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With the official arrival of autumn, your thoughts may have turned to energy-saving upgrades for the winter, but don't overlook your décor when it comes to creating a cosy and welcoming environment this season. Here, some simple DIY tips that won't bust your budget.

Cues from colour theory

Warm colours are called that for a reason: our brains are wired to associate yellows, oranges and reds with heat sources like fire and sunlight. In other words, warm hued items in your home will stand out and have you thinking warm thoughts. With the variety of hues available, you can play with colour to work with your décor. Yellow and gold make great accent colours because they are lighter in value (in terms of light and dark) in addition to their warmth. If your colour scheme already leans towards fall colours, throw in these highlights for an extra "pop".

Some of the season's favourite colours -- plums, burgundies and eggplants -- provide a nice contrast because they are darker and they flirt with the opposite side of the palette. Throw them into the mix and they'll help pick up the cooler shades (or compliment the warmer tones) in your room. Greens and browns provide a good base. Take a look in your garden: nature pairs them with just about any colour. Play with warm and cool greens (yellow or blue undertones) as the base for wreaths and floral arrangements. Fall colours are a natural compliment to any wood furniture.

Some quick ways to add colour:

- Pick up some colourful seasonal ribbon. You can tie it around a wrought-iron candle holder and pair it with bright coloured taper or pillar candles. Wind it around a plain wreath, tie up a bow on a basket or adorn your potted plants. You can even use a long piece to tie back the drapes if the colour is right.

- Splurge on some new throw pillows or sew up covers for the ones you already have. Coordinate them with an afghan, quilt or throw rug.

- Visit the market. Play with the colours and textures of fresh fruit, coloured corn and gourds. Include them as part of an arrangement, or display in a bowl on the table.

- Pick up a potted plant in a bright colour. Chrysanthemums can brighten up your front step and your garden, and gerbera daisies can brighten up any corner.

- For a quick and easy table topper, purchase enough fabric to make a large square and cut the raw edges with pinking sheers or a decorative blade on your rotary cutter. (One metre of fabric will give you a 40 inch square). Top it off with a hurricane candle holder or a vase of fresh flowers.

- For a dinner party, dress up a plain tablecloth with theme napkins and preserved leaves. A gold or cream tablecloth will coordinate with decorations for just about any season.

- Colourful linens like hand towels, dish towels and table linens don't need to be fancy to tie into your colour scheme. Tuck them in a woven basket with a bow or some artificial flowers. Even something as simple and inexpensive as a printed tissue box can play along.

- Watch for sales on fall garlands to hang around your home.

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Elizabeth Rogers