Decorating With Stumps When You are Stumped

I have this weird angled wall in our foyer/entryway area that you see right when you walk in the front door.  I knew I wanted something tall, thin, unexpected and inexpensive.  And it sat empty for a long time until I saw these two fat stumps with the bark already removed at Angela’s house.  I begged her to let me pay for them.  I even wrote her a check.  She told me her husband would have paid me to take them away and then tore up my check.

I envisioned sanding them and painting them glossy white.  But I put them in the house “for now” just to see.  And I liked them so much that I pulled in a third skinny branch stump from our fallen tree.    That one even has an arm for purse or sweater hanging.

Stumps are an easy solution for my tiny awkward wall.  I still think they would look great painted white but I like them natural too.  Maybe stumps aren’t your thing~they aren’t Angela’s thing either {here’s her thing if you are wondering} and we are still great friends. However, there’s something to be said about thinking about unique solutions.   I’m glad I didn’t go out and buy something for this area, I can’t think of anything that would have made such a creative statement for free.

Many times, the best ideas come from leaving something empty and being patient.

And if we ever have a heating crisis, I can just burn them and keep our family warm.

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  1. How fun! Love that the one is different, adding even more interest. I’ve got an old knarly stump by my back door (outside) in a odd little nook. I’d have never thought to bring it inside. hmmm….

  2. Jennifer Spadaro says:

    Very cute, I like that they are so unique, and also they seem slim enough that they are not getting in the way. LOVE LOVE LOVE that you are hanging stuff on the little branch. I love when things are unexpected, you could maybe add some industrial castors or perhaps a very ornate romantic frame above, I love when things are unexpected and opposties.

  3. It is so rewarding to WAIT…I have never been so frustrated as making a bum purchase because I thought I had to put something somewhere. The time, the money, and then it not being quite right…sigh.

  4. very cute idea! i think i actually like the two matching stumps by themselves, but maybe once they’re all painted white they’ll have a more cohesive look. and this is much cheaper than the end table they’re selling at west elm!

  5. Looks trunkrific! I’ve got two on my dock waiting for them to dry out a bit, these babies are h-e-a-v-y! Love all your ideas, no really I mean it!

  6. I Love this idea! TOTALLY love!!!! I am going outside with a chainsaw now…..

  7. That’s great! Especially with boys in what appears to be a high-traffic area – hard to destroy tree trunks! I had a little narrow space that needed a table of some kind and I ended up buying two very inexpensive iron plant stands and having a narrow, rectangular piece of glass cut to go over them – cheap, unique, and it fits!

  8. I love the purse branch! That’s awesome. I also love that your home is a real place that has boys running around with their guns engaged in mock battle. Too funny!! :)

  9. I’d really, really, really love to know if the stumps were kiln dried or anything done to them to kill any bugs that might be living in them. I have tons of logs that could be turned into these (especially those logs with a Y) but I know there are bugs in my wood.

    How do you keep them from falling over if they’re bumped into? Are they attached the wall or to each other? I could just picture myself accidentally knocking them over since I’m such a klutz! LOL!

    • I’m with you Astrid. (lovely name, by the way)… I’ve got plenty of logs but too many carpenter ants. (We live in the woods.) My husband would never allow me to bring a log inside!

  10. Oooh I love this! They look great and I love how you can hang your bag on one. I’m wondering if you have trouble getting it to stand up with the bag hanging on it? I know mine would probably knock it over. :)

  11. hahahahah burn them for heat! You crack me up! Once again thank you the inspiration!

  12. Wow. I love this. I love the texture and dimension that the stumps add and the fact that they don’t take up a ton of room….brilliant!


  13. I love that. I suggested using some stumps at our house to my husband and he . . . weel, let’s say he was not on board. Oh, well. :D

  14. This picture is a treasure! Those three boys playing nerf wars — that is a part of family history that you will one day wish was still happening. The stumps are cool, too, but those boys are fantastic!

  15. just remember: if you don’t leave them to dry naturally for a few years in the outdoors under shelter, or kiln dry them, they will continually shrink as the fibers lose water. so don’t shellac them or anything until they’re completely dehydrated. just a tip! :)

  16. Gees, Nestie…if I promise to cook you good food and shower you with affection & fun things, will you PUHLEASE come to Chattanooga and wave your magic wand over my house? Because you’re MAGICAL!!

    Stumps…who woulda thunk it?

  17. I love the stumps – but my favorite part is the boys! My baby boy is turning one next week, and I got a lump in my throat looking at your crew. :)

  18. I love the stumps! I totally agree that they make an awesome creative statement.

  19. Really great idea and looks even better in the area you chose. I have to ask the same question on insects. How did you address insects or the eggs in the wood/bark? That can be a problem when we bring wood in for the fireplace so there must be an answer that I am missing. Can’t spray them so what is the solution?

  20. beautiful! I think they look great in that area. you are so talented I would have never thought to do that but they look great! I love your blog!

  21. I love how you brought earth into your house!

  22. Rhonda N. says:

    Hi Nester!

