The Frugal Decorator’s Guide to a festive fall!

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There’s just a hint of autumn in the air, with the breeze turning a little sharper and the nights a little colder. While it’s still a little early for Halloween decorations (no, seriously, step away from the ghost lights), this is the perfect time to decorate your apartment for fall. Best of of all, these decorations can come back out after Halloween and last you all the way to early December!

Ready to get started? Here’s our top three low-cost decorating ideas for fall:

1. Light up the night 

Candles aren’t always a good idea in an apartment but battery operated “flickering” candles solve this problem masterfully. Many of these candles have timers so once you set them up, they switch on every evening to set a cheerful mood! Pick up a set or two of cream colored battery-operated pillar candles or tea-lights, and you’re halfway there. Then it’s time to get creative! To tailor your candles for fall, you can:

  • Purchase a small packet of cinnamon sticks and secure them to your candles with twine
  • Get a small fall-themed wreath and place a large pillar candle (or 2! Or 3!) inside it
  • Fill a shallow glass bowl with fake cranberries then nestle your pillar candle in the center
  • Set up several tea lights on a long dish and surround them with candy corn…then try not to eat your own decorations!
  • Make a mini arrangement with dried leaves, small gourds, and fake berries and position your candles in the center

2. Got Gourd?

Speaking of gourds, there simply is no other design element that so immediately conjures up thoughts of fall, than the humble pumpkin. Setting aside its association with Halloween – no jack-o-lantern carving necessary! – gourds of all sorts are fair game for fall: mini pumpkins, squash and more. You can get the real deal from farmers’ markets or health food stores or even many grocery stores, or you can find faux gourds in a variety of sizes and colors at craft and hobby retailers. Once you have an armful, get creative! Decorate the gourds with paint pens, sticker, stencils, chalk paint or glitter spray, then position them on your window sills, on your balcony or peeking out from your shelves. Whether your designs are whimsical or classic, gourds are your go-to!

3. Get hung up on fall’s magic

There’s something about hanging strands of lights and garlands of decorations that really spruces up your space, but you don’t have to wait for Christmas to light up the night! You can find low-cost strands of illuminated fall leaves or pumpkins at the hobby shop, or go no-electricity and craft your own strands of pine cones and artificial leaves and berries strung with twine. Extra points for spraying gold paint on your pine cones (or miniature pumpkins) to give them an extra pizzazz! Another great choice is to cut out squares of burlap, add stencils of letters and leaves (perhaps spelling out FALL or AUTUMN or HARVEST) and then string the burlap squares on a length of thick twine. Even coiling a strand of plain white miniature Christmas lights through a basket of pine cones can make a beautiful fall welcome next to your fireplace or front door.

With the start of fall, now’s the perfect time to add all the welcoming touches of the season to your home. Here’s to a fun—and creative—autumn!

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