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We try really hard to keep our home minimal, but still cozy, and accumulating decor that can only be used for a few weeks of the year doesn’t seem very intentional. It’s hard for me to justify spending hundreds of dollars on holiday decor. I have to admit that I do have a box of Christmas decor. One box! Just one box. Other than that, we try to incorporate different textures, smells, and colors to make the house feel like the season. Here are some quick and easy ways to make your home feel like fall without buying plastic pumpkins!
Switch Up Your Entry
One simple, functional completely free way to make it feel like fall is to switch up what hangs in your entry way! In the summer, I hang summer purses, a fedora hat and maybe even a beach towel (we live 5 minutes away from lake Michigan). During fall, I bring out the jean jackets, umbrella, wool hats, and darker leather purses to instantly transform my entry. It looks seasonal and it’s super functional since these are frequently used fall items!
Blankets, Blankets, Blankets
It’s throw blanket city at our house, and I’m not mad about it. We use them ALL of the time so they are a super practical investment for us. I keep a storage container under our spare bed filled with them and they rotate by season. We have really light ones for summer and some heavy wool ones for winter. For the fall, I love something soft and cozy like faux fur (my husband abhors it, but that’s his problem).
Candles & Fall Scents
Did you know scents can actually affect your mood? I light candles all year round and they always give me cozy, relaxation vibes. A candle just makes the mood if you know what I mean. In the fall I like scents like maple pecan, cinnamon roll, pumpkin spice, and the woodsy scents like tobacco pipe. Try using real matches instead of a lighter. I find something so cozy about striking a match & lighting a candle. If you aren’t into candles, another way to make your house smell AMAZING is to make stovetop potpourri. I’ll leave a smell good recipe from Make Life Lovely below!
Fall Stovetop Potpourri
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
- 2-3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 Tbsp. cloves
- 2 whole nutmegs, cut in half (you could also substitute 1 tsp.
- powdered nutmeg or just leave it out altogether)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Slice the apple and orange in thin slices, then place in the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan. Add the other ingredients, then add enough water to cover them. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. I like to use a wood spoon to gently push on the ingredients with a wood spoon to break them down a little and help release their oils. Simmer the fall stove top potpourri mixture, checking on it occasionally to make sure there is still water. Thank you for sharing Laura!
Swap Out Throw Pillow Covers
Throw pillows are an easy and inexpensive change for every season, but again, I don’t need an attic full of throw pillows (or maybe I do), so swapping covers does the trick! For fall, use cozier, heavier textures like flannel or my favorite, velvet. Warm neutral colors like reds, oranges, and mustards make any bed, sofa or chair feel like fall.
Make Seasonal Drinks
Hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick anyone? We are obsessed with making seasonal drinks. The fall is all about apple cider. Hot with a cinnamon stick and cold with a cinnamon sugar donut. I’m getting a craving just typing this out! If you are more of a pumpkin spice kinda gal, that suffices, too. Here is a recipe for both:
Hot, Spiced, Cranberry Apple Cider
Spiced apple cider is a holiday favorite. There is nothing that feels more like fall than apple cider. You can make this drink adults only with a little everclear, or leave that out and let the entire family enjoy. Here’s a recipe from The Cookie Rookie!
- 4 quarts Spiced Apple Cider 128 ounces
- 2 quarts Cranberry Juice 64 ounces
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 oranges sliced
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1-2 cups Everclear (add some, taste, and add more if desired)
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Transfer to a slow cooker to keep warm for a party, or serve directly from the stovetop, warm. Stir in Everclear (Stir in one cup, taste, and add more if desired)! Garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick to serve. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe Becky!
Pumpkin Spice Latte
If you are more of pumpkin spice person, this ones is for you! You don’t have to go to Starbucks to get that pumpkin spiced latte. You can make it at home in 10 minutes. Here is an at home recipe from Inspired Taste:
- 2 cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, see their homemade pumpkin puree recipe
- 1 to 3 tablespoons sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup strong hot coffee
- Whipped cream, for serving
Add milk, pumpkin puree, and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until hot, but do not boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and the coffee. Divide the mixture between two mugs. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
Bring in natural elements that come with the season! Fall is all about pumpkins, gourds, acorns, and pinecones. Bring the outside in and you instantly have free, natural decor elements. Place pumpkins on your dining table and coffee table. Use pine cones or painted leaves for your place settings, and collect acorns in pretty glass dishes. I love how Amy painted her pumpkins to resemble vintage mud cloth! It’s a fun & modern way to incorporate pumpkins!
Bake Seasonal Treats
I don’t cook much (that’s all hubby), but I do love to bake! I’ll change up what I bake based on the season. My grandma used to always make me a pumpkin, cream cheese roll to take home from her house when I would visit in the fall. Now that she is no longer with us, I’ll be making the sweet treat and remembering all her little quirks. Recipe from Gimme Some Oven below:
Pumpkin, Cream Cheese Roll Ingredients:
PUMPKIN CAKE INGREDIENTS
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (*or see below for substitution)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- optional: powdered sugar (to sprinkle on at the end!)
CREAM CHEESE FILLING INGREDIENTS:
- 1 (8 ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
TO MAKE THE PUMPKIN ROLL:
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper, leaving an extra 1-inch of parchment sticking up on both 15-inch sides of the pan so that you can easily lift the cake out after baking. (If you’d like the parchment to stick to the bottom of the pan more easily, sprinkle a little bit of water on the pan and then press the parchment paper on top of it. You can also lightly mist the top of the parchment paper with cooking spray for easier cake release afterwards, although it’s not required.)
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and granulated sugar for 1 minute until thick. Add in the vanilla and pumpkin, and whisk until just combined. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, and stir together until just combined.
- Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until top of cake springs back when touched. Carefully lift the parchment paper and cake out onto a flat (and heat-safe) surface. Then slowly, use your hands to roll the cake — rolling from the short end to the short end — until it is completely rolled up. Transfer the cake roll to a wire rack, and cool until it reaches room temperature.
- While the cake is cooling, make the cream cheese filling (see below).
- Once the cake has reached room temperature, transfer the cake roll to a flat surface, and carefully it until it is flat again (or mostly flat, it’s ok if the ends curl up a bit). Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over cake, leaving a 3/4-inch border on all sides. Then carefully re-roll the cake, gently peeling away the parchment paper as you roll until you can completely remove and discard it. Tightly wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
- Remove and unwrap the pumpkin roll and transfer it to your serving dish. Lightly dust the pumpkin roll on all sides with powdered sugar, if you would like. Then slice* and serve.
- If you have leftovers, just re-wrap the pumpkin roll in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.
TO MAKE THE CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
- Whisk together cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until smooth. If the filling is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a half teaspoon or two of water. (You want a medium consistency so that the filling is easy to spread, but not too warm or thin that it will ooze out of the cake when you’re rolling it up.)
One of my favorite parts about seasonal baking is when your house starts smelling like pumpkin and cinnamon! Yes, please. I love the ambience when something is baking in the oven, but I have to say, my favorite part is definitely when you get to eat the goods (duh).
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Jeeze, I just love fall. Let’s recap: Blankets, blankets, blankets, candles, stovetop potpourri, throw pillows, seasonal drinks, and pumpkin baked goods. I’m all about making our home feel cozy for the season without having to purchase holiday decor. I hope these tips and tricks will help you do the same. Have other ways you make your home feel like fall? Please share in the comments!