    I follow your blog, so obviously I admire your taste. But what struck me today was that I thought for a moment you stole my child! Your (I’m assuming eldest – and I guess I’m even assuming he’s yours) boy could be my son. That image of a kid with camo shorts, brown t-shirt and nerf gun in a semi-ready stance – in our case, always waiting for someone younger to get their stuff together, as it appears to be in yours – is so familiar that I did a double take before my brain could kick in to remind me that my kid could not possibly be on your blog! Had your son’s hair been more dishwater than dark, it would have taken a few more nanoseconds to get it. Don’t know about you, but I smile inwardly that my 12-year old will still play with nerf guns, and hope to high heavens that lasts for a while.

    I need to go take my own pictures!

    (Love the stumps, too. I am constantly scoping other people’s felled trees, but keep telling myself to wait until I am ready to do something with them before I drag them home. There will always be more!)

  23. When i was a child some 35 or more year ago, we had a tree fall in our yard. It was cut up into large pieces. One piece my mom put outside by the back door. She up plants on it. For some reason when we moved the log moved too. Then it was placed in the house with a ceramic owl on it. About 15 year ago my mom said she was going to get rid of it and I told her I wanted it. It reminded me of my childhood. I had no idea what I would use it for. Then our piano bench broke and my son rolled it over and sat on it. He said it was just right and to this day in is our piano bench. He is now grown and has his own house. He has stated he wants it put in my will that he gets this stump. Crazy that a piece of unfinished wood would have such meaning.

  24. I love your stumps! This is so much fun…and call me really weird, but I think it’s kind of fun that you have three stumps and three boys.

  25. Love.It. Great addition for the space. Unexpected. Natural. Functional. And fREE!
    You, my friend, are a genius!

  26. Love it!! What a great idea, you always inspire me to look at the world with new eyes. Thank you!

  27. Love it! I like them natural like this too. I don’t think I would get something like this passed My Love, but I would love to have them in my house too.
    Love the pics with the boys doing their Star Wars routine!

  28. i LOVE this! especially the one that you are hanging your purse on. I also, of course, dig Angela’s ladders. I think I would do both, but not on the same wall:)

  29. These are so unexpectedly cool! I’ve seen people putting poly on short fat ones and using them as side tables too, which I like, but having them grouped like this makes them so much more interesting! Great job :D I’m off to find stumps!

  30. With all the downed tree from recent storms in TN – i’ve already been keeping my eyes peeled for a coffee {table} stump. Just gonna buy some glass to put over it. My fave part of this post, however is that you have same kind of different as me on that middle stump. Such a great book – it’s inspired me to take the compassion plunge AND start a book club.
    And as a 4-boy mamma I love the ongoing nerf battle…

  31. There’s something very Berenstain Bears about this…

  32. i love these logs! i spotted this in a past post of yours and immediately went out side and rolled some stumps around my own yard. thanks for the inspiration…the stumps will be featured in my porch post next week. always love your post :)
    d e n i s e

  33. I for one LOVE the stumps! After you posted the log side table, I’ve been on the lookout for some perfect log stump things to bring into my house. My husband would actually be overjoyed if I worked a log into our decor – he used to collect the trunks of his Christmas trees to make some piece of furniture (I can’t remember what) – before I made him get rid of them. Ha!

  34. These are so awesome!! So creative. I’m particularly smitten with the 3rd one with the extra branch. I love seeing “everyday things” being used differently :)

  35. I’ve been waiting a stump or two of my own for a few years. Love em.

  36. i love your stumps! i liked the one on wheels too in your living room.. or family room maybe? anyway, i liked it. also i think i am in love with your mirror. it’s too bad it seems to be in a committed relationship because i would like to marry it. seriously though. : )

  37. Love these! I’m definitely including a link in my Sunday blog roundup!

  38. I love this. But do I remember seeing a photo on here of this area with your big family portrait in that spot? I think I do and I loved it even better. Sort of an announcement of here’s who lives here, come on in. Now if I just dreamed that forget I posted this.

  39. I love you and your stumps. I want a place to hang my purse, it hangs on the banister and annoys me every time I see it but It’s a convenient spot.

    I am enjoying that tree as much now as before it fell…well not quite as much, but a lot.

  40. I like them, and I like them natural. You have plenty of gloss-white things; it’s good to have the texture.

  41. What a creative, beautiful solution! I love the texture and color they add – don’t paint ’em, please! :) Gorgeous!

  42. Just wondering if you saw the lamps on Sarah’s Summer House this weekend? She made them out of logs – a little Nester-style :)

  43. LOVE this!

  44. Cuuutte!!! i think i have some in the backyard – going outside to check – i need something for my wierd space

  45. After looking at your post again I had the idea that you should carve a heart on the flat spot of the middle log with you + your husbands initials on it. Then you would really have a keepsake!
    Just a thought. Blessings, Debbie

  46. I LOVE them! Wish they were mine.

  47. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical with those first couple of pictures, looking at the stumps head-on like that. But once I saw them in the context of your house, I’m sold! They look so perfect there!

  48. Love that you added more nature to your house and that you can even hang a bag from it! Very cool,

  49. I love it girl! They look so great!

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