I know it's only the beginning of September, and some of us are still fighting off summer-level heat, but the start of this month always marks an important milestone — autumn is officially headed our way! To get the most out of the season without spending a lot of cash, I like to make some simple changes in my home, whether it's swapping out items I already have or spending a little for a big impact. 1. Switch out bed linens. As soon as the nighttime temperatures cooperate, ditch the summery coverlet for a heavier comforter or duvet. It's also a good time to turn your mattress, wash or replace any pillows that need it, and get your bed ready for snuggling down in colder weather. To save a few bucks, pick some cozy fall-hued fabrics, and make your own duvet! See our tips for more information: Tips for Sewing Your Own Duvet.
2. Consider switching out wall art. If you're like me and love to constantly rearrange artwork on your walls, make this a good time to try something new. I have lots of light, summery prints and illustrations that I'll trade out for a wall hanging--I have lots of quilts my grandmother made that would be perfect hanging over my mantle for the fall season. For a neat quilt-hanging idea, see How To: Hang a Quilt Artistically.
3. Add some candles--especially the fall-scented kind! Nothing says cozy like the glow and flicker of a flame; and for me, nothing says fall like apple pie and pumpkin scented candles in my living room and kitchen. It's an easy — and cheap — way to celebrate the scents of the season; I always pick out 5 or 6 little candles to kick off the first cool afternoon. Rather go a more DIY route? Check out 5 Simmer Pot Recipes To Make Your Home Smell Like Fall.
4. Rethink your throws and pillows for the sofa. I like to use some of my old quilts on the couch this time of year, and I'm also thinking about covering some of my throw pillows--maybe that worn out pair of corduroy pants would make a fantastic pillow cover! See How To: Sew an Envelope-Back Pillow Cover for ideas on making your own covers.
5. Ready your fireplace. If you use your wood-burning fireplace, give it a good clean and arrange some logs and kindling nearby. Or if you're like me, and have an unusable fireplace, give it a little glow of its own. Last year I arranged pumpkins and white lights; birch logs would also be nice! If you've also got a sealed-up fireplace, get some ideas with this post on Sprucing Up An Unused Fireplace.
6. Prepare doorways with a mud tray for boots. When the wet weather strikes — along with mud and lots of leaf litter — you'll be grateful you did! Here are seven boot trays to get you inspired: Practical to Pretty: 7 Boot Trays.
7. Speaking of doorways, try a new wreath — indoors or out! Use some bittersweet, or tuck leaves into a grapevine wreath. For some more ideas, see 5 DIY Ideas for Fall Wreaths.
8. Treat yourself to a new thermal mug and a fresh selection of teas. You could even make yourself a tea station, ready to go when the urge to indulge strikes. Need more direction in the tea department? Check out Tea Time: Everything You Need for a Perfect Cup.
9. Spruce up your table with some fall-hued table linens or fabrics. Dark, rich fabrics can add lots of warmth to the dining table. For inspiration, see our Table Linens for Fall Roundup.
10. Bring the outdoors in. I love to decorate with twigs and branches, and dried flowers from the end of summer. Bittersweet and chrysanthemums are also great ways to bring the fall colors indoors; for more ideas, see Setting the Autumn Table with Plants.
(Image: Sarah Dobbins)