Stock Up on Fall Decor at Goodwill This Season

As the days get shorter and the weather begins to cool down, it’s natural to want to fill your home with the cozy colors of fall. Rich, subdued shades mixed with touches of green and neutral browns create a comfortable indoor atmosphere.

Whether you want to adorn your living room with a leaf motif or turn your porch into a tribute to the season’s beauty, you have plenty of options. However, echoing the colors and textures of nature can get expensive, especially if you shop only at craft and home goods stores. You’re likely to blow through your budget before getting your hands on half of what you planned to buy.

What’s the solution to your decorating dilemma? Head to some nearby Goodwill stores. You never know what treasures you’ll come across when you visit, and everything is priced just right for seasonal decorating on a budget. DIY supplies, fall décor inspiration and simple items to upcycle are all available at Goodwill, making it easy to combine thrifty shopping with your favorite trends to create fun autumn designs.

Transform your home this season with these craft projects you can make using Goodwill finds.

Sweater Vases
Thrift stores are perfect places to find discounted sweaters in a range of colors and designs. Many Goodwill locations have an impressive collection of clothes, and you should be able to get several sweaters in your favorite autumn shades.

Look for sweaters with textured patterns, cables or other unique designs down the sleeves to make the most eye-catching finished product. Grab some simple round vases without adornments to go with the sweaters. Clear and white vases work the best, but it doesn’t matter what color they are as long as it won’t show through the sweater sleeves.

You don’t need to do any sewing to put this project together. Simply cut the sleeves off the sweaters, slide them over the vases, and trim them down to size. For a cleaner edge, leave a little extra fabric, and fold it over the top of the vase. Fill each covered vase with your choice of fall décor, and place them around the house for a seasonal touch.

Sweater Sleeve Door Wreath
If you’re up for a more labor-intensive project, try turning sweaters from a Goodwill thrift store into a fall wreath. For this eye-catching décor, you’ll need:

• A sweater
• Wreath form
• Hot glue gun
• Scissors
• Sewing machine
• Fall décor items, such as leaf garland, faux flowers or faux fruit
• Ribbon

Most of the basic items can be found at Goodwill, so even if you have to spend a little more on a couple of things from the craft store, this project is still budget friendly.

To make your wreath, cut the sleeves off the sweater. Cut them open, face the right sides toward each other and sew the ends together to make one long sleeve. Cut the cuffs off, and wrap the sleeves around the wreath form. Use hot glue to secure the sleeves to the form until it’s completely covered.

When the fabric is dry, start decorating. Glue on a collection of fall items in whatever pattern or grouping you like, and finish it all off with a big piece of ribbon tied around the top. Hang it on your door or in the front hall to greet guests all season long.

Pedestal Centerpieces
At Goodwill locations like MERS Goodwill, it’s easy to find home goods you can put together to create new pieces for your fall table. The next time you visit Goodwill stores, look for some decorative, sturdy candlesticks and a few plates. Don’t worry about the colors matching or if there are small blemishes on any of the items. You’ll be painting everything in your choice of fall shades.

Choose paint colors in harmony with both the atmosphere of the season and the basic décor of your kitchen, and paint the plates and candlesticks to create matching sets. When everything is dry, glue the plates to the candlesticks, and decide what décor items you want to arrange on top. Faux pumpkins, dried gourds, wooden apples and other seasonal touches are all beautiful choices.

Place the finished pedestals on your dining table or the sideboard to enjoy throughout the season, or save them for Thanksgiving to use as part of your holiday table theme.

Fall Cake Stand Display
If you don’t have time to assemble a table centerpiece for the holiday, it’s easy to get the same effect with a cake stand. Find a few designs you love at your local Goodwill, pick up some simple fall décor items, and create the same kind of arrangement as you would for the candlestick project. Try these eye-catching pieces for a true touch of fall:

• Pine cones
• Gourds
• Dried branches
• Faux leaves
• Faux flowers

Tie some decorative ribbon around the pedestal of the cake stand as a finishing touch. It will look like you spent hours on this project even though it only takes a few minutes.

Mason Jar Candle Holders
Nothing says classic DIY like mason jar crafts, and candle holders are just about the easiest thing to make using this iconic glassware. You can find a variety of jars at any Goodwill thrift store, so it’s easy to create a whole collection of unique candle holders to place around your home or give as gifts this fall.

Look for clear jars rather than tinted glass so that the colors of fall and the light from the candles can show through without distortion. As you browse, keep an eye out for fall filler, such as faux acorns or mini pumpkins. You can even use multicolor popcorn if it strikes your fancy. Gather up a few tea lights or small votives, and you’re ready to go.

Making the candle holders only requires three steps:

• Fill the bottom of each jar with your choice of fall filler
• Tuck a candle into the center of the jar
• Wrap decorative wire around the top

When you’re done, light the candles to enjoy the cozy glow.

