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Decorating on a Budget

Fall DIY Decor: 12 Creative and Budget-friendly Ideas for a Seasonal Home Refresh

by DecorMatters|Aug 30, 2023

The arrival of fall—characterized by its crisp air, changing foliage, and shorter days—invites us to infuse our indoor spaces with the season's warmth and coziness. While a trip to the store may provide a temporary seasonal flare, the real magic often happens when you create something yourself. Not only do DIY projects offer a unique, personal touch, but they also can be exceptionally budget-friendly. Hence, we've gathered 12 creative and budget-friendly DIY decor ideas for a seamless transition into the autumnal ambiance, all of which are sure to elevate your home this season.

1. Dried Leaf Wall Art

Dried Leaf Wall Art is a charming and budget-friendly way to capture the essence of fall and infuse your home with its seasonal beauty. Begin with a leaf-hunting expedition around your neighborhood or a nearby park, selecting leaves that catch your eye for their unique shapes, textures, and vibrant hues. After your gathering session, lay the leaves flat between sheets of wax paper or newspaper, and press them under a stack of heavy books for approximately one week. This will preserve the colors and flatten the leaves, making them easier to display. 

dried leaf gallery wall

📸 Lauren Shaver

When the leaves are ready, consider your framing options. You can opt for individual frames for each leaf, creating a thematic series, or arrange a mixed collection in a larger frame for a more eclectic feel. Floating frames can add a modern touch, showcasing both the front and back of the leaves and allowing light to pass through, enhancing their colors. Place these frames in a hallway, above a fireplace, or in any space that could benefit from a warm, organic element. 

2. Pumpkin Vase Centerpiece 

A pumpkin vase centerpiece is a creative twist on the traditional fall decor. Start by selecting a pumpkin of your preferred size and color. While classic orange pumpkins are always a hit, don't overlook other varieties like white or heirloom pumpkins for a unique touch. After cutting an opening at the top and scooping out the seeds (don't forget to save them for roasting!), place a small vase or a water-filled container inside the hollowed pumpkin. This will ensure that your arrangement stays fresh and doesn’t make the pumpkin soggy. 

Pumpkin vase centerpiece 

📸 Victoria Magazine

Next, create your floral arrangement. Opt for late-summer blooms like sunflowers, dahlias, or black-eyed Susans, or go for a more autumnal feel with branches of colorful leaves, bittersweet vines, or even ornamental grasses. The combination of the natural pumpkin vase and the vibrant flora will create a stunning centerpiece that will be the talk of your dining table, mantle, or wherever you choose to showcase your creation. 

3. Sweater Pillows

The sweater pillows DIY project is an ingenious and sustainable way to give new life to those old, worn-out sweaters taking up space in your closet. By repurposing them into comfortable pillowcases, you're not only reducing waste but also adding a cozy, tactile element to your home decor. Start by selecting sweaters that may have lost their original shape or have minor flaws but still have good fabric quality. Cut the sweaters into rectangles or squares, and using a sewing machine or your hands, stitch three sides of the fabric together, leaving one end open for the pillow insert. Once the pillow is snugly fit inside, sew up the open end to complete your upcycled masterpiece.

sweater pillows 

📸 Liz Roth

For an extra touch, add buttons, patches, or any other embellishments to your pillowcases. These pillowcases can be used on sofas, armchairs, or beds, and can even make thoughtful, homemade gifts for friends and family. 

4. Pinecone Garland

Creating a Pinecone Garland is an effortlessly charming way to bring a bit of nature's fall beauty right into your living space. If you're fortunate enough to have pine trees in your yard or nearby, the first step is a delightful one: a pinecone scavenging expedition! Select pinecones that are dry and free of pests. If you're concerned about potential critters, you can bake the pinecones at a low temperature for about an hour to sanitize them. Once you've gathered your pinecones, prepare your twine or yarn, choosing a color that complements your existing decor. 

Pinecone garland for a fireplace 

📸 Pewter & Sage Wood Signs

Thread a long piece of twine or yarn through the top parts of each pinecone. You can space them out evenly or cluster them together for a fuller look. If threading is difficult, hot glue can be a helpful alternative to secure the pinecones in place. Once strung, your garland is ready to adorn your living space. Drape it over the fireplace mantel, run it along window sills, or even coil it around the base of a dining table centerpiece. 

5. Cinnamon Stick Candles 

Cinnamon stick candles are a simple yet enchanting way to add a multisensory experience to your fall decor. Begin with a pillar candle of your choice—white or cream are classic options, but feel free to opt for autumnal hues like burnt orange or deep burgundy for added visual impact. Next, purchase a pack of cinnamon sticks, which you can find at most grocery or craft stores. The length of the sticks should be approximately the height of your chosen candle. Secure the cinnamon sticks by using a hot glue gun to attach the cinnamon sticks vertically around the circumference of the candle.

cinnamon candle sticks 

📸 Louise Roe

Once all the cinnamon sticks are in place, wrap a piece of twine or rustic ribbon around the middle to add a festive touch and further secure the sticks. Light the candle and place it in a safe, heat-resistant area. As the candle burns, the heat will gently warm the cinnamon sticks, releasing their natural aroma into the room. 

6. Book Page Pumpkins

First up, grab an old book you don't mind parting with. Whether it's a beat-up novel, a thrift store gem, or an outdated textbook, any will do. Rip out a few pages and slice 'em up into strips—you can go long, short, wide or narrow depending on how big or tiny you want your pumpkin masterpiece to be. Next, you'll need something round to act as the base. A cardboard circle, a foam ball, or even an old mason jar lid will work just fine. Now comes the fun part: start placing those paper strips around the middle of your base. Layer them so they curve around like a real pumpkin.

book page pumpkin diy 

📸 Etsy

Now, you're ready to add on a stem! You can go for a natural look by attaching a real stem from a pumpkin or gourd. Alternatively, you can fashion a faux stem from materials like twisted brown paper, a small piece of wood, or even a rolled-up piece of a book page for thematic consistency. Place your finished Book Page Pumpkin on a mantel, bookshelf, or as a centerpiece on a table. 

