I’ve been busy putting up my fall decorations for the past few days. I love autumn décor! I think there are several reasons for this. First of all, fall is my favorite time of year. In September, we folks in the Deep South finally begin to get a break from the stifling humidity and heat of summer, and the landscape changes to a colorful kaleidoscope of vibrant hues by the end of October. There’s a lot going on in the fall months, too – county fairs, arts and crafts shows, Halloween, fall festivals, and Thanksgiving. Another reason I like autumn décor so much is because I can leave it up for a long time. I put it up in September and don’t have to take it down until the day after Thanksgiving, when my Christmas stuff goes up. That’s a lot of mileage for decorations. I do a few tweaks here and there, like adding or removing Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, but I don’t have to make any major changes. The basic themes and colors for the autumn holidays are pretty much the same. I buy some of my fall décor already made, but I also make a few pieces myself. I also use items from Nature. If you want some ideas for fall decorations, I have a few to share with you here.
Cheap Fall Decorations
I’m all about some cheap fall decorations! Our local dollar store has a slew of them for just $1 each. These include bunches of silk chrysanthemums in gold, yellow, rust, burgundy, off white, red, and magenta. They also have garlands with fall leaves, tiny pinecones, miniature pumpkins, and/or small plastic gourds. If you visit your local dollar store, you might also find packs of fake colorful leaves, plastic acorns, and small plastic pumpkins. I’ve found lots of fake gourds, squashes, apples, and pears, too. If you want to use candles or baskets in your fall decorations, you can find them, too. Remember – all these items are just a buck each!
You can set some of these items around by themselves, or you can incorporate these cheap fall decorations into groupings or use them in other fall décor arrangements. One thing I like to use is a basket filled with fall vegetables, gourds, and fruits, along with Indian corn. I fill in any gaps with silk mums. If you use all artificial items, your basket arrangement will last for years.
Don’t forget the scarecrows! These whimsical little fellows just scream fall. They come in all different sizes, too, and I make good use of the variety. Our dollar stores have several variations of scarecrows for a dollar or two each, so knock yourself out! You might consider using small scarecrow picks as accents in flower arrangements, in baskets of fruit and veggies, or even in some of your potted plants.
Another way to save money on fall decorations is to use real vegetables, pumpkins, and fruits that you'll be using, anyway. These can serve as decorations up until the day before Thanksgiving, then they can be prepared, cooked, and eaten. Some suggestions are pie pumpkins, nuts, apples, acorn squash, butternut squash, pears, and Hubbard squash. If you have a farmer's market nearby, check it out. Large pumpkins at supermarkets can sometimes cost $10 each - or more. At our farmer's market, however, I found some big pumpkins for just $2 each. I loaded up!
Outdoor Fall Decorating Ideas
I use several outdoor fall decorating ideas, mostly on my front porch. I do, however, extend a couple of these fall decorating ideas for outside to my mailbox, my flowerbed, and the wooden post that displays our address. Basically, I use pumpkins, Indian corn, silk leaves, garlands, gourds, and scarecrows. I usually use chrysanthemums, too – a combination of real and artificial mums.
I came upon some of my fall decorating ideas completely by chance. Several years ago, I found a small plastic wheelbarrow at a yard sale, and if I remember correctly, it was just a dollar. When I saw the item, my gears began to turn, and I pictured it filled with pumpkins, leaves, and fall flowers. I just had to buy it, of course, it was sort of beat up, with peeling paint, and I thought about repainting it. But then I decided I liked the rustic look just as it was. I placed the wheelbarrow in my front flowerbed and filled it with the items I’d pictured in my head. It looked pretty good, but I thought there was something missing. When I found a small free-standing scarecrow at Walmart, I thought it was just what the contraption needed. I placed the scarecrow to look as if it’s pushing the wheelbarrow. If you don’t have a small wheelbarrow, a child’s wagon could fill in nicely.
Have you seen the big scarecrows that are attacked to long wooden dowels? I sometimes sink those into the soil in my flowerbeds and surround them with pumpkins and mums. More often, however, I sit the scarecrow on a bale of hat or straw by inserting the wooden stick into the bale. The kids always like to have their photo taken with Mr. Scarecrow.
Big scarecrows are great outdoor fall decorating ideas! Occasionally, I make a life-size scarecrow and have it sit on the bench on my front porch. All you need for this example of fall or Thanksgiving décor is an old pair of jeans or khakis, a long sleeve flannel shirt, and a straw hat. For the face, I prefer to use a burlap bag. If you can’t find one of these, use a tan pillowcase, instead. Paint the face on the scarecrow with acrylic paints or paint pens. Fill the critter with rags, old clothes, pinestraw, or hay. Tie off the ends of the pants legs and shirt sleeves with twine. Even when I fill a scarecrow with fabric, I still like to use a little hay. I think it makes the scarecrow look more authentic if a few wisps of hay are sticking out at the hands and feet. To keep the head in place, pull the ends of the bag or pillowcase down inside the shirt. If you need to, secure it with safety pens, hot glue, or E6000.
