Warm Up to Cold Weather
Got the chills? Swap out your old throw for this heated electric blanket made of pure polyester fleece. The 50-by-60-inch comforter has three temperature settings, which you can adjust by remote control, to deliver non-stop warmth. The six-foot power cord plugs into any wall outlet or properly rated extension cord, allowing you to cover up—and cozy up—in any corner of the home. Available on Amazon; $29.99.
You don't need a working hearth to set your home aglow with warmth and light. All it takes is a few decorative candle holders, pillar candles, and a bit of imagination to set up this illumined vignette in front of a nonfunctional fireplace or decorative mantel. Opt for candle holders of different heights to emulate the look of a natural fire with slender flames situated at random.
Curling up by a roaring fire can become an everyday cold-season pastime when you keep this wrought-iron log holder by the hearth stocked full of chopped wood. The lining of the log holder, an attractive removable canvas tote with handles, makes it a cinch to transport kindling from the yard into your home. Available on Amazon; $25.75
Fall is in the air—that is, if you whip up a batch of this swoon-worthy stovetop potpourri. What's the recipe for success? In a small saucepan over heat, simmer a combination of sliced oranges or lemons, a handful of heartier fruits such as apples or cranberries, and your favorite spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are all prime picks in concocting an autumnal aroma your guests won't soon to forget.
Floors of Fancy
Nab the luxurious look of sheepskin for your wooden, tile, or marble floor with this no-slip faux fur rug. Since the pure polyester rug is non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and doesn't shed, you can even lay it on fabric stools, couches, or beds for a boost of comfort and coziness. When the rug needs a wash, simply give it a spin in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. Available on Amazon; $19.98.
Related: 10 Area Rugs You Can Actually Afford
One Step Ahead
Step up storage and style in one go with this homemade blanket ladder. You won't need a hammer or nails to bring the look home, since copper pipe fittings affixed with hot glue are enough to fashion the wooden dowels into a decorative ladder. The lean and lanky end result keeps your blankets and winter wears high and dry without stealing precious closet space.
Related: 10 Sneaky Ways to Store Winter Gear
On chilly evenings, wrap yourself up in this soft-as-clouds blanket made from pure merino wool. The chunky knit throw is available in a variety of sizes, from 16-by-23 inches, ideal for little ones, to 86-by-86 inches, fit for a king-sized bed. With so many options, you'll want to get one for every room in the house. Available on Etsy; from $53.
etsy.com via woolexperts
The classic crochet technique of star stitching, created by stitching multiple rows of adjacent spikes resembling stars, can be used to create home accents ranging from coin purses to mug koozies. This DIY featuring the intricate stitch pays tribute to sweater season with autumnal colors and a wood button closure that lets you easily dress up your coffee cup when it's too hot—or too drab—to handle.
Weave Out Clutter
Your go-to helper on lazy cleaning days, this woven wicker basket makes it easy to get out-of-season blankets, out-of-place pillows, and unruly scarves off of bedroom or living room floors in seconds. Of course, the generous one-and-a-half-foot depth of the storage essential leaves plenty of room for newspapers, magazines, and books, if that's what you prefer to stash. Available at Target; $31.99.
Give Mud the Boot
This entryway essential shows sopping boots and mud-tracked sneakers the door before they make a mess of your carpet or wood floor. Recreate the no-fuss boot rack by assembling scrap pine planks and boards, galvanized iron flanges and pipes, and swiveling casters with wood glue. The completed project boasts a rustic hand-hewn finish that perfectly complements a farmhouse-inspired foyer.
While traditional curtains merely obscure sunlight, these thermal blackout curtains go the extra mile to block out 85 to 99 percent of harsh ultraviolet rays. Boasting energy-efficient triple-weave blackout fabric, the machine-washable window dressings also moderate indoor temperatures and reduce noise to afford more comfortable and quiet living spaces. Available on Amazon; $23.93.
Turn a Corner
Don't have the square footage to build the home library of your dreams? Create a scaled-down study by turning a do-nothing corner of the home into an ultra-functional reading nook. A few simple but artful additions, from hanging chairs or miniature teepees, to floating book shelves and rope lights, can transform even the most awkward alcove into an awe-inspiring retreat for bookworms of all ages.
Related: 10 Novel DIYs for a Better Bookshelf
Zillow Digs home in Hopewell, NJ
Shed light on dusky doorways, brooding bedrooms, and pitch-black patios with this compact five-inch-tall lantern, made for indoors or out. The hurricane glass shade offers ample room for pillar candles or tea lights to give your space a soft, relaxing glow. With the hand-hewn look of the metal trim, it adds the perfect rustic touch for the autumn and winter seasons. Available on hayneedle.com; $17.99.
Stave off water damage on your favorite bath-time reads by building this over-the-tub essential to safely and dryly stash them. The three-layered design of the alder wood caddy features a book holder that lifts into a stand for a more comfortable reading experience. The only thing that could improve your bubble bath is a glass of bubbly by your side, so the tray also features a slot to slide in the stem of a wine glass.
Fresh Fall Scents
America's favorite candle brand makes a dramatic entrance into autumn with this Yankee candle gift set of ten votives—two each of five fall-friendly scents. Light up your favorite flavor to banish odors while filling your home with the scintillating scent of autumn wreaths, sage and citrus, spiced pumpkin, Macintosh apples, or cinnamon sticks. Available on Amazon; $27.99.
A wax and a wick are the humble makings of every candle—so why splurge on a store bought votive when you can easily and affordably make your own? This no-fuss candle recipe turns wax flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove into a holiday-inspired concoction that can readily be poured into bargain glass jars with pre-waxed wicks. When the wax sets, trim and light the wick, then watch as the scent of autumn fills your home!
