Autumn apartment phase one is actually a very simple concept. Basically, watching the days slowly shorten and the rusted leaves fall to the ground can either feel depressing (shiiiit, summer’s over…) or awesome (‘sup, prettiest season?).
I’m aiming for awesome.
I have two roommates, Miranda and Lloyd. When I told her that I like to seasonal-ize my surroundings, Miranda thought the whole thing made perfect sense. Lloyd, on the other hand, could not have been more confused. YES, I explained, it was/is important to match the energy outside to the energy inside. And, yes, the colours and the smell and the feeling of fall are all way too beautiful to just ignore. Lloyd gave me a raised eyebrow, but told me to go for it, “I guess.”
There are two phases to fall décor, in my (crazy, according to Lloyd) opinion. The first major one is in mid-September, and it errs on the Thanksgiving side of things—warm smells with subtle reds, oranges, and browns. The second phase happens when Halloween enters the scene in October. I try very hard to avoid being tacky in both phases, but by nature autumn is bound to be a little corny.
That was a really bad joke, I’m sorry. Moving on…
Some of my decorations were a small investment, but almost everything was done on a student budget. Here are a couple of my favourite ways to subtly welcome in September:
- Soap. Smell matters, probably more than anything. The easiest and most effective way to bring a season inside is to keep its best smells around. I try to buy soaps when they’re on post-season sale, which is pretty much the ideal way to go about everything décor-wise. Even at regular price, though, soap has to be one of the least expensive and most effective ways to bring about autumn apartment phase one. I use: Roman Apple scented liquid soap. It came from the grocery store at some point throughout the year, and I just stored it away until it made sense for my hands to smell like apples.Other favourites: You can’t go wrong with Bath & Body Works this year. They have 35 Fall-themed scents in adorable soap dispensers, priced at a totally reasonable $5.50 each (or $15 for 4, if you’re in the market for some early stocking stuffers or want to pack up fruitier scents for Spring/Summer). Their line of fall products even goes insofar as lotions and shower gels, so if you want your whole body to smell like the season they’ve got you covered. (Also, there’s always the grocery store. Also, Shoppers Drug Mart.)
- Candles. Candles are the main reason that I was able to finally get Lloyd to mutter some approval in the form of “Well, it does definitely smell good in here.” I love candles, but have trouble justifying dropping too much money on something with the sole intention of setting it on fire. It’s best to just go with the most inexpensive option, usually scented tea lights, and find a way to make those tea lights look good. The way to get cheap candles to look good, as always, is to let them shine through the right container. Like this:
See, easy right? Martini glasses are the best for holding tea lights because their small bases make for the perfect resting spot.
The centrepiece my candle cups are sitting on is awesome. Miranda REALLY likes it. My roommates last year really liked it, too. It was somewhere between $20 and $30 at Homesense, but has already been well worth it–especially since I will be able to use it for years to come.
- Tablecloths & Linens. Tinted trees are one of the best things about the season, so what could make more sense than tinted tables? Colour can create and instant and radical change to the energy of a place. Throwing a gold cloth on our kitchen table and a thin red sheet on the coffee table was probably the easiest and most dramatic fall-ification I was able to bring to the space. (Coming in a close second: The regular use of words like “fall-ification.”)
Gold and red are both good calls because a) they pop, and b) they can be easily used for Christmas, too. In my case, tablecloths also serve the very important purpose of hiding any evidence that I found both of these tables discarded on peoples’ driveways. Side of the road furniture can be sexy too? Maybe?
- Little Things. As time goes on and you navigate post-season sales, dollar stores, garage sales, and so on, keep your eyes open for accents. I’ll be honest, most of mine came from Homesense.
Homesense is awesome. Though I should warn you, I have still been unable to find my favourite fall accessory there…
Yup, that’s the one.
Happy September everybody!