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10 ways to decorate for fall when money is tight (budget decorating)

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In this post: Sometimes in our lives, money is tighter than at other times. Yet, we often still want to create cozy seasonal vibes in our homes and celebrate the seasons with joy and beauty. Since fall is upon us (or will be soon), here are 10 ways to decorate for fall when money is tight. 


I don’t know about you, but when money has been tight for our family, I’ve often felt sad that I couldn’t celebrate the seasons with my normal flair and gusto. Since 2020 has been a hard one for many, I’ve put together this fabulous list of 10 ways to decorate for fall when money is tight. 

10 ways to decorate for fall when money is tight text over fall dining room

10 Ways to Decorate for Fall When Money is Tight

1. Start with Neutrals

Personally, I love to decorate with neutral colors. I find them calming and soothing to the eye. Which is important in our house since I spend so much time here, working from home. 

Another reason that I like to decorate with neutrals as my main backdrop is because that allows me to bring in pops of color with the seasons, or just as I feel like it. Often I do this with faux flowers and stems (gasp!) and throw pillow covers. 

In the fall, I like to…

2. Stock up on faux pumpkins

Since we live in the suburbs, and I’m really not a farmer, I don’t plan to grow my own pumpkins any time soon. Which means no matter which way you look at it, I’m paying to buy pumpkins from someone. Around here, pretty pumpkins from the farm cost as much (and sometimes more than) faux pumpkins. And quite frankly faux pumpkins these days have come a long way (much like faux florals and stems) and are quite lovely.

If you buy faux pumpkins over time, and watch for sales or end of season clearance, you can amass quite a lovely collection. And if clutter and borderline hoarder tendencies are a concern for you, limit yourself to what you can comfortably (with room to move) store in a couple of rubbermaid totes in your basement or garage. 

Tip: faux pumpkins can be pulled out and use in your decor whenever YOU feel like adding a little fall decor in your home, not based on when the farm has some ready. Which is a real benefit if you live in a hotter climate! 

decorating for fall on a budget

3. Check the thrift store

The thrift store can be a real treasure trove of finds for any season. In the fall, look for copper candle holders, mugs and pots. Maybe even be on the lookout for amber glass bottles or vases. If brass fits your fall color palette, thrift stores are a great place to collect vintage and antique brass candlesticks. 

Tip: I think about the look I want for my fall decor while I’m still at home. I check Pinterest, magazines and Instagram for inspiration. Then I make a note in my phone of the things I love but don’t yet have. That way when I’m at the thrift store, I don’t get overwhelmed by everything that’s there and I can look with focus. 

4. Bring in nature whenever you can

Nature is the best decorator in fall. The leaves on the trees turn wonderful shades of orange, red and yellow. Late blooming flowers are usually very rich in color. There are stems, leaves and sticks galore.

Even living in the suburbs, I can clip small branches from the maple tree on the boulevard part of our yard, or dry a few flowers from our hydrangeas to use in a vase. 

5. Light a candle

A lovely warm scented candle, like pumpkin spice or apple cinnamon, is perfect. But any candle will do, because their warm yellow/orange glow immediately invokes the feeling of cozy fall. 

Tip: I’m super forgetful sometimes (since having kids), so I didn’t burn candles for a long time for fear I’d forget about them. Now I do so on “safe” surfaces, like the powder room counter, the kitchen counter or the stove. 

6. Change the throw pillow covers

Seriously, this is my number one trick for not having too much stuff in storage, but still being able to add seasonal touches or different color palettes to our home. 

I buy throw pillow covers from places like etsy, amazon, indigo, h&m and more. And I buy the Ikea feather inserts to use over and over again inside the pillow covers – they’re so squishy and fluffy.

Tip: Feather inserts are WAY better than foam inserts for the long haul or if your pillows will get daily use and abuse like mine do.

fall throw pillows as a way to decorate for fall when money is tight

7. Make your home SMELL like fall

Apples, cinnamon, spice, and pumpkins are all delicious scents that definitely bring on the fall feels. 

You can include these fragrances naturally in your home with soy candles, essential oil diffuser blends or simmering potpourri

Homemade Simmering Potpourri

8. Add layers of lighting

With fall comes earlier sunsets and darker evenings. Forego overhead lighting and turn on the lamps (with energy efficient bulbs), light a candle and plug in the holiday twinkle lights. Yup, twinkle lights. 

Twinkle lights are known for their use during Christmas time, but they make a warm and cozy addition to fall decor too. 

Tip: Choose warm bulb twinkle and string lights so that the light isn’t too cold or blue. 

9. Cozy up with actual layers

Fall is the perfect time to pull out all the throw blankets. Throw blankets are just so cozy and relaxing to curl up with – either with a good book or for your favorite Netflix binge watching marathon. Keep the pretty ones out in the open, thrown over an armchair, the back of the couch or even on a blanket ladder. Tuck the less pretty, but still wonderfully cozy and usable ones into a hidden basket, out of sight, but still within reach. 

10. Pull out all the baskets

Speaking of baskets, now is a great time to display all your baskets. Baskets have a warm texture to them that speaks well to the cozy feeling you want to invoke for fall in your home.

Large ones in groupings on the floor, medium ones on the wall, smaller ones in a vignette on the tabletop or shelf. Baskets make perfect fall decor.

10 ways to decorate for fall when money is tight text on orang bg

Do you have any favorite ways to decorate for fall when money is tight or you’re otherwise on a budget?

I'd love it if you'd share:

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I'd love to chat with you in the comments!

Comments

  1. Nora B. says

    Hi! I’m Nora. First I’d like to say, I’m extremely impressed with your website, and I am undoubtedly sure that this project will go far in the world of homemaking and decor. My question: I’m decorating a small playhouse in our backyard for my children whose ages range from a two year old to a twelve year old. I’ve been wondering how to balance their interests and create a space for them that is cozy, not to delicate, but still presentable. (I built a playhouse, not a junk shack.) We’ve got two stories, about 10ft. by 10ft. I’d love some advice on how to decorate and keep this space clutter-free. Thanks!

    • Shannon Acheson says

      Hi Nora. What lucky children you have! Essentially you’d want to make sure everything had a well-labeled spot. Make it really easy for the space to be picked up. Keep the colors muted so it doesn’t feel chaotic. 🙂 That should help a lot!

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