Thanks to a graceful silhouette and an asymmetrical opening emulating the look of real melted wax, this flameless pillar candle is as much a hit with the safety-conscious as it is with the style-conscious. The no-mess, no-smoke battery-operated paraffin wax candle produces a mesmerizing flickering effect at random intervals and includes an automatic shut-off feature to self-extinguish its faux flame after five hours of use. Available on wayfair.com; $28.99.
Even if your digs are deprived of a built-in fireplace, you can still evoke its hominess by constructing a faux fireplace set against an empty expanse of the wall. This creatively conceived homemade hearth, complete with a mantel, features a facade of scrap lumber and ornate cornices made of shelf brackets. The finished woodwork can be adorned with stockings, candles, potted plants, and more. However you decorate it, the fireplace is bound to ignite inspiration, if not real flames, in any room it lives.
Dodge the Draft
Lowering your heating costs and boosting your indoor comfort is simple when you put this window insulator kit to work on old or drafty windows. Simply cut the insulator film, then apply the mounting tape and film to the window frame and window glass, respectively. The easy-install clear insulation can increase the heat resistance of a single-pane window by a whopping 90 percent, leaving you warm and your wallet in tact all season. Available on Amazon; $15.12.
Pining for the Holidays
This DIY pinecone wreath helps reduce pinecone pile-ups outdoors while putting their good looks to good use in the doorway, foyer, or above the mantel. To recreate it, simply wrap and then tie your favorite color of yarn around the base of each pinecone, then string on another conifer and repeat until you've created a full wreath. You can even dip the conifers in white paint before tying them together to create a magical snow-covered effect.
Brisk temperatures call for warm beverages! To make your home feel more like a winter lodge, serve up your freshly brewed coffee or favorite steeped tea (like the Hot Cinnamon Spice from Harney & Sons, available on Amazon) in a mug that you'd expect to find in an enamel camp set. Emblazoned with the design, "The Adventure Begins" this 12-ounce cup brings to mind the image of a roaring fire—even if you only have yourself an electric one to curl up by. Available on Amazon; $10.13.
Sweaters stained or snagged last season aren't quite fit to donate and still wasteful to trash, so why not repurpose the parts without damage? The end of a sleeve is all you need to create candle cozies, as the crafty blogger at BrePea found. Slide a candle of your choice through to the opening where a hand might pop out, twist the excess sleeve at the candle's bottom, then lop off what you won't need. A needle, thread, and this photo tutorial will wrap up your DIY in minutes.
A microwavable heating pack provides warmth and comfort in an instant—perfect for after-work relaxation on a chilly night. You can buy fancy schmancy heating packs in stores but it's more economical (and fun!) to make your own. This version comes together with all-cotton fabric (no metal threads, please), embroidery floss, and a few pounds of uncooked rice. Once you've stitched it closed, zap it on high for about a minute, lay it over your shoulders, and enjoy. Find the kitty template and full tutorial at A Beautiful Mess.
Reverse a Throw
This cozy little number is two blankets in one. On one side, a traditional geometric knit calls to mind the comfort of a highlands sweater, while on the other, faux lamb's wool provides a plush texture. Keep it slung over your favorite arm chair for warmth when you need it, and a touch of practical but pretty decor. Available at hayneedle.com; $19.99.
From veteran DIY blogger, here's a simple step-by-step tutorial showing you how to make an area rug out of hardworking sisal rope. All natural, with a color somewhere on the spectrum between earthy brown and harvest gold, sisal says fall. Even better: It costs next to nothing when you buy it by the foot. Place your sisal rug in the mudroom or foyer—or on any tile, stone, or concrete floor surface whose comfort goes away when the weather turns cold.
Related: The Best 10 Doormats Under $50
Keep Out the Cold
Cozy? You can't even be comfortable if there's a draft. Draft dodgers, like this one, are a quick and affordable solution for blocking brisk air from slipping through the seams under window sashes and exterior doors. If you're good with a needle and thread, you can create your own, no problem. But if sewing was never your strong suit, don't worry—even the most stylish pre-made examples rarely cost more than $20. Available at Etsy; $13.
You’ve brewed a comforting cup of hot tea, then settled into your favorite chair with a book and blanket—only to discover that the beverage has become lukewarm. With the Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer, you won’t have to venture to the microwave to reheat your cuppa. The nifty 17-watt gadget, which plugs into the wall with an extended cord, maintains the temperature of your hot beverages. Try it with coffee, hot chocolate, tea, cider, and more! Available on Amazon; $8.99.
Related: 11 Uses for Coffee Grounds
Want to add a touch of ambience to your living space? Then recreate this rustic candle holder from Rebekah of Charming Imperfections! The seasonal decor piece was inspired by the natural simplicity of Scandinavian Christmas decorations. Besides a tree branch and candles, you’ll only need a handful of materials to complete the project: chicken wire, mason jars, twine, wall hooks, and wire snaps. Hang the branch anywhere in your home to invoke a warm and welcoming feeling.
Warm and Fuzzies
No bed or couch is ever really complete without being adorned with some soft pillows—and you can't get much softer than this faux Mongolian fur throw pillow from Target. The 18-by-18-inch cream pillow adds instant warmth and coziness to any room. Just imagine resting your head on this soft, fuzzy treat. Available at Target; $19.99.
Related: 10 Coffee Tables for Under $100
Whether or not you’re a fan of pumpkin spice lattes, everyone can agree that cold weather means enjoying more warm beverages—from tea to hot cider, or just a cup of piping hot coffee. Rather than letting the mugs, tea bags, and K-cups take up valuable cabinet and counter space, copy this stunning—but simple—DIY coffee bar. Putting it together will take you less than a day, and once you're done you'll have a sleek, organized spot for your beverage essentials.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!