Do you love decorating for Fall and want to make your Fall mantel look spectacular? Do you look at photos on Instagram and Facebook and wish you could decorate a pretty Fall mantel like the photos you drool over? Of course, everyone has a different style. Some of us tend to like more “stuff” and others tend to lean towards clean and simple lines – a more minimalist approach.
This week I thought I’d share my thought process when I decorate my mantel, in particular, my Fall mantel. Since you see our mantel from the entry of our house, living room and front hallway (and some of the kitchen), it’s probably my favorite part of the house to decorate. I find myself changing things up all the time… and by all the time, that often means mid-season. Now that we’ve got DIY kits that I have to demonstrate, and staging items needed for taking pictures of signs and furniture, I have A LOT to work with and much of it changes by the year since we are always changing our kits up. And don’t forget I also have to do examples of our Boxed Up projects, so there’s those also. So it’s a never ending carousel of seasonal decorations!
Start with a blank slate! Take everything off of your mantel. Then find one piece that you really love that can serve as the “grounding” base. I love my old window.
I’ve also used a large clock, large sign and mirror, but I seem to always come back to my old window…and I think I know why. I put a small screw at the top of the frame and this old window can hold a wreath, a banner (like I’m using now) or I can layer signs in front. It allows for many options!
Next, to flank that “base” piece, I like to stick with neutral pieces that can be reused throughout the seasons. For instance, candle holders that are of different levels to bring your eye up closer to the height of the window. Personally, I’m not a fan of symmetry all the time. You could use the same thing on each side, but I feel it gives more personality if you use items that are similar in height on each side. So, to balance the candle holders, I may use some larger vases, or a single vase with stems that reach about the same height.
Once you are satisfied with the items with which you have flanked your base piece, it’s time to add texture and dimension. If you’ve used floral stems or leaves in a vase, this is a great way to add both texture and dimension.
It also helps to soften up or balance rougher the more rustic pieces. So, for instance, using my fall mantel as an example, I used wood elements such as the candle pedestals, window mullions and letter blocks but balanced all of that with fall stems and candles (which are smooth in texture), glass translucent vases, and the glass in the old window.
I also added some leaves laying flat so that they could appear from behind whatever I decided to use in front of the window.
Next I added the seasonal letter blocks from our seasonal kits in the online shop. The wood provides another chance to incorporate that element and it’s softened a bit by the leaves behind and the ribbons I added to a couple of the letters.
Then I added the canvas I made (this was our September 2019 Boxed Up project ) which has both wood and some white to go with the color of the window and mantel (I personally am not a matchy matchy kind of person and I feel like having similar color families rather than the exact same shade of white, for instance, makes whatever area I am decorating feel more “homey.” The hanging banner also has a three-dimensional aspect to it where the “hay” in the vintage truck bed provides yet another texture at the same time!
Depending on the time of year, I like to include a seasonal banner across my mantel. Did I mention that my dad made our mantel? Good ‘ole Clarence Olen (aka “Bud”) was quite handy and, as many of you already know, he did his share of woodworking in his day. Dad also refaced our entire fireplace from old and dated brick to this lovely stacked stone. It’s probably the one thing that has the most character in our home!
Let’s not forget the pumpkins and corn… I used colors that could bring out the colors of the leaves and letter blocks. They, too, soften up the hardness of the wood. Even in the metal bin on the hearth, you have the wood in the sign, and the wooden textures in the tobacco baskets that are softened by the blanket, stems and pumpkins that have some different textures.
What about Halloween? Perhaps you like to decorate for this holiday right from the start. Perhaps you are like me and feel like Halloween kind of throws me off in terms of decorating. I know that, for some of you, Halloween is your thang…your time to shine. Me? I no sooner get my Fall mantel just right and then BOO-M, the wicked witch has to get her five minutes of fame and expects to be recognized. And I never know how I feel about this. I have enough Halloween items to completely re-vamp my mantel but do I really want to? And then put it back for the rest of fall? The answer is… it depends on how I feel that year. And how early I plan to decorate for Christmas! To make things easier, I’ve started using some of our seasonal kits like the letter blocks you see here. Flip them around and things get spooky! So I’m trying to make our Fall mantel easily interchangeable!
And, of course, there are banners-a- plenty down in my staging room and I dug out this one to go with the blocks for this year. (I had at least three from which to choose. Hey, don’t judge me. They’re great for staging photos and who wants to see the same banner all the time? I’m really great at justifying, don’t you think?)
So, rather than take everything down just for Halloween and the put it back up through Thanksgiving, I figured the reversible blocks are a great solution! Oh, and our Boxed Up DIY home decor subscription box provides a new home decor item that you can make every single month to help with all of your decorating needs!
So tell me, would your Fall mantel tend to lean towards the sleek and minimalist and modern side, or more of the Farmhouse style? Do you have a mantel that you like to decorate seasonally? Would you classify yourself as “I’ve got this” or “I need help” when it comes to decorating a Fall mantel? Inquiring minds want to know! Regardless, I do hope this may help some of you who are “decoratively challenged!”