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Saturday, June 9, 2012

DIY // How-To Give Your Mantle A Fresh Update

While our son was napping, I took the opportunity to give our "little" mantle a fresh look.

Since the crash of the mirror that hung on our mantle, this area has been lacking some serious style. {who knew hanging it from yarn would be a bad idea?  Those quick fixes always seem to find a way to bite me in the ass.} I threw up the octopus painting but the scale just wasn't right, plus everything was too dark for my taste.  Not to mention, nothing went together.  The only thing they had in common was the fact they were all dark.

In great editing fashion, I removed everything.  The family photos and the drawing went into our bedroom; the lantern has a new place on our tv cabinet; I kept the Anthony Kiser prints for the updated mantle and the Octopus Triptych found a home in my son's room.

With a blank slate, I  gave some thought about what I liked about other people's homes and what I already had going on in the room.  I've always admired homes that are light and sunny with lots of natural light.  It always feels so fresh and clean. With only two windows, this room tends to be a bit dark and the dark mantle decor wasn't helping so I knew I wanted to lighten up the accessories to trick the eye into thinking the room is lighter than it actually is.  And as for a consistent theme, which it was highly lacking, I looked to the right of the mantle where our Nautical Chart Art hangs and it hit me.  A "water" themed mantle to play off the other watery elements.

Instead of going out and purchasing a bunch of new stuff, I shopped my house.  I pulled the DIY Marine Life Art that I created, which had never really found a home and grabbed a couple more pieces of coral.

As mentioned, I wanted to keep things light so I chose to use a clear glass vase to create height, a small clear glass votive and three mason jars to serve as candle holders.  I slipped a couple orange votives into two of the mason jars and filled the larger one with sand to provide support for a taper candle.

I also grabbed three books and wrapped them in linen to add texture and, when stacked, an element of height.  Using the same fabric creates a cohesive look and pulls the three unrelated books together.

It's hard working with this mantle.  I mean, it is HUGE!  It measures 5 1/2' wide and 4' tall from the top of the shelf to the ceiling.  The mirror helped to balance the height, but with that down for the count, I needed something to take its place.

I was struggling to think of something I could add and then I remembered a quick little craft that Destiny from A Place For Us created and shared on the Nate Berkus Show and got to work creating my own brown paper bag flowers.  Check out her tutorial to make your own, although it is pretty simple.  Just cut out leaf shapes, arrange them in a flower pattern, layer with smaller sized "petals" and glue them all together.  I taped mine up with some fancy duct tape.

These brown paper bag flowers complete the vignette, but they also showcase the high ceilings.

And with that, I had a finished mantle.  Fresh, light & pretty close to perfect.

The scale of the art is still a bit small but for now, it works.

It's amazing how productive you can be when the kiddos are asleep.  And that, folks, is my 100th post!  Yay for me!

So, what do you think of the change?  Have any quick home-shopping revamps of your own?



  1. I love those flowers. Very clever!

  2. Those flowers are great "filler-inners" for such a huge mantel. They are a centrepiece and a filler all in one. Love it!

  3. It looks awesome! I love the new light colors!

  4. I love the flowers - worked well with your mantle.


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