Affordable and Simple Autumn Decoration Ideas

by Marie Richer

Autumn has always been my favourite season. For many it means back-to-school and a welcome break from the long, listless days of summer. Somehow the cooling temperatures inspire a pledge to buckle down, and accomplish those things that have stuck around our “to-do” lists for years. Then there’s that first dip in temperature when you can finally break out that favourite sweater, or enjoy those cool days best spent in bed with a warm mug of tea and a good book. 

You really can’t think of Autumn without picturing, as though by consolation for the long winter ahead, the overabundance of harvest time, the wild, unruly growth of late-summer perennial beds, and the blaze of colour painted across the landscape. So, inspired by that abundance of good things, here are some decorating ideas showcasing some of the season’s best spoils. 

Pumpkin Planters

Although they are not actual functioning planters, this cheerful bouquet holder certainly brightens up any porch or walkway. All that’s needed are a couple pumpkins, and everyone’s favourite late-season bloomer, chrysanthemums. Simply carve and hollow out the pumpkin, trim the stems of the mums to your preference, and place them in the pumpkin just like you would a vase. Afterwards, you can toast the remaining pumpkin seeds with some olive oil and sea salt for a tasty snack.

Mini Pumpkin Tea Light Holders

This follows the same principle as the pumpkin planters. You know those adorable mini pumpkins and gourds you always see at the grocery store this time of year? Well, they’re not just for sprinkling around the dinner table anymore--or they are, but now you’re putting them to work! These require a little more panache as well as a spade drill bit. The width of the bit should correspond to the width of your candle; for a standard sized tea light you might need a 1-½” bit, but for a taper candle you can use a narrower bit. 

First, you will need to cut off as much of the stalk as possible to drill the top of the pumpkin. Then, securing the mini pumpkin as safely as you can, drill down about half an inch to make the hole you’ll place your candle into, scoop out all the guts, insert your candle, and you’re done! Those of us less confident with power tools can also achieve this effect with apples, by coring out the top half, around the stem. And voila! Instant mini-jack-o-lanterns and app-o-lanterns to light up your home. 

Handcrafted Country Potpourri

Potpourri really is an artform unto itself, historically it has functioned as a pretty reliable moth repellent, but it can also be a decorative way to air freshen your home naturally. Pick a lovely mild autumn day to venture off somewhere that’s wooded enough to yield you some interesting natural treasures. And not to fear city dwellers, if you locate a park or greenspace in your city you’ll also be sure to find the variety of twigs, branches, pine cones and bark needed to make up the bulk of your potpourri concoction. Use the opportunity to allow nature to speak to you. Contemplate each unique object you collect, and ask yourself what drew you to it, what spoke to you about it? Choose an interesting assortment of sizes, colours, and textures, or work within a theme.

Once home you can get down to the business of infusing your woodsy collection with the spices that will warm you on those chillier autumn days. A cost effective way to infuse your potpourri is to utilize the dry spices many of us keep in our pantries. Cloves, cinnamon, dry vanilla and nutmeg make up that intoxicating smell our noses recognize from our favourite seasonal treat -- pumpkin pie, a warm homey smell I know I can’t get enough of! Mix the spices together in a bag, cover with a tea towel, and crush the spice mixture together with a hammer. Using a large plastic bowl, thoroughly mix together all your ingredients like a big salad. Seal in a container or freezer bag for two weeks before using to give your potpourri real staying power. 

Those who have some essential oils on hand can mix a few drops of their preferred scents together in a small base (about 2 tablespoons) of olive or sunflower oil. Then drizzle over your potpourri mixture, and again, seal in a freezer or zip-loc bag. Since the essential oils are a stronger concentration, your potpourri should be ready to work its fragrant magic the next day. You can also add dried fruit, flower petals, or cinnamon bark for decoration or find unique ways using it around the home, like displaying your concoction in quarter-pint mason jars, or using them in a satchel to scent up your closet.

Cornucopia Centerpiece 

A cornucopia is traditionally a horn-shaped wicker basket associated with Thanksgiving. The word “Thanksgiving” alone conjures up the image of the abundant basket overflowing with harvest bounty. It’s the symbol of good fortune and abundance and can make for a beautiful centerpiece when Thanksgiving dinner rolls around. You can go the conventional route and fill your cornucopia with clusters of frosted grapes, dark red apples and burnished green pears, alongside nightshades, root vegetables and squash. Or you can opt for florals, and assemble together a few cheerful sunflowers, some dried foliage (golden oak and red maples make for a beautiful splash of colour), paired with less conventional pieces like the lovely rattan-like paper from corn husks, or a sturdy bunch of wheat. Either way, maximize! Allow your cornucopia to overflow out over the table. What could be a better symbol of nature’s generosity?

Marie Richer
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Marie Richer

Marie’s passion for healthy, organic food is evident in everything she does. She specializes in vegan and raw cooking with a special focus on the nutritional wonders of nuts and dried fruits. We’d tell you to visit her website, but you’re already on it!

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