Day 2: Decorating with nature (for free!)

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This post is part of 31 day series – 31 days to decorate your home on a budget.  You can catch up on all the posts in this series here.

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I don’t think I quite realized all the ways you could use nature or natural elements to decorate your house until I started following frugal décor blogs 2 years ago.

Nature is all around you (just step out in your backyard!) and the best part is it is FREE! Smile  So take a look around outside or the next time you are at the park and imagine using some of the things you see as décor in your home.  Some of it will be seasonal, some can be used year round.

Here’s some ways I use nature to decorate in my home…

My all time-favorite wreath made with magnolia leaves.

magnolia wreath

Quick tutorial:

Simple and easy to make – start with some clean, dry magnolia leaves.  (You can either use the already –brown ones, or flip over the green leaves to the other side which is brown.)


I used a grapevine wreath and tucked them in here and there securing with dots of hot glue.


Add in some berry sprays and a bow made with burlap scraps and you have a gorgeous, natural wreath!


I have shells, starfish, and sand dollars in my nautical themed bathroom collected from our vacations at the beach.


And here are some fall-themed decorations made from nature:

Pinecone wreath with candle as a centerpiece


Another centerpiece using pinecones and fall leaves as fillers around a candle


Quick tutorial

Here’s how to create something like this: Use any bowl that you have (I put coasters in the bottom to raise the candle up higher.)


Then add in your fillers – pinecones, fall leaves, acorns, whatever you want.  And you have a quick, easy, and FREE centerpiece!


Here’s another idea: fill any bowl or container with acorns (or any kind of nuts), add a candle, and you have a festive another centerpiece.


These are Dollar Store hurricanes that you might have seen floating all around blog land.  There are so many ways to decorate with these.  I simply filled them with pinecones, and scattered some fall leaves on the table.  Simple, easy, and cute!


More pinecones filling my huge lantern.


Before bringing nature inside, make sure it is free from any little un-wanted friends!

A couple ways you can do this:

Bake pinecones, acorns, etc. in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes (make sure to cover a baking sheet with foil or a paper bag.)  Baking them will rid them of bugs, help open the pinecones up, and clean out unwanted sap.

You can also wash pinecones, nuts, etc. in a sink full of warm water mixed with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of vinegar. Let them soak for 20 to 30 minutes, then let air dry.

If you wish, you can then spray with a clear varnish or clear acrylic.

And here’s some nature inspired décor I found around the web (click on the picture to be taken to the original site.) 

(Sorry, fall ideas seemed to overwhelm every search I did, but decorating with nature can be done in EVERY season!  But it does seem like this season is the perfect time to decorate with nature! Smile)

Pumpkin nestled on leaves sitting atop a white urn



Pinecones as topiaries! Smile

Decorative pinecone trees

Pinecones, nuts, various elements surrounding candles in a tray

Shells and sand

A photo of a glass vase with sand and seashells in it

Berry sprays, but even better – leaves pressed and then framed (need to remember to find some good leaves when they turn color this year to do this!)

Framed leaves and berries

Love this!  Wish our leaves were changing colors already – I would bring in branch cuttings like this – so pretty!

Leaves in vases on farmhouse table

So pretty – for Thanksgiving or Christmas

White candles & oranges on table

Moss, canning jar, and candle

Pinned Image

Or just a plain tree branch painted white!

More natural fall décor

Pinned Image

Love this candle surrounded by corn husks!


Or a corn husk wreath

Pinned Image

Or candle surrounded by twigs

More fall filler

Pinned Image

Decorating with items from the kitchen

Illuminating Holiday Jars

Robin’s egg nest (perfect for spring)

Robin's egg nest in urn

Wreath made of walnuts

Nut Wreath

Bowl full of pinecones

Decorating with pumpkins, squash, etc..

holiday squash and flowers on tray

White Pumpkin Centerpiece

Acorn Christmas ornament

Dried corn kernel candle filler

Yellow candle surrounded by corn in a square class holder

Love this fall table scape!

And one last one by the Lettered Cottage!  This mantel incorporates many forms of nature and it so pretty!

So how about you?  Do you use nature to decorate your home?

Do you have some non-fall themed nature decorating tips?


Linking up to:


  1. Lovely ideas. I love that magnolia leaf wreath. I may have to try one. I am a nature girl so I love using, nuts, branches, pine cones, flowers, etc. in my decorating. This has given me some fresh ideas. Thanks!

