Welcome to Mantel Mania!
I've decided to ring in Spring by hosting a week-long "blog-stravaganza" devoted to sharing ideas about all things "mantel".
I don't know about you, but I have found that decorating a fireplace mantel can be extremely challenging.
There's such a fine line between displaying things on them that enhance the peaceful ambience a fireplace is supposed to provide, and displaying things on them that detract from that ambience because they just don't work for some reason or another. Maybe they're the wrong color, size, shape, texture...there's a number of factors that seem to be involved in creating an aesthetically pleasing arrangement. So this week I'm going to make it my mission to round up as many great mantel decorating ideas as I can, and I'm hoping you will share your ideas with me throughout the week too!
Today, I'm going to share how I decorated my own mantel for Spring. And since I like to change up the look of my mantel seasonally, I'm thinking I'll blog about each new look every three months too. (A Spring mantel in March, a Summer mantel in June, a Fall mantel in September, and a Winter mantel in December.) But during "Mantel Mania", I'll be blogging about all types of different mantel set-ups, not just Spring ones.
Let's begin, shall we?
When we bought our house in October of 2007, this is the fireplace we were greeted by when we came through the front door...
(Okay fine. I just threw that in there to make my "after" photos look better.)
...now, after a couple hundred bucks in primer, paint, stain, wood and decorative accessories, here's how our fireplace looks today...
The new look may not be for everyone, but for us, the whole thing feels much "happier", and more cohesive with the vibe we're creating throughout the rest of our home. Not to mention, the proportions seem to make more sense now too.
(If you're interested in learning how we built the surround, click HERE)
As for the Spring-inspired decor, well, I used a bunch of stuff I already had, some new stuff and some inexpensive flea market finds I bought the other day. In case you missed it, here's the video I shot while shopping for "junk" the other day... (Feel free to skip the video if you've already seen it!)
The day after I shot my video, it was bee-yoo-ti-ful outside. So I marched out back with all my little mis-matched pitchers and candlestick holders, and crossed my fingers the primer and spray paint would adhere!
First, I sprayed on the primer...
Then, I used a variety of items to hold everything upside down so I could get the bottom parts of them good too...
Tip: It's best not to do this project on a windy day.
Unfortunately, I learned this very important lesson the hard way.
At one point, a gust of wind blew up the corner of one of the plastic bags I had my things sitting on, and created these little bits of loveliness...
I'm sure it could've been sanded off, but who has time for that?
I just ended up turning the pitcher around to the "good side" on the mantel...
(The little "nest" is actually two, tiny grapevine wreaths (they come together for $1.99) from Hobby Lobby, and I got both rattan chargers for $1.00 each at a flea market last year.)
The other pitchers turned out great too. The primer and spray paint worked out just like I had hoped!
Remember the loons on the pitcher on the left in the photo below? I made sure anything I bought felt completely smooth to the touch (no decals), so that when I sprayed them, they were completely smooth too. (A decal would have stuck out a little and it would've been obvious that I painted over a "sticker".)
The little ducks covered up nicely too...
And instead of a candle, I just used two little nests (also from Hobby Lobby) on top of each candleholder...
(I got the eggs at HomeGoods several months ago.)
I made the gigantic chalkboard from that pretty blue frame I showed in the video, and a bigger piece of flea market art I picked up a while back.
Here's what it used to look like:
It was $15.00, and even though I had no idea what I would end up doing with it, I bought it anyway because I knew it was a great price for a frame that big.
It just needed a little paint...
(Color: "Nacre", Sherwin Williams)
...some chalkboard spray paint and my $2.00, Sea Salt blue flea market frame...
I "seasoned" the chalkboard part before I glued the blue frame down (with wood glue) to age it a bit...
I did have to sand down the front of the blue frame a little since someone had swirled their fingers around the original finish. But the Sea Salt paint we had from the guest bathroom project (from Sherwin Williams) was almost a perfect match to the original color!
The last thing I did was hit the bigger frame with some sand paper, to give it a more time worn look...
It'll do for now, but I'm not 100% into my handwriting, so I'm probably going to have some white vinyl, rub-on words made for it instead. (They'll say the same thing I have on there now, and the font will be similar, just neater.)
Normally, I'm not a super huge fan of "faux-liage", but I wanted this mantle to last three months- so I sprang for some fairly realistic-looking, artificial pieces of greenery...
This last one is my favorite...it looks pretty real, doesn't it?
I'm really happy with how the "bouquets" turned out.
Kevin is especially estatic. You see, along with his other "favs" (natural light, accessories and window treatments, Kevin is also a big time "greenery man", so he was pumped to learn that the "life" he discovered on our mantel when he came home from New York was going to live forever!
And he was pretty thrilled about the bottom line too. Everything was 50% off at Hobby Lobby the day I bought it!
The $5.00 platter I bought at the flea market got a little makeover too...
I was inspired by a pillow I saw on PotteryBarn.com, so I had Eileen at Leen the Graphics Queen make me a rub-on number 3 decal to use on the front of it.
All I had to do was tell her what size and color I wanted it to be and voila! It showed up in my mailbox a few days later! (They're $4.00 in case anyone is wondering.)
I chose the number three because it's Kevin's favorite number (he is, and always will be, my main source of inspiration), and because it symbolizes the length of the Spring season. (three months) I love the way it turned out, and how it ties in to the black of the chalkboard behind it.
If you're interested in purchasing a vinyl decal for a project of your own, you can find Eileen HERE or in the Sponsors section in our sidebar.
Last, but not least, we hung up a couple of fifty cent, flea market find plates on the wall on either side of the chalkboard...
I love the addition of the circular-shaped plates next to the big, rectangular shaped chalkboard. I'm all about using a variety of shapes and textures, but I usually like to marry them color-wise, so these plates worked out great as a friendly, finishing touch.
And there ya have it!
Our farmhouse fresh, Spring-inspired fireplace mantel!
All together, everything I used came to about $67.00 (that's including the price of the chalkboard spray paint) but since I bought a lot of what I used at different times (starting last year), it didn't really feel like $67.00, if ya know what I mean.
And the way we look at it is, it's the first thing folks see when they come in our house, so it's super important to us that it looks cheerful and welcoming. And, if you break it down, it really comes to about $22.00 a month for the three months we'll have it all up there. That's less than we'd spend for one dinner at our favorite sushi place, and we get to enjoy this mantel for more than one night.
Okay, I'm done justifying now.
Happy Spring friend!
I hope it's bee-yoo-ti-ful in your neck of the woods today. The sun is shining here in sweet home Alabama, and supposedly the record company is presenting Kevin and the guys with an offer today- so cross your fingers for him it's a good one!
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