I have a confession: I have a real love affair going on with the mantel in our apartment. I’m not exactly sure what it is – could it be this way because I did not grow up with one as a kid, or maybe this specific mantel has a certain charm as it is 100+ years old. Whatever the reason may be, I have an odd kind of love for it and I am completely unashamed. I look forward to new seasons so I can dress it up and enjoy staring at it for the coming months.
I tend to only decorate our apartment for Christmas and just play around with normal home decorating for the rest of the year. I enjoy changing up the staging of bookshelves or the mantel to keep things fresh. This year has been a bit different. With spending so much time at home, I felt the need to really dig into the fall season mostly just for a fun change of scenery.
There were a few key sources of inspiration that really sparked my interest in creating a fall themed mantel. There has been a recent home trend that is hard to ignore – dried grasses. I see so many homes through social media that have beautiful bouquets of dried grasses, and most commonly pampas grass, placed around in lovely vases. This is a trend I have had my eye on for a while because I tend to collect various items of greenery when they catch my eye and bring them home to sit in a vase. I have had a handful of stems that I have held onto and thought purchasing a few additional stems would be the perfect way to incorporate this into my home.
In addition to dried grasses, I have been in search of a few ceramic pieces to add to my decor collection for year-round use. I feel like a ceramic vase or ceramic candle holder can add a really earthy vibe to a home that I am a huge fan of. I got a little creative here because, 1. my bank account has been hurting from lack of work during covid and, 2. I could not seem to find anything to match the image I had in mind without breaking the bank. So I ordered a $10 pack of air dry clay and made a few pieces to use in my fall-themed mantel.
The final bit of inspiration for my fall decoration: pumpkins. It is incredibly hard to resist a trip to the Farmer’s Market to check out the season’s pumpkin selection. I was having an off day so Jonathan and I got in the car and headed to our local Farmer’s Market for a pick-me-up. We approached the pumpkins and I instantly knew I could not leave without bringing a few home with me. Maybe that just makes me a basic girl, but I am a-okay subscribing to that label for this occasion. So I picked up a few cuties to bring home that really helped guide this project.
I follow a good amount of bloggers and influencers who really go all-in on the halloween season and decorate their home to the nines with pumpkins and spooky decor. This isn’t really my style, plus I wanted to stick to a more generic fall theme that would carry us through Halloween and into November until it is time to decorate for Christmas.
Again, due to a lack of money, I got pretty creative when putting together this mantel design and tried to be as resourceful as possible. I used many things which I already had and supplemented with a few items I made as well as a few items I found at a local thrift store. I’ll be sure to link as many items as I can at the end of this post. But, as with any DIY project, I suggest using whatever you have on hand or what you personally like best!
Quick tip: Asymmetry and levels are your friends! As with most of my decorating, I like for the final product to have a natural/organic feeling which I feel is best achieved by using various levels and asymmetry throughout to draw attention to certain areas.
I am really pleased with how this turned out. Additionally, a lot of the items I used are great home pieces that I will use in other ways once this mantel design retires. The pumpkins will probably be tossed in my parents’ garden when its all said and done but I think I can make use of just about everything else in some other way in the future which really excites me!
Here are a few of the items I included in this mantel design: