Decorate for Fall on a Budget: Bring Cozy Autumn Ambiance Into Your Home

Decorate for Fall on a Budget

Fall, with its crisp air, vibrant foliage, and pumpkin-spiced everything, is a favorite season for many. It’s a time for cozy sweaters, warm beverages, and gathering with loved ones. It’s also a season that offers abundant opportunities for feathering your nest. However, you don’t need to break the bank to create a cozy autumn aesthetic in your home. There are many creative ways to decorate for fall on a budget!

I’m thrifty to the core, and I’ve never tried to hide it.

One thing that’s often forgotten among the homesteading/farmsteading community is that the purpose of living simply is to save money and rid our lives of the various “stuff” we don’t actually need.

It’s not about creating a really expensive hobby for yourself.

Fall foliage frames our little white barn and makes this time of year magical!

Our culture and society repeatedly tell us that “more is better” and push us toward consumerism. This year, I saw a commercial advertising for Christmas decor all the way back in August!

We are constantly bombarded with messages, some more subtle than others, about the importance of acquiring more stuff in our lives. But in the pursuit of a life well-lived, there’s something to be said for the old adage that “less is more”.

So today, let’s talk about 15 ways that you can make your home feel abundantly festive while decorating for fall on a budget!

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, and I have received no compensation for sharing anything that follows. Some links within this blog may be affiliate links, and I might earn a commission if you make a purchase through that link. This usually amounts to cents, not dollars, and helps to support the projects featured on this blog. I only recommend products from companies that I have found to be trustworthy. Read my full disclosure here.

A bowl of pinecones offers a natural way to celebrate fall and doesn't cost a thing!

1. Nature’s Bounty: Bring the Outdoors In

One of the most cost-effective ways to decorate for fall is by utilizing items from nature.

Every fall, we go out foraging on our property to gather fallen leaves, pinecones, twigs, and acorns. These simple botanical elements can be used to craft beautiful centerpieces, wreaths, or table decor.

For a bonus, spray-painting them in gold or copper can add a touch of elegance to your decor, too!

{ Related: A Simple Botanical Foyer to Welcome You Home }

DIY fall crafts are a fun way to decorate for the season without breaking the bank!

2. Get Crafty: DIY Your Decorations

Goodness knows, I love a good craft project! The chance to be hands-on with my creativity and make something I can take pride in is incredibly rewarding. And, DIY decor can also become meaningful gifts for loved ones and neighbors this time of year. So why not engage your creative side and make your own fall decor?

Whether it’s a handmade banner, a painted canvas, or a woven wall hanging, crafting your own decorations can be both cost-effective and deeply satisfying.

I’ve shared gobs of tutorials for projects here on the blog, and you’ll find some of my favorite crafts for autumn in this post. It’s incredible easy, and cost effective, to decorate for fall on a budget when you get a little crafty!

Making your own autumn wreath from natural elements like acorns offers a perfect fall touch

3. DIY Wreaths: A Welcoming Touch to Your Home

Wreaths are a quintessential fall decoration. Even the shape of a circular wreath is a symbolic reminder about the eternal cycles of life, just like the changing seasons.

You can easily craft your own wreath using inexpensive materials like burlap, fabric scraps, or paper. Attach faux leaves, pinecones, or small decorative pumpkins to create a stunning fall wreath.

One of my favorite fall crafts are these DIY acorn wreaths I made, which I continue to cherish each fall. They’re so simple to make, and if you forage for fallen acorns, they cost next to nothing to make!

You can decorate for fall on a budget simply by repurposing items you already own and creating autumn-themed vignettes!

4. Upcycle and Repurpose: Give Old Items a New Life

Look around your home for items you no longer use or need. Old mason jars, glass vases, or wooden crates can be transformed into delightful fall decor. Fill them with small pumpkins, pinecones, cinnamon sticks, or fall-colored flowers for an instant autumn vibe.

You can add a whole lot of seasonal charm in subtle ways by re-purposing and shopping your own home. This is an ideal way to decorate for fall on a budget because you’re simply curating items you already own into seasonal vignettes.

A few days ago, I shared my favorite vintage items to use for fall decorating. It’s loaded with fun ideas!

Using items that have a more rustic aesthetic, like woven baskets or worn wood, is perfect for adding fall texture. And, you can also incorporate autumn colors with items made from copper and brass.

Printable artwork is a wonderful DIY to decorate for the changing seasons on a budget
Source: Chinnisha Arts

5. Printable Artwork: Affordable Wall Decor

Instead of purchasing expensive artwork, opt for printable designs that you can purchase online from small shops. Many talented artists offer digital downloads at a reasonable cost, and supporting a creative business helps communities to thrive. Choose fall-themed art or quotes, print them at home or at a local print shop, and frame them using thrifted and upcycled frames.

