The Design Corner: Stylishly Decorating for Fall on a Budget

Seeking major style points for your home?

Enter The Design Corner. On a monthly basis, we’ll provide you with inspiring and helpful posts about home style and design. Our goal is to offer manageable and fun projects and ideas that you can use in your own space, mostly coming straight from our team Interior Designer, Cathi Beighe, and with occasional tips from Emily Marsh and myself sprinkled in. Enjoy the first Design Corner!

The Design Corner: Stylishly Decorating for Fall on a Budget

Decorating for fall — or for any season, really — has always been a struggle for me. I consider myself to be fairly stylish and have a keen eye for polished color combos, but for whatever reason, I’ve never been able to pull off a cohesive seasonal decorating scheme. In fact, just a couple weeks ago I contacted our in-house Interior Design expert, Cathi Beighe, begging for help. She gladly stepped in with fantastic, eye-opening advice, and even helped me shop for fall decor! (Side note: if you haven’t met Cathi yet, you are missing out. She is such an inspiring lady, with so many fabulous ideas and a serious love for bringing any home’s style potential to life.)

I don’t know about you, but when I walk into a store that is packed full of decorating items, I get a bit overwhelmed and lose sight of what I want and need. “Oh, that’s cute.” “Oh, look at that!” “Whoa. Look at all these options.” “Um, what did I come here for?” “Where’s my list?” You get the idea. Here I am, feeling crazed at our local crafts store:

Overwhelmed by fall decorating? Here's how to stylishly decorate for fall on a budget

The budget //

I already had a few artificial pumpkins and gourds at home, plus a couple table runners in fall colors, and candles left over from falls past. To add to my stash, my shopping cart was filled with one large grapevine garland, one foam pumpkin, six sprigs of fall leaves/pinecones/flowers, one galvanized tray, one chalkboard frame, one large roll of burlap ribbon, one package of sparkly acorns, one package of fall vase filler, one berry garland, and one tall pillar candle… for a total of $68!

6 practical tips for fall decorating //

1. Use what you have around the house. Most people have items that will work for fall decorating, such as galvanized trays, ceramic pumpkins, grapevine wreaths, burlap ribbon, twine, earthy-toned table linens, etc. (Spoiler alert: most of these accessories can carry over into winter decorating! More on that to come in a future Design Corner post…)

2. When in doubt, choose like items in groups of three. Odd numbers can be used whether you like a balanced look or prefer an asymmetrical aesthetic. For instance, I chose six sprigs of fall leaves, pinecones, and flowers — for the purpose of gathering three on each side of my dining room centerpiece.

3. Start with a main accessory, like a large pillar candle, lantern, or pumpkin, and keep adding to it in layers. For my mantle, I purchased a fall grapevine garland, then added a hurricane glass, candle, ceramic gourd, and small pumpkins and apples until I was happy with the final look. To top it off, I tied a burlap knot around the hurricane to soften its starkness.

4. Even if your home is primarily cool colors, you can create a warm and cozy feeling. Every room in my house is some shade of gray or blue, so orange and yellow make for terrific accent colors (because they are complimentary on the color wheel).

5. Use your senses. When you think of fall, how does it feel? Cozy? Find a soft throw blanket. How does it smell? Spiced? Light a pumpkin spice (or whatever scent you desire) candle. What colors do you think of? Reds, oranges, yellows? Choose from those that will compliment your wall and furniture colors.

6. You can decorate every room. Since I’m a rookie, I went with just our main living spaces, but you can certainly add seasonal touches to the bedrooms and baths as well. Try a festive pillow on the bed, a colorful bow tied onto a lamp base, a table runner on the dresser, or sprigs of flowers or greenery tucked above a picture frame.

To give you proof that fall decorating can be accomplished in a blue and gray house, below are some before and after photos. Cathi informed me that I had a good start on my original decorating, but that I needed to build on it with layers and also create more dimension with proper scale. Keeping those and the above tips in mind, I set forth on my fall decorating project. I’m loving the final product, because fall is my absolute favorite season, and now my home reflects that.

Dining Room Table

A taller pillar candle replaced the short gray one for proper scale (and a spicy fall aroma), then I filled the basket with vase filler, added sprigs of fall leaves on either side to add length and texture, and switched to a burlap runner to reduce the amount of orange and add even more texture.

Living Room

Because I was at a loss for how to decorate around our already-packed-with-electronics mantle, I just hadn’t bothered to tackle it. Cathi suggested adding the grapevine garland, a raised hurricane for height, burlap ribbon for texture, a large gourd, and layering in pumpkins and apples. I also added the white pumpkin surrounded by a berry garland and the sparkly acorns inside the galvanized tray as a centerpiece on the coffee table. Something like this would also look nice on a dining room table and would be easy to remove when needed.


This is my favorite change, and the easiest one to do! All I did was swap out a picture that hangs just inside the front door with this chalkboard frame, hang an orange charm along with it, and tie the top with a burlap knot to hide the nail. I also have a spice scented candle inside the lantern on the table, which fills the space with the perfect fall aroma.

A closer look...

Need professional decorating advice? Contact Cathi Beighe! She is amazing at her craft.

Have tips to add about fall decorating? Comment below!

Want more design ideas? Stay tuned! This is just the first in our new Design Corner series, where we’ll bring fabulous projects and advice to you once a month.

About Lisa Oates

Lisa is the creative mind behind The Harrisonburg Homes Team, providing streamlined content management, quality authorship, and graphic design for Harrisonblog. She's passionate about blogging, enjoying life, and a good cup of coffee.