Making Over the Mantle

by Emily Steers on 08/24/2011

I guess like most everyone, I really don’t have a lot of spare time on my hands lately. Pretty much every project I take on, and every photo I take, ends up on the blog– good results or bad.  I completely forgot I had these shots sitting in my iPhoto library!

A little ways back, I realized that I hadn’t changed our mantle decor in a really long time.  This is how it’s looked for the past… 16 months? or so.Two broke kids living in small apartments for the last four or five years, David and I really haven’t amassed a large collection of tchotski yet.  We buy things with purpose.  And none of that stuff really is suitable for lush mantle decor.

I love the mantles you find on Pinterest.

from Lady Lavona

from The Lettered Cottage


from Centsational Girl

But let’s be honest here.  I don’t dust, so my house is never going to look that clean.  I don’t have spare cash, so I’m never going to hit that balance of “quaintly cluttered but not mentally unstable hoarder” that we all strive for.

After some editing of stuff and shopping from the shelves that are scattered around the house, this is what I’ve got (so far) for fall.

What do you guys think?  I picked up that tall bushel of wheat from Michael’s for $5, but everything else is recycled stuff we’ve had for ages.  And I finally put all of our wine corks to use.  But it still feels a bit empty.

But in LA, I think leaves and deep fall colors are a bit disingenuous.  Our yard doesn’t have any deciduous trees, so we don’t get to witness those gold and orange hues I’m so used to being from leaf-peeper territory.

What do you think is essential for fall decor?

Update!  I added a bit of Halloween decor here!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ginger August 24, 2011 at 10:02 PM

I actually really love it, but if you think it still feels empty, could you add a pop of color/contrast to help “fill” the space visually? Or maybe a black framed mirror behind the empty jar on the right (one not quite as tall as the wheat?)

But then, I’m SO not a designer, so I’m just thinking outloud.


Jen @ Lita's world August 25, 2011 at 12:33 PM

oh I love it…especially the corks in the glass bowl with the candle…what a great idea for using corks!! I’m going to quit throwing them away now!


Kelly, Arte Styling August 25, 2011 at 1:07 PM

looks cool, Emily!

two suggestions for filling up the space more:
1) drop the clock down a few inches

2) if you have room, place a frame or canvas or art piece…something rectangle/square…on the opposite side of the wheat. could just be an empty frame. lean it up to fill up some of the white space under that clock. should help with balance.


casacaudill August 25, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Came over from a link party because the small image of the clock caught my eye. What a great piece! Like Kelly above, I think some framed art to balance the wheat would be a great addition. Maybe a picture of a leaf or something?


Stef August 28, 2011 at 7:04 AM

AWESOME! I love the repurposing/recycling of your own items. We’ve been doing that recently and I will post some updates later.

As for essential fall decor… I love reds, yellows and oranges. In Oregon we don’t get the full-array of autumn color. We have a mixture of conifer (mostly large fir/pin/cyprus evergreen trees) and the deciduous trees often aren’t full of bright color… OK, now I’m homesick.


aj March 22, 2013 at 11:56 AM

You could try finding another vase of similar height at Goodwill and split up the wheat bundle and maybe get a large, empty rectangular frame and sit it vertically on the mantle so that it would frame the clock. You might have to drop the clock down a bit, but it might anchor everything together.


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