Here are some of my (super affordable) favorites that you can print by yourself:

shop these great ideas

Color, texture, and cozy blankets and pillows are simple ways to decorate for fall on a budget without adding extra expense

6. Fall-Inspired Pillows and Throws: Cozy and Affordable

Nothing screams fall like the coziness of pillows and throws. For pillows, I prefer to purchase (or make) pillow covers that I can then switch up when the mood strikes me. It’s both more affordable, and saves space. So, instead of having a whole mess of pillows, you just need a few inserts that you can re-cover as you wish. I fold my pillow covers and store them in a drawer, organized by season.

Invest in a few autumn pillow covers, or simply recover existing pillows, with fall-themed fabric. My sister has a small business where she makes pillow covers out of vintage fabrics and old quilts (HERE). It’s a wonderfully sustainable way to incorporate a whole lot of vintage charm into your decor!

To find the best deals on blankets and throws to keep you warm during the chilly fall evenings, I like to shop at the end of the season. As stores are closing out fall-themed merchandise to prepare for Christmas, you’ll find some bargains that you can store away for next year.

Pillows and blankets are useful items that actually serve a purpose rather than being only decorative. But they’ll certainly bring the coziness of the season into your home!

A simple fall tablescape is a wonderful way to decorate for fall without spending a lot of money

7. Seasonal Table Settings: Affordable Elegance

Setting a beautiful fall-themed table without spending a fortune is a great choice if you want to decorate for fall on a budget. If your tableware has a neutral color palette, it’s easy to refresh your table using seasonal items without having to keep different dishes for different occasions and times of the year.

To make a festive fall table, start with a plain tablecloth or placemats in autumn hues and textures. Next, incorporate affordable elements like cloth napkins, faux pumpkins, and candles to create a warm and inviting table setting for gatherings. Finally, create a centerpiece using natural items that you can forage for a true autumnal vibe!

{ Related: Rustic Farmhouse Fall Tablescape }

A simmer pot makes your home smell amazing in fall, and this recipe is so easy!

8. Autumn Scents: Create a Fragrant Ambiance

Scent plays a vital role in creating a cozy atmosphere. Instead of buying expensive candles, consider adding fragrance to your home using essential oils or kitchen herbs.

One of my favorite things for fall is making simmer pots. Simmering a pot of water with cinnamon sticks, apple peels, and cloves can infuse your home with delightful fall scents! Here’s a favorite recipe that we like to use:

Fall Spice Simmer Pot Recipe


  • 1 orange, thinly sliced with peels on
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced with peels on
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • Water

Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized pot (feel free to adjust quantities to suit the size of pot and your fragrance preferences). Fill the pot with enough water to completely cover the ingredients and leave some space at the top to avoid overflow. Heat over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer, then turn down to low and simmer for hours. Check on the pot regularly and add more water as needed.

Adding rustic elements and the right colors is all you need to give your home a fall feel

9. Swap and Share: Collaborate with Friends and Family

Reach out to friends or family members and propose a fall decor swap. This can be a fun way to have a girls night while you work to decorate for fall on a budget! Here’s how it works…

To start, ask your friends to each bring a certain number of fall decor items. Everyone must bring the same number of items for the swap to work.

Set up a table or place to display the items as your friends arrive. Then, draw numbers to decide who selects first, and take turns choosing items until everyone has their selection of “new” decor!

This is a great way to exchange items you no longer need or use, allowing everyone to refresh their decor without spending a dime.

Alternatively, you can find some friends to do a swap “loan” with you. You’re still exchange decor with each other, but only temporarily. A good idea to make this work well is to take a quick photo with your phone at the time of the swap so you remember what you need to return at the end of the season!

Thrift shops and vintage markets are sustainable places to find decor without creating waste

10. Thrifting and Junk Hunting: Hidden Gems for Budget Decor

If you ask me, thrift stores, estate and garage sales, and vintage markets are like a grown-up version of a treasure hunt. If you know how to do it, there are some amazing finds to be had!

I love the hunt so much that I even created a Vintage & Junk Hunting Journal that you can print and use to keep track of your treasures.

In our area, we tend to have a lot of vintage and “trunk shows” this time of year. They’re some of my favorite places for finding great bargains to use in our decor. These are my best tips on how to find the good stuff!

You can also check out online marketplaces for unique and budget-friendly fall decor items. Many times, you’ll find treasures at a fraction of the price of new ones. Give these pre-loved items a second chance to shine in your fall-themed home.

There's nothing more perfect for decorate in autumn than pumpkins!

11. Pumpkin Decorating: A Classic Fall Activity

Pumpkins are iconic fall symbols, and there are countless budget-friendly ways to decorate them. Use craft supplies like ribbons, buttons, markers, and paint to make your pumpkins uniquely yours.

