There’s something refreshing, invigorating, and exciting about that first autumnal chill, and the beginning of October always hits me with a burst of nesting inspiration. Visions of cozy evenings in, candlelit laughter with my family, and piles of plaid blankets dance through my head—and I start to look at my uncluttered spring-and-summer home decor with new eyes.
In a year where many of us need a fresh start and a way to celebrate a new season, it’s likewise important that we take a moment to center ourselves. Perhaps celebrating the magic of fall could have a therapeutic effect, as we surround ourselves with soothing self-care items, warm color palettes, and candles galore.
As I look to create the cozy nest of a home that my family will be burrowing in for months to come, here are my sources of wintry inspiration—take what works for you and let’s decorate together!
Curl up in blankets
If you do nothing else, take this extremely important winter-prep step: go up to your linen cupboard or wherever you store your blankets, take them out in a huge, lovely armful, and whisk them to your living room . . . stat. Pile them on your couch. Adorn your floors. Corral them in a nice basket, if you crave some order. (Purposeful disorder is the name of the fall decor game, though. Embrace it!)
Layer your rugs
If you’ve been unsure about embracing the area-rug-over-carpet or rug-over-rug trend, now’s a good time to jump in. Even if it’s subconscious, all of those different textures will signal to your brain that it’s time to slow down. (Sort of like speed bumps, but not really.) Throw in a flokati rug for maximum cozy vibes.
Swap out your bedding
Where tencel, cotton, and jersey will feel better in the warmer months because of their moisture-wicking properties, flannel sheets are a good investment when the temperature starts to drop. It’ll reduce those few frantic moments of “warming up the bed” on chill evenings when you’re trying to relax . . . although, do be warned, it will make getting up on frosty mornings much more difficult.
A warm ambiance
Candles, candles, candles
There’s something about their soft flicker that makes it hard to be paranoid or panicky, you know? Get several and keep them out at all times. Actually, this is a great time of year for any softer lighting choices, such as twinkle lights or rock salt lights. Basically, the goal is to make your home feel like it exists in an alternate dimension where it’s always golden hour! Candles, twinkle lights, dimmed lights, and more: go for it!
Get ready for power outages
While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about power outages. During the fall and winter months, these can be more common because of adverse weather. They can also be more devastating, because for many of us it’ll be cold and dark more of the time.
The difference between a catastrophic power outage and one that feels a little more manageable is very simple: preparation. The blankets we talked about earlier? Keep them out. The candles I just mentioned? They can serve a practical purpose as well as a cozy one at the same time! Make sure your flashlights have batteries, put together a quick plan as to what you’ll do when the power goes out, and relax: that’s one less thing to worry about.
Get a great humidifier
Winter air can get dry very quickly, which can lead to rough skin and chapped lips. It can increase coughing, too—and it isn’t even that great for your home and furniture. You don’t have to pay top dollar for a decent humidifier, and it’ll make a world of difference for how you feel in the winter. If you have essential oils laying around, get one that doubles as a diffuser. The light scent of orange and cinnamon in the air is always a welcome autumnal treat!
Cozy home decor
Now’s also the time to lean into nostalgic pieces of home decor that make you smile. Where spring feels more fresh, clean, and modern, when it comes time for fall you want family pictures, heirlooms, and things that feel romantically dusty (but maybe without the dust) on display.
Swap out your throw pillows
You can pick up adorable fall-inspired pillow covers in a variety of different styles (from plaid numbers, ones with subtly autumnal colors, or even covers bedecked with welcoming fall phrases) to turn your current pillows into seasonal decor. It’s a bit of work up front, but different pillow covers can dramatically change the feel of your space.
Feature rustic nature
Warm faux plants, such as olive, eucalyptus, or maple, are great. Dry a bouquet of flowers for a natural nostalgic piece. Alternatively, simply use more branches in home decorating. They can go wherever you have space: mantels, over doors, mirrors, in a vase as a table centerpiece, and more!
Take your board games out of storage; stack classic novels on the coffee table. You’re going to be spending more time inside soon—might as well scatter some reminders around that more indoor time doesn’t necessarily mean more screen time!
Pull out the pumpkins
It’s a cliché, but a few pumpkins scattered hither and yon around your home will definitely up the autumnal feel. Plus, they’re the ultimate practical decor: you can make pumpkin pies, pumpkin smoothies, and roasted pumpkin seeds from them after they’ve run their course as decorations. (If you do plan to cook with your pumpkins, pay attention to which varieties you buy; not all pumpkins are created equal when it comes to actually eating them.)
Of course, this brings us to…
Decorate with seasonal candies
Simply take some little bowls or ramekins from your kitchen, fill with nuts, caramel candies, dried fruit or other goodies, and put them around your home. They’ll look beautiful, and they’ll literally add a little bit of sweetness to your daily life!
Make sure your baking supplies are ready to go
Every year, about the second week of October, I suddenly get an insatiable need to make cookies and cakes at home. Be an enabler for your future self: stock up on parchment paper, baking powder, brown sugar, and other cooking basics so when the urge strikes, you’re ready.
Honestly, I’m down for winterizing my home just for the incredible fall-based treats. However, as I look around at my friends and family, it seems that all of us are truly in need of a break. Taking a moment (or an afternoon!) to intentionally make our environments more festive can have a real impact on our happiness levels. Let’s all take a moment now, now that fall is underway, to reset our environments to encourage our family’s peace of mind.