My fall decorating ideas for outside often include garlands and Indian corn. I place shocks of the grain on my front porch columns, on my mailbox, and on my sign post near the street.
Homemade Fall Decorations
Today I’m going to show you how to make two homemade fall decorations. The first is for wall art, and the second is for a pumpkin centerpiece. Both are easy to make, and you don’t need much skill to do a good job. Both of these homemade fall decorations are inexpensive, too, especially if you already have some acrylic craft paint on hand. The supplies can be found at Walmart, Kmart, dollar stores, and craft supply stores. For the wall art, I used a canvas board this time, but you can also use a wooden plaque or even a rough wooden board. For the fall centerpieces, I used clear glass plates, fake mums, fake leaves, and a plastic apple – all from Dollar Tree. For the candle centerpiece, I used a Yankee Candle that I already had. It’s pumpkin pie-scented.
For this wall décor with an autumn theme, I like to use fall colors that compliment the colors I use in my living room or dining room. Some color suggestions that might work for you are forest green, navy blue, gray, yellow, rust, orange, brown, khaki, red, burgundy, sage, cream, ochre, burnt sienna, crimson, or even black.
I like for my fall wall décor to have a more rustic or primitive look, so I don’t use a paintbrush for applying the paint for the background. I daub it on with a rag because I like the uneven color and the small amount of texture that provides. If you prefer a smoother look, use a brush or a sponge brush. I use four different background sections, but you might prefer using just two or three. In fact, you might want to use just one background color. I used four asymmetrical sections on this canvas, but you might like to use more symmetry.
What you’ll need:
1 art canvas
Painter’s tape or straightedge
Acrylic craft paints
Leaves (fake or real)
Small paint brush
black paint pen
Directions: Stretch out a large plastic garbage or lawn bag to protect your work surface. Cut your rag into four sections. Select four background colors. Tape off one section of the canvas or use a thin straightedge to dab first color on with a soft rag. Painter’s tape works better, by the way. Before applying paint, be sure to press the edges of the tape firmly onto the canvas so that no paint will seep beneath it. Once that section dries, move onto the next. Do this until the entire canvas is covered.
When all the paint is dry, it’s time to add your leaf motif. Take a leaf and apply paint to the back side. Press it on a piece of scrap paper first to see how the design is going to look. This will also help remove any excess paint from the leaf. Now press the leaf carefully onto the canvas. Fill in any gaps with a paintbrush. Continue doing this until you’re satisfied with the results. If you wish, outline the leaves with a black paint pen and make veins inside the leaves. There’s another way to do this, too. You can trace a leaf using a black ink pen.
When all the paint has completely dried, you might want to add a hanger. To do so, punch or drill two small holes at the top of the canvas board. Insert the two ends of the wire into the holes, creating a loop at the top of the hanger. Use a pair of pliers to curl the ends of the wire.
This craft can be turned into several different versions of fall centerpieces. For example, you might want to use a large gourd instead of a pumpkin. For a smaller piece, you might even want to use a plastic apple or pear. You can change these in other, more subtle, ways, too. If you use an attractive plate in a solid color, for example, you might want to allow part of the plate to be visible. You can choose any items as accents surrounding the center – small plastic gourds or pumpkins, acorns, tiny pinecones, sprigs of berries, or silk flowers. You can also invert the plate or use it right-side up. I often like to use the plate upside-down because it provides a little more “lift” to my focal point.
What you’ll need:
1 clear glass plate ($1 at Dollar Tree)
Glue gun OR E6000 glue
Pack of fake leaves ($1 at Dollar Tree)
Plastic pumpkin ($5) OR plastic apple ($1)
Acorns, small pinecones, fake berries, and/or fake mums
Directions: Attach leaves around the edge of the plate with glue. Glue apple, candle, or small pumpkin to center of plate. Glue mums around base of apple.
As I mentioned, the great thing about fall decorations is that they’re so adaptable. For example, those plastic Halloween jack-o-lanterns can pull double duty as Thanksgiving decorations. Once all the ghosts and goblins have made their rounds, just turn the pumpkin around so that the “face” can’t be seen. Obviously, this works better if the pumpkin is against a wall or some other solid surface.
Thanksgiving decorations ideas often include traditional cornucopias, and I always display at least one in an arrangement. Yep, I found one at the trusty dollar store a few years back. I think it was about two bucks. I usually place it on the bachelor’s chest in my dining room and fill it with small plastic gourds and pumpkins. I slide some fake fall flowers underneath the opening for added color and effect.
