Hey there! I am beyond blessed to be the wife of Mark Andrew and the stay-at-home-mommy of Quinn and Morgan! I love to decorate, create things, and generally make life more beautiful! Come join me, and let's see what we can make today!

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Decorating the mantle for Fall

Do you ever see a display and think it looks really nice, but you're not sure why?  You might not have ANY interest in the item being displayed, but there is just SOMETHING about the display that draws your eye.  Chances are, the items were arranged following a few simple rules that held your gaze.  I said I would show you the step by step process of putting my fall mantle together, so here it is!   (I wish I had time to have my husband show me how to photoshop these photos, because I think some illustrations would help.  Unfortunately, there is currently no time, so I will do my best to explain my process!)

The first thing I did was decided on a color scheme.  When I think fall, I automatically go to oranges, reds, yellows, browns, etc.  I like those colors, but I wanted to do someting a little different, more neutral, so I decided to go with whites and blacks and some silver accents. Once I had my colors picked out, I just went around the house looking for items that fit the bill.

Empty black frames

Mercury jars (see how I made them using Krylon Looking Glass spray here)

I knew I wanted some pumpkins for my mantle, but these beauties where not going to cut it.

I made these three years ago (one for each member of our little family) and they were looking a little worn, and I was over it!  My son did request that I save the mummy, which I did.

Too funny!  He helped me make that one and he just loves it!

I pulled off all of the decorations on the pumpkins.  I covered two of the pumpkins in book pages, and I spray painted the others with some Krylon.

I was pretty much ready to start putting my mantle together.  I started with this beautiful, rusty old screen that I picked up at the flea market for $5!  (This was the only thing I purchased.  Everything else was already in my house!)  When I saw this screen, I was SO EXCITED!  I had just finished my fireplace (literally that day) and I knew that I could use this screen.  My mother-in-law thought I was a little crazy, but she is used to me picking out odd items at the flea!  When I decorate, I always try to picture my items in a triangle (or in a few triangles). Your eye will naturally follow the height of your items.  If your items go up, down, up, up, down, down, down, etc., your brain gets confused--and you don't even realize it! If your items draw your gaze to a central point, your brain finds it pleasing--and again you don't even realize it! An equilateral triangle will draw your eyes to the center.  An isosceles triangle will draw your eyes upward. I generally stay away from obtuse triangles, but that is my personality.  I like "orederly" things!  And depending on which way your right angle triangle is facing, it can push or pull your eye to the left or right.  For my mantle, I was picturing a large, equilateral triangle in the center, and two isosceles triangles on the ends.  This post REALLY needs some photoshop!  Sorry! Anyway, I just make sure my items stay inside the triangle. 

Next I added my empty frames, and a little scroll shelf bracket for some architectural interest. Can you picture a large triangle outlining those items?  I hope so!

After that, I started playing with the pumpkins.  A few years ago, I probably would have done something like this:

I was in a "less is more" phase.  That phase is over.  Now I am in a "more is more" phase.  Well, not TOO much more, but a bit "more" than "less". Confused?  Me too!  Anyhow, I realized that I was going to need something to make my pumpkins sit at different heights, so I looked around the house some more.  I found some old books, tore the covers off of some books that I had purchased at GoodWill for craft projects, a vase, and an old plant-holder-statue-thing. Again, all of these items were already in my home!


The vase on the right was previously green, and I just gave it a coat of black spray paint.  The candleabra was a steal at GoodWill for $2.99!  I bought it last spring and have been waiting to use it! 

Next I started arranging my pumpkins.

I couldn't get the balance quite right, so I added a white ceramic pitcher to help out.  Nice!

Then I filled in some of the gaps with the mercury jars.  I also thought some owls would be a nice touch for fall.  Who am I kidding?! There are several owls on display in our home--year 'round! Anyhow, remember these guys?  I gave them a coat of black spray paint, and they look much better!

It was almost "there", but not quite.  I shifted stuff around and decided something needed to go in the pitcher.  I wanted to keep the display neutral and "fall-ish", so I went outside and gathered a few of the gazillion sticks that were on the ground from a recent wind storm and put them in the pitcher.

And that was it! I'll try to work on some better photos to explain the "triangles"!

Enjoy the Son!

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Reader Comments (3)

Very interesting Holly. I loved how you explained your process of placing your objects. I definitely would like to see the photoshop triangles included. This must be the reason you are able to take random things and make them look fabulous. You have an inner eye for things that most people have to work at. Thanks for the lesson.

October 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaMaJo

Thanks, Holly! I love how the triangles worked out...thanks for sharing your clever decorating how to's! I am NOT a decorator, I know what I like but it is so hard to display them, I definately do not have the eye! You've inspired me to take everything off my bookshelves and start over!!!

October 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChastityRN

This is a fun activity for both kids and parent. And using recycled materials will teach them to be responsible on their environment.

October 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkids shorts

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