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9 interior designer tips to create a cozier home this fall

It's way easier than you think.

interior designer tips

With the hottest summer days behind us, autumn presents the opportunity to layer our homes, add in darker solid colors, and build on a variety of kid-friendly textures. For me, transitioning your home into fall is one of the most rewarding switches in a seasonal calendar.

But when you're managing a household, working full-time or simply don't have the energy to think about changing your decor, mamas can be left confused on making the most of the space without spending too much time.

But simple upgrades can pack a punch and make your home cozy with minimal effort. Remember—don't overthink your decor and spend loads of money refreshing your space. The name of the game is to do what feels right. A few changes and elements can make chilly months comfy and memorable for you and your family.

Here are 9 easy ways to create a cozy home this fall:


1. Decorate with quilts + blankets.

quilts + blankets

@hellomikee/twenty20

Quilts and plaid blankets are great to have in a playroom or bedroom when the weather is chilly, but they are great for adding warmth to dining rooms, too. Vintage or plaid designs are easily available in flea markets or thrift stores and make for a great addition on your dining table.

Simply throw them over a chair or the corner of your dining room table. As the temperature drops, you'll be appreciative of the extra warmth during a family meal.

Editor pick: Sunday Citizen snug bed blanket

2. Layer pillows + cushions.

pillows

@maginnis/Twenty20

Fall is perfect for layering and one of the simplest ways to do it is by adding pillows and cushions to a room. Having comfy cushions on the floor give you the perfect setting to cuddle in with your little one on a cold night. Pro tip: When decorating your couch or bed in your room, have an odd number of throw pillows to make your accent pillow stand out.

Editor pick: Sunday Citizen snug toss pillow

3. Reupholster sofas with jewel tones.

bight sofas

@9_fingers_/Twenty20

Sofas and sectionals are arguably the largest item in the highest traffic area of your home. Adding rich, opulent jewel tones to them adds a unique feel without painting your walls or spending lots of money on accessories.

Try reupholstering your couch in vibrant ruby red, emerald green, fuchsia, teal and even orange colors for instant autumn vibes that also hide spills and marker stains from the summer. If you don't have the money to spend, drape a colorful piece of fabric over your furniture. When summer arrives, swap it with a brighter, softer color.

Editor pick: Sleepenvie sofi 103

4. Add large area rugs.

area rugs

The Sill

Walking over soft rugs with your bare feet will make you feel warm and fuzzy. When possible, buy woolen rugs as they are the most durable and tend to be the best quality.

If your home has a warmer color scheme, it might be a good idea to keep the colors of your rug neutral. However, if your decor has muted hues, a brighter area rug is the way to go.

Editor pick: Lorena Canals azteca washable rug

5. Light candles often.

candle

@monikadaga94/twenty20

Our sense of smell influences how we experience our environment. As such, one of the best ways for you to elevate your home during the fall is to light candles with warm, spicy and autumnal fragrances like the Chillhouse palo santo & chill candle or Home of Chiji positive vibes crystal energy candle. They can instantly uplift your mood (and your kiddos) and put you in a calm space.

Additionally, if you don't have a fireplace, a grouping of candles is a brilliant way to add touches of light throughout your living room. Keep candles as high as possible to avoid children playing with them.

Editor pick: thisworks deep sleep heavenly candle

6. Embrace soft lighting.

table lamp

@dariariabova/twenty20

With the sun setting earlier in the fall season, the best way to light up your home is with soft or concealed lighting. A well-executed ambient light can make or break a room. Need ideas? For starters, avoid overhead lighting as it can make a room feel cold and harsh.

Instead, light a bunch of scented candles or use subtle, warm-toned LEDs in a table lamp to give your home ample ambient light.

For kitchens, try under cabinet lighting that can double as accent lighting.

Editor pick: West Elm sphere + stem shade

7. Play with plants.

plants at home

The Sill

Did you know that having plants in your home can reduce psychological and physiological stress? Seeing peaceful plants around your home will help you feel calm and more at ease throughout the day.

I like adding small cacti and succulents to my desk, or even an indoor palm tree to my living room. If you're new to #plantlife, opt for plants that don't require too much care, and of course, are kid-friendly.

Editor pick: The Sill potted marble pothos

8. Create a reading nook.

reading nook

@laurenvbreen/Twenty20

The colder months are perfect for reading your favorite book while sipping on a warm cup of tea and snuggling with kids. A reading nook is, in fact, one of the easiest ways to get your home ready for the fall without spending too much money. Simply find a spot and add colorful pillows.

If possible, select a spot next to a window to ensure it's brightly lit, but also allows you to experiment with colors, textures and layers. It's the perfect place to settle after a long day.

Editor pick: Boundless Blooms Mindful Moments: Guided Exercises and Mantras for Kids

9. Texture, texture, texture!

texture at home

The Sill

Adding natural, raw materials and fibers in your home can add depth and dimension to rooms. Materials like cane, wood, tweed and embroidery are some of the best ways to incorporate organic texture throughout your home that won't shed or create more of a mess to clean up.

I love to play with textured baskets—they're practical (yay for extra storage) and add rustic flair to any setting.

And don't forget your walls. Applying embossed removable wallpaper in various rooms (especially a playroom) helps a room stand out.

Editor pick: Hawkins New York woven basket


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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Detective set

Plan Toys detective set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

Stylish storage cabinet

Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

White board calendar + bulletin board

With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

Bamboo storage drawers

The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

Laminated world map

I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

Letterboard

From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

Expandable tablet stand

Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

Neutral pocket chart

Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

Totable fabric bins

My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

Work + Money

Kate Hudson’s kids prove that siblings with a big age gap can still have a close bond

These pics of a big brother and baby sister are too sweet.

Ryder Robinson

To be born close in age to your siblings is a special experience. You have a built-in playmate and BFF for life, but being born after an age gap certainly has its benefits, too.

Parents who are expecting again when their older children are already into double digits may wonder what the sibling bond will look like when the kids have more than a decade between them. Well, look no further, because Kate Hudson's oldest son, 14-year-old Ryder Robinson took to Instagram to show the world that while he and baby Rani Rose may not be playmates they have an equally powerful sibling bond.

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