If I had to say what my “decorating style” is, I’d have to say clean, simple, inexpensive, and easy. That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to have a perfectly decorated home; I absolutely would! I just wouldn’t want to do that decorating myself. But I do love decorating when it’s something simple that comes together easily, like my fall mantel this year. I put this mantel together over the course of a few hours, and I only had to buy one thing; everything else I already had on hand or re-purposed from previous projects!
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars or put all of your free time into decorating to have it turn out nice! Now, I’m sure this mantel won’t make it onto the cover of Better Homes & Gardens, but I think it’s classy and simple and it perfectly fits my style of decorating!
How To Decorate A Simple, Inexpensive Fall Mantel
Start by gathering up anything and everything fall-related that you already have in your home! This means anything gold, red, orange, or yellow, anything with fall leaves on it, any burlap you might have, ribbons, anything with pumpkins, hay, corn, gourds, etc. If it seems vaguely like fall to you, gather it up! You can decide later what does and doesn’t fit.
Now decide whether you want your mantel equal and centered or different all throughout. If you want a centered mantel, pick a good centerpiece and work from the middle out to the edges, framing your centerpiece as you go. If you want your mantel varied the whole way, you can start in the middle or on either side. I did a combination of both: the gold charger and tin of potpourri are centered and the two mini pumpkin candle holders I made are mirrored on either side, but the rest of the mantel is asymmetrical.
Once you have a basic idea of the layout of your mantel, start playing with it all. Put things up on your mantel, move them around, etc. You’ll pretty quickly get a good idea of what fits and what doesn’t.
You’ll also start to see what looks good to you as far as the height of your pieces. On a centered mantel, usually the centerpiece is the tallest object (a mirror, a plate, a large piece of art, etc.) and then the items get shorter as you move out towards the edges of the mantel. On a varied mantel you can put the taller items wherever you want, but be sure your shorter items don’t get lost or hidden. Taller items draw the eye, so make sure there is enough space between your tall items that the shorter items in between aren’t skipped over.
Obviously those leaves are taller than the bottles, but since the mantel isn’t supposed to be symmetrical, it still works. I put the leaves on the left because, since most of us read left to right, it’s a natural starting place and I wanted them to be prominent. The DIY Harry Potter sorting hat I made is actually the second tallest item, but it fits nicely under those leaves and it would be too similar in height on the other end next to the bottles.
You don’t want too many things of the exact same height right next to each other or they get lost. That’s why two of the bottles are on pedestals.
If you have more than one thing (like candles or gourds), try grouping them in threes or sevens. It’s more natural looking to the eye than groups of two or four.
The last thing I did was put a garland of fake leaves across the front of the mantel to give it a little bit of depth. This is the same garland I used when making my hanging fall wreath chandelier last year; I just undid the floral wire that was holding it all together, and the garland came right off, ready to be repurposed!
Overall the only thing I bought for this mantel this year was the cute little wire pumpkin candle holder, and the candle. Everything else was something I already had on hand, or a piece of a previous project that I was able to repurpose!
And it only took me a few hours to put the whole thing together after I had gathered all of my supplies. There are a few things that I pulled out that just didn’t work on the mantel, so I put them away for future use, but I’m sure I’ll be able to use them at some point!
Have you decorated for fall yet? What’s on your mantel?
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