As the heat of the summer dissipates, bright yellow school buses appear on the streets and green leaves begin to fade to red and gold, your home may start to look a little drab. While you may not want to go all-out with an autumn wreath and a fall flag outside and a complete seasonal makeover indoors, your home could probably use a few tweaks to transition from one part of the year to the next. Giving your home a seasonal deep cleaning and de-cluttering, followed by a few inexpensive updates to your accessories or furniture, can be a subtle way to acknowledge the changing weather.
Whether you’re a perfectionist who cleans constantly or one who makes a grand sweep every once in awhile, your home will look better and be faster to clean if you take the time to make it neat.
• Do a quick inventory of your rooms and look for places that have gathered unnecessary clutter.
• Pick up all the framed photos that require dusting and decide if you really want to display them all or perhaps want to streamline them into a collage or cull them down to one or two treasures. Do the same with your children’s artwork and collectibles. A few items often have greater impact than a muddle of pieces.
• Do a quick sweep of your pantry and kitchen cabinets, too, to see if there are expired items or equipment that you never use.
• Make a seasonal switch in your closets and drawers. Pack away your summer items or put them at the back of the closet so you take a fresh look at your clothes. After your inventory, give away unwanted clothes.
Once you’ve done your fall clean-up, it’s time to add some seasonal flair to your home.
• Bring in some fresh greenery and plants from your garden or pick up some inexpensive indoor plants with orange, yellow or red flowers to remind you of the season. Trim a branch from a bush with red berries and add some interesting twigs or ornamental grasses for interesting arrangements.
• Place pinecones and colorful leaves in a pretty bowl or basket as a nod to fall.
• Pick up mini-pumpkins, squash, corn husks and gourds to display on your dining table or put them in an unexpected place like your foyer, powder room or hearth.
• Find an inexpensive clear glass jar or hurricane lamp to fill with tiny pinecones, acorns or even candy corn.
• Tie cinnamon sticks with ribbon or soak your pinecones in vanilla extract and place them in a bowl for a subtle fall scent. Scented candles with apple, cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin or evergreen perfumes work, too.
Thrifty Shopping Tips
If those little tweaks don’t seem like enough, you may want to go bigger and try some new accessories or furniture.
• First, move around your furniture if you can just to get a fresh perspective on your space.
• Think about repurposing some of your furniture. An old dresser can work just as well as an end table or a buffet in your dining room or to store extra items in your pantry or kitchen.
• Head to a thrift store, consignment store or flea market to look for items that can inexpensively add charm to your home. If you’re even a little bit handy, you can find furniture that you can stain or paint to meet your decorating scheme.
• Look for toss pillows and throws that can add warmth and color to your upholstered chairs and sofa. Search for orange, chocolate, burgundy and plum-colored items or look for nubby wool throws to add texture to your rooms.
• Search for unique items such as an unusual vase or a something you can display on your mantel or table.
• Storage baskets and picture frames can be good finds at a thrift store to add a new element to your home.
• Keep an eye open for art, too. Many flea markets and thrift stores sell inexpensive art. If you don’t like the painting but you like the frame, it could be worth buying to reuse for your own artwork.
• A trick shared by many interior designers is to mix up older, distressed pieces with sleek, contemporary items. For instance, you can display a charming antique clock on a glass or lacquered table or a funky mid-century modern decorative item on a vintage dresser.
If you have trouble visualizing a new look for your home, bring in a friend whose taste you admire to walk through your home to make some suggestions. A little bit of ingenuity, along with windows wide open to the crisp autumn air, can refresh your home without costing a lot of money.