  2. I LOVE this! I got so many ideas from your pictures. Look forward to more 🙂

  3. I love your magnolia wreath…sadly we don’t have magnolias in Pittsburgh. The winters are too harsh. I’ve gotten some great ideas from the other photos you’ve posted and have pinned several to my Pinterest boards. Happy Fall to you!

    • Christina says:

      Happy Fall to you too! You are probably already enjoying pretty leaves 🙂 no colorful leaves for us yet – we are still in the 80’s! 🙂

      thanks for following along!

    • I’m from the Pittsburgh area, and we have a magnolia tree. It’s been thriving for MANY years. If you ask around, someone might have one that you could use leaves from. 🙂

    • I’m from the Pittsburgh area, and we have a magnolia tree in the back yard. Very big and old. Ask around, someone might have one that you can use for leaves 🙂

  4. Visiting from It’s Fall Y’all. Fantastic use of two of my favorites for your wreath- magnolia leaves & burlap. Natural elements really do define the season & are “naturals” for holiday decor. Beautiful examples – I have my eye on the cranberry & greenery candle idea for the Holidays. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Christina says:

      thanks for visiting!

      burlap is a favorite of mine too – want to try to incorporate it more into Christmas this year instead of my all red and green theme. 🙂 maybe you have some ideas for that?

      • Happy Friday Christina & friends!

        I do have an idea for using burlap – $1.00 burlap sandbags from Tractor Supply. I used these little treasures two months ago for throw pillows & loved their form. I kept them in mind and when fall tablescape time rolled around inspired creativity hit. I discovered burlap sandbags make wonderful placemats for a natural element tablescape. The creative wheels are spinning away for Christmas ideas.
        Hope you have a great weekend & I look forward to us sharing ideas with each other!

        • Christina says:

          Darleen – thank you so much for coming over and commenting and sharing your link!

          I LOVE this idea! I had no idea they sold burlap sandbags for $1.00 at Tractor Supply. I am adding that to my to-buy list – maybe this weekend! 🙂 Love how you used them as placemats – did you cut those in 1/2 too like you did for your pillows?

  5. Your magnolia wreath is so pretty! I love magnolia leaves, but I’ve always fretted at how they turn brown–I like the fact that you just embrace the brownness and go with it! Great idea to use a grapevine wreath and just poke in leaves all over. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Christina says:

      than you! and you are welcome! I have seen some wreaths where they do both colors – some green and some brown leaves – I tried that last spring but actually think I prefer the all brown one. 🙂 Let me know if you try it 🙂

  6. Beautiful wreath, Christina! Magnolia leaves are so pretty & the browns-burlap-and-berries look is perfect for fall. Love it 🙂

  7. I love magnolia leaves! Your wreath is just beautiful…thank you for sharing some wonderful tips!!

  8. Wonderful ideas here that truly add a lot. Thanks for sharing them.

  9. I love your blog…you have so many wonderful ideas here! Thank-you for sharing them!

    • Christina says:

      you are welcome! I am enjoying sharing (and learning more myself) of all the possibilities to decorate on a budget. 🙂

  10. Love your wreath! I did one myself a few years back and now I wish I added the white berries and burlap bow. Here is mine on pinterest:

  11. Wow I love the ideas my house is realty naturey on the outside bit sadly not on the in now I got new ideas thanks!

  12. Tina Renacci says:

    My dear friend and I have made this wreath a few weeks ago…We did do the wreath when the leaves were green hoping they would turn brown on the wreath. The problem we are facing is the leaves are just drying and curling up on the wreath. My question to you did you do the wreath in the fall…when they leaves were already brown. Do you have any suggestions for us.

    Love your site. Tina

  13. Jo LaBounty-Krohn says:

    Looking for ways to use hickory nuts and walnuts that have fallen off the tree. I have taken pine cones, cleaned, sealed (varnished) and sprinkled with diamond dust for bowl fillers. I did see somewhere that someone was selling bagged sage scented walnuts. Do you know any how to’s on this subject? Also, I noticed the walnuts in their green husks smell very lemon like but does seem to fade as they turn brown.
    I live on seven acres and love, love, love collecting and using whatever I can find out here but sometimes my mind gets a little stuck and needs a boost.

  14. What a beautiful, rustic,natural centerpiece. Love them all!

  15. This is so pretty! Thanks for all the inspirations Christina!

    Btw, gave this diy a shout out on my twitter page today, @Estimake 🙂
    Alexis recently posted..How To Get A Laid Back, Cozy Fall Vibe For Your HomeMy Profile


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