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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Techniques for creating a Fall mantel

With the crisp Fall weather upon us we all like to cozy up to a  fire in the fireplace.

With our fireplaces comes our mantels! The perfect place to change things out, and do something that is more appropriate for the season.

One of the first things I start doing  when it gets a bit more chilly outside is I start lighting candles. Each night it becomes almost like a ceremony. I find myself humming happily as I light all my little votives. The glow of candlelight is so appealing.

I have a mega-mantel!! (17ft. long) Because of its size and the fact that I like a well edited look it can be a bit difficult at times. 

I know I am not alone in this difficult situation because my clients use to have me do vignettes on their mantels and bookcases all the time.  They would have no idea on how to start the process.

Source: bhg.com via Kathy Sue on Pinterest

Today I thought I would go through the process with you all in hopes of giving you some of the tools that will hopefully be  helpful to you when doing your own, “Fall Mantel!”

The very first thing I would have my clients do is to group their accessories by textures. By having elements in groups it makes it much easier to shop for just the right piece to add to your shelf or mantel.

  • Wood, baskets,books for a rough texture.

  • Porcelain pieces for shine.

  • Mirrors for reflection.

  • Pictures or paintings for interest.

  • Metal pieces for patina and shine.
  •  Plants for a touch of life.

The next step is too decide which pieces you would like to  use. I always start with my largest pieces that will ground the composition. I figure out what I want in the middle of my mantel and I work from that point. Such as a mirror, clock, painting etc.

If I am doing a book case I usually start from left to right, top to bottom. I will place the books first since they are usually the focal point in a book case. I will have some in the middle and some on the left and right side of the bookcase. 

You want to keep your eye flowing from side to side. I will also have books laying on their sides as lifts for items.  Once I have the books placed then I will fill in with the other elements varying my textures.

It is important to have your elements create an up and down wave, going from high to low to high.~~~

When doing the mantel once the center piece is placed then I add the other larger pieces to the left and right. I tend to like symmetry so my compositions on a mantel will feel more balanced. 

Source: bhg.com via Kathy Sue on Pinterest

When adding the other elements remember to vary your textures. You want a good variety of rough, shine and living plants to make it interesting.  Not having variation in texture is usually what makes your composition feel off to your eye.

I hope this post has given you some techniques and ideas so you can create your own special fall mantel!!

“Enjoy the Process!” Of:

Creating a stunning Fall mantel!



Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Interesting, Kakthysue! Thanks for the help. I am bad. I always just throw stuff up there until it looks right! lol Have a great evening!...hugs...Debbie

helen tilston said...

Hello Kathysue

These are beautiful mantle vignettes and I love the varieties you suggest
Candles create such a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere. I love them
Helen xx

Holly Gruszka said...

This is really helpful and I love your idea about grouping your belongings too - bookmarking this smart post - thanks Kathy Sue.

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Hi Kathysue, what a beautiful informative post... love the lighting of the candles! I do the same thing, love the fall scents that flow through the house, almost gives me that renewed energy for evening. We actually turned the furnace on tonight.. fall is in the air.. hugs ~lynne~

NanaDiana said...

Kathysue~ You showed some beautiful mantles here. I love them. That is one of my favorite parts of Fall-decorating the mantles. xo Diana

vignette design said...

Love all the ideas, especially the one with the olive branches. I'm cutting some soon! You should see how Bonnie styled my mantel. So different! I'm keeping it for a while. Can't believe fall is here in a week!

Jemsmom said...

This is just wonderful! Thank you for all the tips and for all the beautiful inspiration pictures! If it weren't in the 90's still, I would feel fall like! I need to get going though! Have a great weekend!

Mary Anne said...


I just adore your mantel with all of the candlelight...........beautiful!
I too love candle light and even light candles all summer long. Somehow tho', now IS the perfect time.
Mary Anne

Carolyn said...

Thank you for these helpful tips and the lovely photos for inspiration-when it comes to mantels I need all the help I can get!

Have a lovely weekend,

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

I love all of these...how do I pick! I have two mantels and one I like and will keep the Autumn design...but I am looking for inspiration for the second. I am glad you included Pottery Barn...I got it in the mail yesterday and set this mantel aside for consideration.

Karen said...

Thanks for the tips Kathysue. I was planning on working to style my floating shelves with a more fall look this weekend and you've given me plenty to think about. I'll be sorting my accessories by texture!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I always appreciate how timely your blog is. So often I'm thinking about doing X and there you are with a post about it.

Splendid Sass said...

I am so into the Fall and winter, and these matels are gorgeous! My favorite is the third, but I will take any of them.
Have a great Friday!

Linda in AZ * said...

*** "Charming... pretty... unique & heartwarming"!!! ..... annnnd, your PICS are too!!! (Happy smiles!!!)...

Seriously, we don't really HAVE "4 seasons" here, Kathsue... we just have "HOT AS H3LL" summers and the REST of the year is GLORIOUS!!!

Thanks for the thrill of IMAGINING fall!!!

Happy Fall Hugs,
Linda in AZ *

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I am going to arrange a few shelves this weekend based on those techniques. Thanks!


Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

Great post, wonderful ideas and very helpful! I am struggling a BIT this year with the mantle trying to do something unique. I know it will come together soon:):) XO, Pinky

Dee ⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️⚜️ said...

Fantastic ideas!


Stacy CUrran said...

I've never really followed a process for mantels or vignettes, and instead just play around until I get it right. These tips might save some time! Very well thought out post!

for the love of a house said...

fun ideas Kathysue! and I commend you for listing all the links on how you found the photos. so many people just say "pinterest" and don't give the original source credit, so I think it is great that you do!

happy weekend!

Becca Bertotti said...

Wonderful tips, Kathysue and fabulous pics, too! Thank you!

Linda @ theLENNOXX said...

Wow what an AMAZING post Kathysue!! So inspiring and educational, I truly enjoyed reading this, and will definitely come back to it many times ;-) Thank you for inspiring me today!

xox Linda

Karena said...

Hi Kathysue,

What great ideas, all of these mantles look so gorgeous!! I am so excited that it has cooled off a bit, I love autumn!

Art by Karena

Linda Hartong said...

I love the one with all the mirrors.

Georgica Pond said...

Lovely inspiration for autumn next year.