Multi-Purpose Painted Mugs
What happens when you combine a few stencils, some white mugs and some paint in your favorite autumn colors? You get an inexpensive project you can complete in an afternoon and enjoy for years.

You can almost always count on thrift stores to have mugs in stock, and you won’t pay nearly as much for them as you would at a craft or home goods store. Using these as your “canvas,” stencil designs like leaves, acorns and pumpkins on the sides. If the paint is heat-proof, go ahead and brew yourself a cup of pumpkin spice tea once your mugs are dry. If not, use the mugs to hold small décor items, or fill them with little gifts for your friends and family.

Pillar Candle Table Decorations
Candles add a warm touch to the dinner table any time, but they’re especially pretty during the fall when the sun sets a bit earlier each evening. Instead of just sticking a couple of taper candles in candle holders, why not use some thrift store finds to make a decorative centerpiece?

Wooden bowls, plates and trays serve as rustic bases and can be picked up for a few dollars, and pillar candles are available in a variety of colors. White is a classic choice, but you may be able to find red, orange and gold candles or pillars already decorated with fall motifs. Multicolored rocks add a natural finishing touch.

Arrange your candles in your wooden bases of choice, and fill the surrounding spaces with rocks. Add some decorative pine cones or faux branches to the edges, or leave the centerpiece unadorned for a clean, simple look. Light the candles each night at dinner, and enjoy the sense of elegance they bring to the atmosphere.

Versatile Pumpkin Porch Décor
Pumpkins are an iconic part of fall, and faux versions of these squashes are as abundant as real ones throughout the season. Together with a bit of floral foam, some paint and whatever fall accents catch your eye, a pumpkin becomes a décor piece you can update each year and set on your porch to give guests a warm autumn welcome.

Remove the top from the faux pumpkin, and paint the outside in your desired color. Once the paint is dry, add the floral foam and arrange accent pieces in it, such as:

• Fabric flowers
• Faux leaves
• Corn husks
• Feathers
• Dried branches

Rearrange your collection every time fall rolls around, or change it up completely with a new set of decorations.

Pressed Leaves Under Glass
Are you looking for a fun fall project to do with your kids? After a walk around your yard and a quick trip to MERS Goodwill, you’ll have all you need to make beautiful fall décor and lifelong memories.

Start in the yard, and have your kids hunt for colorful leaves. Let them pick a few of their favorites before sorting through them together to find the best ones. Choose bright, colorful leaves with good shapes and as few spots as possible. Bring them indoors, and sandwich them between pieces of wax paper. Place the paper between two heavy books or in the pages of one large book, and let the leaves dry and flatten out.

At Goodwill, pick up a few frames in fun colors and designs. When the leaves are ready, place them in the frames individually or in groups to create simple displays to hang on the wall or set on the mantle where you and your kids can admire them together.

Repurposed Apple Basket
Use thrift store décor items to transform a simple miniature bushel basket into something you’d be proud to showcase on your dining table or in the living room. Look for a small basket with a handle, and find colorful fall items you’d like to put inside. You may wish to follow a Thanksgiving theme and create a decoration just for the holiday or aim for a traditional fall motif to enjoy throughout the season.

Paint the basket an attractive seasonal color, or leave the wood showing for a natural look. Arrange miniature pumpkins, gourds, pine cones, branches or leaves inside the basket in any combination you’d like. Adorn the handle with decorative ribbon or seasonal garland. When you’re done, display your creation indoors or on the porch.

Simple Thanksgiving Table Decorations
Clear vases and candle holders are perfect budget items for inexpensive DIY decorating. You can load up on as many as you like in different heights, shapes and sizes at Goodwill without breaking the bank. While you’re shopping, look for appropriate fall items to put into or arrange around your glassware, including:

• Branches with small faux berries
• Decorative birds or other wildlife knickknacks
• Leaf garland
• Filler in seasonal themes
• Fabric flowers or plastic flowers
• Candles in autumn colors

Lay your whole collection out on the table, and get creative. Place candles into the candleholders, and surround them with flowers or leaves. Fill vases part of the way with fall filler, and use them to hold arrangements of branches. Mix and match until your table looks just right. If you have a few décor items left, use them as finishing touches for your centerpiece.

You don’t have to strain your budget to make your home cozier and more inviting for the season. When you shop at Goodwill stores, you not only save money on craft supplies and unique décor items but also contribute to the work Goodwill does in your community. Instead of patronizing “big box” stores and giving your money to large corporations, you support programs designed to create positive change in your neighborhood.

Everything you can make for fall from Goodwill items is just as beautiful as the décor found in home good stores and catalogs, and it’s fun to put your own personal touches on the pieces you create. DIY fall projects are a great way to get the family together and do something different on a rainy day or chilly evening, and you can all feel good knowing your purchases helped make a difference in other people’s lives.