Cozy, clean and comfortable: 5 steps for getting your home autumn-ready

(BPT) – If cooler autumn weather makes you want to get inside your home to redecorate, add new furnishings or take other steps to settle in, you’re not alone.

Rainy, snowy, cold or otherwise inclement weather makes us more productive overall because we’re less motivated to spend leisure time outside, according to research from Harvard Business School. That helps explain why we often get the urge to improve our surroundings, shop for new furniture or set out great-smelling candles for our homes this time of year.

That’s highly convenient, since it’s never too early to start sprucing up your home and refreshing décor for the impending holiday season. And that nest-feathering doesn’t have to break the bank; there are plenty of ways to make your home warm, cozy and beautiful that don’t require a huge budget. Here are a few suggestions:

1. A big fall cleaning actually makes more sense than a spring cleaning, since you’ll be spending so much more time inside. Before settling in, make an effort to wash walls, clean floors and carpets, wipe down windows and polish all woodwork with lemon- or orange-scented oil.

2. Start stocking your kitchen with ingredients for traditional cold-weather foods like soups, stews, casseroles, fondue or homemade bread. For dessert, there’s nothing as comforting as the smell of warm baked goods like cinnamon rolls or gingersnap or chocolate chip cookies. Studies show we’re instinctively drawn to certain foods during the colder months.

3. Update your décor with a new living room, dining room or bedroom set from Big Lots, enhancing your family’s comfort without putting you in debt. The stylish designs, rich finishes and up-to-date color palettes of the brand’s new collections can help create a cozy atmosphere that encourages your family to relax indoors together this fall and winter.

4. Walk around your home and take a fresh look at your wall hangings, artwork and accent pieces. Are they being displayed to their best advantage, or are there better arrangements that could complement your furniture and color schemes? Seek a different perspective by taking everything down and starting anew, or check for some inspiration. You might also browse home furnishings stores like Big Lots to check out the newest styles and colors.

5. Take an objective look at your interior lighting and determine whether upgrades are in order. A wealth of research points to how lighting directly affects mood, and the last thing you want in the fall and winter months is to struggle with under-lit rooms that make you tired or less productive. These days, good lighting is available at all price points.

Ready? Now that you’ve set the stage, get out your calendar and start scheduling fun autumn get-togethers with family and friends. Jump into the season by setting up family game nights, beer and wine tasting parties, football-viewing events and all kinds of other seasonal celebrations.