The midday temperatures may still echo summer, but there’s a noticeable chill in the air during both mornings and evenings these days – and that means that autumn is not far away.

People can argue all they want over whether pumpkin spice or apple cider should be the signature scent and flavor of fall, but one thing is certain: Fall decor is all about cozy comfort, warmth and relaxation.

Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to update your home for fall. With just a few simple changes, you can transform the bright, airy atmosphere of your home in summer into something that speaks of the rich, earthy trends of the season.

Here’s where to start:

Dried Flowers Inside

Dried flower arrangements are back in fashion already, and there’s nothing that can revamp the look of a room like switching out the floral displays. It’s time to banish the heirloom roses, lilies and asters and replace them with something a bit more wispy and ethereal looking.

If you favor bright tones, sunflowers with a hint of orange and brown in their petals will work, but don’t be afraid to go with dried ornamental grasses, twigs of willow, fragrant eucalyptus and pale stems of Lunaria to create a distinctly autumnal flair to your home.

You can arrange your displays in vases, but don’t hesitate to experiment with a graceful wreath or two on the door or in the entranceway of your home, as well.

Potted Plants Outside

Is your garden starting to look a bit bleak? Does your front porch lack a little seasonal charm? One of the easiest ways to embrace seasonal change is to add a few new container plants to your external decor.

Chrysanthemums have become a ubiquitous part of the season, precisely because they’re heady in cold temperatures and come in an array of beautiful colors. If you’re looking for something a little bit more subtle (but possibly even more gorgeous), however, you may want to grace your pots with kale and ornamental cabbage. The chilly weather only makes these plants grow more vibrant with time.

Ornamental peppers are another seasonal favorite, and they come in all the appropriate fall colors: orange, red and yellow. If you want the look of fall but still want the memory of summer’s warmth, these may be the perfect accent plants indoors or out.

Pumpkins and Gourds

Nothing shouts “Fall is here!” from the rafters quite like a bunch of pumpkins and gourds. It’s probably a bit early to get the real deal and use them in your home decor, but there are all kinds of faux decorative items available.

Explore your local craft store and home decorating shop and pick up a ceramic pumpkin that’s artfully carved into a lace pattern so that you can use it for subtle lighting, and grab an array of artificial pumpkins and gourds for the center of your table.

As soon as pumpkin harvest season starts in earnest, get some of the real thing (in all different colors and sizes) and display them on your front steps or mantle. Long before we get into Jack-o-Lantern season, these miracles of nature can grace your home and evoke the spirit of the season.

Pillows and Blankets

It’s human instinct to retreat inside once the days start to shorten and the nights get longer, and folks love curling up against a soft throw pillow or two, sipping tea or cider under a warm blanket.

This is one of the quickest, easiest and most functional ways to shift the mood of your home toward fall. Just gather up all the pillows and lightweight throws you have sitting around in summer shades and pack them away until next year so they can be replaced with fall-appropriate versions.

Fortunately, color trends over the last few years have made it easy to mix earth tones into your decor at will. If you don’t care for deep gold, rust, orange or dark red, any rich jewel tone that compliments your decor will do, whether that’s eggplant purple, midnight blue or dark forest green. You can even mix several colors together. Just pay a little care toward the fabrics you choose: This is a tactile season, so velvets and brocades are big.

Candles, Incense and Reed Diffusers

Sight and touch aren’t the only senses we need to address if we want to coax minds toward the fall season – smells are also important.

It’s virtually impossible to walk into a place that smells of cinnamon and apples or pumpkin spice and nutmeg and not think about the changing season. The right scents can enhance the entire atmosphere of your home and add to the effect created by other small changes around each room to better reflect the season.

If you’re looking for an excuse to splurge on some nice scented candles, consider this your permission slip! Aside from pumpkin and apple, don’t overlook fall favorites like salted caramel, blood orange or sage. Incense, too, can be used to create gentle wafts of scent that will fill a room and touch the soul. If incense is too messy for you, give reed diffusers and essential oils a try. Their stark beauty will just add another fall-type element to your existing decorations.

Fairy Lights and Lanterns

If you have a fireplace, it’s really time to get it cleaned and inspected for the season so that you can start using it. If you haven’t quite gotten there – or you don’t have a fireplace – you can still create a similar vibe, however, through the magic of fairy lights and tin or stone lanterns.

A very small investment can provide you with exactly what you need to drape around the mantle or the living room windows to create a soft glow around you at night when you’re trying to relax. A couple of lanterns with battery-operated tea lights can be used to provide a warm, seasonal light throughout your favorite rooms.

Can you go bigger and bolder with your fall touches? Absolutely. If you’re so inclined and it fits your budget, you can swap out light-colored pieces of art with abstracts that match your autumn pillows, and replace the light-colored rugs with new ones in deep tones that match your new pillows, but even small touches (done right) can create an enchanting autumnal atmosphere very quickly in your home.

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