By Sara Noel
Decorating for fall doesn’t have to be a budget buster. There are plenty of frugal materials available if you’re creative. With a couple of small changes, some of these ideas can stay displayed throughout the year. How do you decorate for fall on a budget?
WREATHS: Collect acorns, and, using hot glue, adhere them to a straw wreath or a coat hanger bent into a circle and covered with sheet moss. Add a raffia bow, and you’ve got a touch of autumn for your door. Or make a fabric wreath from inexpensive or scrap fabric. Tear or cut fabric into 1-inch-by-6-inch strips. Bend a coat hanger into a circle, and tie strips of fabric onto the hanger until it’s full. You can either cut the top hook of the hanger off with wire cutters or bend it into a loop to hang your wreath. If you snip the top off, add ribbon to hang the wreath. Instead of tying 6-inch strips, you can cut 12-inch strips and fold them in half and loop it through itself onto the hanger like you would when making a latch-hook rug.
PINE CONES: Fill a large glass vase or bowl with pine cones. Nestle a pillar candle in the bowl for a simple centerpiece. Instead of pine cones, you can use fresh apples, acorns, pods, dried crafting fruits or mixed nuts in shells. Or tie ribbon to pine cones and hang them from doorknobs.
BUNDLES AND GROUPINGS: Tie ribbon around bundles of cattails, preserved amaranthus, wheat bundles, eucalyptus, cinnamon sticks, strawflowers (cover wire stems with ribbon or floral tape), mixed colored statice or dried Chinese lantern or money plants. Or use silk vines or branches, such as bittersweet. Place into vases, on mantles or attach to staircase balusters.
APOTHECARY JARS AND CAKE STANDS: Fill jars with loose potpourri or potpourri balls, candles, ball ornaments, candy, mini gourds or Indian corn. A glass-pedestal cake stand with a dome top can be filled with the same materials or larger items such as fall squash, pears, African violets, Kalanchoe, seeded eucalyptus, preserved leaves, dried pods, clementines or pomegranates. Once the lid is filled, place the stand on top and flip it right side up to display.
LINENS: Rather than your typical seasonal throw blankets or toss pillows, consider making or buying dining-room chair covers or adding a table runner. Use fall-colored place mats, cloth napkins, hand towels or curtain tiebacks. A simple welcome mat can really dress up your doorway.
BASKETS: Using larger baskets, fill the basket with twigs or herbs and dried flowers tied with raffia, or stack firewood inside it.
WINEGLASSES AND MASON JARS: Use wineglasses or mason jars as votive candleholders. Turn a wineglass upside down, and use the base to hold a small candle. Or balance a votive holder on top. You can decorate the stem with ribbon or wine charms. Place a small item, such as a pine cone, silk fall flower or mini pumpkin gourd, under the glass, or simply place a votive into an upright glass. Or fill a mason jar with smooth pebbles and place a votive holder in the mouth of the jar. Small clay pots are rustic containers that can hold a single apple or mini gourd or fill mason jars with items such as coffee beans or dried beans.
TOPIARY: Cover a Styrofoam ball with sheet moss, insert twigs or small branches into the ball, and stick the other end into a clay pot or ceramic planter filled with craft foam. Add ribbons trailing, silk flower picks and wired berries.
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.