If you have the space, you can even grow your own pumpkins over the summer. Talk about inviting ALL of the feelings of autumn while you decorate for fall on a budget–just imagine going out to harvest your own pumpkins from the garden to use as decor!

{ Related: How to Make a Fabric Pumpkin }

Candlelight is a wonderful way to add autumn vibes to your home without breaking the bank

12. Set the Mood: Incorporate Warm Lighting (and Music!)

Lighting can drastically change the ambiance of a space. Incorporate warm, cozy lighting with inexpensive fairy lights, string lights, or candles. Place them in mason jars or vases for a charming glow that captures the essence of fall evenings. If you have pets or small children and worry about using candles, there are numerous LED candles that are incredible realistic!

While not actually “decor”, the right music can also help you bring out the autumn vibes in your living spaces. Here’s a playlist I recently curated that we’re loving this season. (Be sure to follow me on Spotify for more carefully curated playlists!)

Potpourri can be both fall decor and a way to give your home a delicious fragrance that celebrates the season!

13. Homemade Potpourri: Aromatic and Budget-Savvy

Potpourri is both a way to add fragrance, as well as lovely botanical decor. You can achieve a fall feel in two ways with one effort!

Create your own potpourri using dried orange peels, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and other spices. Place these mixtures in small bowls (I love this one for fall!) or sachets around your home for a natural and delightful autumn scent. Because the containers are filled with botanical elements, you’re inviting the season in with multiple senses!

Refinishing furniture is a way to freshen up your living spaces without spending a lot

14. Use What You Have: Refinish and Reimagine

Before you rush out to buy new items, take a fresh look at what you already own. You can completely change the look of your home by refinishing your existing furniture, or thrifted finds. I have even loaded up furniture I’ve found with “FREE” signs by the side of the road for budget flips!

If you’ve never tried this before, here are some of my tips on refinishing rescued furniture.

For fall, dark colors and natural wood are especially popular. You can strip the paint off of an old dresser to reveal its vintage and rustic nature, or paint a table with ultra matte black paint for a dark and moody vibe. There are so many possibilities!

On top of that, rearranging furniture, switching up decor between rooms, or just re-imagining your space can breathe new life into your home without spending a dime.

Target Dollar Spot has incredible bargains when you're looking for a little touch of affordable fall decor
Credit: @target.dollarspot.finds

15. Dollar Bin Finds: Budget-Friendly Decorations

If you absolutely must make purchases of new items, you can save your budget by doing some thrifty shopping.

A great place to find stylish, on-trend decor at an affordable price is Target–and especially the Dollar Spot bins. Now, you’ve gotta be prepared that everyone and their neighbor will probably have the same thing because, I mean, who doesn’t love shopping at Target? And those enticing budget finds are hard to pass up! But, it’s certainly a way to add some fall touches without going overboard if you just can’t resist.

Dollar stores also often have a range of seasonal decor items that won’t break the bank and make it a bit easier to decorate for fall on a budget. You can find candles, faux pumpkins, tablecloths, and more at incredibly low prices. Then, get creative with your finds, and consider painting or embellishing them to suit your style and color palette.

It doesn't take a lot to decorate for fall--the right colors and a perfectly placed pumpkin make all the difference without breaking the bank!

Decorating for Fall on a Budget Doesn’t Have to be Hard

When trying to be more conscious of how you spend and consume, it can feel difficult (at first) to break out of your old habits of consumerism. You might even feel like you’re being deprived or missing out, and that’s probably not your imagination.

After all, in the western world, we’ve been conditioned to buy “more and bigger” our entire lives. Businesses started marketing to you when you were a very small child because they wanted to make you think there were material things you needed to be happy. You were quite literally raised within systems of oppression that are designed to separate you from your hard earned money. And they’ve become well-entrenched psychological frameworks for what we think symbolizes the good life.

But, the really good life is on the other side of that ever-expanding consumption of goods.

In Pursuit of a Life Well-Lived…

Breaking out of unhealthy patterns and letting go of that which no longer serves you is always hard, to some extent. Some people think of it as a version of re-inventing yourself. But I think it’s more about reconnecting with yourself–your authenticity, deeply held values, and what really matters to you–and revealing what is most true and has been hidden for too long.

Once you’ve made the decision to focus your attention on what’s most meaningful to you and cultivate the vision you have for your life, real joy can begin to grow. And that, my friends, is what true abundance and a life well-lived is all about.

P.S. If you took the time to read this entire post and you, too, are working to let go of the conventional way of living and are, instead, cultivating a more meaningful way of life, drop a note in the comments below. Or, better yet, let’s be virtual pen pals. I enjoy finding “my people” in the world, and I would love for us to stay connected! ❤️

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Elevate your space for fall without emptying your wallet!

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