Festive Fall Decorating on a Dime

It’s so much fun to see the gorgeous red, gold, and orange decorations that mean autumn is finally here. And if you’re hosting the family for Thanksgiving, you will absolutely want to have your home showing off its harvest best.

But who can afford to go out every year and drop hundreds of dollars on fall décor? Not me. I do pick up a few things each year and store them away carefully for future Thanksgivings, but most of our décor is acquired on the cheap – or even better – for free. Wondering how we do it? Read on!

Hit up the dollar store.

  • You can find all sorts of fall goodies there, but often they look cheap.
  • Carefully select your items and then jazz them up with ribbons and paint that you already own.
  • Load up on artificial fall flowers like sunflowers and mums.
  • Get leaf garlands. Wind several together for a lush look, or remove the leaves to use for other projects.
  • Never underestimate the value of glitter and gold spray paint.
  • Get some of those bags of random fake leaves to scatter around on tabletops.
  • Grab some wired ribbon in appropriate colors and put poofy bows everywhere.

Do some crafts.

If you have children you probably have a stash of craft supplies kicking around. It’s time to put those kiddos to work. (Or yourself – lots of us grownups like making things too.)

  • Use pretty paper to make leaves. Go outside and grab a few nice leaf specimens. Then trace them onto scrapbook paper or construction paper in the colors you’re using for your fall decor. Cut them out, punch a hole in the top, and string them on twine for a homemade garland.
  • Look for free printables online. Print them off and add a little color with paint pens, then use some of your existing picture frames to display them.
  • Crochet or knit a throw or table runner using yarn you have laying around. You can even take apart an unwanted sweater if you like the color of the yarn but not the style.

Burlap and twine are the autumn decorator’s friend.

Burlap and twine are inexpensive and can be used in all sorts of ways to bring a rustic harvest style to your home.

  • Make table runner
  • Wrap up a vase for rustic flair
  • Cover a throw pillow
  • Make bows to tie onto wreaths or the backs of chairs
  • Tie flatware in a bundle with twine

…The list of awesome uses for burlap and twine could go on and on.

Nature is full of free “decorations.”

Take the kids on a scouting walk with some sturdy tote bags for your finds.

  • Put bare, fallen branches into a vase for a stark, bold look.
  • Pop gathered acorns into clear glass dishes or Mason jars.
  • Colorful leaves can be preserved in waxed paper. Place a leaf between 2 pieces of waxed paper. Put a towel over it and press it with a warm iron until the paper is sealed together. Carefully cut around the leaf once it cools. You can use fishing line to hang your preserved leaves from a curtain rod at varying heights. The slight motion makes it look like leaves are falling past your window.
  • Gather pine cones and put them in a basket near the fireplace.
  • Make picture frames from gathered twigs. Glue them onto the front of yard sale frames for a rustic, simple project.
  • Paint an old board an autumnal color. Then gather sticks from the yard and glue them on to form a word like “FALL.” (Letters with straight lines are the easiest for this project.)
  • Don’t forget that gold spray paint and glitter. You can jazz up all sorts of nature-finds with added pizazz.

Upcycle household trash into décor.

Wait! Don’t throw that away – you might be able to make it pretty.

  • Remove the labels from aluminum cans. With adult supervision, carefully poke holes in the cans in whatever design you’d like. Paint them an autumnal color and pop a tea light candle in them for easy, homemade luminaries. (Don’t use candles any place that someone’s clothing might catch fire, like beside the walkway. Use battery-operated tea lights for places like that.)
  • Turn glass bottles and jars into “pumpkins.” Reuse those old salad dressing, liquor, wine, and syrup bottles. Get the kiddos to paint the bottoms orange, then wrap the tops with twine for a rustic collection.
  • Stuff old clothes and make a scarecrow for your front flower garden. Top him/her with a hat. The sky is the limit for style with this idea.

Bring out your cozy belongings.

It’s time to bring out the warmest, coziest things you own.

  • Put pretty blankets on the arms of chairs and sofas.
  • Wrap throw pillows in autumnal, knitted scarves for a warm look.
  • Put up your heavier curtains.
  • Add a warm, lush rug to the living room.
  • Fold extra blankets on the foot of each bed.
  • Bring out your apple and cinnamon scented candles.

Use pumpkins

Nothing looks more like autumn than a pumpkin. You can use them for decor, then preserve them after Thanksgiving by canning, freezing, and dehydrating them. (An article on preserving pumpkins is coming soon!)

  • Put a pile of pumpkins by your front door to welcome guests.
  • Use pumpkins as a buffet table centerpiece
  • Put a random pumpkin here and there in the living room

Never underestimate the power of a random pumpkin to liven up your place. 🙂

You don’t have to spend a lot of money for a festive fall look.

Make your home warm, cozy, and inviting without spending a lot of money. Put your decorations away carefully so you can use them year after year.

How do you decorate for fall and Thanksgiving? Share your ideas in the comments.

Festive Fall Decorating on a Dime
Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is an author and blogger. She's the single mom of two daughters and credits extreme frugality and a good sense of humor for her debt-free lifestyle. She is the author of numerous books, the editor of TheOrganicPrepper.com, and is the founder of a small digital publishing company in the emergency preparedness niche.

1 thought on “Festive Fall Decorating on a Dime”

  1. Let’s hear it for Random Pumpkins!

    I have a few pumpkins and squashes lying around- after Thanksgiving I’m going to make them into soup, bread, side dishes, and roasted seed snacks. When I was a kid we used to take fall walks to gather pretty leaves, then glue them together to make a “Fall Man.” We hung it on the door like a wreath. Your wax paper leaf idea makes cool bookmarks and place decorations too.

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