I also like to use mini-pumpkins as part of my Thanksgiving décor. Here, I’m talking about the real thing – not the plastic version. When you buy these in supermarkets, they usually come in a bag that contains five or six of the little pumpkins, and most of the time, they’ve been dried and treated with some type of protecting coating. That means they’ll last a while.
My Thanksgiving home décor often includes figurines, too. I always use my Pilgrim couple, and sometimes I might also use ceramic or wooden Native Americans, turkeys, pumpkins, corn, or shocks of wheat. The grandkids really like my little ceramic pumpkin set, which includes three pumpkins of varied sizes.
You might also want to use natural items that you can find in the woods. These might include dried seed pods, cattails, pinecones, and leaves, of course. Dried branches can also become Thanksgiving décor. They look nice in tall attractive containers, especially when they’re combined with artificial branches that include brightly colored berries.
Thanksgiving home décor, or general fall decorations, can also include natural items that you embellish yourself. Nothing wrong with helping Mother Nature out a bit! Have you seen the white pumpkins in the supermarkets? I think they’re also called “ghost pumpkins.” One year I bought a few of these and spray painted them with gold paint. It was a real attention-getter! I’ve also seen the gold spray-painted pumpkins adorned with beads and crystals.
Thanksgiving Door Decorations
When it comes to Thanksgiving door decorations, you have lots of choices. Whether you want to go with something simple and understated or go with a more elaborate idea is totally up to you. Of course, wreaths always make nice Thanksgiving door decorations, but you might want to do something a little different this year. For something really simple, hang a shock of Indian corn. These usually come in a group of three. You can add a themed bow if you like, but I often prefer a more natural look, so I don’t add a bow or ribbon.
Another idea is to use a few stalks of grain for hanging on your door. Wheat, millet, or sorghum would all work. Just divide the number of stalks in half and tie them tightly in the center. Add a bow to cover the string, and attach a twist tie or a short piece of wire as a hanger.
Instead of more traditional wreaths, you can use wire or metal sculptures as Thanksgiving door decorations. I’ve seen some of these that were really cool, and they’ll last forever. If your door is directly exposed to the elements, a wire or metal decoration might be your best bet. These aren’t always colorful, so might want to add a fall leaf garland around the door to add some color.
Fall Decorations - tips
It’s easy to get carried away buying fall decorations, especially when you really enjoy the season. Of course, if you don’t have to worry about sticking to a budget, you can completely ignore this advice. I’m pretty good at managing my decorating cash, but I’m tempted sometimes when I see something that really strikes my fancy. Just last week, I saw a big beautiful pumpkin at a boutique, but when I picked it up to check the price, I put in down in a hurry. It was $75. No way was I paying that much for a plastic pumpkin! It’s really pretty easy to decorate with inexpensive items, found items, and stuff you already have. Take a hike in the woods and keep an eye out for usable things. Look around the house and try to picture vases, buckets, and other containers with autumn flowers. Hit the discount stores and the farmer’s markets, too. With a little creativity, you’ll come up with all sorts of ideas for fall decorations!
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on September 26, 2012:
Can I come to dinner on Thanksgiving? I promise not to eat all the pie, but I sure want to see your table - such pretty ideas!
Jamie Brock from Texas on September 25, 2012:
Thank you for all of these DIY decoration ideas for Fall and Thanksgiving... I especially love the candle centerpiece with the leaves and flowers. Voting up :)
Mary Krenz from Florida's Space Coast on September 20, 2012:
beautiful decorations, I wish I was crafty, but I think I can do a few.
livingsta from United Kingdom on September 19, 2012:
Beautiful ideas, Fall is always beautiful! Voted up and Beautiful!
drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 19, 2012:
Thanks for all these innovative decorating ideas, Holle. When it comes to decorations, where would we be without the wonderful Dollar store?
Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on September 19, 2012:
How delightful, Holle. I love your tips and photos. You have done a great job of decorating for this time of year. Autumn is my favorite time for decorating, too. The warmth of the colors and the long decor' period create a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Great hub!
Dianna Mendez on September 19, 2012:
The apple decoration ideas are really nice. I love all your ideas, but these are my favorite - very pretty look. Thanks for sharing.
carol stanley from Arizona on September 19, 2012:
Loved all of your ideas. Fairly simple and will not rob the pocket book. thanks for taking time to share all of this with wonderful photos. Voting UP and sharing.....
Leah Lefler from Western New York on September 18, 2012:
I absolutely LOVE the centerpiece idea. It is so simple, and I can find all of the materials at our local dollar store. I'm a huge fan of decorations that don't cost an arm and a leg! Autumn is my favorite season - I will have to try the canvas painting idea with my children. I bet they will make really pretty artwork for our mantel!
Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on September 18, 2012:
I didn't even know people dressed their houses for thanksgiving/fall, but now I've seen all the lovely things you can do for it I think it's a pity we don't celebrate fall in the UK.