7. DIY Burlap Table Runner

Transforming a simple strip of burlap into a rustic table runner is a fantastic way to infuse your dining area with a touch of fall charm. To begin, measure and cut a strip of burlap that will comfortably fit the length and width of your dining table. For a personalized touch, use stencils to add autumnal motifs like leaves, pumpkins, or even phrases like "Give Thanks" onto your runner. Fabric paint in seasonal colors like orange, brown, or gold can make these designs pop against the neutral background.

burlap table runner for a fall dining room

📸 Tara Goodall

After the paint has dried, you can further embellish your table runner with additional elements like lace borders or twine tassels at the ends for extra flair. Once laid out on your table, this DIY Burlap Table Runner becomes more than just a surface protector; it serves as a centerpiece in its own right, setting the mood for autumnal gatherings and holiday meals.

8. Twig Picture Frame

The Twig Picture Frame offers a unique way to bring a bit of the great outdoors into your living space, blending well with autumnal themes and colors. Start by collecting fallen twigs from your yard or during a nature walk. Look for twigs that are relatively straight and of varying lengths, ensuring they'll fit around the dimensions of your existing picture frame. Once you've amassed your collection, use hot glue to carefully adhere the twigs around the frame, creating a layered, rustic effect. You may choose to leave the twigs in their natural state for an organic look or opt to paint them in fall colors like gold, orange, or deep red for added flair.

twig picture frame 

📸 Etsy

The end result is a nature-inspired frame that lends itself perfectly to showcasing autumnal art, leaf prints, or even cherished family photos taken during the fall season.

9. Acorn Crafts 

Acorn crafts offers a delightful and cost-effective way to celebrate the beauty of fall right in your home. One of the simplest ways to incorporate acorns into your seasonal decor is by using them to fill a glass jar, creating a minimalist yet striking centerpiece. Place the jar on a dining table or mantel, and you've got an instant tribute to the season. If you're looking to get a little more creative, consider painting the acorn caps in fall colors like oranges, reds, and browns. Once the paint dries, use a needle and thread to string them together into a captivating garland. 

Acorn Candles

📸 Etsy

You can hang this colorful garland over doorways, around windows, or even along the edges of tables for a whimsical touch. Whether you opt for the simple elegance of the acorn-filled jar or the more intricate beauty of the painted acorn garland, both crafts serve as versatile elements that can complement other seasonal decor items in your home. 

10. Mason Jar Luminaries

Mason Jar Luminaries provide an enchanting way to illuminate your home during the fall season, capturing the essence of autumn in a simple yet effective design. Begin by filling the bottom of mason jars with seasonal items like dried leaves or corn kernels to serve as a rustic base. These natural elements not only add visual appeal but also help to stabilize the tea light candle you'll place inside. Once the jar is prepped, carefully place a tea light in the center. Opt for flameless tea lights if you're concerned about safety, especially if you're planning to leave them unattended.

DIY Fall mason jar luminaries

📸 Michelle D

The soft glow emanating from these jars creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for cozy fall evenings spent indoors or outdoor gatherings around a fire pit. You can line them along a pathway, cluster them on a porch, or even use them as a dinner table centerpiece. The beauty of this DIY project is its versatility; it complements both indoor and outdoor spaces equally well. 

11. Chalkboard Welcome Sign

The Chalkboard Welcome Sign is an engaging and customizable way to greet guests during the fall season. You'll need a small piece of chalkboard from your local craft store. If you're going for that rustic, fall vibe, think about framing it with some leaves, twigs, or a combo of both to give it that extra touch. To keep that frame from falling apart, grab some wood glue or a staple gun to secure it all together. Once your frame is securely attached, hang it by your front door to create an immediate welcoming atmosphere

wooden welcome sign 

📸 Makayla Jividen

The best part about this project? The flexibility! You can easily erase and update the message to suit different occasions or just to match your mood. Want to welcome trick-or-treaters? Scribble a spooky Halloween message. Having a fall feast? A simple "Give Thanks" works beautifully. 

12. Felt Leaf Coasters 

Felt Leaf Coasters are a simple yet effective way to introduce a pop of seasonal color into your home. To create these, all you need is felt fabric in fall hues such as orange, red, yellow, and brown. Trace and cut out leaf shapes of your choice—maple, oak, or even a generic leaf shape will do. Once you've amassed a variety of felt leaves, they can serve dual functions. Place them individually on tables or counters as coasters, adding a whimsical touch to your furniture while protecting surfaces from beverage spills.

fall felt coasters for fall

📸 Etsy

Alternatively, if you're feeling a bit more adventurous, string these colorful leaves together to create a vibrant garland. A strand of these strung across a mantel, doorway, or even laid down the center of a dining table can be an eye-catching decorative element. Whether used as coasters or garland, these felt leaves are an easy and cost-effective DIY project that both kids and adults can enjoy making. Plus, their bright colors and soft texture add a cozy, cheerful element to your living space, making them not just functional but also aesthetically pleasing. 

And there you have it—12 creative and budget-friendly DIY ideas to give your home that cozy, autumnal glow. Whether you're crafting mason jar luminaries or turning old books into pumpkins, there's something for everyone to dive into this fall season. Remember, the best home decor captures your personality while making each room feel like a haven. If you're looking for more design inspiration or want to visualize how these crafts would look in your space, make sure to download and use the DecorMatters app to design your dream home. Happy crafting and here's to a home that's as warm and inviting as a cup of hot apple cider!

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