantel I mentioned).

Focus fall decor on only one or two areas.

Choose a focal point or two and only decorate those for fall. There’s no need to blanket the entire house with pumpkins, leaves, acorns, and the word “fall” itself to create the same comforting, cozy vibe. A fall vignette on the mantel or coffee table will do the trick.

Think texture instead of fall themed decor.

You can make your room say “fall” without spending money on special outright fall decorations that you can’t use any other time.

Use fabrics that say cozy like cableknit, fur, velvet, and flannel.

Bring in natural textures like pinecones, grapevine, and wicker baskets.

I’ve changed these pillow covers to materials with heavy texture and put out the cableknit throw. And none of it is fall specific.

Fall scents.

The fall feeling is not just created by things you can see.

Since the cooler weather doesn’t arrive here until well into October or November, the first way I get in the mood to break out the fall decor is to switch the wall plug fragrance to pumpkin pecan waffles (yum) and light a fall scented candle.

This glass vanilla pumpkin candle in the kitchen is not only cute (Target got me again), but smells aaah-mazing.

Fall mood music.

After I light the candles, the other thing that gets me jazzed for fall decorating is to put on an  Autumn Jazz playlist.

Bake something.

Having those fall treats on the counter brings the fall feels and the scents.

Fall Decorating FAQ’s.

When should I decorate for fall?

I say whenever the fall mood strikes!

Some start as early as mid August when the kids start going back to school and football season kicks off. Others think this is way too early and feel very strongly about it.

I usually put out the first fall touches right after Labor Day. I add more as we get deeper into the season and as real pumpkins are available. Then add to it again for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

What’s trending this fall?

Popular trends that are in for home decor this year that also work for fall are:

  • Rattan, wicker, and other woven materials
  • Cableknit, sherpa, slub, and boucle fabrics
  • Rustic pottery
  • Copper
  • Terra cotta
  • Pampas grass
  • Earthy color palettes
  • Moody colors

How do I make my home cozy for fall?

Here’s a shortlist of a few fall must-haves for keeping it cozy:

  • Chunky throw blankets
  • Throw pillows in heavy, snuggle worthy fabrics like fur or sweater material
  • White pumpkins
  • The glow of candles with a fall scent
  • Dried natural elements – branches, pinecones, leaves, acorns, feathers

I was tempted to make a dog the 25th tip for making a home cozy for fall. That she does but save us money, not so much.

But fall decorating is about creating a feeling of warmth and refuge.

And spending a lot of money doesn’t make it any more cozy.

It may be as simple as lighting a fall scented candle and snuggling under a comfy throw blanket. High maintenance dog optional.

As always, I appreciate your visit, comments, and shares here on the blog! I’d love it if you also follow along with me on  PinterestInstagram, and  Facebook so you won’t miss any of my inspiration and ideas.

You can see part two of my fall tour  here. I’ve stepped out of the neutral zone for my dining room with a hot wedding color combo, navy and rust.  And part three comes next week – I hope you’ll come back to see how I made blue and white fall-ish.

I’m in the fall mood now and want all the fall inspo.

Chances are you haven’t started decorating for fall. Well, grab your pumpkin spice latte and continue the tour. Marty at  Remodelacasa. I can’t wait to see what fall touches she’s added this year. And be sure to peek into all of these homes to see how they’ve cozied up for fall – I know I will!

Kate Rodgers - Southern Home and Hospitality
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