What would you think if I told you I decorated my home this fall using items that were either free, thrifted, or from The Dollar Store? Did you just have nightmares of neon plastic pumpkins and off-colored window clings? Well, stop that nonsense right there because decorating for the seasons shouldn’t cost a fortune (or involve neon plastic, unless that’s your thing). You CAN keep it simple, trendy, and classy on a super tight budget! After a little bit of DIYing, here’s 15 ways to transform thrifty finds into trendy fall decor that fits YOUR (fabulous) style!
15 Thrifty Fall Decorating Ideas
1. Fall Mantel: I shared my 5-minute mantel last month, and have been having a blast mixing it up ever since. Here’s my simple fall style– neutral, calm, and (hopefully) pretty. I used what I had on hand and it makes styling a breeze. Once you have the shelf in place, the cost is FREE for pretty seasonal style!
Fill up your mantel with DIY decorated Dollar Store plates. Here’s 3 different ways you can decorate plates in just minutes!
2. Wood Signs: with the plethora of tutorials out there, you can create a wooden sign in a jiff out of free materials. Here’s a pretty pumpkin sign that I bought for a few dollars at a flea market before my kids were born, but you could make one from an old board for nothing.
3. Pillow Cover from a Shirt: I couldn’t resist that seasonal orange plaid when I spotted it last year at Family Dollar; the problem is that it’s a SHIRT! Of course, that never stopped us before. I bought the shirt in XXL and turned it into a pillow cover for under $5. How ’bout THEM apples? Or… oranges?
4. White Pumpkins: y’all, these guys go with EVERYTHING. But they didn’t start out that way. They came from the Dollar Store in green and orange:
but a few coats of white spray paint made them neutral and more modern. I stacked them in a tall Dollar Store vase…
6. Leaf Garland: you could make this for absolutely free using nature’s splendor, but if you want it to make it reusable then here’s the quick tutorial for turning Dollar Store leaves into a gorgeous ginkgo garland!
7. Faux Plants: I love the simplicity of cotton bunches, but they cost a bundle online and I’m always nervous about bugs. Lo and behold, I found these faux cotton branches at Michaels and with a coupon they were about $2.50 each! I’ve placed them in baskets and vases and all around my home. COZY.
There’s a story behind these yellow beauties. I saw the real deal ones at Whole Foods but passed on them due to the cost. THE NEXT DAY I found the faux version at The Dollar Store. Faux flowers for the WIN!
8. Blanket & Throws: I’m a throw blanket hoarder, so when it starts to get chilly I pull out my collection and toss them on couches, beds, and chairs. Layer with some fun textured throw pillows and it practically screams ‘FALL!’
9. Luminarias: IKEA vase + parchment paper + some black stickers equals… luminarias on the cheap! While these are Halloween themed, you can create a fall look with stickers of leaves, pumpkins, and even seasonal words. You’ll have to see it to believe it! (and while searching for my link discovered that ABC.com featured them today, woo-hoo!)
10. Stalk the Thrift Store: No, really, it’s okay. You have my permission. I won’t report you to the thrifting police for being a creeper. I try to stop by the thrift store whenever I’m in the neighborhood, scoring such lovelies at that silver owl votive holder for $2. When in doubt, spray paint it.
11. Rhinestone Pumpkins: Another knock-off, I saved about $170 by making these blinged-out pumpkins myself. These were featured on Today.com last week. Any of these shows want to have me on for a DIY segment? I’m ready!
12. Bushel Baskets and Galvinized Tubs: both are super inexpensive at hardware and craft stores. Grab a few and fill with inexpensive plants for a whole lotta bang for your (teeny tiny) buck!
Source: The Seedbox Antiques (the only photo not from my own home!)
13. Inexpensive Plants: I mentioned this in my fall outdoor decor post, but choosing cheaper plants can save a bunch of money. Large mums cost a fortune around here, so cabbage and even the chili pepper plants filled out my baskets, urns and tubs nicely.
14. Small Touches: when in doubt, stick a pumpkin on it. 😉
15. Feathers: I don’t know what feathers have to do with fall (maybe turkeys?) but they sure do look cool tucked into vases. (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Plus they’re either free or cost next to nothing depending on your source. I do with the ‘next to nothing’ version, but that’s just me and my guinea hen-less household.
Once I realized that decorating my home wasn’t about things, it was about a feeling, everything started to come together– and that includes seasonal decor too. You don’t need to cram your house full of tchotchkes to make it feel seasonal and festive, you simply need to reflect a feeling. For me, I want to embrace the same feelings you get when you slip into your favorite fall sweater: simple, warm, comforting, cozy.
Hopefully these ideas for thrifty decor embrace those feelings for you. I know I’m feeling the fall love over here… and the fact they’re on the cheap is just a sweet bonus.