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How to Sustainably Decorate for Fall - Affordable & Easy Tips!

The changing of seasons is always an exciting time. By September most people are over the summer heat and begin to look forward to all that autumn has to bring. Naturally, we want our homes to reflect the changing seasons,

Companies know this! Walk into Target and you are bombarded at nearly every aisle with seasonal items. These items are typically cute, small, and cheap. At first glance, what is there not to love?

I recently heard on a podcast that some people don’t bat an eye at spending upwards of $500 each season to decorate. Not only is this expensive, but it is a lot of stuff that is only used for maybe two months out of the year. Going all in on every season means you need a storage unit to hide all of this stuff.

If you don’t have the space, you may be tempted to throw away your decor or replace it during the next season when there is something else that is new and trendy.

Purchasing seasonal decor every season is not only expensive, it is also hard on the environment.

Here are some of my favorite ways to decorate for and celebrate fall that don’t break the bank and don’t create unnecessary waste.

Bring the Outdoors In

Stereotypical fall images include brightly colored leaves and pumpkins. Take a hint and bring the outdoors inside to decorate. When the season is over, you can easily compost these things or throw (some of them) just back outside.

branches

Branches

Pick up a few fallen branches from outside, stick them into a mason jar or other vase with some pebbles or by themselves and you have a perfect addition of autumn into your home! Better yet, if you can find some branches with colored leaves still attached.

acorns

Acorns

My daughter and I collect these on our morning walks. They are perfect added to a jar or bowl. (You will want to prepare them to bring inside by getting rid of the bugs.)

pumpkin

Pumpkins

Pumpkins aren’t just for porches. They are a great addition to the inside of your home as well! I picked mine up at a local farmers market. (Support local!) Some small pumpkins can be fun, but if you are looking to decorate a corner or a table, go for one large statement pumpkin. It looks less cluttered.

gourds

Gourds

Gourds come in so many fun colors and shapes. They are typically smaller and you may need to purchase a few. To make them look cohesive, place them on a tray or bowl. My daughter also loves to play with these, so they serve two purposes!

apples

Seasonal Produce

If you go apple picking or pick up some acorn squash, display them! They are perfect to keep out on the counter until they are eaten. I’m all about seasonal decor that can be used for something other than looking pretty.

Think Cozy

Cooler temperatures often make me want to get under a cozy blanket on the couch and watch a seasonal movie. The feeling of being cozy is quintessential fall for me. It can be a little hard at first to think about how the feeling of coziness translates to items in our home. Think of things that are warm and have texture.

couch with chunky knit blanket

Chunky & Flannel Blankets

During the summer we have minimal blankets on our couch. When the temperatures begin to drop I bring out some flannel blankets and our chunky knit blanket. When purchasing or making blankets, try to make sure they fit for the entire cold winter season. I can keep out my chunky knit blanket through february, but if it was a blanket with witches and ghosts, it would quickly go back into storage.

Fall Pillow Covers

Changing out our pillow covers is an easy way that I like to decorate for the seasons and holidays. Notice I said pillow COVERS and not pillows. When pillows are stored they can take up a lot of room and begin to smell a bit musty. I made this pumpkin pillow, which is reversible and has a reindeer on the inside for Christmas.

If you’re into sewing, I have a basic zippered pillow tutorial and a quilted pillow cover tutorial on my blog!

candles

Candles

Candles bring warmth into a room and are a simple way to add some coziness. Typically the fragrances used in them can be not so great. You can choose unscented beeswax candles or an essential oil based candle, like Fontana Candle Company as a better alternative. They also have wood wicks, which make a crackling noise.

Taste & Smell

oatmeal

Bringing autumn into your home can be more than just decor. It can also include particular scents and experiences.

The smell of pumpkin bread in the oven, waking up to a warm bowl of oatmeal, or making your favorite apple crumble with apples you picked. These are all additional ways to bring the season into your home.

If you make seasonal baked goods, they also look great displayed on a cake stand on your counter or table.

Use What You Have

There is no need to shame someone who bought plastic pumpkins last year. The goal is just to be more sustainable and aware when making purchases in the future. If you love the seasonal decor that you already have, put it out and use it!

mantle decorated for fall

I made this felt flower fall wreath a few years ago and had an impulse buy from Target clearance for this fall sign when I first bought my home and wanted to decorate for fall. I put them out and use them since I already have them.

If you no longer want seasonal decor, I encourage you to pass it onto a friend, put it on FB marketplace, or donate it. Seasonal decor is in hot demand. Don’t just throw it away!

knit pumpkins

If you have some leftover yarn or other craft supplies, you can use it to create seasonal decor. I didn’t have a big budget one year for decor, so I knit these cabled pumpkins and stuffed them with the inside of an old pillow. If you have some paper laying around, you could also make these adorable paper pumpkins which can be recycled after the season.



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