The kids are back to school and the air is turning a little brisker. Now is the perfect time to spruce up your home and make simple seasonal changes in your decor.

Pumpkins and mums on the front steps? Sure thing! But there are many more steps you can take to add festive touches to your house this fall!

Bring the Outdoors In

Fill a large bowl with leaves, pinecones, pretty branches, and rocks you find out of doors. Get creative and add some dried flowers, like hydrangeas, too.

Warm Up the Colors 

Add some rich fall colors to your living spaces. Reds, oranges, dark greens, and burgundies add lovely pops of color to a room. Now’s the time to pull out (or purchase) a couple of colorful throw blankets and drape them over chairs and couches. You can also fill large wicker floor baskets with cozy blankets, or roll and stack them on a small stool or corner bench. The brighter, the better.

Scent the air

Cinnamon and pine are delicious autumn scents that add a festive feeling on crisp fall days. Put pinecones in baskets near the front door or fireplace, or even in the bathroom. Simmer potpourri with apples and cinnamon, or make hot apple cider. Buy pumpkin scented candles and melts, or diffuse essential oils like orange, cinnamon, or clove. The smell of fresh apple pie is a wonderful way to greet guests, or welcome the kids home from school.

Take over the walls

At this time of year, I pull out fall storage boxes for handprints and tree crafts to hang in my kitchen. Kids of all ages enjoy decorating pine cones and pumpkins and making seasonal posters and leave collages, if you provide the materials. Grab some fall leaves from the yard, then pick up pumpkins, pinecones, poster board, rubber cement, colored paper, and markers, and let the kids loose.

Add indoor lighting

Since the days are darker, indoor lights will help create a cozy, festive atmosphere. String orange or white lights over a mantle, around an artificial plant. or a stair rail. Light candles or use battery operated ones. Put fairy lights in a vase. Brighten your rooms with a fun party look!

Bring on the pumpkins 

Place miniature pumpkins in bowls and baskets, add them to your fireplace mantle or countertop, or stack larger ones outside your front door. Nothing says fall like pumpkins!

Get stringing.

Have a chandelier, a fireplace mantle, or an empty wall or doorway? Hang ornaments in fall colors or string leaves and berries.

Creating a festive atmosphere will make your home more fun and inviting, and will help develop family rituals your kids will cherish.